THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PART OF THE COSTA OF SPAIN
Beautiful is almost everywhere on the Spanish costas. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful and then we end up in the Costa del Sol and more specifically the stretch between Almunecar and Torox Costa. You cycle along a stretch of coast with hidden beaches, clear blue-green sea and through a protected area where you will almost certainly meet a ibex or some wild boar. The inland is even more beautiful if possible and a route along the white mountain villages is something everyone should have done at some point.
In this article we do not want to talk about one or which bicycle route to ride, because the possibilities are innumerable and very diverse. To give readers an impression of what you can experience both on and off the bike, here we give a limited anthology of the goodies that a vacation in this area has to offer.
We start in the residence ISEA CALACEITE on the border of Torrox and Nerja.
Torrox – El mejor clima de Europa
As you drive into Torrox Costa along the coastal road, you are immediately faced with the facts. Here you are in the best climate in Europe. However, a (cycling) vacation in the sunniest climate in Europe with an average of 320 days of sunshine per year, that’s an average of 8 “sun hours” per day, offers much more than just sunshine. You would expect it to be very dry and arid here (as in several regions of Spain). But nothing could be further from the truth! Due to the proximity of the Sierra Nevada and surrounded by a number of other mountain ranges, nature here is green and inland you will find many (small) rivers and waterfalls. A paradise across the board.
Torrox Pueblo can be found inland about four kilometers from Torrox Costa. The village is beautifully situated on a hill giving you from here a beautiful view over the sea and Torrox Costa. It is a nice warm-up by bike to go further inland and do a lot of altimeters. Torrox Costa is a small resort with a beautiful long sandy beach. Along this beach runs a lively boulevard where you will also find stores and several restaurants. The boulevard is ideal for walking, jogging, cycling or rollerblading. The resort and village are surrounded by several national parks, in other words, it is the most centrally located coastal town to explore the amazing surroundings.
If you drive east from Torrox Costa, you will arrive a few kilometers further in picturesque Nerja. Nerja is a true beach paradise! And even for those who want more, Nerja offers all that is needed. It is an attractive village, with about 22,000 inhabitants and a wide range of activities, without the hustle and bustle of a larger city. You can eat out, stroll in the car-free center, enjoy cultural events.
The fantastic surroundings also offer all kinds of excursions, from beautiful villages to the most beautiful cycling, MTB and hiking routes in nature. We list the nicest possibilities for you below, but do not limit ourselves here to cycling tours, because there is so much more to do and experience here!
15 super beaches
The beaches have to be number one here, because Nerja offers some of the best beaches on the Costa del Sol. From long sandy beaches like Burriana and El Playazo to hidden coves like in the Acantilados de Maro-Cerro Gordo, Nerja has it all! The rock formations along the coast with the small bays are protected nature reserve
The variety there is pleasantly surprising: dark sandy beaches, pebble beaches, sheltered rocky beaches,…. Often with fantastic views all around! Sometimes you descend stairs to get to the beach, but this small effort is extensively rewarded. Crystal clear green-blue water for swimming or snorkeling, a pleasant mixture of sand and pebbles,… Welcome to paradise!
Within the borders of Nerja province there are as many as 12 beaches, all of which are really worth a visit.
The caves of Nerja
Had enough sun for a while? Then the cool vaults of the caves of Nerja are a welcome change from the summer heat! These limestone caves offer a fascinating day trip for the whole family.
First discovered in 1959, the “cuevas de Nerja” are about 5 kilometers long and are among the largest caves in Europe. They have been in the World Guinness Book of Records since 1989 because the largest underground pillar is also found here. They also house the oldest Neanderthal cave paintings in the world.
Furthermore, Roman pottery, Moorish coins and exceptional biodiversity have already been discovered. Time and again, the caves prove to house true historical treasures.
They even host a music and dance festival in July. And a concert in this natural, underground environment is an unforgettable experience!
Strolling and posing at the Balcony of Europe
Part of the old center of Nerja is exclusively accessible to pedestrians. It invites for a leisurely stroll and a fun photo session at the Balcony of Europe! There you can enjoy the most spectacular views of Nerja, and it buzzes with fun and life.
Naming by the king
According to legend, the sight owes its name to King Alfonso the 12th. Because this king ensured the fame of the balcony of Europe you will also find his statue at the end of it. This lifelike statue is life-size and therefore makes a great place to take photos. It seems as if you will then appear on the print together with the former monarch.
By the way, under the balcony there is a restaurant where you can eat paella at this beautiful panorama. Concerts are also organized regularly.
Starting in May and throughout the summer, Nerja is bustling with merry fiestas, culminating in the annual fair in October.
Cooling down in the river
Put the road bike or MTB aside for a moment and take the day trip on foot to río Chillar. This refreshing river walk is also suitable for young children, making it ideal for a great family outing. The Chillar River also offers several pools and waterfalls in which you can swim!
Furthermore, an MTB trip to El Pinarillo is highly recommended. This is a picnic and recreation area in the middle of the Sierra de Tejeda, Almijara and the Alhama Natural Park. A beautiful nature reserve that is about six kilometers from the caves of Nerja. Here too you can take the whole family on a cycling or hiking tour.
Enjoy the most beautiful kayaking route of Andalusia
You can also go sea kayaking. The kayaking route from Burriana beach in Nerja to neighboring Maro is unforgettable!
Several rivers flow there, resulting in spectacular waterfalls plunging off the cliffs. The largest are the Cascada la Doncella and the Cascada Grande de Maro.
