Direct bus service from the Axarquía to Málaga airport

Alsina Graells bus

If you’re searching the internet for information about buses from Málaga airport heading to the eastern Costa del Sol, here’s the current situation for Summer 2014 (until 28th August).

Yes, there´s good news for visitors arriving at Málaga airport who don´t want to hire a vehicle to continue their travels.  During the summer months, Alsina Graells (ALSA) operate an airport bus service along the coast between Málaga airport and Maro, with lots of stops along the way.

The bad news is that the service only operates twice a day in either direction, though that’s twice as many buses as there were last year – so I guess there is some progress!

Travelling from La Axarquía to Málaga Airport (AGP)

Starting in Maro ten minutes before, the bus leaves Nerja at 8.10am and 3.10pm, and calls at Torrox Costa, El Morche, Lagos, Mezquitilla, Caleta de Vélez and Torre del Mar before proceeding to the airport without further stops (arriving at 9.40am and 4.40pm respectively).

The cost (from Nerja) is €4.52 one-way (ida) or €8.18 return (ida y vuelta).

Bus timetable Nerja - Malaga airport

Although there are only two buses each day direct from the coast of the Axarquía region to Malaga airport – don’t let this worry you.  There are plenty of buses ALL YEAR ROUND to Málaga bus station in the city centre, from where you can get another bus to the airport.   This second bus (every 20 minutes) will drop you off right outside the new terminal (T3) building.

If you prefer to continue your journey from Málaga city to the airport by train, right next door to the bus station in Málaga is the Maria Zambrano railway station, where you can jump on one of the frequent trains direct to Terminal 3 of the airport.   You will need to catch the local commuter train (known as Cercanias) C-1 in the direction of Fuengirola.   Trains to the airport leave every half hour between 5:23am and 10:33pm.  The journey only takes 10 minutes and the fare costs between €1.70 and €2.60 depending on the time and day of travel.

Travelling from Málaga Airport to La Axarquía

The journey on the direct-bus to the coastal areas of the Axarquía begins at Málaga airport, Terminal 3 (Arrivals Llegadas) at 11.45am and 5.15pm travelling via Torre del Mar, Caleta de Vélez, Mezquitilla, Lagos, El Morche, Torrox Costa and through to Nerja (arriving at 1.20pm and 6.50pm respectively).  The service actually terminates in Maro ten minutes later.

The cost (to Nerja) is €4.52 one-way (ida) or €8.18 return (ida y vuelta).

If the limited direct-bus times don’t fit in with your schedule, then just hop on the C19 Malaga city bus (every 20 minutes) from right outside Terminal 3 and for approx.€1.20 you’ll soon be at the Estación de Autobuses (bus station) in the city, from where you can catch a bus to anywhere in Spain (including other towns and villages of the Axarquía).

Alternatively, to get into Málaga city from the airport, jump on the local train (the station is just across the road from the bus stop) heading towards Málaga Centro and get off at Maria Zambrano railway station (the journey takes approximately 10 minutes and costs between €1.70 and €2.60 depending on the time and day of travel).

The bus and railway stations in Málaga city are next door to each other.

ALSA bus itinerary, Nerja - Malaga airport

The Alsina Graells (ALSA) website is in English, where you can study bus schedules and often purchase tickets in advance of your trip.

Disclaimer: It says on the ALSA website “These timetables are for guidance purposes only”, so please check the times before you travel as they may be subject to change.



River Walk up the Rio Chillar, Nerja

Chilling at the River Chillar, Nerja
One of the best ways to cool down on a hot summer´s day is to take a walk along the Rio Chillar from Nerja.  Unusually for Andalucía, this route is most suitable for walking during June, July and August, as there is plenty of shade, plus the river to keep you cool.

The scenery is spectacular and there are birds, butterflies, dragonflies, wild flowers, grasses and even sugar canes to be spotted along the way.  If you’re really lucky, you might even catch sight of a mountain goat.

This is a very popular walk for visitors and locals alike, and can get quite busy, especially at weekends.

