Nerja is known for its beautiful coastline and beaches along Spain’s Costa del Sol. Yet, there is another fascinating reason to visit this stunning town in Andalusia! The Nerja caves are located just outside of town and easily accessible by the tourist train. This makes Cueva de Nerja a great day trip for all ages and a fun break from the beach. Join us as we tell you why to visit the caves in Nerja Spain, and what to know before you go!
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Discovery of the Nerja Caves
Before we get into what you’ll see at this unique attraction, you should know that the caves in Nerja were only recently discovered! In 1959, a group of 5 kids were having an adventurous night. Their wild bat chase led them into a small sinkhole where they stumbled upon what would become known as “Cueva de Nerja.”
Once the teenagers reported back what they found, further investigations revealed one of the most impressive caves in all of Spain! Not only were there endless caverns, stalactites, and other unique geological discoveries, but they would find even more impressive historical evidence of humans.
History of Cueva De Nerja
Inside the caves in Nerja they found skeletons, ceramics, and even wall paintings dating back over 42,000 years ago. Scientists believe Neanderthals may have drawn these special paintings of animals. Needless to say, these prehistoric artifacts were a mind-blowing find back in late 1950’s Spain.
Shortly after its discovery, Cueva de Nerja was officially opened to the public in 1960. In the following years, they would continue to find more galleries, remains, and signs of human life inside the Nerja Caves.
Buying Tickets to the Nerja Caves in Spain
Excited to visit the Nerja Caves?! This is a fun activity that should not be missed on your trip to this amazing beach town. Our recommendation for buying tickets is to go to the Nerja Museum.
The museum is located in Plaza de Espana, which is just a quick stroll from the famous Balcon de Europa.
Here you can purchase a combined ticket which covers entry to the museum, the Nerja caves train (more on this next), and access to the actual caves.
At the museum, you will learn the backstory of the caves as well as a full history Nerja and the surrounding towns. Here you’ll also see actual artifacts from inside Cueva de Nerja!
Taking the Nerja Caves Train
One of the best parts about visiting the caves in Nerja is getting there! The tourist train leaves from Plaza de los Cangrejos Park near the center of Nerja. It will take you directly through town and up into the mountains of Andalusia. The train ride takes about 15 minutes and provides epic views of the coastline.
Of course, if you have a car you can drive yourself. There is also a regular bus line that drops off near the caves at Nerja. However, we totally recommend the train!
It’s a fun ride and a great deal, especially with the combined ticket. In total it took about 3 hours to see the museum, train there, and explore the Nerja Caves in Spain.
Nerja Caves Tip: Don’t miss the Nerja caves train back! The caves close mid-afternoon every day and there is a last train back time. A taxi isn’t too expensive but it may put a real damper on your day.
Our Visit to the Nerja Caves
Now that you know all about the caves in Nerja, what’s on the inside?? Cueva de Nerja is truly stunning and bigger than we ever expected. When we first entered the tunnel down we couldn’t believe it. The small cave opened up into a massive cavern with thousands of icicle-shaped stalactites hanging down!
Following the well-designed steel ramps will take you on an adventure to see one of Southern Spain’s most interesting attractions. The only slightly disappointing part of our visit was that the galleries with the ancient wall paintings are restricted to tourists. Nevertheless, there was still plenty to explore at the Nerja Caves Spain.
We’ve seen many caves along our travels including some of the largest in the world in Southeast Asia. Yet, we felt Cueva de Nerja was one of the most well-maintained and best presented we’ve experienced.
Concerts at the Caves in Nerja?!?
After learning about the insane history of the Nerja Caves, there was one more fact we couldn’t believe… They actually have concerts inside! Ever since Cueva de Nerja opened to the public they’ve been holding yearly summer performances.
The natural acoustics and scenery inside the caves have attracted musical acts from around the world. Can you imagine attending a concert or dance performance inside the Nerja Caves? So cool!
Restaurant Outside Cueva de Nerja
After our own visit to the caves at Nerja, we had a bit of time before the train headed back to town. Across from the entrance you can find Restaurante Cueva de Nerja for drinks or a quick bite to eat. We grabbed some refreshments for just 2.50 Euros each and took in the views of the ocean. This was such a great end to our time at the Nerja caves!
Have any questions on the caves at Nerja or want to share your own experience at Cueva de Nerja? Leave us a comment below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Where To Stay In Nerja Spain
Ultra Luxury – Hotel Balcon de Europa – Enjoy a stay at the most prestigious and central hotel in all of Nerja! Sitting right on the famous Balcon de Europa, you’ll be blessed with beautiful sea views and close to all the best beaches.
Fun Vacation – MB Boutique Hotel – Located just steps from Torrecilla Beach, this incredible property is just what you need for a relaxing vacation. Enjoy the comforts of Southern Spain from your balcony with all the luxury amenities you love.
Boutique Hotel – La Puerta de Nerja Hostal – This gorgeous hotel in the heart of Nerja will be the perfect place to explore town from. You can even take in the views from the rooftop jacuzzi!
Hostel Stay – Charming Nerja Hostel – Charming Nerja Hostel is within walking distance to the Balcon Europa and has wonderful private rooms and dorms available.
For more places to stay in Nerja Spain you can explore the latest prices here!
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Spain Travel Planning
Flights: We always find the best flights using Skyscanner. Sometimes it’s cheaper to fly between cities in Spain than driving or taking the train!
Rental Car: We use Discover Cars to explore when traveling. Consider renting a car in one city and dropping it off in another for an epic Spain road trip!
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for thousands of activities around Spain. You can book a tour of the Madrid Royal Palace, skip the line and explore the Alhambra de Granada, or even jump on a Tenerife Dolphin cruise!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without protection! We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.