The Fabulous Nerja Caves.

The Nerja caves must be one of the most breathtaking tourist attractions to be found in the whole of Spain. These comprise a staggeringly beautiful series of caverns, running for almost five kilometres, filled with amazing stalagmites and stalactites, soaring into impressive amphitheatres and cathedral-like spaces that only nature herself could fashion.

To walk through the public areas of the caverns is to witness fabulous geological structures that were discovered in 1959 by some children from the nearby village of Maro They were playing and looking for bats when they came across the Nerja caves. Imagine how excited they must have felt, and even a little scared, of the huge stalagmites and stalactites rising and falling within these caves.

Findings in the caverns have indicated that they were inhabited from around 25,000 BC until the Bronze Age. Unfortunately, the Palaeolithic wall paintings uncovered here are not for public viewing, but carefully preserved skeletal remains are on show. Various animal bones, shells and fish bones have been discovered as well as stone and bone tools, helping to date the periods of human habitation. Some of the many artefacts which were discovered are on public show in a museum located just outside the caves themselves.

The caves are split into 2 sections Nerja I and Nerja II. Nerja I is a series of caverns open to the public known as the 'show galleries'. The show galleries are accessed by stairs and pathways, and have been given interesting names such as the Entrance Hall, Crèche Hall, Elephant Eye-Tooth Hall, Ballet Hall, Hall of the Phantoms, Hall of the Waterfall and Cataclysm Hall, which is an impressive 32m high.

The lighting is excellent, and especially spectacular is the 60m high stalactic pillar found in the furthest public chamber. Nerja II is not open to the public but can be viewed if you book as part of a small party known as a speleogical group which is for ages of 14 upwards and allows a maximum of 10 people. You don’t need specialist skills and you can book by telephone.

Among the fauna discovered within the Nerja Caves are species of scarab beetles and blind scorpions that had previously been thought to have been extinct. These have been found in the Nerja II range of caves which are not open to the public. Such important studies are ongoing, as we gain knowledge about the denizens of these dark places. These, along with the archaeological discoveries have contributed to the Nerja Caves being considered one of the most important attractions and scientific sites in the whole of Spain.

The Cueva de Nerja as they are called in Spanish are situated in the Costa del Sol in the Provence of Malaga. The Nerja Caves are 35 minutes drive from Malaga and can be reached from the N360. The town from which they get their name is 5 km away, and is itself worth a visit.

In July and August, the caves open at 10am and close at 2 pm then re-open again at 4 pm until 8 pm. From September to June, they open at 10 am until 2 pm the re-open at 4 pm until 6 pm and it should take at least 45 minutes to an hour to walk around the areas open to the public. There is a bus service available to the caves if required. A buffet lunch is available in the nearby bar/restaurant which has great views of Nerja and the sea.

If you take time to visit the wonderful natural phenomenon of the Nerja Caves, you will be well rewarded, not only by the wonderful atmosphere and geological structures of the place, but also by the knowledge that is an important archaeological site of world status. This cave system is regarded as one of the best of its kind in Europe, so shouldn’t be missed on your travels.