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Ronda is probably the most famous of Andalucia’s ‘pueblos blancos’ (white towns) and is perched above El Tajo Gorge in the Serrania de Ronda with spectacular views across the mountains and valleys.

For a small town (it has a population of around 35,000) there’s a surprising number of things to do in Ronda and, while you can probably squeeze many of these into a day trip, I’d highly recommend staying longer to be able to fully appreciate the beauty of Ronda and its surrounds. As one of the most visited places in Andalucia, Ronda gets busy with day trippers during the summer months but, if you’re able to stay even for just one night, you’ll be able to experience a different side to it once the crowds have left for the day.

Ronda’s sights can be split into those in the old town (la ciudad) and those in the new town (el mercadillo), with the Puente Nuevo joining the two together.

Ronda is, indeed, one of those places which stands alone. I know of nothing to which it can be compared.

Lady Tennyson, 1850
Tiled wall display of the Romantic Travellers in Ronda

A note about Covid. Make sure you check opening times as many attractions, plus bars and restaurants, are operating on reduced hours.

Puente Nuevo

Despite being called the new bridge, the Puente Nuevo is actually over 200 years old and is easily the most recognisable landmark in Ronda (and what most people come to see). The cobbled bridge spans El Tajo gorge between the old and new towns and, despite its bloodthirsty history, is now more of a tourist selfie spot.

View of the Puente Nuevo in Ronda taken from El Tajo Gorge

To learn more about the history of the bridge there’s a small museum inside the chamber above the central arch. This was apparently used as a torture chamber during the Civil War with some unfortunate prisoners being thrown to their deaths at the bottom of the gorge.

Puente Nuevo in Ronda at dusk

Entry to the museum is €2.50.

Puente Nuevo, Plaza de España, Ronda

El Tajo Gorge

While the views from Puente Nuevo are spectacular, to really appreciate the sheer size of the gorge (and get the obligatory photo of Puente Nuevo in all its glory) you need to walk down to its base from the old town side of the bridge.

El Tajo Gorge in Ronda

There’s a footpath starting at Plaza de Maria Auxiliadora which takes you down to several viewing areas. The first viewpoint you reach is Mirador Puente Nuevo de Ronda and from here you can go off road to the right towards the bridge, or continue on the path until you reach Mirador del Viento. If you have time you can continue on the path through Puerta del Viento until you reach Mirador La Hoya del Tajo at the bottom of the gorge. It’s then a steep climb back up or, alternatively, if you’re not on a day trip and have a little more time to spare, you can walk all the way to Benaojan and jump on a train back to Ronda.

View of El Tajo Gorge Ronda

There’s a restaurant at the bottom, Albergue Los Molinos, which, unfortunately, was closed when we were there but would make an ideal spot for a cold beer with a view.

For serious hikers, this route makes up part of the GR7, the longest walking route in Europe, which starts in Tarifa and ends in Greece some 9,000 kms later. It’s also part of the Gran Senda de Malaga.

There are plenty of guidebooks to the best hikes in Andalucia. I particularly like the Cicerone guides.

If you’re visiting in late spring or summer be aware that it gets very hot in Ronda so do make sure that you carry lots of water with you if you’re walking down into the gorge. We’ve been in both May and June and, while the walk down into the gorge wasn’t too bad, getting back up was energy sapping but totally worth it, so don’t be put off!

Palacio del Rey Moro y la Mina

For an alternative view of the gorge it’s worth a visit to the Palace of the Moorish King.  Although the palace itself was being restored on our visit, we were still able to visit the beautiful gardens and, from there, we climbed down the 200+ steps to the ‘secret mine’ coming out to the river at the bottom of the gorge. It was so peaceful – just the sound of the birds flitting around the cliffs and the lapping of the water. Definitely a nice spot to rest before tackling the steps again!

Flowers in the garden of the Palace of the Moorish King in Ronda
Flowers in the garden of the Palace of the Moorish King in Ronda
View of El Tajo Gorge from the secret mine in Ronda
View of El Tajo Gorge from the secret mine in Ronda

Entry to the palace gardens and the mine is €5.00.

