Hotel Reviews - Europe

How we fell in love with Nerja

Caroline explains how Nerja has become a firm family favourite for a winter break.

In 1999 we were looking for somewhere to welcome in the new millennium that would suit all of us, a family of four including a 12 year old and a 15 year old (both old enough to want to do something special but not old enough to hit the bright lights of London on their own, even if there had been trains back out to Surrey in the wee small hours).

We thought it might be rather nice to head to Edinburgh, where I was born and bred and contacted a few hotels to see what they offered. It quickly became apparent that it did not come cheap staying in a city renowned for its Hogmanay festivities in a normal year and one which was even more desirable when the world and his wife were looking for somewhere memorable to celebrate. Not only did it not come cheap, it didn’t come anywhere near being affordable for anyone other than Premier League footballers, oil barons or minor royalty!

We swiftly started to look elsewhere and soon discovered that for a third of the price of two nights at the Balmoral in Edinburgh we could have a week in Spain including flights. That was when our love affair with Nerja began.

Sixteen years on and we have probably been back to Nerja at least twenty times, often over New Year but also at other times of the year. We see it predominantly as an escape from the British winter for a week or two but have also on occasions combined it with a few nights in Malaga, Córdoba, Ronda or Granada. As a resort it is thankfully devoid of the concrete tower blocks so prevalent in many of the over-developed resorts on the costas. It is a traditional Spanish town with lots of whitewashed buildings and an attractive old quarter. Best of all it is cheap and easy to get to and whilst sunshine can’t be guaranteed in the winter you would be very unlucky not to return home looking better than when you left the UK!

Burriana beach

Burriana beach

Our favourite place to stay is in one of the various apartments on Burriana Beach and the company that we have most often used to book our accommodation is Gill Johnson Holiday Villas. Gill offers a lot of options on the Costa del Sol but each and every one is inspected personally by Gill or one of her team and we have never been disappointed. You probably pay slightly more than booking directly with a private individual, but with so many reports of Brits falling prey to fraudsters at least you know the apartment is going to exist when you get there!

An apartment interior

An apartment interior

The Burriana apartments range from one to three bedrooms, many with two bathrooms and all are south facing with lovely sunny terraces overlooking the sea.

The view from the sun terrace

The view from the sun terrace

Most come with extras such as wifi (charged for but pretty reasonable) and satellite TV. Some also have underground parking although there is also plenty of free on-street parking available.

The apartments are a two minute walk away from plenty of bars and restaurants and it is a pleasant walk into town, albeit up a steep hill. The beach-front restaurants tend to shut when the sun goes down off-season but there is nothing better than having your main meal of the day at lunch time when the sun is shining. Alternatively there are plenty of good restaurants in town which open for dinner.

You really need a car to get to a decent supermarket (another steep hill lies between it and the apartments) and Gill can suggest a good place to hire a car from which we found to be efficient and competitively priced. Having a car also means that you can take a drive up to the attractive hill village of Frigiliana, visit the famous Nerja caves or go further afield into the Alpujarras mountains or visit the fantastic Alhambra palace in Granada.

The nearby hilltop village of Frigiliana

The nearby hilltop village of Frigiliana

Malaga - an easy bus ride from Nerja

Malaga – an easy bus ride from Nerja

There are bus services to most of these places but they are often few and far between and not always at convenient times. There is a pretty good bus service to Malaga and this makes for a good day out with lots of interest (especially if you are an art lover) should you be unlucky enough to have rain on your holiday.

If you’re looking for some winter sunshine but can’t face a long-haul flight then Nerja could be just what you’re looking for.

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