The Nerja Caves

A trip to Andalucía would not be complete without a visit to the Nerja Caves, one of Spain’s most popular and spectacular historical sites.

Nerja Caves

The magnificent Nerja CavesCuevas de Nerja – are a series of huge caverns stretching for almost five kilometres and home to the world’s largest stalagmite, a 32 metre high column measuring 13 metres by 7 metres at its base.

There are three Galleries – Show Gallery, Upper Gallery and New Gallery – with each gallery containing a number of Halls.

The Upper Gallery and New Gallery contain many of the prehistoric cave paintings, but tourist access to these areas is limited to special groups.

The Discovery

On January 12th 1959, five local lads from the village of Maro decided to go hunting for bats and headed for a pothole known locally as ‘La Mina’ where they spent the night watching a great number of these creatures exiting through the hole in the rocks.

The boys decided to return the next day, taking with them some tools to dislodge a couple of stalagtites in the entrance. Once inside, they found themselves able to descend to a huge cavern where they discovered a number of skeletons next to some ceramic pottery.

Excited by their find, they went back to tell their family, friends and teachers but it wasn’t until the cave was visited by a medical expert and a photographer that the true extent of their discovery became apparent.

Caves discoverers, sculpture, Nerja
Sculpture on the Balcón de Europa commemorating the discovery of the caves

The sculpture, which was placed on the Balcón de Europa in April 2010, is the work of Francisco Martín. The statue of King Alfonso XII on the Balcón de Europa is also the work of Francisco Martín.

Caves discoverers, sculpture, Nerja
Sculpture on the Balcón de Europa commemorating the discovery of the caves

The first photographs of the caves were published in the Málaga newspaper ‘Sur’ about 100 days after their discovery and after first being called ‘Cueva de las Maravillas’, they then became ‘Cueva de Nerja’.

Nerja Caves Sculpture
Sculpture commemorating the discovery of the Caves, located near the entrance to the Nerja Caves

The Nerja Caves were officially inaugurated on June 12th 1960 and opened to the public.

Nerja Caves

Nerja Caves

Guided Tours

For 2016 there are revised visiting hours to the Nerja Caves as well as the introduction of a number of special guided tours, such as The Secrets of the Caves, The Discovery Tour and a Night Tour. More information on these can be seen under Hours and Tariffs.

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There is also the possibility of combining a visit to the caves with a lunch or dinner at the Nerja Caves Restaurant. These special guided visits can be booked online via the Nerja Caves website:

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Free App

The Nerja Caves Foundation has launched a new free app, available for Android and iOS, which provides all sorts of information, in four languages, for visitors to the Caves and the Nerja History Museum.

Users can choose between Spanish, English, French and German and there is information about tickets, times, facilities, cultural heritage, links to online tickets, a locator, descriptions of various areas in the Caves, data about the Museum and more.

The app is titled Cave of Nerja in the Google Play Store.