All around, you enjoy an impressively beautiful coastal landscape of hidden beaches, and countless caves filled with turquoise water,…. A kayaking trip can’t get more beautiful than this!
Arriving at Maro beach you have yet another top attraction. Crystal clear water, easy access and fantastic scenery already made the Spanish choose this beach as the “best beach in Andalusia” and “second best beach in all of Spain.
The location could hardly be more idyllic. This bay-like beach borders Los Acantilados de Maro – Cerro Gordo Natural Area. This part of the sea has been declared a special protected area by the United Nations. No fishing is allowed in this area, which has allowed marine life to flourish in abundance.
As a result, this is one of the best locations in Spain for snorkeling and diving. You will see numerous corals, sponges, anemones, shrimps, crabs, lobsters and a myriad of colorful fish.
The whole family can snorkel at Maro beach, as most of the best spots are within easy swimming distance of the beach. Just put on a snorkel mask and dip your head under the water, and you will see that this underwater world is, if possible, even more beautiful than all the splendor above water.
Continuing through the natural park to Almuñecar – Los Acantilados de Maro-Cerro Gordo
Along the N340 between Nerja and Almuñecar is the protected natural park Los Acantilados de Maro-Cerro Gordo. It is a still virgin coastal strip that marks the transition from the Costa del Sol of the province of Málaga to the Costa Tropical of the province of Granada. The Coastal Strip is characterized by beautiful coves and hidden beaches. A heavenly piece to do with the road bike or MTB!
The total area of the nature reserve including the part in the sea covers 1814,685 ha. and is characterized by steep cliffs of up to more than 75 meters in height. It is not uncommon to see dolphins swimming from the beach, or meet wildlife in the area such as ibex, wild boar or chameleons.
Also to discover Almuñecar you need at least a weekend, not to mention the route (A-4050) that leads you from Almuñecar via Otivar and Lentegi to the Sierra Nevada. A wonderful natural landscape where you cycle/ride to a beautiful plateau at more than 1300 m.
Discovering the white villages nearby
Located inland 25 kilometers from Nerja, Competa is one of the beautiful white villages in Andalusia. The town’s architecture is a mix of Arab, Roman and Christian influences. Very worthwhile!
Frigiliana you don’t want to miss either, right above Nerja, after a 6.3 km climb from sea level you reach Frigiliana at an altitude of 322 meters. You climb further up it along charming winding streets, where at the end of the trip the immense view of Nerja and the Mediterranean Sea, is the well-deserved reward. A maze of streets, whitewashed houses and everywhere the scents and colors of flowers, jasmine and lavender.
It is often called the most beautiful village in Andalusia and has officially received the title on several occasions. It really does look like a postcard picture!
El Acebuchal from ghost village to dream village
Located 12 kilometers from Frigiliana, El Acebuchal is a hidden gem in the mountains of the Sierra Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama Nature Reserve. For centuries, El Acebuchal was an important stop on the mule trade routes between Nerja, Cómpeta and Granada, where an inn could offer guests a place to sleep and eat.
But the completely dilapidated village in the 20th century, thus became the so-called “ghost village. Anno 2021, however, it has become a breathtaking place with an enduring horror history. You can also eat there in a fantastic restaurant. You reach the village via an off-road road and you even have to cross a small river to get there. So an MTB instead of a road bike is recommended! But beware, with long steep climbs (up to 22%), this trip is not for everyone. You can also set off by car for a bit and then walk the last part. Or drive the 4X4 up to the village.
Early life in this region was clearly of the harsher type, but more recent history is illustrated with a much more painful event. In the latter days of the Spanish Civil War, quite a few republican rebels hid in the mountains behind the coastline. The Franco regime suspected the rural residents of El Acebuchal of supporting and hiding the maquis. In the end, those locals were caught between two fires. In 1948, Franco ordered his troops to evacuate the village. The 200 or so residents had to leave behind all their possessions including their animals. El Acebuchal soon deteriorated into a ruin and a ghost village, “Un Pueblo Fantasma.”
Until Antonio García Sánchez, whose father was born in El Acebuchal, bought the hamlet in 1998. Using old photographs, he began to gradually restore the dilapidated mountain village to its original state. And it wasn’t until 2003 that electricity and water were reconnected and life could begin again there.
In 2005, Antonio and his family reopened the former inn, under the name Bar-Restaurant El Acebuchal. That was the most important step in the village’s resurrection. Responding to the growing tourist interest in the source of authentic life in a still unspoiled nature, this restaurant made foreign tourists as well as the Spaniards themselves, want to discover El Acebuchal and taste the local cuisine. Antonio and his family conjure up amazing things on the table. Here you should definitely come and taste the wild boar, lamb, venison, rabbit and/or duck. An experience you will never forget.
El Acebuchal Restaurant
In the restaurant of El Acebuchal, the García Sánchez family serves, local and traditional dishes. The menu is always the same. But the flavorful dishes are “casera” (=self-made), with as many ingredients from their own cultivation as possible.
It is a treat to eat meat in El Acebuchal’s restaurant! Chicken (pollo) or duck (pato), but also rabbit (conejo), wild boar (jabali) and deer (ciervo).
My favorite dish is duck in apple sauce (=pato en salsa de manzana). For dessert, a delicious slice of homemade ice cream, another home-made delicacy.
But above all, the delicious home-baked bread (served by the half or whole loaf) proves how simple it can be to make unlikely creations from and with ordinary things.
More information: www.elacebuchal.es