Nerja - Balcón de Europa

© Michelle Chaplow Cannons and a telescope - a fantastic view point
Cannons and a telescope - a fantastic view point

Balcón de Europa

The Balcón de Europa is a large round balcony on a cliff in the seaside town of Nerja, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. It has spectacular panoramic views of the Sierra Almijara mountain range and the coast with its beautiful beaches, sandy coves and rocky outcrops.

In the 9th century the watchtower of an Arabic fortress existed on the site of the balcony. Today this enviable location is occupied by a popular mirador (viewing point) close to a number of cafés and hotels, just around the corner from Iglesia de El Salvador. Underneath the balcony is a restaurant with unparalleled vistas, so in the cooler winter months you can enjoy the view comfortably from indoors.

© Michelle Chaplow A popular setting for festivals
A popular setting for festivals

There are a number of telescopes for taking full advantage of the exceptional panorama and scenery. The balcony itself is also the location for a number of local concerts and fiestas, including San Isidrio, Semana Santa, the Cabalgata de los Reyes and a spectacular New Year´s Eve firework display, accompanied by music, and of course dancing until dawn.

© Michelle Chaplow The Balcony is bustling at night
The Balcony is bustling at night

History

The site of the balcony was originally home to the watchtower of a 9th century defensive fortification, used by the Moors to monitor the coastline and protect against pirates and smugglers sailing around the coastline. Years of fighting and a battering from the elements took their toll on the tower, which was subsequently rebuilt in 1487; it was then known as La Batería after the battery of guns that sat inside it and protected the town. The tower was attacked and destroyed by British ship the Hyacinth in May 1812, part of an envoy that was fighting in coalition with Guerilla Spanish forces against Napoleon´s French troops, during the Spanish War of Independence (The Peninsula War). The large boulders and rocky debris that still lie at the base of the balcony are a reminder of the fighting and the destruction of the fortress. The two rusty cannons recovered years later are presented on the balcony as a reminder of this battle.

 © Michelle Chaplow Alfonso XII "This is the Balcony of Europe"
Alfonso XII "This is the Balcony of Europe"

The area where the balcony now sits suffered further destruction in the earthquake which occurred in Nerja on 25 December 1884. The following year the balcony came to earn its present name; King Alfonso XII visited Nerja to see for himself the destruction of the earthquake, and was taken aback by the view and the beauty of the place. He stood on the cliff where the balcony is now and said "this is the Balcony of Europe". After that (in spite of rumours that it had already been nicknamed Balcón de Europa for some time) the platform was rebuilt as a balcony. The surrounding area was built up in 1930, adding a short promenade leading to the balcony and a number of cafés; it was then officially named Balcón de Europa. In honour of this historic moment, a sculpture of King Alfonso XII sits on the balcony, leaning against the railings.

Location

Plaza del Balcón de Europa, 29780 Nerja, Spain

The Plaza del Balcón de Europa is just next to the Plaza Cavana which is home to Iglesia de El Salvador and the town hall, which also houses the tourist office.

The area is completely pedestrianised so to access the balcony you have to park in one of the public car parks and walk a short distance. It is well signposted.


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