In the heart of the old town of Nerja on the eastern Costa del Sol, the Balcony of Europe (Balcón de Europa) stretches out into the sparkling Mediterranean Sea.
History books show that in the 9th century this was the placement of a Moorish castle, with a fortress being erected on the same site in the early 16th century to provide coastal defences. The fortress was completely destroyed in 1812 by the English navy during the Peninsular War.
The scenic promenade adorned with palm trees and exotic plants is paved with marble, and is the focus of many local cultural activities and a popular meeting place. Pavement artists, buskers and groups of talented local artistes can be found here most evenings, making it popular with locals and tourists alike.
The Balcón de Europa is usually buzzing with activity as visitors wander along the promontory to the mirador or viewpoint which affords panoramic views along the rocky coastline to the east, with their backdrop of the magnificent Sierra Almijara mountains.
In 1885 King Alfonso XII visited the area to see the damage caused by a disastrous earthquake on Christmas Day 1884. The King was captivated by the beauty of the area and legend has it that he was responsible for naming it “Balcón de Europa” however, local archive documents are said to show that its name predated this visit.
A bronze statue of King Alfonso XII has been erected to commemorate his visit to the town. The statue depicting the King leaning on the railings enjoying the magnificent view has become a focal point for many souvenir photographs, along with two iron cannons which provide a significant reminder of the Balcon de Europa‘s strategic past.
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