Spanish Summer Holiday: A Family Trip to Nerja {part 2}

¡Hola!  Here is part two of our travel diary from our Spanish summer holiday in August 2022 – a family trip to Nerja on the Costa del Sol.  I’ve loved spending time in Spain since I was a little girl as I have family who lived there and I couldn’t wait to show it off to Neil and the girls.  It’s such a beautiful part of the world.

A Spanish Summer Holiday

Despite my keenness to explore whilst we were there (I wanted to visit the Cuevas de Nerja and take everyone to a gorgeous little white-washed village nestled in the mountains nearby called Frigiliana) I remembered my promise that it would be a Spanish summer holiday – NOT a travel trip.

As a result, the majority of our time was spent lounging by (or in) the pool at our villa, swimming in the sea and eating ice cream rather than adventuring.  I have to be honest, I found it really hard at first to slow down and do nothing.  I’ll begrudgingly admit that I probably needed it though and by the second half of the week I’d relaxed.

This blog post covers the little things we got up to in the final few days of our Spanish summer holiday.  You can read part one of our family trip to Nerja here.


A necessarily quiet morning after a late night last night due to going out for dinner (we went to Restaurant Dona Lola and the food was delicious).  I went for a solo wander to pick up a few essential supplies and so I could explore the Chimenea area of Nerja that our villa was located in, just on the outskirts of town.

A quiet morning at our villa

I absolutely love discovering things like this when I’m out wandering! It was someone’s front doorstep.

After eating lunch at the villa, we ventured into town (by car this time instead of walking) to have a look around the shops and get an ice cream (of course!).  It was scorching temperatures so we were very glad of the covered walkways in the narrow streets.  Trinket shops, hippie shops, jewellery shops, souvenir shops… we went in them all and browsed to our hearts’ content.

Blue skies and pretty flowers at the Balcon de Europa

Exploring all the side streets of Nerja town centre. It’s a bit of a maze and I stand by my belief that getting lost is the best way to find cool things that would usually remain hidden

I’m not entirely sure how it happened but somehow I got surreptitiously coerced into buying a large, doughnut-shaped pool float… and it turns out that it might just have been the best decision of our entire Spanish summer holiday!

After returning to the villa we spent the rest of the afternoon in the swimming pool.  Float races, lazy drifting, water fights and more were had by all of us – it was wonderful and exactly what we needed to cool down and keep the heat-induced grumps away.

Ella chilling out in our brand new doughnut pool float

Look how happy they are!

I love this photo. She was so happy in the water.

After dinner, the two older girls wanted to just chill out at the villa so Neil stayed with them whilst Lola and I headed off for our new nightly ritual – a sunset swim at Burriana Beach, which was a 15 minute walk from where we were staying.

We often have to ‘divide-and-conquer’ when we travel/go on holiday.  Every single part of me wants us all to experience everything together as a family but I also understand that everyone likes doing different things.  Whilst we ask that everyone (Neil and I included) compromises and makes adjustments and allowances for each other where they can, we also recognise that sometimes it’s better to split up so that everyone gets to do what they want to do and peace can reign.

I think Lola might be part-mermaid, she just loves the water so much and once she’s in, it’s almost impossible to get her out again.  I think the sensation of the water and the weightlessness feeling of being in the waves helps with her sensory challenges.  The memories I have of watching her be so happy and free are some of the highlights of the holiday for me for sure.

Stopping for a moment to catch our breath and take in the view

Zero fear – she just waded right in. It was such a beautiful evening: the sunset was really pretty and the water was so calm.



Being an early-riser in a house full of night-owls has it’s advantages.  I snuck out of the villa super early to walk down to Playa Burriana to watch the sunrise at the beach on my own whilst everyone else was still sleeping.

Except I wasn’t on my own – the shoreline was dotted with fishermen hauling in today’s fresh catch of fish to be served up at the restaurants just a couple of hundred metres behind us.  I stood and watched them for ages before heading back up the hill to the villa to make breakfast.

Fishermen at sunrise on Burriana Beach

We walked into Nerja town centre because everyone wanted an ice cream and I had one too!  This is a big thing because for the last five or six years every time I’ve had an ice cream I’ve felt really poorly afterwards so in the end I just stopped having them.  Thankfully this one didn’t give me any ill effects – I felt absolutely fine afterwards. I chose Toblerone flavour – it was delicious and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Once we were done, and sticky fingers had been cleaned, we made our way down to the little beach on the other side of the Balcon because, surprisingly, I’ve never been there before in all my years of visiting Nerja.  I’m so glad we did because we stumbled across a row of tiny fisherman’s cottages right on the beach, humbly built, just one or two rooms per dwelling, with tangled plants tumbling over the ramshackle front walls.

I was fascinated.  I tried to imagine what it would be like to live such a simple life, especially seeing it juxtaposed with the cacophony of colourful sun umbrellas jostling for space on the crowded sand… and couldn’t.  It’s such a vastly different way of life – getting little glimpses and insights into other people’s way of being in the world makes my heart happy and is something that will forever motivate me to travel.

Toblerone ice cream – 10/10 recommend. Absolutely delicious.

Couldn’t resist a husband and wife selfie on the Balcon!

Admiring the view of the coastline from the side of the Balcon. I will never, ever stop recreating these ‘from behind’ images of my little family, wherever we travel to.

The glass area underneath the Balcon is a restaurant. Imagine the view of the sunset from there!

