Monday, 1 June 2015

Frugal City Guide: Nerja

Dress: £29.99, H+M (still instore now). Bag: £350, Sophie Hulme. Sandals: £110, Ancient Greek Sandals
I'm back from one of my favourite places, Nerja in Spain. My parents have a small flat by the sea so it always works out as such a cheap holiday for us, and meant I could afford to go to a friend's hen do in Marbella, which was hilarious!

Balcon de Europa, Nerja
For those who haven't been, Nerja is one of the few 'unspoilt' places on the Costa Del Sol, it is a Spanish town with only a couple of hotels, not too many high rises (they actually have rules about paint colours and the height of buildings towards the sea)and probably the cheapest local food around - you'll find it hard to find a freshly cooked paella for over €5. 

And as lovely as it is to visit new places, there is something special about going back to the places you love - I know what clothes I'll wear (and what I won't), I look forward to dinners out as I know what to expect (there is a rotisserie chicken takeaway where we are regulars), plus we have a kitchen so can save money a few nights by cooking food ourselves (which sometimes I enjoy even more!).

Playa El Salon
We had great weather whilst we were away, just a couple of cloudy days - so we made the most of it and took long walks - the Caves are walkable (or there are local buses) and are fascinating. We walked to local village Maro (probably around 10k), but you pass the aqueduct and hills where people still live in caves within.

Top: £26, Next. Shorts: £30, River Island. Sandals: £59.90, Birkenstock


Best Beach
All beaches on the Costa Del Sol are man-made so you won't find the lovely light sands on the Costa Brava, but they're still pretty amazing. Without doubt the prettiest is Burriana - it's more manicured with hills behind, beautiful villas, rentable sunloungers and great restaurants - 'Ayos' always has a great vibe for paella and Ayo himself is a local celebrity. 

Burriana Beach
I actually prefer Playazo which is near where we stay - it's a sweeping beach where more locals hang out - we take our own chairs and if you walk along the coast you are never too near any other sunbathers. The beach bars along here by the allotments do great seafood and their boquerones are always fresh - Chiringuito Mauri was a favourite this trip.

Playazo Beach wearing dress: Asos (sold out). Bag: £125, Missoni Home x Amara. Sandals: £35, Teva at Urban Outfitters

Ice cream from Albi's on Balcon de Europa. Top: £28, Asos. Jeans: £38, Asos. Shoes: £38, Next. Bracelets: Large, And Other Stories, Small, £145, Astley Clarke

For special occasions and views, try 34 Carabeo (but book ahead for an outside table). We went to La Joya at the top end of town which might just be my new favourite - it has a gluten free menu and amazing specials - I had a tuna steak which was out of this world (not bad daiquiris, either). We love Za Za rotisserie chicken too for a great affordable meal, and the Brazilian restaurant by Torrecilla beach is €12.90 for all the meat you can eat! 

Tapas is the best in Nerja - traditional tapas - buy 1 drink for €1.50 and get free food - (you shouldn't really pay for tapas). Try Pepe Moles, Sevillano, El Pulguilla (very Spanish) or the Dutch Oven

Wearing dress: £9.99, H&M

Tutti Frutti is where everything kicks off late - don't expect any bars to be busy until 1am. We usually have a few pre-dinner cocktails at Cochran's for a lovely view or La Casita towards the top of town(€4.50 and made in front of you) - it's not fancy but has a roof terrace and you're pretty much done after 2 drinks! 

My favourite tipple: gin and tonic (and it came with a side of free anchovies, naturally)

My absolute favourite place is El Molino - a wonderful local tavern with a local flamenco singer, Jose Manuel. Get there around 11:30pm as it fills up fast and at midnight they turn off the lights and he sings the most beautiful song to the Virgin Mary. Order sangria (as spritis are expensive) and sing and clap along to classic Spanish songs as the locals dance to flamenco. It really is enchanting.

I know a few of you have been to Nerja and love it as much as I do - where do you recommend?


  1. Nice pics!!! Love the first dress from H&M!

  2. Looks so fab! I love your outfits, especially the off the shoulder top and the denim shorts one!

    Shot From The Street | Fashion Blog

    1. Thanks - I bought that top so long ago (when I did the High Street edit for Wardrobe Icons) and almost forgot I had it - so usefl! x

  3. Love Nerja! Have only been once but it was an particularly special holiday as it was our last one as couple before having our little boys! I spent a lot of time horizontal on the beach, enjoying a last opportunity for true relaxation, but we also did some lovely day trips - we loved Granada and its stunning Alhambra, and we also visited some lovely white pueblos, such as Frigiliana. I remember eating some amazing tapas in Nerja - there was a fab place in the main town square where we ate amazing dishes such as pig cheek in molasses...can't remember the name though. Would love to go back sometime soon!

    1. I haven't been to Alhambra for years, we're thinking next year to start in Seville, then Granada and back down to Nerja, it's so easy to travel around. So glad you had great memories - bet holidays aren't quite the same now (in a good way though!) xx

    2. Oh, that would be an amazing trip! Seville is one of my favourite cities. That part of the world, away from the built up area of the coast, is so lovely. If you want to try somewhere different in Spain I really recommend the Costa Brava area around Pals and Calella de Palafrugell. We have been there the last few years and it's a really unspoilt corner of the country, and great with kids in tow - lovely, sheltered beaches with safe swimming, good restaurants and pretty villages to explore. Love it!

  4. Your photo's bring back memories! I went to Nerja 4 or 5 times with my family as a child and loved it :-) might have to go back...

    1. You must - one of the few places in Spain which gets better and better x

  5. Hi Alex, I love your blog & style! Your Nerja style was fab. I've been going to Nerja for the past 15 years.. even got married there 9 years ago in the Balcon.. had our pre-party in Ayo's.. then on the day our champers reception in Cochrans on the Terrace and the to the Balcon hotel. The best of times. Go there now with our 2 kids. Also love 'Langsang' restaurant besides Petit Paris. We now stay in Frigiliana the past few years, going again in July! About to look up that fab floaty dress from Next now for my hols & your Vichy self-tanner recommodation :-) Keep up the great work, Audrey

    1. Aah - thank you! I've always thought how beautiful to get married in that beautiful church on the balcon....I went to LangSang with my parents when it first opened, excellent food - a Japanese has just opened called sekai just off Tutti Frutti which we loved too (when sometimes you just want something different to Tapas!). I've been to the running of the bulls in Frigliana, which was actually a bit sad ;( but the cobbled streets are so beautiful. It wasn't warm enough to wear the Next dress this time but saving it for Ibiza next month ;) xxx

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