Nerja has always been very popular with British people.
There is a very high population of retired Brits.
Nerja reminds me of one of those zombie films.
No matter how fast you reload your pump action shotgun and keep shooting
the hordes of undead Brits keep coming at you.
Sorry, don't take offence if you are British, it's just an image that goes through my mind when I am in Nerja.
Nerja seems to be bigger than Almuñecar. It has a much better developed tourist business and attracts more tourists.
There are more bars and restaurants in Nerja.
The beaches in Nerja are not particularly extensive because of the cliffs whereas in Almuñecar there are no cliffs and you can walk straight onto the beach. If you want quiet beaches the best places are between Almuñecar and Nerja. A pleasant quiet beach is the one near the old Paper Mill. (you have to take the old road not the motorway) There is a good nudist beach at Cantarrijan. Both are easilly accessible from Nerja and Almuñecar.
Almuñecar is more Spanish dominated than Nerja.
For example if you go to the PLAYA BURRIANA which is a line of restaurants a few minutes walk along the seafront from the centre of Nerja at least 50% of the people are foreign and many of the shop owners barely speak Spanish. Almuñecar has a more Spanish feel to it because it attracts many people from Granada.
However the good thing about both places is that the prices are still quite cheap. The prices on this side of Malaga are much lower than on the other side in places like Fuengirola, Marbella, Estepona etc.
Almuñecar has some things to keep you amused such as: The beach, the castle, the Aquarium, the bird park, climbing up to the white cross and Nerja also has attractions such as the Nerja caves, The Balcon de Europa promenade, Indian restaurants, the beach. Both places have an area of disco pubs.
Personally I prefer Almuñecar but all the places in the Costa Tropical are great if you like good weather and a laid back atmosphere.
If you have a car there are loads of places to go for excursions.