As you progress, you will criss-cross the river many times until eventually you have no option but to wade through the water.  The riverbed is very stony, sometimes with pebbles and often with boulders, which can make your feet sore after a couple of hours walking – so don’t wear flip-flops or they will float away in the water.

As you walk, the current is flowing towards you from the mountains, so at times you will need to take care not to slip on the wet (and sometimes mossy) river boulders.  This is where a walking stick might prove handy.

Eventually you will reach a very narrow section of the gorge where you can touch both sides at the same time.  Here is where you will encounter the first set of rapids (cahorras), which are easily negotiated with care, and where there are knee-deep pools in places.  You will become aware of the roaring sound of the river.

A little further on, the gorge widens out again, and there are plenty of places to eat a picnic and take a cool swim in one of the natural pools, filled with crystal clear water.

The river walk up the Rio Chillar is suitable for families as children love splashing in and out of the water.   Click here to read the account of a family who negotiated this walk with three young children.

Don’t worry about getting lost on the river walk, as you just follow the river bed and, because you return the way you came, you can make the walk shorter if you want to.  We walked up at a strolling pace, past the narrow gorges, had a swim in the pool, stopping a couple of times along the way and returned to the cement factory in under 4 hours.  

The river walk continues on past where we stopped, until eventually you reach a dam, where there is a series of refreshing waterfalls for you to bathe beneath.

MY TIP: Go earlier in the morning and take a picnic lunch to enjoy by one of the pools.

Word of warning

DO NOT attempt this walk if there is a forecast of rain or there have been recent storms.  The narrow gorges (barely six feet wide in places) roar with flash floods during bad weather.  Take a mobile telephone, though I’m not sure how strong a signal would be, and tell someone where you are going and when you expect to get back.

What to wear

It’s best to wear shorts or, at the very least, something you don’t mind getting wet.

You should wear strong, comfortable walking shoes or trainers to protect your feet and ankles as often you will be wading somewhere between ankle and knee-deep in water, particularly when negotiating the gorges.

What to take

Sunscreen, a hat and plenty of water.   A stout walking stick will prove useful, too.   You might also like to take a towel, swimwear, camera and a picnic.

How to get there

On foot: You can walk down to the river bed from just behind the bus station on Avenida de Pescia in Nerja.  At the roundabout near the bus station, walk to the end of Calle de Joaquín Herrera and follow the path down to the river.  Google map here. 

You will then need to walk up towards the cement factory, always keeping the river on your left, past gardens, avocado groves, builder’s yards, caves and fincas.  Eventually the valley begins to narrow and you can begin to really enjoy the beauty of the pine trees on the steep slopes of the Sierra Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama National Park.  

By car:  If you want to save a couple of kilometres by taking your car to the start of the river walk, drive east along Avenida de Pescia from the bus station, towards Maro.  At the roundabout go straight ahead – you will see Iranzo supermarket on your right and, a little further on, Nerja Health centre (Centro de Salud) on your left.  At the next roundabout (which is signed to Burriana beach to the right), turn left (inland) onto Calle Julio Romero.   After two hundred metres or so, bear right onto Avenida la Constitución and follow this road as it climbs uphill.   A little further along, where the road forks, stay on Avenida la Constritución which is to the right.  

Look out for two large electricity pylons on top of concrete blocks on your left, and you should turn left here, between the pylons onto Calle Mirto.

On your right there is a large, free car park where you can leave your car whilst you do the river walk.

You can drive closer to the start of the river walk (though parking is more restricted and there is a danger of being towed away and fined if you park in the wrong place).  If you want to park closer to the river  – drive past the row of houses on your left and continue until you see a fork in the road.  Take the right fork towards the mountains, and follow the newly concreted road which slopes downwards and underneath the motorway bridge.   Google map here

Motorway bridge over Rio Chillar, Nerja

Soon after you drive underneath the motorway bridge, there is a large lay-by on your right with parking for 6-8 cars.  After this, the track becomes narrower and more stony, but you can keep driving until you reach the end of this track, just before the old, abandoned cement factory on your right.  

