The Nerja Cave foundation has reported that visitor numbers at the tourist attraction returned to pre-Covid figures in 2022, with 436,107 tickets sold, compared with 441,590 in 2019.
The numbers have been put down to the recovery of international tourism last year. In 2020, just 149,271 people visited the cave and in 2021 the numbers went up to 289,349.
In fact in August last year, almost 80,000 people visited the cave, making it the best August in a decade, according to a statement from the Cueva de Nerja Foundation.
"If we add up all the people who have visited the Nerja Cave since its discovery in 1959 until last year, we are talking about almost 19 million visitors over these 64 years," it added.
The president of the Cueva de Nerja Foundation, Javier Salas, said, “This is great news and good data that will allow us to face 2023 with the guarantees of a job well done for the recovery.”
Salas went on to say that the main projects for the future of the cave are “the virtual reality room; the continuous improvement in the service to the visitors of the cave, to continue advancing in excellence; and to continue with the work of conservation and research”.
On Thursday 12 January, the Cueva de Nerja celebrates the 64th anniversary of its discovery and a public event is being held at 12pm to thank the five discoverers: José Luis Barbero - who died in 2007 - Francisco Navas, brothers Miguel and Manuel Muñoz and José Torres.
From the second quarter of this year, the largest virtual reality room in Spain will be set up in the cave, with the triple objective of making the cave more accessible, bringing it closer to its visitors and showing the upper galleries and new galleries and the cave art, which is not shown to the public for conservation reasons.
This year is also the Cueva de Nerja year of sustainability, following the objectives of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which began to be implemented in 2022.
Finally, the Cueva de Nerja Music Festival, which last year celebrated its 61st anniversary after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, is to have a new format this year. The new-look festival will see both an increase in capacity and number of concerts, making it one of the leading summer musical events on the Costa del Sol.