Ronda – a picturesque city in the center of Andalusia

Ronda

Ronda (Spain) – the most detailed information about the city with photos. The main sights of Ronda with descriptions, guides and maps.

City of Ronda (Spain)

Ronda is a city in the south of Spain in the province of Malaga. It is located on a rock around the deep gorge of El Tajo, over which an impressive bridge was built. Ronda is one of the most beautiful cities of Andalusia, a colorful ancient tapestry woven from the threads of winding streets, old white houses and picturesque landscapes. The landscape, atmosphere, history and legends make this cradle of bullfighters and artists so unique.

The city is divided into three parts: the historic center or old Arab Medina, the neighborhood of San Francisco, divided by city walls, and the Mercadillo neighborhood, which is on the other side of the Guadalevin River. Ronda encourages a leisurely stroll through its ancient streets, exploring every detail of this ancient Moorish city on the south bank of the Guadalevin River, whose medieval walls all stand. It’s worth crossing the Puente Nuevo (“new bridge”) and wandering around Alameda del Tajo, stopping at every quaint nook and historic monument, before heading out to recuperate in one of the local restaurants.

What to do (Ronda):

From Málaga to Ronda, a city soaring over the abyss.

€180 per excursion

From Málaga to Ronda, the city that soars over the abyss

Discover the antiquity in the stone streets of Ronda and marvel at the majesty of its giant cliffs.

Geography and Climate

Ronda is located 50km north of Marbella and 100km west of Malaga. The city stands in a mountainous area at an altitude of about 750 m above sea level. The Guadalevin River divides it in two and forms the steep El Tajo Canyon over which the town is built.

Ronda has a Mediterranean climate. It is characterized by a fairly regular seasonal pattern, with warm, dry summers and moderately cool winters with occasional sub-zero temperatures. Spring and fall are usually mild and moderately warm. The average annual temperature is about 16ºC.

A panoramic view of the city

Panorama of the city

Tourist information

  1. Population – 34.3 thousand people.
  2. Area – 384.6 square kilometers.
  3. The language is Spanish.
  4. Currency – Euro.
  5. Visa – Schengen.
  6. Time – Central European UTC +1, in summer +2.
  7. Tourist Information Center is located at Paseo De Blas Infante.

Best time to visit

The best period to visit Ronda: April to June and September to October. Although the city is located at an altitude of approx. 750 m above sea level, so the climate is much more temperate. The summers are not as hot as in other Andalusian cities. During the cold season, it rains quite often.

History

Ronda was settled in the 6th century BC by the Celtic Bastul tribe. At that time the city was known as Arunda. Later Phoenician settlers settled in Acinipo, also known as Old Ronda, located about 20 km to the east. The current city has Roman origins and was built as a fortification in the Second Punic War (218-201 BC).

Ronda was one of the cities of the Roman province of Betic, which had the right to use the ancient Latin law, and could even mint coins. Its inhabitants had the same rights as citizens of Rome.

After the collapse of the Roman Empire, Ronda was first occupied by Germanic tribes and then by the Visigoths, who ruled until the Arab invasion in 713. The Moors renamed the city Hisn Ar Runda (“Castle of Runda”). They built the present historic center (La Ciudad), south of the ravine.

Ronda

Ronda

Ronda remained for a long time one of the last outposts of the Moors in Andalusia. The city was not conquered by the Spaniards until 1485, who then gradually displaced the remaining Muslim population. In the 17th and 18th centuries Ronda expanded northward through the ravine into a new town (El Mercadillo) and Puente Nuevo, completed in 1793, connected it to the historic core.

In the 19th century Ronda was home to numerous guerrilla units fighting Napoleon’s troops and then bandits and adventurers. During the Spanish Civil War, the city was the site of many battles. There are reports that some 500 Falangist supporters were thrown into the ravine. Ronda has a rich tradition of bullfighting and boasts one of the oldest arenas in Spain, built in 1785.

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How to get there

Ronda is not connected to a major highway, but it is easy to get here by car from Seville, Malaga and Cordoba. There are regular buses to the city from the above-mentioned cities. Rail connections are not very frequent, but there are options to get to Ronda from Algeciras, Cordoba and even Madrid.

Shopping

The main shopping street is the Carretera Espinel, which runs from the arena to the east. Many stores can be found in the streets on the way to the bridge.

Ronda

Ronda

You can find many restaurants and cafes with delicious Andalusian and Spanish cuisine in the city. Small wineries around Ronda produce high quality red and white wines.

