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The Spanish Fly - Travels in Spain

The Spanish Fly is a nom de plume of Paul Whitelock who first visited Spain at the age of 20. Now more than 50 years later, he has been to most parts of the country, including nine of the 12 islands. He has owned property in Andalucia since 2001 and has lived in the region for the last 15 years. This blog is a Travelogue about some of the places he has visited.

Nerja - a little gem
Wednesday, April 10, 2024 @ 10:01 PM

I’ve been to Nerja, on the coast east of Málaga, a few times. Despite being overrun with tourists and full of “guiris/expats” (immigrants from Northern Europe), I must admit I’ve always liked Nerja.



Why Nerja?

Nerja has a lot going for it: nice beaches, charming Casco Antiguo (old part), the Cuevas de Nerja (Caves), el Balcón de Europa, tasty tapas, usually included in the price of your drink*, friendly locals and proximity to one of the loveliest pueblos blancos in the whole of Málaga province, Frigiliana, just 15 minutes into the mountains (qv).

So, no wonder old friends of mine from England have been coming to Nerja for a holiday twice a year for many years. 

“Why not buy? It’d probably have worked out cheaper in the long run and you would have a capital asset,” I asked Ian and Christine.

They had an answer, but I couldn’t identify with it, me having bought and sold several properties in Spain over the last 20-odd years; four of my own and several for other people, in my role as a corredor (independent/unofficial estate agent).

Ian and Chris are one (two?) of the reasons I’ve been to Nerja a lot. They invariably invite the Meter Maid and me to join them for a few days. We can’t always, but we’ve been at least three times, and they’ve visited us also in Ronda on a couple of occasions.


Nerja 2004

It was around this time, a few years after we had bought our first Spanish property, Piso Blanco, an apartment with gardens and a shared pool in the Barrio San Francisco (qv) in Ronda, that Jeryl, the mother of my two children, Amy and Tom, and I visited Nerja for the first time.

We both felt Nerja had charm, and the edge over resorts like Lloret de Mar, Sitges, Salou, and, closer to “home”, Fuengirola, Torremolinos, Marbella and San Pedro de Alcántara.


Nerja 2024 - Monday

This time I treated my daughter Amy and grandsons Felix (7) and Jude (4) – “Hey!” - to a couple of days there. Although Amy has visited Spain often over the years, she’d never been to Nerja.

We packed the car with what we needed: a change of clothes, supplies and beach paraphernalia, and set off quite early (10-ish) and headed for Málaga, Then we took the motorway as far as Torre del Mar and after that the coast road for the last 25 kilometres to Nerja.

With a little difficulty we found our pre-booked accommodation, Casa María, checked in, parked the car and headed for Playa Burriana.


It was well past 2.30 so we headed straight to a chiringuito for some lunch. El Moreno was where we ended up and it was fine. The staff were very pleasant, and the food was pretty good, if somewhat pricier than I am used to up in the mountains. But, hey, we were on a nice beach, with lovely weather in early April. It was all good. And it got even better when Amy paid the bill!

Then it was beach time.

The boys loved it! They live in London – no beaches there – so the almost only times they get to the seaside are either when they visit us in Spain or go to see their uncle Tom, auntie Su and cousins Wilbur and Buckley, who live in Hastings, on the East Sussex coast.

Amy and I looked at each other. “They’ll sleep well tonight”, she predicted.

While Amy was preparing dinner, the boys were playing games on their “tablets”, so I nipped out for an aperitif, a beer. The first place I found was heaving with guiris (qv). Well it wasn’t yet 8 o’clock, and no self-respecting andaluz goes out that early!

Sure enough, the boys were really tired and after a salad, runny boiled egg, cheese and ham, they went to bed and sleep almost instantly.

Amy and I also took the chance to have an early night.


Nerja 2024 – Tuesday

I was awake early – call of nature. I tried to get back to sleep, but couldn’t, so I started this article, then got dressed and went in search of an early morning coffee (qv). It was 7.00 am.

I found a bar on a street corner, Las Cuatro Esquinas, where I seemed to be the only guiri. The other immigrants were probably still in bed sleeping off their resacas (hangovers) from last night. A bit harsh, maybe, but The International Club of Nerja was further along our street and it was pretty raucous with loud English shouts and laughter until late.

Back to the present, I ordered a second cortado, a chupito of Patxarán and churros (dos unidades). “Mmmm!”

My bill for two coffees, two churros and the Patxarán came to 5.40€, around 5 pounds. That is a-ma-zing!