Palacio del Rey Moro y la Mina, Calle Cuesta de Santo Domingo, Ronda

Baños Arabes

Dating from the 13th century, the Arab Baths are exceptionally well preserved.

From the entrance, you’ll find yourself overlooking the roof of the baths and, once inside, you’ll be able to see how the star shaped vents in the roof create patterns of light on the floor and walls.

The baths typically had three separate areas – the cold, warm, and hot rooms. Unlike in Roman baths like the ones at Baelo Claudia where visitors would immerse themselves in water, here, they were used as steam baths.

Interior of the Arab Baths in Ronda
Interior of the Arab Baths in Ronda

Entry to the baths and gardens is €4.50.

Baños Arabes, Calle San Miguel, Ronda

Jardines de Cuenca

For another perspective of the Puente Nuevo head to the Cuenca Gardens. Crossing the Puente Viejo near the Arab Baths (although not to be confused with the Puente Arabe), these terraced gardens on the new town side of Ronda cling to the side of the cliffs. We pretty much had the gardens to ourselves and it was lovely to wander through them and take in the alternative views of the bridges spanning the gorge.

The Cuenca Gardens in Ronda
The Puente Viejo in Ronda

Jardines de Cuenca, Calle Escolleras, Ronda

Museo Lara

This museum, just a few minutes’ walk from Puente Nuevo, is home to a huge collection of curios from around the world.

Collected over his lifetime by Juan Antonio Lara Jurado there’s everything from clocks, weapons, and vintage guitars, to telephones, typewriters, and scientific instruments.

Collection of old typewriters in Museo Lara in Ronda
Collection of old typewriters in Museo Lara in Ronda

The highlight though is the witchcraft exhibition in the basement (where else?) with a motley collection of exhibits including a preserved mermaid, a bat-headed tarantula and, my personal favourite, Sergio the toad. That’s before we even get to the torture devices relating to the Spanish Inquisition.

Preserved mermaid in Museo Lara in Ronda
Sergio the toad in Museo Lara in Ronda
Bat-headed tarantula in Museo Lara in Ronda

Entry to the museum is €4.00 and you can take a virtual tour if your interest has been piqued.

Museo Lara, Calle Armiñan, Ronda

Plaza de Toros

While I don’t condone bullfighting, it’s definitely worth visiting the bullring in Ronda for an insight into this controversial aspect of Spanish culture.

Entry includes access to the stables and stockyards, a small museum housing a collection of art plus bullfighting memorabilia and artefacts, as well as the bullring itself.

 View of the mountains from inside the Plaza de Toros in Ronda

As we had stayed overnight in Ronda we were able to get to the bullring not long after it opened so, until the tourist buses arrived, we were pretty much the only ones in there. Seeing it almost empty was quite an experience and it’s hard to imagine that, during fights which still take place throughout the year, it seats 5,000 spectators.

Statue of a bull outside the bullring in Ronda
Statue of a matador outside the bullring in Ronda

Entry to the bullring and museum is €8.00.

Plaza de Toros, Calle Virgen de la Paz, Ronda

Parque Alameda del Tajo

This is a beautiful public park with yet more great views across the valley and is a lovely place to take a break from the sun. Chances are there’ll be a guitarist playing flamenco music somewhere.

View of El Tajo gorge from the Alameda in Ronda

At one of the entrances to the park you’ll find statues of Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles, both of whom had links to Ronda. Hemingway arrived in Spain in 1936 just as the Spanish Civil War was starting and several of his books are about his love of bullfighting.

Ernest Hemingway statue in Ronda
Orson Wells statue in Ronda

If you haven’t read any of Hemingway’s books, ‘Death in the Afternoon’ and ‘The Dangerous Summer’ are both about Ronda while ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ is set during the Spanish Civil War.

Orson Welles had a long love affair with Ronda and, after his death, his ashes were placed at the bottom of a well in the country estate belonging to his friend, the great bullfighter Antonio Ordoñez (whose statue stands in front of the bullring and who, interestingly, is also the subject of Hemingway’s book ‘The Dangerous Summer’).

