view of La Caletilla Beach in Nerja

Nerja is one of those places that make you want to go back again and again. A lovely Andalusian town with an inviting atmosphere, white buildings, unspoiled sandy shores, and crystal clear waters. With over 13 km of coastline it’s no wonder that you’ll find a long string of wonderful beaches in Nerja, one more beautiful than the next.

view of the Beaches in Nerja
Most beautiful beaches in Nerja

Characteristics of the Beaches in Nerja

Nerja’s beaches are quite different from each other, although each has its own special charm. Some are long stretches of sand overflowing with amenities. Others are small and secluded coves, tucked away between cliffs.

Most beaches in Nerja are located within walking distance from the town centre, so you won’t need any form of transportation to access them. Others are a little farther away, but beautiful enough to justify a short drive. The best part is that all of them are free, which means you’ll have more cash left in your pocket!

The 7 Most Beautiful Beaches to Visit in Nerja

When we first decided to visit Nerja we weren’t planning to spend much time at the beach. But that totally changed when we laid eyes on the beautiful shores with calm, turquoise waters. We ended up spending a lot of time on the coast, in search of the perfect spot. So let’s take a look at the best beaches in Nerja and see which one is right for you.

How to Use this Map: Click on the + sign in the lower left corner of the map to increase the size. With the cursor, drag the map left or right to get to the beach you are looking for. You can also click on the little square in the upper right corner of the map to open it in a separate window.

1. Burriana Beach (Playa Burriana)

Playa Burriana is a long beach with wonderful views and slightly pebbled sand. The beach is equipped with all the amenities you need for a perfect summer day: umbrellas, sun loungers, paddle boats, and paella restaurants. Despite all these conveniences, the beach still retains a rustic feel.

View of Burriana Beach in Nerja
Burriana Beach in Nerja

The western part of the beach has more pebble rocks, while the eastern part is sandy. On the west side the beach is bordered by the Acantilados De Maro-Cerro Gordo, a spectacular nature reserve with many unusual types of flowers and wild mountain goats.

Plants at the Maro-Cerro Gordo nature reserve
Plants at the Maro-Cerro Gordo nature reserve

Unlike most beaches in Nerja which are small and surrounded by cliffs, Burriana is more spread out. The long stretch of sand is flat and perfect for strolling or running. 

How to get there

Playa Burriana sits at the eastern end of Nerja town. You can get there on foot in about 15 minutes from the center. However, most people prefer to drive to it or take a taxi.

Coming by car from Malaga, follow A-7 going east and take exit 295. Continue to the roundabout and take the N-340 (first exit) towards Nerja. Drive straight through two more roundabouts. At the third roundabout take the third exit and drive down towards the coast. At the bottom of the hill you’ll reach Playa Burriana.

2. Carabeo Beach (Playa Carabeo)

Carabeo is a beautiful cove hidden from view because of the cliffs that surround it. This is one of Nerja’s shortest and more secluded beaches. To access it you’ll need to use a very steep set of steeps, which may be difficult for some people. But if that’s not an issue, Carabeo may be just right for you.

Carabeo Beach
Carabeo Beach

How to Get There

Carabeo Beach is very close to the center of Nerja, only minutes from the Balcón de Europa, so you can easily walk to it. From the center of the town, just go down on Calle Carabeo until you see the steps. You can also walk all the way from Burriana Beach to the Carabeo, depending on the tide.

Coming by car from Malaga, follow A-7 going east and take exit 295. Continue to the roundabout and take the first exit (N-340)towards Nerja. Then navigate to the “Parking Carabeo” parking lot.

3. Carabeillo Beach in Nerja

Sandwiched between Playa Carabeo and Playa Burriana, Carabeillo is one of Nerja’s shortest beaches. Although many consider it a continuation of Playa Burriana, it is basically a small cove on the western end of it.

Carabeilloo Beach in Nerja
Carabeillo Beach

The beach has smooth white sand, small waves and crystal-clear water. It is way less crowded than Burriana and much quieter and relaxing than most of the other beaches in Nerja.

There are no facilities around, but given its proximity to Burriana Beach that may not be an issue.

How to Get There

From Nerja city center, walk on Calle Carabeo for about 15 minutes until you reach Mirador del Bandito , then take the steps down to the beach. Or you can walk to it from Playa Burriana.

Coming by car from Malaga, follow A-7 going east and take exit 295. Continue to the roundabout and take the first exit (N-340)towards Nerja. Then navigate to the “Parking Carabeo” parking lot.

4. Calahonda Beach (Playa Calahonda)

Calahonda is one of the two beaches that sit right in the center of Nerja, on the left side of Balcón de Europa (the Balcony of Europe). The beach is so picturesque that it’s hard to resist photographing it. The best place to take some shots is as you walk along the seaside promenade above it.

Calahonda Beach

This tiny cove was once a small port for the local fisherman. They used to store their equipment in small houses carved in the cliffs above the beach. You can still see one of these white-washed cottages on the beach.