After a break, during which I checked out the number of Indian Curry Houses in Nerja for a bet with a friend in Ronda, I returned to Casa María to see if the others were up. They were and were well into their desayuno (breakfast).

We had no coffee in the rental house, so we headed to the Balcón de Europa and plonked ourselves in the most expensive of the terraces, where we lingered for over an hour. During that time Amy and I drank two coffees each, the boys had juices and churros, or not, as Felix managed to knock over his glass of hot chocolate and Jude his pineapple juice. No matter.

Then we went to a small beach nearby, El Carabeo, which was as calm as a mill pond.




I nipped off to buy a couple of things and the wind got up. I bought a leather belt for 8 euros (my shorts were falling down) and popped into the English Bookshop, Smiffs, where I snaffled four second-hand books in excellent condition, for 8.99 euros.

By the time I got back to Amy and the boys, the sea had become a surfer’s paradise because of the winds, and sunbathers were getting dressed and leaving the beach in droves.




We left too and headed back to the house to pack and check out. We cancelled our plans to visit the Caves of Nerja and instead went to Frigiliana (qv), a quarter of an hour inland from Nerja.

We parked the car and went to a restaurant. The boys had already had some lunch, but Amy and I had not and we were starving.

We chose my favourite, El Sacristán, and settled at a table on their terrace overlooking the stunning countryside, the shimmering coast and the Mediterranean Sea. The boys played on the balcón, which is traffic-free and therefore ideal for families.

Felix wanted to buy something with the remainder of the pocket money I had given him and Jude, so we went for a walk up into the Casco Antiguo. Jude stayed with his mum.

We found some cool imanes (fridge magnets), so bought one each as presents for mum, Oma and grandad (me).

Then we found what Felix was looking for, a plastic ball with a gift inside for 1 euro. He bought two. Later we returned to the machine dispensing these trinkets; Felix bought another one and Jude three – pocket money all gone now, but they were happy!

Amy and I finally got to eat lunch at 5.00 pm! I chose lubina (sea bass) and Amy opted for pez espada (swordfish), not easy to find in London.

Then a quick play in the playground and it was back on the road for two-and-a-bit hours journey back to Ronda.

We all agreed we’d had a lovely time.

The boys went straight to bed, Amy went in the bath, and I popped out to the leaving “do” of our friend Victoria, who was going to be emigrating to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.



Free tapas in Nerja?

This a bit of a con. My tubo last evening, with tapa included, cost me 2.70€. In Ronda, where I live, I struggle to pay more than 1.50€ for the same size beer. If I order a tapa in addition, it costs 1 – 1.50€, so it’s about the same. But why, in Nerja, do they pretend the tapa is free? It’s b***ocks!


Barrio San Francisco

I wrote an article about the bars and restaurants in this popular Ronda neighbourhood back in 2008. I’ve updated it since (2023), but I see there is another new bar open on the square, and a couple have closed, so I need to do another revision soon.

Back to the "Streets of San Francisco" - Help me, Ronda (



We all know the term guiri, or, if not, we should – it’s what the Spanish call us foreigners.  But is the term good or bad; positive or negative; affectionate or nasty? Click below to find out more.

What is a guiri? It's what the Spanish call us foreigners - but is it good or bad? (


Early morning coffee

Spanish workers, the unemployed and senior citizens love to go for a coffee (and a chupito) first thing in the morning. I have also got into the habit.  Click on the link to find out more.

Early Morning Coffee (





© The Spanish Fly



Amy Gibbs (photo of The Spanish Fly, Felix and Jude)

Paul Whitelock (all other photos except main one, courtesy of La Sexta)




Amy, Amy Gibbs, andaluz, Balcón de Europa, Barrio San Francisco, beaches, Buckley, Burriana, Carabeo, Casa María, Casco Antiguo, Caves of Nerja, chiringuito, Christine, chupito, corredor, cortado, Cuevas de Nerja, early morning coffee, El Moreno, Felix, fridge magnets, Frigiliana, Fuengirola, grandad, guiri, Hastings, Ian, imanes, Indian Curry Houses in Nerja, International Club of Nerja, Jeryl, Jude, Las Cuatro Esquinas, Lloret de Mar, London, Malaga, Marbella, Meter Maid, mum, Nerja, Oma, Patxarán, Paul Whitelock, Piso Blanco, pocket money, resaca, Salou, San Pedro de Alcántara, Sitges, Su, Tablet, tapas, Tom, Torre del Mar, Torremolinos, Wikipedia, Wilbur

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