Explore the Prehistoric Caves in the Seaside Village of Nerja along the Costa del Sol in Andalusia, Spain

After leaving the Canary Islands, our next stop was in the beautiful Costa del Sol (Sunny Coast) city of Malaga in the region of Andalusia in southern Spain.

Amanda had a shopping day, while I chose to visit the nearby city of Nerja 30 miles to the west and explore its famous caves.  The views from the Balcony of Europe overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and the Nerja Caves were absolutely stunning.

Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 6.51.49 PM Quick Facts about Malaga:
– Malaga is the 6th largest city in Spain (567,000 population)
– Southern most large city in Europe
– One of the oldest cities in the world, settled by the Phoenicians in 770BC
– Occupied by Carthage, Romans, Ottomans, and then the Reconquista
– Birthplace of Picasso
– Spectacularly beautiful place!!

Sunrise over Malaga as we entered the port
Sunrise over Malaga as we entered the port

But, we did not spend most of our time in Malaga, instead we ventured east about 30 miles to the seaside town of Nerja.

 Walking through the streets of the city of Nerja, which is 30 miles to the west of Malaga

Walking through the streets of the city of Nerja, which is 30 miles to the west of Malaga
This region of Spain is famous for its expats as people come here to retire....this is where Santa goes after Christmas
This region of Spain is famous for its expats as people come here to retire….this is where Santa goes after Christmas
The arches provide the perfect frame for the Mediterranean Sea
The arches provide the perfect frame for the Mediterranean Sea
Ahh...the shade of palm trees
Ahh…the shade of palm trees
View from the Balcony of Europe
View from the Balcony of Europe
Courtyard at the Balcony of Europe with the Church of El Salvador in the background and Christmas decorations in the trees...can only imagine how beautiful it is at night
Courtyard at the Balcony of Europe with the Church of El Salvador in the background and Christmas decorations in the trees…can only imagine how beautiful it is at night
A very bright and sunny morning....temps today were about 70 degrees in the afternoon on January 3rd.
A very bright and sunny morning….temps today were about 70 degrees in the afternoon on January 3rd.
This originally was the sight of a castle built in the 16th Century that was destroyed over the years and replaced with this vista viewpoint (Mirador)
This originally was the sight of a castle built in the 16th Century that was destroyed over the years and replaced with this vista viewpoint (Mirador)

IMG_5511

At the end of the vista looking back toward the city
At the end of the vista looking back toward the city
The Church of El Salvador was built in 1697
The Church of El Salvador was built in 1697
The Mediterranean Sea front is called the Balcony of Europe because of its spectacular views of the sea
The Mediterranean Sea front is called the Balcony of Europe because of its spectacular views of the sea
Like everywhere we have been on this trip as well as throughout the Mediterranean....orange trees...and with the blue sky, they really stand out!
Like everywhere we have been on this trip as well as throughout the Mediterranean….orange trees…and with the blue sky, they really stand out!
Looking up toward the Balcony from down below on the beach
Looking up toward the Balcony from down below on the beach
If I were a stray cat, this is where I'd be too...chillin in the sun at the beach
If I were a stray cat, this is where I’d be too…chillin in the sun at the beach
After leaving the Balcony area, we drove about 10 minutes to the Nerja Caves. This is the entrance into the caves, just big enough to walk through.
After leaving the Balcony area, we drove about 10 minutes to the Nerja Caves. This is the entrance into the caves, just big enough to walk through.
The Nerja Caves were accidentally discovered in 1959!! Skeletal remains have been found that date back to 25,000 BC and there have been recent findings of cave paintings indicating they were lived in during prehistoric times
The Nerja Caves were accidentally discovered in 1959!! Skeletal remains have been found that date back to 25,000 BC and there have been recent findings of cave paintings indicating they were lived in during prehistoric times
Access to all of the caves are not allowed, but there are several very large areas that are open. It is hard to get a sense of how big these are, as you have to look closely to see the people walking on various pathways.
Access to all of the caves are not allowed, but there are several very large areas that are open. It is hard to get a sense of how big these are, as you have to look closely to see the people walking on various pathways.
It is a fairly easy walk through the caves as there are plenty of walkways. Just don't do like I did and take pictures while standing on the stairs because it is easy to get a little disoriented.
It is a fairly easy walk through the caves as there are plenty of walkways. Just don’t do like I did and take pictures while standing on the stairs because it is easy to get a little disoriented.
It is a fairly easy walk through the caves as there are plenty of walkways. Just don't do like I did and take pictures while standing on the stairs because it is easy to get a little disoriented.
It is a fairly easy walk through the caves as there are plenty of walkways. Just don’t do like I did and take pictures while standing on the stairs because it is easy to get a little disoriented.
Back in Malaga from our ship.  And, there were just a couple of seagulls to be found?
Back in Malaga from our ship. And, there were just a couple of seagulls to be found?
As the sun set over Malaga, we were off to our final and returning destination of Barcelona the next day.
As the sun set over Malaga, we were off to our final and returning destination of Barcelona the next day.

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