Family of Four Taking Flight to Financial Independence

Travel: Early Retirement and Nerja, Spain

We took a little break from the blog since Erik’s parents were in town for a month (yay for visitors!), and we were busy hosting and being tour guides (and resting after all of our adventures).  During their time with us we took a 5 day (3 full days) beach trip to Nerja, Spain (which happened to fall partly on the 4th of July weekend!).

Why Nerja, Spain?  First, we live in Granada so it is nearby (one reason why we chose Granada was for the close proximity to the beach and mountains).  I also specifically wanted to not only enjoy Nerja’s beautiful beach, but we wanted to check out the Nerja caves. Additionally, I wanted to take Erik’s parents to Frigiliana, Spain, and Nerja seemed like the closest beach town to stay in.

Our walk down to the beach (Nerja, Spain).

Nerja, Spain

Blue door in Nerja, Spain.

One thing to note about this trip.  Since Erik’s parents were with us our typical cost for a family of four is obviously going to be off.  Sometimes they paid for things, sometimes we did, sometimes we split it …or sometimes it would be more money than normal (taxis for 6) and so on.  Keep in mind our spending might not be as accurate as usual for 4 people due to this factor (at least some of it).


Main living space.  As you can see we just arrived so some of our things are out / seen, and you can see our Tortuga bags.  I should have cleared everything out for photos, but it is hard when you have four other people with you (Airbnb in Nerja, Spain).

Shared living space in our Airbnb in Nerja, Spain.  The kids slept very comfortably on the sleeper sofa under the AC.  Each bedroom also had AC (although ours was making a lot of noise).

Kitchen area in our Airbnb in Nerja, Spain.  Again some of our items are out.  The door near the kitchen is a 1/2 bath.

Stairs leading to two bedrooms, full bath, two outside balconies (Airbnb in Nerja, Spain).

We got a larger Airbnb (this link should go directly to the Airbnb we stayed in) this time since Erik’s parents were with us (visiting us in Spain for about a month).  It was a two bedroom (the kids slept on a sleeper sofa) and 1 1/2 bath.  I think it was a good size for 2 adults and 2 kids.  An extra full bath would have been nice, but for 5 days (two of which are mainly travel), it worked fine.  The Airbnb was two levels, and it had everything we needed and more (dishwasher, washer, etc).  The Airbnb was clean when we arrived, and it was fairly accurate from the pics on the Airbnb site.  I think some of the decor actually looked better in person.  I think some areas could be improved or updated (for example the bathroom door was a bit worn at the bottom), but those things were relatively minor.  I think the best part of the Airbnb was the amount of outdoor space.  So much outdoor space in fact, we didn’t use it all.  There was a front patio, two back patios (two levels), and two upstairs patios.  We had a fantastic view of the Mediterranean Sea that was unfortunately obstructed by large cranes for construction on luxury homes in front of us.

Master bedroom in our Airbnb in Nerja, Spain.

Our Airbnb in Nerja, Spain had 1 full bath and a 1/2 bath (not pictured).  In retrospect 2 full baths would have been ideal for 6 people.  But given that we were only there 3 full days and 2 travel days, it wasn’t a huge deal.

Erik and I took the room with the single bed and pull out bed.  It worked fine except for the loud AC.  We slept fine without the AC though.  If we were there longer, we would have asked the Airbnb host to fix it (Airbnb in Nerja, Spain).  We did report the issue to them so it could be fixed for the next guest.

Stairs down to the first floor in our Airbnb in Nerja, Spain.

What about location?  We learn something new about traveling with every new adventure of course.  Our Airbnb was priced right for two families during high season in Southern Spain, but I also believe you get what you pay for when it comes to that.  Our Airbnb was pretty great (although not my favorite so far ... that would be our place in Málaga), but the location wasn’t the best.  Why?  Wasn’t a huge deal, but it wasn’t necessarily a plus to be near a huge new construction site so maybe I could have done more research about that.  

The walk to the beach was down a steep hill.  The Airbnb reviews said 5 min, but I think it takes at least 10 min give or take which is definitely not bad but some areas aren’t necessarily picturesque (construction site, car road up and down the hill).  Once you go down, you must go up though!  I’m not opposed to the extra exercise, but more scenic or the convenience of the beach is nice too (like we had in La Herradura).  I would definitely not recommend this Airbnb for anyone that may struggle with a very steep hill.

Our Airbnb in Nerja, Spain had great outdoor space (5 different outdoor spaces …two of which connected).  Unfortunately, as you can see in the photo, there was construction going on (modern homes nearby) that obstructed a great sea view.  We also had to walk past the construction site daily.

Total Airbnb Cost: €540 (€270 Each (Split with Erik’s Parents) / $653.40 ($326.70 Each)


We used Omio to book a bus from Granada’s bus station (Estación de Autobuses) to Nerja, and we bought round trip tickets. 

