What to find in the Caves of Nerja

The Caves of Nerja are one of the most valuable elements of the natural heritage of Spain, recognized as a Historic Artistic Monument of natural origin and subsequently of Cultural Interest Asset.

The Caves of Nerja are located in Maro, a district of the municipality of Nerja, are 158 meters above sea level and are some of the caves of greater topographic development of Andalusia. They have an area of more than 35,000 m2, which are available to visit less than a third part, that is, around 9,400 m2. It has three entrances, two subcircular sinks and, next to them, an entrance for the access of the visitors. You can make a guided caving visit of speleology by a specialized team and only for small groups.

History of the Caves of Nerja

As in an adventure story, the Caves of Nerja were discovered on January 12, 1959 by a group of five young people from Maro and Nerja, when they were looking for bats, they found a hole that made them wake up their exploratory sense. Given the impossibility of following the air by two stalactites that stopped the path, they decided to return the next day with tools to break them.

Once the stalactite problem was solved, one of the five managed to go in the narrow hole until he found one ramp from which he could jump to the ground and warn the others. These, after crawling through a small passage, reached a large gallery.

In their investigation of this gallery, they realized that they were not the first to step on what would be the Caves of Nerja, since they found skeletons next to ceramic bowls and, very scared, they returned to the town to tell everything to family and friends.

With this information, a doctor and a photographer made a second visit and they took photographs that were published about a hundred days later in the newspaper Sur, a local newspaper from Málaga. Then the Caves of Nerja became known internationally.

After several explorations, the authorities realized the monumental and scientific importance of the Caves of Nerja, so they began to investigate the location of the primitive entrance or a secure and adapted access.

First a thick root of a sabina was found that four meters below had an entrance. Later, in other excavations a large rock was drilled that cleared the entrance that had forbidden access to the Caves of Nerja for thousands of years.

During all this time archaeological excavations and conditioning works were carried out, and the caves were open to the public for their visit throughout 1960.

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Structure of the Caves of Nerja

The Caves of Nerja have the well-known large caves that, due to their size, are one of the most impressive cavities of the Iberian Peninsula. From the caves you can highlight the spectacular nature of their stalactites, stalagmites, columns, rimstone and macaroni that surround the cavity from the ceiling to the floor or the walls.

In the Caves of Nerja there is a division by galleries and, at the same time, these galleries are composed of different rooms.

Show Galleries

They are composed by spacious rooms with high ceilings. This is the classic visiting area. Within them you can find:

  • Entrance Hall - It is the first hall when you enter and it has the most important part of the archaeological site.
  • Mine Hall - It is next to the hole through the discoverers entered.
  • Hall of the Sink - In it you can see cave paintings.
  • Hall of the Nativity - This room is adorned by formations of great beauty.
  • Hall of the Tusk - Passage that is from the entrance.
  • Hall of the Ballet - It has this name for being the mythical room where the shows that take place in the Caves of Nerja are held. It is also known as Hall of the Waterfalls.
  • Hall of the Phantoms - Its name is due to the forms of its parietal concretions.
  • Hall of the Cataclysm - It is almost 100 meters long and, in some points, more than 30 meters high. In this hall is the largest stalactite in the world with 33 meters high and a base of 13 x 7 meters, which made it included in The Guinnes Book of Records.
  • Organ Corner - Where you can hit some columns to play different musical notes. Some columns could have been modified by the inhabitants of prehistory so that they sounded differently.

Upper Galleries

These galleries have been opened to tourism later and have a more peculiar morphology, with too impressive forms. In this part of the Caves of Nerja you will see:

  • Hall of the Columns of Hercules - It is the deepest area of the Caves of Nerja. Inside there are reviews of the Paleolithic man due to there are cave paintings.
  • Hall of Immensity - It is known by this name because of its large proportions of 135 x 95 meters.
  • Hall of Levels - Inside it you will appreciate the formation of crystalline clusters of great beauty of what were rimstone and small lakes.
  • Hall of the Fish - It is a room of medium proportions. Similar to this are the Kitchen Hall and the Corridor Hall.

New Galleries

These galleries were not found until 1969 and 1970. They can only be accessed from the 90s from through a narrow and high passage located in the Hall of the Cataclysm. They are:

  • Hall of the Lance - Its name is given as a result of a large stalactite that fell from the ceiling and is stuck in the ground. The views that you can get from their balconies are quite pleasant.
  • Hall of the Mountain - It is located at the end of the Caves of Nerja and is the largest, with almost 300,000 m3. The name is due to a large slab that occupies the center of the hall. In this hall there are also very rare formations called "uñas", calcite coating on small rock chips in an upright position, so that they look like the final part of a finger.

Apart from the galleries, the Caves of Nerja have more than 500 cave paintings from the Upper Palaeolithic and recent prehistory. There are some seal paintings that could be the first artwork of humanity, with more than 42,000 years. However, this has not been scientifically demonstrated, since some more recent studies say that their age is between 18,000 and 20,000 years.

Also, there were found numerous archaeological remains of great value. The history of the cave and the town, are shown in the Nerja Museum, what is highly recommended to visit after the Caves of Nerja.

These items increase the cultural value of the Caves of Nerja, far beyond its known monumental and tourist value.

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Visits and events in the Cave of Nerja

When you visit the Caves of Nerja you will enjoy a 45-minute walk through a grotto that is in turn a Spanish Historical Heritage. Ticket prices may vary depending on whether you go with a guided tour or not. To buy tickets online click here.

Inside the caves are celebrated every year, during the weekends of the months of July and August, the Caves of Nerja Music and Dance International Festival. This event was born with the opening of the cave to visiting in 1960 and it has both national and international artists of music and dance with a wide variety of styles, to delight 800 spectators involved in the capacity of the Hall of the Ballet.

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