After two days in Malaga we set out for our next destination, just an hour east along the Costa del Sol, to Nerja.
We headed to the airport around noon to pick up the rental car that I had reserved for this portion of the trip. We weren't able to check into our airbnb until the late afternoon so we decided to do a few stops before dropping our bags off.
First thing on our list was to check out the Caves of Nerja. I had read in the trusty Rick Steves, Spain travel book that the caves were a definite sight to check out in the area and one of our fellow food tour friends from the night before confirmed it as well. The caves are a series of huge caverns that stretch about 5 kilometers in distance. The caves are the formation of karstic cavities, their origin dating back millions of years. In the last 800,000 years impressive stalactites and stalagmites have formed following further settling of calcite.
It's hard to describe how vast the caves were as we were touring them. The pictures that we snapped do absolutely no justice to what a geological treasure the caves are.
After the cave tour we were in need of some food! We headed into Nerja and got distracted by all the glorious sunshine. We made our way down to a little beach, taking in all of the gorgeous bright colored bougainvillea draped on all the doorways and arches. In no time flat, all three of us had removed our shoes and were dipping our feet for the first time in the Mediterranean Sea. It was such a peaceful time as we all walked along the water, taking in the views and experiencing this new moment.
We wandered around Nerja a bit before picking a spot for lunch. We had a great table on the patio overlooking the ocean where we could just basque in the sunshine! Our only lunch desires were to find a spot that overlooked the water and paella on the menu--this spot fit the bill. Ara and I were interested in checking out the local cuisine of paella (a typical Spanish dish consisting of white rice, seafood, saffron and rosemary).
After our late lunch we headed to check into our Airbnb, located just outside the Nerja city limits. The apartment was situated up really high and we had an amazing view of Nerja on one side and an expansive view of the Mediterranean from the patio. If you are thinking of coming to Nerja I highly recommend this spot. All the bedrooms were extremely cozy and the natural light flooded the whole space. The patio was so much larger than we I had anticipated as well. There were so many places to lounge, relax and enjoy the view. There was also a pool to use, but sadly, it was too chilly and closed while we were there. I can not recommend this Airbnb more--it was the most luxurious apt I've stayed in via Airbnb.
About an hour before sunset, we headed down to the beach to see what kind of sea treasures we could find. This is one of my favorite things to do when we visit somewhere with water--I love walking along the beach to see what shells and sea glass are to be found. We took in a beautiful sunset at the end of our adventure!
Since we were staying just outside of Nerja and we'd had a late lunch, we decided to pick up a few items at the local grocery store to prepare food back at the apartment. I would go back and stay in Nerja just for the fresh juice from the market--3 euro for a liter of fresh squeezed orange juice!
We headed by car to Frigiliana (pronounced free-he-lee-ahh-na), about 15-20 min. away from Nerja. We could see on our drive up the steep road that this village was going to be a beautiful sight. Frigiliana is known as one of the most beautiful villages in Spain--and that statement rings completely true. The town is set on a hill, filled completely with white-washed buildings and colorful flora and fauna abound in every corner and building arch. We wandered for hours around the little village just soaking in the great culture it had to offer. We stopped in at a local watercolor artist's shop after being lured in by his cute shop dog, Lima. We all found several pieces to love and Drew ended up purchasing a beautiful watercolor to place in his home. We stopped to refuel with a little brunch at La Taberna del Sacristán, right across from the beautiful Church of San Antonio de Padua. Coffee is a way of life for me and it was only natural to order my favorite espresso beverage, a cortado (a Spanish origin term for espresso mixed with a roughly equal amount of warm milk), while in Spain. I enjoyed not one, but two delicious cortados at La Taberna before we were done.
That afternoon we were faced with some rain on our way back from Frigiliana and decided to stay inside relaxing at our luxurious airbnb. After the rain let up, we headed into the center of Nerja to walk the beach. Ara and Drew were great sea treasure seekers and found so many great green and blue sea-glass pieces!
Our flight from Malaga back to Frankfurt wasn't until the evening but we needed to check out of our apt in the morning so we made plans to road trip to the west of Malaga to check out the city of Marbella. As we drove we ran into clouds that turned into heavy clouds and rain though. When we entered Marbella, the rain was there to stay and we needed a plan B. We decided if you can't enjoy the sunshine and wandering around a new town, that an afternoon at a spa would do. I googled best spa in Marbella and it brought us to the Marbella Club Hotel and Spa. We first introduced Drew to amazing day spas during our New Year's 2017 trip to Willamette Valley. I had started to feel under the weather so it was amazing to be able to soak in the eucalyptus steam room and have a great massage. For the afternoon, we were able to take in the amazing spa facilities instead of being drenched in rain--I call that a win for the last day of our vacation.