Granada’s Bus Station: Avenida Juan Pablo II, 33

Nerja’s Bus Station: Parada Bus Kiosko, Avenida Pescia

It was a more interesting ride than our previous two bus rides (to La Herradura and Málaga). First, we noticed at the last minute that our destination said Maro (which was the next town over).  I didn’t think too much of it when I should have.  The weird part was we put in round trip tickets for Granada to Nerja.  And our tickets back clearly said Nerja to Granada.  When we arrived to the Maro stop the driver knew he had people getting off (us).  We were confused at first because obviously we planned to go to Nerja.  There was some confusion, language barrier, but then Erik paid the minimal extra cost for 4 adults and 2 children to ride to the next stop (maybe less than €10?).  Lesson learned … really triple check your bus tickets.

Our bus ride home from Nerja, Spain to Granada, Spain.

The other interesting part of our bus trip was it went a different route through the mountains than our bus did when we went to La Herradura in May (La Herradura is a town over from Nerja).  Very scenic, but unfortunately it made me (and our son) feel extremely sick.  I am not sure if was motion or elevation sickness or a combination of both. Luckily once we got to Nerja we were doing much better.  I tried to hydrate and just breathe slowly, and that helped somewhat.  I hydrated a lot before our ride home too, and the bus (thankfully) took a different route home (freeway) so we didn’t get sick.  Our trip to Nerja also stopped in one or two towns in the mountains (on the way back it didn’t).  I don’t know if there is a way to check for all the stops or not.  It is something I will try to look into next time we ride a bus.

Total Bus Cost: €50 ($60.50)

Note, this is €50 for the four of us not including Erik’s parents.


We definitely used taxis more than we normally prefer.  Part of that was the location of our Airbnb …and part of that was being not as familiar with their city bus system (and also partly it was convenience).  Let’s look more closely at when we used taxis.  Was it all necessary?

Granada: Plaza Nueva to Estacion de Autobuses (And same for our return trip).

Given that it is a 30 min walk, and we were carrying items (not to mention we had a bus to catch at least on the way there), a taxi just makes sense.  Plus taxis seem to be pretty affordable in Spain.  We are starting to learn the bus system so maybe eventually we will try the bus to and from Granada’s bus station.

Nerja: Bus Stop to Airbnb (and same for the return trip).

It would have been quite a hike to walk from Nerja’s bus station (which is really just an outside bus stop) to our Airbnb…plus we were carrying items, there were hills, and we were unfamiliar with the area.  I did try to research the 1) layout of Nerja prior and 2) the city bus system, but that is not always as easy as it sounds via the Internet. And given our shorter trip (Saturday to Wednesday), we only had a certain amount of time to learn the area we visited.

Nerja: Airbnb to Nerja Caves (and same for return trip).

Similar as above.  It would have been a very long walk to the Nerja Caves.  I am not sure if a bus could have taken us there, but the most convenient option was a taxi.  There was not a taxi stand near us that we are aware of so our Airbnb host did give us a taxi number to call that they recommended.  One note about that, a few times we were able to call ..and we also used their website to book taxis (the taxi website).  Nerja taxis seemed veryyyy slow, but that may have been partly our fault.  We were recommend to book 24 hours in advance.  Not a big deal if you aren’t in a rush, but obviously more important if you need to make a bus time or flight at an airport, etc.

Nerja to Frigiliana (and same for return trip).

We also called a taxi to take us to Frigiliana.  Frigilina is close and a must see.  I’ll get into that in a bit.  The ride was quick ..maybe 15 - 20 min.  Note, there are busses supposedly that can get you there from the same bus station area that we arrived at from Granada.  But I wasn’t super familiar with the bus system, and I couldn’t find helpful and clear info online.  Also given my research buses didn’t seem to run frequently, and we still would have had to do a long walk in the heat to get to the bus station.  A taxi seemed to make the most sense.

We were able to catch a taxi back at a taxi stand in Friligina near the playground towards the front of the town. There are also restrooms nearby!

Total Taxi Cost: €95 ($114.95)

Note, this does not include any taxis his parents may have taken separately (sometimes we had to get two taxis), but this may include any taxis where they rode with us (if we got a van).


To save some money (and it can be healthier), we bought groceries and mostly cooked and ate at the Airbnb.  I tried to look up close grocery stores prior, but this wasn’t as simple as it sounds.

Our Airbnb seemed to be in a residential area.  And the town of Nerja seemed fairly large.  The main center of town (where most of the grocery stores seem to be) wasn’t that easy to get to (at least not for people unfamiliar).  Yes, I looked at maps and had Google maps, but given the hills, things weren’t always easy to find.  However there was a Mercadona that we decided to walk up the hill to (near a major road), and we pretty much stocked up for our visit.  It may have been a 20 minute or so walk.

