Excursion: Nerja & The Caves
Nerja has an enviable reputation as being an idyllic place to live or stay on holiday - so how does it justify this reputation?
Well, firstly it is reckoned to have the best climate on the Costa del Sol. The town sits on a rocky promontory at the end of the mountain range and is therefore surrounded on three sides by mountains and on the fourth by the sea.  The towns original name was Narixa, which means "rich in water" and this reflects the numerous wells and springs that there are in the area.Combined with the climate this abundance of water has resulted in many exotic fruits such as kiwi, avocado and chirimoya are grown in the surrounding countryside.
The second factor, contributing to the towns reputation is the fact that new building has been confined to a height of just 3 stories. Nerja therefore, more than any other coastal town, really has retained it's traditional Spanish feel. Virtually the whole town still consists of narrow, cobblestoned streets, traditional white houses and small courtyards and the area surrounding it has, in the main, been reserved for agricultural use.
Finally, again unlike other coastal towns Nerja does not have a single long beach. Instead it has numerous small coves many with no building at all and the rest with just a single bar or restaurant.
The towns best known feature is the Balcon de Europa. This was originally an Arab fortification which became known as La Torre de Los Guardias.  In 1810 the English began demolishing the fortification with it's gun batteries to prevent them falling into the hands of the invading French. Finally it became known as the Balcon de Europa after it was referred to as such by King Alfonso when he visited the town after a severe earthquake in 1885.
Nerjas history goes back a long way and the surrounding area has revealed objects dating back to the stone age. In 1959 a group of boys, playing in the hills some 5km from Nerja, discovered a cave. When fully opened it revealed a wealth of treasures left from the days of the cave dwellers who inhabited it between 25,000 and 2,000 BC. These treasures include palaeolithic paintings of horses are dear. The caves are magnificent in their own right with stupendous galleries some of which are 200 feet high. The caves are open to the public every day and there is a small archaeolgical museum on site together with a restaurant with a balcony giving panoramic  views over Nerja and the surrounding countryside. The caves, or "Cueva de Nerja as they are known in Spanish, are rated as being amongst the best in Europe.
Also included in our excursion is Frigiliana. This is a typical white Andalucian village set on a ledge in the mountains above Nerja and providing spectacular views over the surrounding area.
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