Ronda in Spain is a city soaring over an abyss, the birthplace of bullfighting and one of the most beautiful places in the country.
Its spectacular location on sheer cliffs and stunning views of the green plains of Andalusia has made the town world famous.
Rhonda, as a magnet for artists and other people of art, inspired Ernest Hemingway himself.
She delights tourists, and a description of the sights will help to prepare for a trip to this wonderful land.
Where is Rhonda
Ronda is one of the famous Andalusian white towns, incredibly photogenic and loved by travelers.
It is located in the highlands of the province of Malaga, which is part of the autonomous community of Andalusia. Malaga and the golden beaches of the Costa del Sol are 50 km away.
The main feature of the town is its location at an altitude of 723 meters above sea level. It was built on two high mountains and seems to hover over the El Tajo gorge.
At the bottom of the gorge, the Guadalevin River flows, forming a steep canyon.
Rhonda is also remembered by guests for the sky of an amazing ultramarine shade, which is wonderfully displayed in photographs.
As it is written on the Wikipedia website, Ronda was founded in the 4th century BC by Celtic tribes. In those days it was called “Arunda”.
One of the oldest settlements in Europe received the status of a city under Yuri Caesar. Under the Romans, Ronda reached a special flourishing.
In the city, which played the role of a military fortification, the population grew, trade and relations with other countries developed.
But the Roman Empire fell, and the settlement began to pass into the hands of other conquerors – barbarians, then Arabs.
In 1485, Ronda was conquered by the Spanish monarchs. The place of mosques was taken by churches, new quarters began to be built.
True, many buildings were seriously damaged during the invasion of Napoleon’s troops and the Spanish Civil War.
But the town has been restored, so today it is a famous tourist center and a popular holiday destination.
Climate, best time to visit
Since Andalusia is the south of Spain, the climate in Ronda is Mediterranean and quite hot. Due to the proximity to Africa, in summer the air temperature reaches + 40 °.
In addition, there is no sea and a fresh breeze in the town to soften the heat.
Therefore, if you do not like the heat, come in spring or autumn. During the day, the air warms up to + 26 °, and walking is very comfortable.
In winter, it is also quite warm (up to + 23 °), but it often rains and daytime temperature drops are strong.
Attractions in Ronda
There are many ancient and modern attractions in Ronda. In order not to look for them for a long time, plot a detailed route on the map in advance.
Here are the TOP interesting places recommended to visit.
Puente Nuevo (New Bridge)
The old Puente Nuevo bridge overhanging the cliff is a visiting card of the town.
The construction of the grandiose structure connecting the Old and New Towns lasted from 1759 to 1793.
The construction of the bridge was supervised by the architect Jose Martin de Aldeula. The architect managed to organically fit his brainchild into the natural landscape and the general architectural style of Ronda.
Unfortunately, during the construction of such a beauty, more than 40 people died, including the architect himself. Even today, people sometimes choose a bridge to settle accounts with life.
But ordinary tourists do not know these tragic details and take pictures with pleasure against the background of Puente Nuevo.
By the way, you can take good pictures both from above, from a height of 98 m, and from below, if you go down to the foot of the bridge.
Also, at the bottom of the bridge, visit a small exhibition dedicated to the history of construction (previously there was a local prison).
Puente Viejo and Puente de San Miguel – lower bridges over the gorge
Walking down rue Comandante Linares and passing through the arched gate, you will see two more bridges, familiar from photographs in guidebooks.
These are Puente Viejo, built in 1616, and Puente de San Miguel, also known as the “Roman Bridge”.
Today tourists use them as an observation deck, and the area around the bridges is great for outdoor recreation.
La Ciudad (Old Town)
La Ciudad is the main attraction for tourists. This heritage of Moorish architecture is a real labyrinth of old quarters, dead ends and winding streets that lead to a rocky cliff.
Most of the city’s attractions are located here:
- House of the Moorish king.