Grocery store trip to Mercadona in Nerja, Spain.

We also stopped in a smaller mini mart near the beach for a little more groceries on our last day (Erik’s parents bought the items so they aren’t included in the budget).

We ate out at least twice.  We got some American hamburgers on the 4th of July, and we had drinks and a light lunch in Frigiliana.  We also got ice cream (of course!).

Nerja, Spain

Total Food Cost: €68 ($82.28)

Groceries: €35

Eating Out: €25

Ice Cream at the Beach €8

Note, this does not include a meal out that Erik’s parents paid for.  They also bought the groceries, but it is mentioned above.


With beach trips, you need very little else for entertainment (for us at least!).  We had three full days and each day definitely included the beach.

Day 1

We also wanted to visit Cueva de Nerja.  This (along with being close to Frigiliana) was the main reason we picked Nerja for a beach trip.  (And I also read that the beaches were nice!).  We bought the cave tickets on their website prior, and we chose a day and time.  We bought the tickets that included the cave visit, audio guide, and museum (there wasn’t much choice to not include the last two items).

Cave Cost: €13.75 for Adults / €11.75 for Kids and Seniors 

Cueva de Nerja was amazing and not to be missed if you are in the Nerja (or Maro area …the caves are actually in Maro). The kids really enjoyed the audio tour.  I was too busy attempting to take photos and videos to do the audio tour unfortunately.  The caves were stunning, massive, and impressive.

Cueva de Nerja (Nerja, Spain).

Cueva de Nerja (Nerja, Spain).

Cueva de Nerja (Nerja, Spain)

There were other things to do at or right around the area of the caves (playground, restaurant, etc).  But we were anxious to head back and go to the beach.  If you have more time, I think it would be worth exploring more.  One odd thing is the museum wasn’t actually at the site of the caves.  I love museums, but since the kids were so excited to go to the beach, we skipped this part.  If you do want to do the museum, I recommend adding on the “train” ticket option to get you there.  That seemed like the easiest way especially if you are unfamiliar with the area.  

Photo of our touristy photo from Cueva de Nerja (Nerja, Spain).

Cueva de Nerja Total Cost: €51 ($61.71)

Note, this cost is for our family of four (not including the cost of Erik’s parents).

When we were ready to head back, we did call for a taxi back to our Airbnb.

Beach!  We did the beach every day.  Our Airbnb was closest to what I think was the biggest and most popular beach, Playa de Burriana.  And boy was this beach hopping!  There were plenty of restaurants, beach items to rent, and crowds.  We walked further down away from the restaurants, and it was slightly less crowded.  There was plenty of room for your own space.  

Our walk further down the beach to a less crowded spot (Nerja, Spain).

Nerja, Spain

How did the beach compare to our other beach trips in Spain so far (La Herradura and Málaga)?  Erik thought it was his favorite so far.  I think my favorite beach so far was La Herradura, but there were no crowds when we went so that may be part of it.  I just thought the nature and water was very picturesque there.  I think the town of Nerja was nicer though and seemed to be much larger.  Nerja had a mix of mostly sand and some rocks similar to Málaga.

Day 2

On our second full day, we took a trip via taxi to Frigiliana.  Friends of ours took us to Frigiliana during our trip to La Herradura in May.  It is definitely a must see, and I wanted to take Erik’s parents there.  It is a picturesque white washed town with colorful doors and plants. 

Look out in Frigilina, Spain.

Frigiliana, Spain

Frigiliana, Spain

Frigiliana, Spain

Frigiliana, Spain

We walked the town, took photos, and enjoyed (a very reasonable priced) drinks and lunch (with an awesome and engaging waiter) at La Taberna del Sacristán.  I highly recommend checking it out if you are in Frigiliana.  We tried to go to another place (the same place we went to with a view in May), but it was closed.  This restaurant though worked out great.

(Want to see more photos of Frigiliana?  Check out our post from our visit in May).

Cooling down with drinks (Tinto de Verano for me … Mosto for our daughter) at La Taberna del Sacristán  (Frigiliana, Spain).

Delicious bocadillo (queso y jámon) at La Taberna del Sacristán (Frigiliana, Spain).

That afternoon we went to … you guessed it.  The beach!

Day 3

The beach!

Nerja, Spain

Nerja, Spain

Nerja, Spain

There you have it.  I highly recommend Nerja and the surrounding areas for a beach trip in Southern Spain.  We definitely only were able to see a glimpse of it so going again may be a possibility.

Total Trip to Nerja Cost: €534 ($646.14)

Note, everything that is mentioned above is included in the total except for Erik’s parents half of the Airbnb.

Did you travel this summer?  If so, where?  Any beach trips?  Comment below!  We plan to do possibly one more beach trip before school starts for the kids in September.  Speaking of, check out my latest post How To Enroll Your Kids In School In Spain.  

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