How to Spend 24 Hours in Ronda
A beautiful mountain-top town carved out by the Rio Guadalevin river. It’s hard to imagine from the serenity and picturesque views, that Ronda was once home to a history of outlaws, bandits and rebels. Divided by the gorge, Ronda’s old town dates from Islamic times, acting as a cultural centre filled with mosques and palaces. In the new town you’ll find parks and promenades looking out over the mountains in the distance. Perched at the very edge of the gorge, be sure to peer over one of the many ‘Coños’ balconies - don't look down!
Getting to Ronda
As a province of Malaga, we flew from Edinburgh to Malaga then picked up our hire car at the airport. From Malaga it’s a 1.5 hour drive up into the mountains of Ronda. With a couple of hairpin bends and rough mountain roads, it's definitely best taken during daylight by an experienced driver.
Ronda is accessible by rail on the direct line from Algeciras and Cordoba. A direct train from Madrid to Ronda also operates twice daily.
Attractions in Ronda
Plaza de Toros de Ronda
With modern bullfighting invented here in the 18th century, it’s a passion the people of Ronda are incredibly proud of. As a part of classic Spanish heritage, here you can pay a visit to the bullring. Once a year there’s a unique and historical bullfight that takes here ‘Corrida Goyesca’. Ernest Hemingway and Orson Wells (whos ashes are buried here) were also huge fans of Ronda’s bullfighting history, often spending many summers in Ronda.
The three bridges span the gorge, with the Roman, old and new. The Puente Nuevo bridge (new bridge) is the most popular in Ronda. Towering at 120m above the gorge floor, navigate down the Mirador del Puente Nuevo. Offering the best views of the Puente Nuevo bridge. The path to access this viewpoint isn’t well signposted and it is quite rocky, so be sure to wear appropriate footwear. There are no barriers here!
The Palacio of the Marqués de Salvatierra
A small museum of Renaissance art and artefacts, the Palacio is rarely open, so it's quite the opportunity to gain access. Yet, as well as being home to priceless artwork, it’s also here where Madonna gained permission to film her music video for Take a Bow.
The Casa del Rey Moro
From an unsuspecting side-street, we stumbled across the Casa del Rey Moro by a happy accident. Built in the 18th century, as homage to the Moorish king. The house and gardens are impressive, however by this time, Moorish Spain was already a distant memory.
Hidden deep below the house, embark on the journey of climbing down the 200 steps towards the water well. Back in the 14th century, when Ronda was in the firing line between the Moorish rule of Granada and the Christian rule in Seville, the water supply was always the first target.
When you finally reach the bottom you’re rewarded by a serine view deep in the gorge. Away from the traffic and people above. Enjoy it whilst you’re here, because it’s a long walk back to the top! This is definitely one for appropriate footwear. You’ll be thankful for a siesta once you arrive back in the gardens above.
Some of the best preserved architectural relics in Spain, Ronda’s Arabic baths date back from the 10th and 11th centuries. With star shaped air vents above, creating your own personal cosmos, it's perfectly preserved in time.
Where to Stay in Ronda
We stayed at the beautiful Hotel Bodega El Juncal, just off the main route into Ronda, ideal for getting there direct from the airport. As we arrived at nightfall, it wasn’t until morning we got to admire the true beauty of Ronda and our hotel. Stepping out into the fresh morning air before the heat of the day hits, it was perfect for an early morning dip in the pool before breakfast.