Nerja's Balcon de Europa is the region's most iconic landmark and the focal point of the town. The story behind this famous balcony has more than a whiff of William the Conqueror falling over on the beach about it: according to the history books, Nerja's Balcon de Europa was originally a fortress, La Bateria, built overlooking the bay to protect the town from invasion and pirates. After a particularly severe earthquake in the area, King Alfonso XII visited the area and saw the remains of La Bateria and the open ”window' created by the eruption. Trying to lift the locals' spirits, he is supposed to have declared that “this is the Balcony of Europe!”. Whether this is true or not is up to the historians, but it seems to have been accepted as fact by the Nerjans, who put up a statue of him overlooking the Balcon de Europa.
The History of Nerja's Balcon de EuropaToday, Nerja's Balcon de Europa is one of the most visited attractions in the area. The original fortress was built by the Moors and dates back to the 9th Century and you can still see much of the original stonework. However, the star of the show is the view offered by Nerja's Balcon de Europa. Arguably one of the best in the Costa del Sol, you get an uninterrupted panorama that takes in the rugged beauty of the Almijara mountains and the azure blue seas that lap this part of the Sunshine Coast. During the summer, Nerja's Balcon de Europa is gets very busy, with plenty of visitors coming to soak up the spectacular scenery.
Visiting in the Cooler MonthsThe balcony has an ace up its sleeve, with a restaurant situated directly below it. In the cooler months, visitors can book a table and enjoy the stunning views while dining on delicious meals such as succulent swordfish steaks, fresh pasta and herby grilled chicken. If there's space, book your table for the evening and watch one of the Costa del Sol's world-famous sunsets, from one of the best vantage-points on the coast. You'll also find that Nerja's Balcon de Europa acts as host to a number of concerts and music recitals throughout the year. During the festivals of Semana Santa, San Isidro and the Cabalagata de los Reyes, you'll find local musicians on the balcony, accompanying the celebrations down below. It's also the musical headquarters for Nerja's fantastic New Year's firework display, which is accompanied by rousing Spanish melodies.
Getting to the BalconyIf you want to make the most of the view, the balcony provides telescopes, through which you can look across the bay. You'll find it just a short walk from the Plaza Cavana, which is home to Nerja's town hall. If you're driving, you'll need to leave your car in one of the nearby car parks, as the whole area leading to the balcony has been pedestrianised. The walk is only a matter of minutes and well signposted and the view from the top is well worth it.