Little cottage that was once used by fishermen for storing their equipment
Little cottage that was once used by fishermen for storing their equipment

How to Get There

Playa Calahonda is surrounded by boulders and cliffs. The only access point to it is through Boquete de Calahonda, a small passage that leads down to the beach.

If you are coming by car from Malaga, follow A-7 going east and take exit 295. Continue to the roundabout and take the first exit (N-340)towards Nerja. Then navigate to the Municipal Underground Car Park located in the centre of the town. The entrance is via Calle La Cruz. 

5. Caletilla Beach

Playa Caletilla is located just below the Balcony of Europe, on the right side as you look towards the sea. Because it’s located just below Hotel El Balcón many people believe it is a private beach, but it’s not. Caletilla is actually a public beach that anyone can visit. 

view of La Caletilla Beach in Nerja
La Caletilla Beach

The crescent shaped beach stretches about 200 meters (656 feet) and is only 20 meters (65 feet) wide at its deepest point. Unfortunately, because it is so small, the beach completely disappears during high tide.

The beach setting is very picturesque, with the Balcón de Europa on one side and the mountains behind it.

There are a number of bars & restaurants along the promenade at the back of the beach.

starfish washed away on the beach
Starfish washed away on the beach

How to Get There

If you are staying at the Hotel El Balcón, you’ll have direct access to the beach. Otherwise, access to the beach is down a ramp from the seaside promenade. Parking is at the Municipal Underground Car Park located in the centre of the town. The entrance is via Calle La Cruz. 

6. Salon Beach in Nerja (Playa El Salon)

Just minutes away from Balcón de Europa you’ll find the beautiful beach of El Salon. This is one of the less crowded beaches in Nerja, so it appeals to those who want a quiet time. That is in part due to the fact that there is only one access road which can be difficult to find. The beach is hidden away down an alleyway from the Balcón Church square.  

El Salon Beach
El Salon Beach

Behind the beach area are a number of buildings built partly into the cliff face. Some are vacation rentals, while others are used by the local fishermen to store their equipment.

How to Get There

The only way to access the beach is by foot. There is an alleyway next to the El Salvador Church that leads to a zigzagging ramp which will take you down to beach. The nearest parking, is the underground paid parking near the town hall. 

7. Cañuelo Beach (near Nerja)

Cañuelo is located just 13 km east of Nerja. Surrounded by hills and palm trips Playa del Cañuelo is considered one of the finest beaches on the whole of the Costa del Sol. Since it’s located in a nature reserve, the beach is only accessible by a minibus shuttle, or by foot. Therefore, if you come by car you’ll have to leave your vehicle at the top of the cliff.

Playa del Cañuelo
Playa del Cañuelo

It’s a great beach for snorkeling, so if you have this passion you’ll love Cañuelo beach! We saw many different species of fish and some beautiful coral.

image depicting fish swimming in the water

There is a very nice restaurant at the top of the beach that offers fresh seafood at much lower prices than your average resort restaurants.

How to Get There

From Malaga follow A-7 going east and take exit 295. Continue to the roundabout and take the first exit (N-340)towards Almuñécar, then take exit 402 on the right.

From Nerja you must go on the N-340 towards Almuñécar, and then take exit 402 on the right. 

Where to Stay When Visiting the Beaches in Nerja

Nerja makes an easy day trip from Malaga as well as other cities in Andalusia. However, if you want to spend time at the beach my advice is to find lodging in Nerja, rather than commuting from Malaga or other places on the coast.

To know where to stay in Nerja, I have outlined some of the best locations along with some accommodation recommendations.

Old Town is one of the most convenient areas to stay in Nerja if you want to explore the beaches. Here you’ll be within a few minutes distance from Balcón de Europa and some of the beaches like El Salon, Caletilla, or Calahonda.

Some hotels to check in this area are Balcón de Europa Hotel (luxury), Taboos Apart – Turis (mid priced) or Marissal Hotel (budget).

Burriana Beach area is another good option for lodging. If you stay here, you’ll be within a few minutes walk from Burriana, Carabeo and Carabeillo beaches.

Some of the best hotels in this area are: Hotel Paraiso Del Mar and Parador de Nerja, two luxury hotels situated on a cliff very close to Burriana Beach. If you are looking for a mid-price hotel, check out Apartment Carabeo 97, where you’ll be within a 10-minute walk of Balcon de Europa and Playa Carabeillo.

view of Parador de Nerja hotel
Terrace of Parador de Nerja

You can check accommodation prices in Nerja by inputing your dates in the form below:

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How Much Time to Spend in Nerja

Nerja is one of Costa del Sol’s most picturesque coastal towns, blessed with white beaches, mountain backdrops, and white-washed houses. You can easily spend here a two weeks vacation, just lying in the sun. But if you only want to experience the beauty of Nerja’s coast, two-three days will most likely be enough.

I hope the information provided in this post gave you an idea what to expect in Nerja and will help you decide which beaches to visit on your trip.

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