The Cave of Nerja is situated in the Axarquia region, next to Maro town and very close to Nerja. A beauty environment surrounds this area located next to the sea on the foot of Sierra Almijara.
The Caves of Nerja are a succession of caves that stretch for almost 5 km, with their origin in geological processes that occurred during 225 million years. Due to the drift between tectonic layers and rain infiltrations were created huge caves where circulated the underground waters. When these waters started to flow on lower levels, the caves started to refill with carbonate deposits: Stalactites and Stalagmites.
Different human groups have inhabited this cave since Prehistory and it is one of the most important places in the world related to human history; there are 43000 years old artistic paintings.
Latest paintings found show us the presence inside the cave of Neanderthals. Those paintings represent seals who lived in the area back then, it could be the first human artistic expression found. Unfortunately there is a restriction for access to that area for conservation purposes.
The cave hosted different human groups in a period from 43000 years ago until just 4000 years before the actual date.
The human presence interspersed with periods of abandonment detected by the findings of animal remains that never coexisted with humans.
The Cave of Nerja is of cultural interest and is open to public throughout the year.
History of the Nerja Caves
Nerja Caves discovery took place on 12th of January 1959 by 5 youngsters from Maro and Nerja. They used to go searching for bats to a known well in the area. One of them noticed of a cavity in the ground where he could feel fresh air coming from. They were unable to get inside that time, some stalactites were hindering the passage.
Just one day after the discovery and with the required tools they forced a way inside and noticed of the amazing discovery. The cavern was bigger than their lights could handle, they found skeletons with some ceramics around them. This finding and the mysterious atmosphere scared them and they went back to home telling everyone what they did find.
The place became popular not long after the first investigations. They took awareness of the importance of this place and decided to make a bigger entrance to the cave by cleaning it of rocks.
The Cave of Nerja opened after being hidden for thousands of years officially in 1960 with a festival.
Cave of Nerja is part of the Geology Patrimony of Andalusia, it features amazing views of natural formations like stalactites, stalagmites), one column (stalactites and stalagmites joined together) of 32 metres high and 18 metres of circumference, included in the Guinness book of records.
During the last 800.000 years the extraordinary stalactites and stalagmites have been formed as a result of the further settling of calcite. These sediments have created in a long process the fantastic subterranean scenery of the Caves of Nerja.
Come to visit it and discover a great variety of formations created by hundreds of thousands of years.
The cave is divided in two mayor parts, being one of them open for the general public and with rather easy access. One of the chambers of this part form a natural amphitheatre, where are held regular concerts and dance festivals during the summer months.
The second part of the Nerja caves is restricted to guided visits for small groups with equipment for specialized caving. These visits can be booked and the price includes the full equipment to visit all the chambers and insurance. Good physical condition is required for this tour.
- Tourist Galleries
- High Galleries
- New Galleries
Only 1/3 of the cave is open to public.
Length of the cavity: 7219,28 meters of polygonals
Levels spread: 67,95 meters – 32,99 + 34,96
Total surface: 35 484 m2
Total volume: 264 379,33 m3
International Dance and Music Festival
On June 12, 1960, during the opening day of the Cueva de Nerja, there was a festival of music and dance, the first performance was the ballet ‘Le Tour de Paris’ in the hall known today as ‘The Ballet Hall’.
Nerja celebrates every year the festival known as ‘International Dance and Music Festival’ since the inauguration of the Cave of Nerja, is public and everyone can join.
If you want to visit the Caves of Nerja take in consideration the following opening time:
- 9am to 4pm (last entrance group at 3pm)
The months of July and August opening time is extended:
- 9am to 6:30pm (visits every half an hour from 3pm)
Entrance is in groups and the ticket will assign a scheduled time.
How to get to the Cave of Nerja
It is very easy to get to the Cave of Nerja by the Mediterranean Highway; you must drive heading to Almeria and take the exit to ‘Cueva de Nerja’.
We recommend to visit near places such Maro, Nerja or Frigiliana.This area of the Costa del Sol receives thousands of tourists every year because of its mild temperatures and beautiful environment.