Explore Nerja Caves
With over 5km of underground chambers and passages, and home to the largest stalagmite in the world, the Nerja Caves are one of the most popular attractions in Spain. They’re open every day of the year, except New Year’s Day and during the Romeria de San Isidro, which falls on May 15th. A superb experience for the whole family, the Nerja Caves offer the chance to dip a toe into the region’s prehistoric past and uncover the ancient secrets they hold.
The history of the Nerja Caves
The Nerja Caves were discovered in the 17th century by five local boys hunting for bats. After spending an evening in a pothole, known as La Mina, they returned the following day and dislodged a stalagmite or two, to discover a hidden entrance. Venturing inside, they found ancient clay pots next to some skeletons, and rushed to tell their teachers of their find.
However, it wasn’t until years later that experts were called into verify and document their discoveries. The Nerja Caves were officially opened in 1960, on July 12th and, since then have continued to attract visitors from all over the world.
You can get to the caves by car, bus or on foot. You’ll find them just over 5km from the famous Balcon de Europa and, while the last 100 metres or so are uphill, the subterranean spectacle is well worth it. If you do decide to walk, be sure to pack some sunscreen, a hat and a bottle of water. However, there is another way to get to the Caves of Nerja: if you happen to be at the Nerja Museum, which is just over 4km away, you can hop aboard the Cueva Tren land-train, which takes the scenic route and factors in a quick stop at the Parque Verano Azul.
Stalactites, Stalagmites and Cave-Paintings
The caves are a treasure-trove for anyone with even the faintest interest in history. Set across a series of galleries and halls, you’ll see dangling stalactites and towering stalagmites, along with Palaeolithic cave paintings that are millions of years old.
In addition, each June sees the caves housing more modern inhabitants at an underground festival. The Nerja International Festival of Music and Dance sees internationally-acclaimed musicians giving underground performances and taking advantage of the incredible acoustics the chambers offer.
Nerja Caves’ Botanical Gardens
For those who prefer their attractions above ground, the Nerja Caves also have their own Botanical Gardens. Covering over 26,000 square metres and with more than 200 species of rare plants, the Nerja Caves Botanical Gardens were opened in 2017, after six years of planning and preparation. There are walking trails throughout the gardens, with information boards telling you all you need to know about the lush greenery held within its boundaries. You may also see some of the wildlife that has made its home in the area, including passing deer, soaring birds of prey and wandering wild boar.
The Caves of Nerja are a truly spectacular attraction and suitable for everyone from toddlers to older visitors. In addition, the cooler temperatures offer respite from the heat of the midday sun!