On the 15th May every year the festival of San Isidro takes place in Nerja. This is probably the most popular day of the year for most Nerjeños, when the whole town seems to decamp to the park surrounding the Maro caves and to party until the very early hours.

The festival is in honour of Isidro, a farm labourer, who in legend received divine assistance to perform his work. As a result he has become the patron saint of farm workers and other labourers in many Spanish speaking countries.

The day begins with a service in the El Salvador church on the Balcon de Europa. Then the real fun starts, with a parade from the Balcon to the caves near Maro. The procession takes about three hours to reach its destination and is made up of dozens of carts, carriages, horses, oxen, tractors and other forms of transport. All are colourfully decorated, and the Nerjeños equally so, the women in beautiful dresses, the men in smart riding gear or traditional farmer’s outfits. Everyone makes a huge effort for the day. As the procession proceeds the wine flows, and as the wine flows the music tempts many to dance their way to Maro.

At Maro the party really starts. Music is everywhere and families and friends share picnics, barbecues and more wine and beer, followed by dancing and singing until late into the night.

Click here to see the full photo gallery for the 2013 San Isidro Festival.

A good spot to watch the procession is down at Plaza Cavana at one of the cafe bars.

If you don’t want to walk all the way from Nerja to the Caves and back, there is a special bus service that will run throughout the day.

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