Official car park at Rio Chillar, Nerja

Can you see the abandoned trainers hanging from the wire, above the gates?

This is also where the official car park is, with parking for 63 cars (at a cost of €1).  As you can see, when we visited yesterday (27th June 2014) the car park was locked, and judging by the weeds around the gate, hasn’t been used for some time.   Perhaps this car park is only open in August – I don’t know.  There is another large lay-by (with parking for 10 cars) just outside these gates, where we parked our car.  

I wouldn’t recommend you abandoning your vehicle just anywhere at the side of the track down here (other than the two lay-bys I have mentioned) as they are likely to be towed away at a cost to you of between €100 and €600 euros.  You have been warned!

This is one of my favourite walks in the Axarquía.  Where do YOU love to walk?


The Long and Short of San Isidro

San Isidro, Nerja, Spain

Whilst it’s true that there are fiestas and festivities in Spain throughout the year, I always feel that it’s the month of May that really kicks off the party season!

At the start of the month there’s El Día de la Cruz (the Day of the Cross) and last week I posted about my visit to the Patio Festival in Córdoba where I saw the most amazing displays of flowers.

The Romería de San Isidro takes place on 15th May each year, in honour of Isidro, a farm labourer who, according to legend, received divine assistance to perform his work and was known for his goodness toward the poor and animals. As a result he has become the patron saint of farm workers and other labourers in many Spanish-speaking countries.

San Isidro is also the patron saint of Nerja, so this is one of the biggest fiestas of the year to be held in the town.

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The festivities begin with a service at the church of El Salvador on the Balcón de Europa, before the effigy of the saint, (which normally resides at the Caves of Nerja), is taken back to the Hermitage of San Isidro in Maro.

The spectacular procession to accompany the Saint normally takes more than three hours and is a fantastic opportunity to see the many decorated carts, Andalucían thoroughbred horses, traditional costumes and pairs of magnificent oxen pulling beautifully adorned carts, including the one carrying the statue of San Isidro, himself.

San Isidro, Nerja, Spain

What was of particular interest to me this year, were the beautiful dresses worn by many of the ladies.

I noticed that as well as the traditional Spanish dresses, many of the younger women were wearing much shorter “flamenco-type” dresses with flat boots.  

Long Spanish dresses, Nerja

I love the elegant, longer dresses – but which do you prefer?

Short Spanish dresses, Nerja

Spanish dresses - long and short, Nerja, Spain

Anyway – back to the procession!

On arrival at the Caves of Nerja the celebrations really begin, with families and friends sharing picnics, paella, BBQs and, of course, plenty of wine and beer. This is followed by singing and dancing amongst the thousands of revellers until late into the night.

San Isidro is one of the best festivals of the year – vibrant, colourful and great fun. It usually heralds the start of good weather for the summer, as many locals say that the summer starts on 15th May!

Here´s hoping!

Which is your favourite Spanish festival or fiesta?


Hark! Orange Trumpets herald the warm winter weather

PYROSTEGIA VENUSTA (Orange trumpet vine)Just look at this Orange Trumpet Creeper – sometimes known as the Flame Vine  (Botanic name: Pyrostegia Venusta; pyro = flame, stege = covering, venusta = pleasing).  

This particular magnificent flowering vine with it’s brilliant orange flowers can be found draped across Calle Carabeo in Nerja.    The Orange Trumpet Creeper is a vigorous evergreen climber which grows well in a warm climate, needing shelter from cold winds or frost.

As I wandered around Nerja in the warm sunshine, I discovered several examples of this spectacular plant.  You can see them in the gallery below.

I see these beautiful blooms every year, though for some reason haven’t stopped to take photos and really enjoy their beauty, before.  My new challenge: One Trip EVERY Month gave me the perfect opportunity to get out and about with my camera.

One trip EVERY month

Tell me where you are going this month that you’ve never got around to visiting before.