- Church of Santa Maria la Mayor.
- The palace of the Marquis of Salvatierra is a beautiful Renaissance building.
Pay attention to the only museum in Spain of bandits (bandolieros), which have always been numerous in the mountains surrounding Ronda.
Here you will see the robbers’ clothes and weapons (including huge Navajo knives), colorful scenes from the life of a bandolier, photographs and archival documents.
This is an unusual place on Arminane street, the entrance costs about 4 euros.
One of the oldest bullfighting arenas in the country, Plaza de Toros, is a short walk from the New Bridge.
Built in 1785 at the initiative of the Royal Equestrian Society.
The structure is a huge sandstone amphitheater, consisting of a gallery of arcades and one and a half hundred Tuscan columns.
The arena accommodates 5,000 spectators, but there are no vacant seats on the days of the battles.
Indeed, many residents of Andalusia cannot imagine life without this spectacle.
In addition, Ronda is the birthplace of the matadors from the Romero dynasty – the founders of modern bullfighting.
Church of Santa Maria la Mayor
Iglesia de Santa Maria la Mayor, erected on the site of a former mosque, is considered the main temple of Ronda.
If you look closely, you can even see a mihrab pointing towards Mecca.
From the outside, the church looks restrained, but the interior design is striking in splendor.
Pay particular attention to the two-tiered cedar and walnut choir and the wooden seats, which are artfully carved with figures of saints and apostles.
Alameda del Tajo Park
Since there is not so much green space in the city built on the rocks, the entrance to the city parks is free for those who wish.
One such park is Alameda Del Tajo, a botanical garden with centuries-old trees and rare plant species.
There are five boulevards in the park.
The main alley ends with a luxurious balustrade with an observation deck – a great opportunity to see Ronda from the most advantageous angle.
The town is part of the Sierra de Málaga mountain wine region and the local wines have won many awards. Therefore, do not deny yourself the pleasure of going to the tasting along a specially designed route.
While visiting wineries, you will taste the most exquisite drinks, learn to distinguish between taste and aroma.
If you don’t feel like going anywhere, check out the city’s Wine Museum. The price of an excursion with tasting, depending on the program, ranges from 5 to 45 euros.
In the Barrio de San Miguel quarter you will find the Arab Baths – the largest in the Pyrenees and well preserved.
Vaulted ceilings with star-shaped exhaust vents (as in the Alhambra) provide hot, cold and warm baths.
The water in them came from the source of Arroyo de las Culebras according to a special system that the Arabs borrowed from the Romans.
The largest park and palace complex during the Moorish rule was built in 1314 on the top of a cliff.
Unfortunately, most of the medieval elements have been hidden as a result of numerous reconstructions, but surrounded by a picturesque garden, the palace looks impressive.
It is no coincidence that it served as the residence of the last Arab ruler of Ronda Hametu-el-Zegri, and with the arrival of the Catholics it passed into the possession of Ferdinand II and Isabella.
Church of the Holy Spirit
The Church of the Holy Spirit, more reminiscent of a well-fortified fortress, was founded by the Catholics in 1485 in honor of the liberation of Ronda from the Arabs.
The church was completed and consecrated only in 1505: then it was the only Catholic parish in the city.
The temple was built in a strictly Gothic style, without unnecessary decorations. This austere architecture was justified. The authorities feared enemy raids on Ronda, and the church, in the event of a military threat, became a defensive outpost.
The museum with rather unusual exhibits, named after the founder Juan Antonio Lara Jurado, is located in one of the palaces of the 18th century.
In the halls of the museum, you will see terrible instruments of torture used by the Holy Inquisition, as well as exhibits dedicated to witchcraft and black magic.
On the upper floors, the artifacts are simpler: old sewing and typewriters, movie cameras, with the help of which silent films were filmed at the beginning of the 20th century.
House of the Moorish King
Contrary to the name, the Moorish rulers never lived in a palace built on the site of a medieval well.
