Ronda is an easy day trip from Marbella. Perched on El Tajo canyon, Ronda is set on one of Spain’s most dramatic landscapes and possesses a rich history documented by ancient rock paintings, towering stone bridges, and 14th-century ruins. Today, the city’s dramatic cliffs, local wineries, and rustic charm make it an ideal mountain getaway or day trip destination.
The town has a population of around 36,000, so it’s a small enough place to explore and it is one of the most popular towns in Andalusia. It’s at an elevation of around 730 meters above sea level, so the air can be pleasantly cool here, even in the summer months.
How to Get There
Things To See & Do in Ronda
Ronda is a pretty small place, but there’s actually a lot you can see and do in one day. Consider allowing a couple of hours to walk around town, across the bridge and into the old city.
Puente Nuevo (new bridge)
Offering unforgettable views over the El Tajo gorge. The Puente Nuevo – new bridge – was actually completed in 1793 and took forty two years to build. It was buildt by the same architect as the famous bull ring. One of southern Spain’s most famous attractions, Ronda’s Puente Nuevo, or New Bridge, spans the 328-feet-deep El Tajo gorge, linking El Mercadillo (The Little Market), the newer part of town, with La Ciudad (The Town), the old Moorish quarter.
One of Spain’s most famous Parador hotels sits adjacent to the bridge and is a well worth a visit. The views of the El Tajo gorge from this hotel are spectacular.
Bullring (plaza de toros)
The Real Maestranza bullring is one of the oldest and most picturesque in Spain. It was built in 1785 by the architect (Jose Martin Aldehuela – the same architect who built the Puente Nuevo). The ring can hold up to 5000 spectators. Ronda’s bullring is now used just once a year for the exclusive annual bullfight of the town’s September Feria (local festivity). You really can’t miss this round structure with a bull statue outside. To enter inside the ring (recommended) you’ll have to pay a €7 entrance fee, €8.50 with audio guide.
Coño Balcony (el balcón del coño)
Although not a very nice name, the views from this balcony doesn´t get any better. This balcony is jut out over the cliffside and provide straight-down views of the gorge. This balcony feel much sturdier than they look when viewed from a distance (see image), especially if there are a number of visitors crammed onto them.
The Balcón del Coño viewpoint is another that should not be missed.
La Casa del Rey Moro (Moorish Palace)
It sits atop El Tajo gorge on the old Moorish side of town and, the palace is now a museum, you can walk down the steep stone staircase to the Water Mineall the way to the bottom of El Tajo. Legend has it that this was the residence of the Moorish King, Almonated, who is said to have drank wine from the skulls of his enemies. Although more recent evidence seems to indicate that the King never actually lived in the building. Today’s structure was completed in the 18th century and completely remodeled in 1920 by the Duchess of Parcent. The gardens were designed by the same French architect who designed the Maria Luisa Park in Seville, Jean Claude Forestier.
Water Mine Under the Casa del Rey Moro: The water mines were created to protect the water source for fighters and the people of Ronda during war.
Jardines de Cuenca – Cuenca Gardens
The Cuenca Gardens (jardines de Cuenca) are located on the ledges of the Tajo and distributed across a series of terraces. The views are fantastic and give you a unique and differing perspective (and less crowded) of the city and of course the New Bridge. Totally worth it if you are up for a little walk.
The new bridge is not only the Ronda’s most iconic attraction, it also serves as a connection between the old town and the new town, each with its own style and atmosphere. La Ciudad – or The Old Town, is the original Moorish part and weaves around one central Street, Calle Armiñan, south of Puente Nuevo.
Calle La Bola
The main shopping street in town (also known as Calle Espinel), Calle La Bola means: “street of the ball”. It gets its name from a giant snowball that was rolled here long ago. If you want to do some shopping while in Ronda, this is where you’ll want to be.
Food to Try in Ronda
Spain is a great place to taste varied dishes. Ronda is an excellent place to try the following meals:
Tapas – Well, tapas are found all over Spain, but Ronda has some excellent ones! particularly at Restaurant Bodega San Fransisco where you can enjoy chicken skewers, smoked cod and palmeta with cheese.
Ox Tail – A very typical dish from Ronda, don´t miss it, try it at Casa Clemente
Ronda isn’t all about history and culture, it is also home to some fantastic wineries. So after visiting all the above fantastic places, why don´t relax with a glass of wine and tapas at any of the wonderful restaurants in Ronda