Experience the magnificence of nature and a true visual treat at Nerja Caves (Cuevas de Nerja). Walk amid enormous, naturally formed chambers to discover astonishing rock formations, ever-changing colors and age-old artwork. Nerja Caves is a complex of three cave galleries, one of which is open to the public. Time your visit to coincide with performances of dance, opera and symphony orchestras in the surprisingly spacious underground auditorium.
The caves date to the Triassic period, when calcareous mud settled here and gradually turned into dolomite marble. Over millions of years, water penetrated cracks in the marble and created a cavern. Note the stalactites and stalagmites that appeared when landslides forced the water to find alternative routes through the caves. A local group of friends discovered the caves in 1959.
Follow the walkways leading around the Show Gallery. You may feel dwarfed by the imposing grottoes. Signs of Stone Age inhabitants include skeletal remains and paintings of tribal activities. Gaze in awe at remarkable shapes of speleothems, mineral deposits that produce several varieties of stalactites and stalagmites.
Stand beside the 105-foot-tall (32-meter) column in the Cataclysm Hall. Strike the fluted columns in the Organ Corner to hear the sounds of musical notes.
Go to the Waterfall Hall or Ballet Hall, which has a stage and a 100-seat-capacity auditorium. In June and July the stage hosts events during the International Festival of Music and Dance. Watch performances ranging from ballets and operas to concerts by soprano and tenor singers. Montserrat Caballé and the Spanish flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucía are among the previous performers.
Located in the village of Maro, the complex is about a 10-minute drive from Nerja. Public buses travel directly to the caves from Nerja’s main bus terminal. Catch the Cueva Tren, a tourist train that stops at four attractions in Nerja and Mora. The train fare includes admission to the cave.
The Nerja Caves are open daily, except for select public holidays. The admission fee includes an audio guide. Make an advanced reservation to join a paid guided tour of the areas generally not open to the public.