Ronda

"Beauty, history, tradition, gastronomy, sightseeing, outdoor activities... it's all yours to be explored in Ronda!" - Reviewed by Lisa

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When you arrive in Ronda, you can’t help but be immediately struck by the neat layout of the new town – pretty white houses, geraniums flowing from every window box and miles of beautifully crafted ironwork rejas.

At the heart of the city, the attention and senses are immediately summoned by the draw of the beautiful Old Bridge – ironically called the New Bridge (Puente Nuevo) – spanning the dramatic gorge that splits Ronda into its “old” and “new” sections.

As you look down to the craggy rocks below, you can see eagles and other birds of prey circle – ready to pluck an unwitting victim from its hiding place in the rocks. The allure of the gorge dares you to hike down on one of the many well-marked trails as it plummets to the distant river below. It’s not such an easy trek back – but well worth the effort!

The bridge that spans the gorge marks the entry into Old Town – pretty as you please with twisty-turny roads, alleyways and cobblestone streets. White houses jostle in place with one another, red roofs and details, details everywhere.

Stopping for a snack, tapas or a glass of local wine is easily accommodated with numerous restaurants lining the side of the gorge which delivers fabulous views on which to feast your eyes.

Ronda is full of history and its heritage plays a prominent role in the birth and development of the finest art form of classical equestrian dressage known as Alta escuela. But horses and horsemanship are not the only reason to visit Ronda. As is usual in Spain, horses go hand-in-hand with bulls. Ronda is no exception as it has probably the most renowned bullring in Spain. Built in the 1800’s, today this architectural masterpiece offers one exclusive corrida each year. It also has an excellent museum which depicts the history and development of the art of bullfighting – a must-see for any aficionado or traveler interested in Spain’s history and traditions.

LOCATION

  • 552 km (about a 5 hr 45-min drive) from Madrid
  • 131 km (about a 1 hr 45-min drive) from Seville
  • 114 km (about a 1 hr 30-min drive) from Jerez de la Frontera
  • 113 km (1 hr 40-min drive) from Gibraltar
  • 68 km (1-hr drive) from Estepona
  • 63 km (1-hr drive) from Marbella

EXPERIENCES IN RONDA

  • Sightseeing – Visit the Puente Nuevo and take in the unforgettable views over the El Tajo gorge.
  • Arab baths – Ronda’s Arab baths were built at the end of the 13th century and are the best-preserved baths in Spain.
  • Mondragon palace – The former primary residence of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, the Mondragon Palace today is home to the municipal museum and exceptionally beautiful gardens.
  • Plaza de Toros – Built in 1785, the Real Maestranza bullring is one of the oldest and most picturesque in Spain. It can hold up to 5000 spectators.
  • Acinipo ruins – Venture out about 20 km from Ronda to visit the ruins of the old Roman settlement of Acinipo – which means “City of Wine” as the community was once a major wine producer when it was under Roman rule.
  • Plaza Duquesa de Parcent – Ronda’s most picturesque square is famous for its many monuments. Plaza del Socorro is also worth visiting.
  • The wine route – Ronda is home to some excellent wineries. Visiting nearby wineries and sampling their wares is a great way to spend a day.
  • Palace of the Moorish King – Though it is unlikely that the notorious Moorish King Almonated ever lived in it, the building’s gardens give access to an Islamic staircase where slaves chained to its 231 steps would pass water bags up to the then-Moorish settlement.