Fishermen’s boats pulled up on the shore

The intense afternoon heat had made us all a little bit cranky by this point so we spent the rest of the afternoon slowly – taking refuge in the cool air conditioning in the bedrooms of our villa, reading and napping, with each of us having some much-needed space to do our own thing.

We all headed to the beach for a sunset swim this evening – Mimi too.  Watching them all play in the water together, all former grumpiness forgotten about, was so lovely.  After many, many, MANY practice attempts (and several face-plants straight into the water before bobbing up again coughing and spluttering), Mimi finally managed to stand up on Neil’s shoulders in the water.  No easy feat when the waves keep trying to knock you down.  They were both so very proud of themselves.

Success! (Just milliseconds before she face-planted head first into the water). I love this photo though – they were so proud!

Golden hour at the beach as the sun slowly started to dip below the mountains behind us

Once they were in, it was almost impossible to get them out again.

Mimi having a quiet moment to just take it all in




A pool day, as requested by the girls!  The vast majority of the day was spent in the swimming pool at our villa, hopping out to dry off and warm up in the sun for a little while before jumping back in again to play.  They practised swimming underwater, had competitions to see who could swim the furthest / the fastest / for the longest, jumped in to their hearts content and lazed in the doughnut float.

After all of her practising in the sea last night, Mimi mastered the art of standing up on Neil’s shoulders (“It’s much easier in the pool Mum!”), which made her entire holiday – just look at the grin on her face.

I love this photo – those cheeky smiles!


I went for a 15 minute wander to see what treasures I could find in our local area and came back with this bouquet of fallen flowers (I didn’t pick any of them, I promise). Aren’t the colours gorgeous?

We went out for dinner again, staying a little closer to home this time.  We opted for Cafeteria Albi on Burriana Beach – a casual sort of place serving pizzas and burgers and spectacularly large desserts. It was busy with both locals and tourists and bustling with chatter that spilled out onto the promenade pavement.

Once we were done we wandered all the way to the far end of the beach.  We passed some men stencilling names onto the side of a boat.  I stopped to chat with them, doing the best I could with the Spanish I know, and learned that they were father and son; that the son was helping the father out because they’d both been working hard all day and hadn’t had time to do it earlier; and that the name of the boat was going to be Las Baleares (after the Balearic Islands).  They agreed to let me take their photographs and I’ll forever remember the conversation we had.

As we neared the rocky outcrop that signals the end of Burriana Beach, we noticed a small gathering of people looking down at something on the sand.  As we got closer we realised that it was a little green parrot.  We watched as it forlornly tried to hop around, but it seemed quite listless.  Someone went to fetch a little pot of water and placed it nearby, which it gratefully drank from.  It turns out it was just a bit hot and dehydrated because within a few minutes it seemed to have gathered up enough energy for the next stage of it’s journey, and it flew off.

I spoke with some of the people who had also been watching it (again, in Spanish) and they told me that these little parrots (‘cotorros’) are considered to be pests and if you are caught helping them you’ll be fined, which surprised me.  I’m glad it was ok and that human kindness took over so it got the help it needed.  I googled it once we got back to the villa and discovered that it’s a Monk Parakeet and that they originated from Argentina.

Father and son stencilling a name onto the side of their boat

My little parrot friend – a little bit dishevelled but oh-so-cute!

Forever in awe of the natural world and it’s landscape. Can you see the moon?!



The last full day of our Spanish summer holiday and I wanted to make the most of it.  It got off to an excellent start with a stunning sunrise, which I watched from the balcony of our villa.

The view of the sunrise from our villa really was quite special

We walked into town along the promenade for one final ice cream of the holiday, before heading back to the villa along the beach.  We let the sea wash over our feet as we sank our toes into the sand and the hot sun radiated down onto our shoulders.  I, for one, was trying to soak up every single sensation, to notice and take in every detail I could, so I could take it all home with me in the form of memories made.

A five minute sit-down to escape the feeling of being hot and sweaty and sandy and smothered in sun cream

Can you see it yet? I got the shock of my life when I spotted it! Look closely…

Taken by Ella 🙂

The girls spent the afternoon in the pool whilst I began the mammoth task of gathering up all the belongings that had been haphazardly scattered throughout the villa during our stay.  I don’t know about you but it always seems impossible to squeeze everything back into the suitcases at the end of a trip, even though you know it must all fit because it did when you packed them at the start!  Although, to be fair, we did now have the addition of a giant inflatable doughnut to take home with us too…


FRIDAY – Travelling home

There was time to watch one last sunrise before we had to leave to head for the airport to catch our flight.  It was a pretty special one – all the colours were intensely vibrant and the crescent moon was still visibly illuminated too.  I breathed it in, storing it all away inside me to look back on later, and then we began our journey home.  Thankfully the flight was a lot less eventful than the outbound one and we arrived home safely, with suitcases covered in a fine layer of sand, pocketfuls of shells and happy hearts.

One final sunrise of the holiday before it was time to leave…

A spectacular end to our Spanish summer holiday in Nerja

Waiting to board…

We had a wonderful time (with a side of normal family life and all the bickering and chaos that goes with it of course) and I already want to go back.  If you’re looking for a Spanish summer holiday I highly recommend Nerja.  We booked our villa through Nerja Paradise Rentals and they were fantastic throughout the whole process: letting us drop off our bags when we arrived even though check-in time wasn’t for another couple of hours; providing extra towels and bedding when we needed it; and answering all questions promptly and clearly.

It’s definitely not going to be our last visit to Nerja – our Spanish summer holiday was just what we all needed and I know we’ll be back again one day.

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