Statue in Ronda of Antonio Ordonez the famous bullfighter

From the park you can turn right and walk along Paseo de Los Ingleses. This path was originally connected to the Hotel Victoria for the exclusive use of guests who arrived in Ronda by train from Gibraltar. I walked there early on a Sunday morning and, apart from the swallows and a few kestrels, there was very little activity.

Parque Alameda del Tajo, Paseo Blas Infante, Ronda

Balcon del Coño

There are plenty of viewing points around Ronda but, to really test your nerve, step out onto the Balcon de Coño – the overhanging balcony near the bandstand in the park.  

Suspended over the gorge it gets its name from the ubiquitous Spanish swearword – presumably you step on the balcony, look down, say ‘coño’ and jump back to safer ground!

I’m not a fan of heights but it does offer a good viewpoint and, yes, I probably did swear!

Balcon de Coño, Paseo Blas Infante, Ronda

Watch the sunset (or sunrise if you’re an early bird) from one of the miradors

The best spot, in my opinion, to watch the sun go down is from anywhere along the Paseo Blas Infante.

If you want to catch the sunrise cross to the other side of the Puente Nuevo and watch from Mirador de Aldehuela.

Mirador de Aldehuela, Calle Armiñan, Ronda

Join my Facebook group ‘Explore Andalucia‘ – a private group for anyone who loves all things Andalucian.

More things to do in Ronda

Despite being twice and spending several days on each visit, there are still things that I haven’t seen or done yet and which I’m saving for my next trip.

Mondragon Palace

Mondragon Palace is renowned for its Moorish courtyards and gardens, as well as its views over the Sierra de Grazalema. It’s also home to the Ronda’s Municipal Museum.

Mondragon Palace, Plaza Mondragon, Ronda

Casa Don Bosco

Casa de San Juan Bosco, sits on the edge of the El Tajo Gorge on the old town side of Ronda. At one point in its history, it was a nursing home for elderly and sick priests but is now a museum with a peaceful courtyard garden with views of the Puente Nuevo and across the Serrania de Ronda.

Casa Don Bosco, Calle Tenorio 21, Ronda

Walking the old city walls

As if Ronda’s defensive position on the El Tajo Gorge wasn’t enough it was also an impressive walled city.

The walls, and impressive Puerta de Almocabar, are on the opposite side of town to the main tourist sites so are often overlooked

Puerta de Almocabar, Plazuela Arquitecto Francisco Pons Sorolla, Ronda

Day trips to Ronda

If you only have time for a day trip to Ronda these are easily booked from various cities within Andalucia and usually include hotel pick-up and drop-off. Get Your Guide has a good selection with both group and private tours available.

Don’t forget your guide books!

Did you know that Ronda is twinned with the Moroccan town of Chefchaouen?

Where to stay in Ronda

On our first visit to Ronda we stayed in Hotel Andalucia which I booked primarily due to its proximity to the railway station (it’s quite literally just across the road). Our room (on the ground floor) had recently been refurbished and, although small, had a comfortable double bed, a lovely shower, and the usual facilities you’d expect from a budget hotel.

The hotel currently offers a left luggage service for non-guests at a cost of €2.50 per day.

Hotel Andalucia, Avenida Martinez Astein 19, Ronda

On our second visit we stayed at Soho Boutique Palacio San Gabriel, a restored 18th century building which is just a few minutes’ walk from the Puente Nuevo in a quiet side street.

The hotel is stuffed full of antiques but has all the usual mod cons including free wifi and aircon, not to mention a huge bathroom.  

Bedroom at Hotel San Gabriel in Ronda
Bathroom at Hotel San Gabriel in Ronda

Hotel Soho Boutique Palacio San Gabriel, Marques de Moctezuma 19, Ronda

If you want a room with a view the Hotel Don Miguel is a budget option and has reasonably priced gorge and bridge view rooms but, if money’s no object, why not splash out with a stay at the Parador de Ronda?

Booking.com

Where to eat in Ronda

There’s no shortage of places to eat in Ronda from the smallest tapas bars to Michelin starred restaurants.

For breakfast, head to Churreria Alba for churros con chocolate with a café con leche. It’s highly likely there’ll be a queue but, trust me, the churros here are worth the wait – the fattest churros paired with the silkiest hot chocolate (you’ll only really need one hot chocolate between two) is guaranteed to get your day off to a good start.

