Nerja, 56km east of Málaga with the Sierra Almijara rising behind it, has succeeded in rebuffing developers, allowing its centre to retain a low-rise village charm, despite the proliferation of souvenir shops and day-trippers. At its heart is the perennially beautiful Balcón de Europa, a palm-lined promontory built on the foundations of an old fort, with panoramic views of the cobalt-blue sea flanked by honey-coloured coves. The town is increasingly popular with package holidaymakers and ‘residential tourists’, which has pushed it far beyond its old confines. There is significant urbanisation, especially to the east. The holiday atmosphere, and seawater contamination, can be overwhelming from July to September, but the place is more tranquilo and the water cleaner the rest of the year. Read more: Lonely Plant