You might also enjoy: 

Balcón de Europa, Nerja

AVE: Taking the Fast Track from Málaga to Madrid

My Travel Reflections on 2013

Fireworks at midnight,  New Year's Eve, Sydney, Australia

JANUARY:  I kicked off the year by fulfilling one of my long awaited “Bucket List” dreams – to see the New Year fireworks over Sydney Harbour, Australia!   If you want to see what I saw, click HERE!

View from Paku Hill, Tairua, New Zealand

FEBRUARY:  By now, I had moved on to New Zealand.  This is the view from Mt. Paku, a twin-coned volcanic peak dominating the head of Tairua Harbour on the east coast of the Coromandel peninsula, New Zealand.   See what I saw by clicking HERE.

In my shoes - by the Yarra River, Melbourne

MARCH:  If you had been in my shoes, you would have been in Melbourne, Australia, sitting by the Yarra River.  I was there for the opening race of the Formula One motor-racing season – well I am a petrol-head!  Join me for a look around beautiful Melbourne, HERE.

Cómpeta and Mount Maroma, Spain

APRIL: Time to head home to the white, mountain village of Cómpeta, east of Málaga.  Behind the village you can see the highest mountain in this part of the world, Mount Maroma.  Let me show you around the village, HERE.

Seville Cathedral, Spain

MAY:  My birthday treat was a few days away in Sevillethe fourth largest city in Spain and capital of Andalucía.  Seville is well known for religious festivals, flamenco, world-class tapas and sherry drinking, but did you know that the tomb of Christopher Columbus is inside Seville Cathedral?  See the city for yourself, HERE.

Calle Alta, Frigiliana, Spain

JUNE: Whenever we have visitors come to stay, I always take them to the pretty, white village of Frigiliana.  If you watch THIS VIDEO of the village, you can practice your Spanish, too!

Renaissance town of Baeza, Jaen, Spain

JULY:  Situated in Jaen province, Andalucía and crammed full of Renaissance architecture, the towns of Baeza and Úbeda celebrated the 10th anniversary of being granted UNESCO World Heritage status.  The towns offered a special accommodation deal over a ten day period of only 10 euros per person each night.  How could I resist?!  To see what you missed, look HERE.

Malaga Feria, Spain

AUGUST:  This is the month of the Málaga Fair – and OH BOY – the city sure knows how to party!  In the above photo you can see the elegant pedestrianised shopping street of Calle Marqués de Larios transformed into a huge party venue, full of people dressed up, dancing and having fun!  Watch the video and join in the fun HERE.

Looking east from the Balcon de Europa, Nerja

SEPTEMBER:  A trip to the nearby town of Nerja happens every month, and it’s always a pleasure to stroll along the scenic promenade adorned with palm trees and exotic plants to the Balcón de Europa.  Indeed, in a few days I will be seeing in the New Year 2014 in this very place.  If you want to see more of Nerja, click HERE.

One of Lisbon's iconic trams

OCTOBER:  Porto, the vineyards of the Douro Valley and Lisbon, Portugal were my destinations in October.  Even though the weather was showery for most of the time, there were plenty of places to get out of the way and enjoy the cakes!  Here you can see one of the iconic Lisbon trams.   There’s an introduction to Portugal, HERE.

Nuremberg Christmas market, Germany

NOVEMBER:  At the end of the month, I began a 16 day trip to the German Christmas markets (another Bucket List dream) as well as to Prague in the Czech Republic and Budapest, Hungary.  First stop was Nuremberg for the Christkindlesmarkt, the oldest of the German Christmas markets.  If you’d like a stroll around the market with me, click HERE.

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

DECEMBER:  My final destination of the year allowed me to cross off my third Bucket List item this year – Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany.  As the train from Munich got nearer to Fussen, snow began to appear – making for a picture-perfect scene.  I couldn’t have wished for a more wonderful day!  I hope you will join me HERE to learn more about the structure on which Walt Disney modelled his fairy-tale castle.

Where have you been this year?  Where are you hoping to go in 2014? Do you have a “Bucket List”?