Churros con chocolate

Churreria Alba, Carrera Espinel 44, Ronda

For food with a view I highly recommend Tabanco Los Arcos. There are covered seats outside under the arches but if you can get the window seat inside, you’ll be rewarded with an outstanding view of the Puente Nuevo. The food is excellent too with a great selection of reasonably priced tapas.

Tabanco Los Arcos, Calle Armiñan 6, Ronda

If you fancy a trip to Ronda, here’s all the practical information you’ll need.

Getting to Ronda

By air

The closest airport to Ronda is in Malaga, just over 100kms away, and which has daily flights to and from destinations worldwide.

By car

If you’re driving from Malaga the quickest route (around 90 minutes) is via the A-357 and A-367.

Alternatively, if you’re staying further south along the Costa del Sol take the A7 (or AP7 toll road) which runs alongside the Mediterranean Sea and turn inland at exit 172 onto the A-397 but, be warned, it can be a challenging (and hair-raising) drive.

Find Your Rental Car

Once you arrive in Ronda your best bet is to park on the outskirts of the town rather than try to negotiate the narrow streets. There’s a 24-hour secure parking lot near the railway station or you may be able to find some ‘on street’ parking around this area, which is an easy fifteen minute walk to the old town.

Parking spaces with white painted lines are generally free, while you’ll have to pay for those with blue painted lines and there will be probably be a time limit on how long can you stay.  

By train

Ronda sits on the Algeciras – Granada line and there are usually three direct trains a day on this route. The journey from Algeciras takes just over 90 minutes with the first departure at 6.20am so, if you only have time for a day trip, this early start means you can be in Ronda in time for breakfast before you begin your sight-seeing.

There are also three trains per day between Malaga and Ronda, although these aren’t direct services. The journey time is between 2 hours and 2 hours 20 minutes.

The railway station is a fifteen-minute walk from the city centre.

Estacion de Ronda, Avenida de Andalucia, Ronda

On both of our visits to Ronda we decided that we’d let the train take the strain so we could kick back and really enjoy the journey rather than have to navigate the winding mountain roads. We hopped on at Estacion de San Roque, a small station about fifteen minutes up the track from Algeciras.

From the moment the train pulled out of the station the scenery was outstanding with storks nesting on telegraph poles, fields of sunflowers dancing in the breeze, and oleander trees growing in the valleys of the mountain peaks we passed through.

If you can, get a seat on the right-hand side of the train as you head towards Ronda for the best views.

Getting around Ronda

Its size means that it’s best to get around Ronda on foot as all the main sights are within easy walking distance of each other. Having said that, be sure to wear some comfy shoes as you’ll be on your feet a lot, especially if you’re heading down into the gorge.

If you fancy something a bit different, there are horse drawn carriages which will take you on a loop of the old town. You can find them outside the bullring.

Weather in Ronda

It’s worth noting that Ronda gets hot in summer, like really hot. Average temperatures in July and August are around 30°c while, during the winter months, the average temperatures hover around 10°c and it can be very wet.

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This post was written in November 2017, and updated in November 2021.

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Get Your Guide offer a range of tours and excursions in and around Ronda.

9 Comments

    1. Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it. I love travelling by train so it was the perfect way to get there for me. I’d highly recommend it – less hair-raising than driving for sure!

  1. Churros for breakfast? I’ve never even thought that was possible. I actually enjoyed the drive to Ronda, some incredible roads and views. Not sure if Beata did though. We only had a short time there though, so I hope to get back and explore more.

  2. I’ve been wanting to visit Andulicia for ages now but haven’t got there yet. You’ve convinced me that we need to stay a night in Ronda to make the most of this beautiful place. Puente Nuevo looks truly beautiful. Such an extensive post full of valuable information, saving for future.

  3. Despite all my trips to the costa I somehow never made it to Ronda. Really want to go. Love your photos. Didn’t know it was twinned with Chefchaouen!

  4. I never heard about this city, shame on me!
    It really looks fantastic, and it seems that churros there are fantastic!.
    The views are also amazing, great to enjoy with a good glass of wine

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