Situated on the outskirts of the village of Maro that sits on the edge of the Sierra Almijara, Tejeda and Alhama Natural Park are the Nerja Caves (Cuevas de Nerja). The Caves are one of Spain's most amazing and very popular historical sites and are a truly magnificent sight to see.
The caves have been naturally created over millions of years and are a result of landslides, calcareous mud and the movement of underground waters. The caves were inhabited as far back as 25,000 years ago and evidence of this can be seen in the Paleolithic wall paintings that can be seen in the caves.
Stretching over almost five kilometres are a series of huge caverns, where you can see some of the world's largest stalagmites and stalactites which have been formed over time by calcium salts deposited by dripping water.
At the caves complex entrance, there is a bar/restaurant on the right and an entrance to the natural park with clearly marked hiking trails on the left. There are trails to El Cielo as well as to the El Pinarillo picnic/barbecue area as well as some other points of interest.
Parking at the caves is a plenty, with spaces both inside and outside of the caves complex.
The caves themselves have two natural entrances and one that was man made in 1960 to improve access for visitors.
There are also three galleries, each containing several halls. There is the New Gallery, the Upper Gallery and the Show Gallery. The New Gallery and the Upper Gallery house many of the caves prehistoric paintings but unfortunately tourist access to these areas is limited to special groups only.
Also within the complex is a small museum and tourist office, a photo shop, a souvenir shop and a very good restaurant with the added bonus of wonderful sea views. There are also large Arabic gardens where you can take a stroll to the Ermita de San Isidro and for younger children there is a large play area to keep them entertained.
The Nerja Caves are open every day of the year except for January 1st (New Year's Day) and May 15th (Romeria de San Isidro).
During the winter months they are open between 10am and 2pm and again between 4pm and 6pm.
During the summer months of July and August they are open between 10am and 7:30pm.
During the second week of July the 'Festival of Music and Dance' is held at the Nerja Caves meaning the opening times change to 10am to 6pm.
How Much Does It Cost?
Children aged 6 years to 12 years: €4.50
Children under 6 years: Free
Certified Associations (Groups of 15+ persons): €6.00
Certified Agents (Groups of 15+ persons): €6.00
College Groups (1 teacher goes free with a group of 25 students): €4.00
NOTE: Entrance fees can only be paid in cash.
Every Sunday morning throughout the year, entry to the Nerja Caves is free for residents of Nerja but proof of residency must be shown.
How To Get There?
The Nerja Caves are easily accessible by car, bus or even on foot and there is plenty of parking in and around the complex.
From Nerja, the drive will take you about 10 minutes at a leisurely pace. Leave Nerja on the old N-340 coastal road in the direction of Maro. You will pass the Nerja Club Hotel (on your right), Capistrano Village (on your left), Fuente del Baden (on your left) and the old Sugar Factory (worth a visit, despite being derelict) and arrive at a roundabout.
Follow the sign to Maro. On your left you will see the old, picturesque Eagle Aqueduct, still in use and scheduled for renovation, before arriving at another roundabout. Take the final exit and about 100 metres up the hill is the entrance to the Nerja Caves.
From Malaga on the N340 / A-7 motorway, come off at exit 295 (sign posted "Cuevas de Nerja") which leads directly to the caves.
Buses run regularly between Nerja and the Nerja Caves and the journey takes approximately 10-15 minutes.
Top image courtesy of Christopher on Flickr.