Built in the 18th century, the neo-Mudejar gardens surrounding the palace appeared only in 1912.
The most original element of the complex is a staircase of 300 steps leading to the bottom of the gorge.
For fun, take a look at the “Room of Secrets” located here. Two people who are in different parts of it can talk in a whisper and at the same time perfectly hear each other.
City of Achinipo
In the vicinity of Ronda, 20 km to the northwest, are the ruins of the ancient settlement of Achinipo.
This 32-hectare archaeological site was a thriving city in the 1st-2nd centuries AD, in which its own coins were minted.
But in the 5th century Achinipo was plundered by the Visigoths, and now only the amphitheater with terraces carved into the hillsides and the remains of Roman baths reminds of its former greatness.
If you drive 30 km south of Ronda, you will find the Pileta cave, which was formed in the Paleolithic era.
This natural monument is famous for its prehistoric murals: animals, fish and various abstract symbols are depicted on the walls.
Interestingly, the cave is the private property of the descendants of José Bullon Labato, the man who discovered it in 1905. They will give you an excursion.
Ronda is one of the most photogenic towns in the world, so watch out for the spectacular viewpoints.
The most popular of them are located at the New Bridge and in the Alameda del Tajo Park.
You will also see no less mesmerizing panoramas from the Mirador Puente Nuevo de Ronda , which you can reach along the path from the Maria Auxiliadora square.
The guide will show you the Old Town, tell local legends and mystical stories, introduce you to the Andalusian traditions of gastronomy and winemaking.
You can book an individual tour online ⇒ . The cost of an excursion, designed for 1-4 people, ranges from 220 to 250 euros, depending on the program.
Transport and how to get there, parking
Since there is no airport in Ronda, you can get to it in the following ways:
- From Malaga , from which Ronda is 100 km away – by car or by rail. The journey takes 2 to 3 hours and costs 15 to 37 euros.
- From Marbella , which is 61 km away – by bus L-525, taxi (about 80 euros) or rented car.
- From Seville , the distance to which is 128 km – by rail or road.
Due to the compact size of the town and the features of the relief, the situation with parking is not very good.
Therefore, if you are traveling around Andalusia by car, leave your car in paid parking lots outside the Old Town (the cost starts from 2 euros per hour). Otherwise, you risk losing time looking for a parking space.
City districts: where to stay
Despite the fact that Ronda is a relatively small city, there are about 150 accommodation options offered on the booking sites.
Among them are ordinary hotels from 2 to 4 stars, apartments equipped with the necessary furniture and appliances, as well as cozy and atmospheric Parador hotels, located in old mansions and castles.
The cost of a night stay ranges from 50 euros for a mini-apartment to 250 euros for a room with a jacuzzi in the luxurious Casa Palacio Villa Zambra 4 * (reviews about this hotel are mostly rave).
It is better to stop closer to the historical center: the sights will be within walking distance.
Shopping and food
Walking through the pretty terracotta and white town, the appetite quickly kicks in.
You can quench it in restaurants Parador, Azahar, Restaurante Goyesca.
A bill for two in a restaurant ranges from 60 to 150 euros; the local chefs are especially good at meat dishes and sweets.
If the budget is small, welcome to the well-known tapas bars far beyond the country.
A glass of wine will cost from 2.5 euros, a set of snacks (olives, nuts, fried shrimps, mini-kebabs) – from 10 euros.
Shopping in Ronda fades into the background, but you can make pleasant purchases here too:
- Local shops have a good selection of textiles, colorful ceramics, and leather goods.
- Look for clothing and footwear from international and Spanish brands on the main shopping street Espinel.
If you are going to Andalusia and think about what to see, stop the choice on Ronda.
Romantic streets with dazzling white houses, ancient bridges over a bottomless gorge, breathtaking bullfighting, monuments of the Moorish era, picturesque gardens with cedars, palms and oleanders – Ronda is beautiful and time has no power over it.