Attractions

Puente Nuevo

Puente Nuevo

Puente Nuevo (New Bridge) is an impressive stone bridge, one of the symbols of Ronda. It was built at the end of the 18th century and connected the Mercadillo district and the old town. The bridge offers a beautiful view of the El Tajo Gorge.

La Ciudad

La Ciudad

La Ciudad is an old Moorish town with historic squares, narrow streets and charming old houses. It is the heart and soul of Ronda, combining the atmosphere of an ancient Arab city and medieval Spain.

In the picturesque Duquesa-de-Parcent square is the ancient church of Santa Maria la Mayor, which was built on the site of a former mosque. The church retains four Moorish domes, but the interior is in the Gothic style. To the west of the cathedral, on the edge of the plateau, is the Palacio de Mondragón. It is a beautiful Moorish and Renaissance palace. On Rue Armignane is the Bandit Museum, which illustrates their history since the 19th century. The bandits lived in the mountains surrounding Ronda.

Plaza de Toros

Plaza de Toros

The Plaza de Toros is one of the oldest bullfighting arenas in Spain. It was built in 1785. It is a monumental structure with an arena of 66 square meters and two tiers of arcaded galleries for spectators to sit in. The galleries have elegant arches of Tuscan columns as well as royal cabinets. Ronda was the birthplace of the Romero dynasty, the matadors who developed modern bullfighting.

Arab baths

Arabian baths

The Arab baths are thermal baths from the 13th to the 15th century. They are considered the best preserved Moorish baths in Spain. The baths were built along the Arroyo de las Culebras, a spring water spring that has a perfectly preserved water wheel from the Moorish period. Like the ancient Roman baths, the complex has cold, warm and hot baths (the heating system was entirely hydraulic). However, the architecture epitomizes Moorish design with a central hall and two rooms divided by distinctive Arab-style arches.

Casa del Rey Moro

Casa del Rey Moro

The Casa del Rey Moro or House of the Moorish Kings is an 18th century palace built on the site of a medieval well. It has a beautiful terraced garden. The palace was never the home of the Moorish rulers.

Achipino

Achipino

Achipino is one of the oldest sites around Ronda with ancient Roman ruins. Although the origins of the settlement go back to the Phoenicians. This archaeological site is located on a high hill. Most of the ruins date back to the 1st or 2nd century AD. The site has a typical Roman layout with fragments of the Forum or public square in the center of the hill and public buildings and thermae.

Socorro

Socorro

Socorro is a church and square in Ronda. The church was built in 1956. Previously there was a Christian chapel and a hospital. In the center of the square is a fountain.

Arab Walls

Arabian Walls

Ronda’s location on top of a rocky hill gave the city a strong strategic as well as defensive value. The medina was built with clearly defined boundaries. The old city was bounded on one side by a ravine and on the other by strong walls.

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Of the old city fortifications, the Almokabar Gate, located in the southern part of the historic center, is well preserved. It was built in the 13th century and was restored by Charles V. Nearby, a new entrance was added, with a square base and a Renaissance-style tower with battlements. Another remarkable fragment of the city’s fortifications is located in the eastern part of the city. This area consists of a double defensive line of walls with Arab quarters as well as Arab public baths.

Monastery of St. Domingo

Monastery of St. Domingo

The Convent of St. Domingo was built by Catholic monks in the 15th century. By the end of the 18th century the complex had been virtually abandoned and in the 19th century it became private property. In its southeastern part, the original chapel survives.

Church of the Holy Spirit

Church of the Holy Spirit

The Church of the Holy Spirit is an ancient church whose construction began in the 15th century after the conquest of Ronda. It is a simple single-nave church in the Spanish Gothic style.

Arch of Philip V

Arch of Philip V

The Arch of Philip V – consists of a single vaulted masonry arch with three peaks on top and decorated with the coats of arms of the Anjou family.

Monastery and Church of Merced

The church and convent of Merced

The church of Mercèd is an ancient religious building from the 16th century, and contains valuable works of art.

Church of Saint Cecilia

Church of Saint Cecilia

The Church of Saint Cecilia is a Baroque stone building. Previously it was part of the monastery that belonged to the Order of the Trinity.

Minaret of St. Sebastian

Minaret of St. Sebastian

The Minaret of St. Sebastian – Formerly a small tower belonging to one of the mosques in Ronda, it was used as the bell tower of the now defunct church as well. The tower has a square base. The lower part dates from the 14th century.

Interesting tours

Málaga Roman, Moorish, Catholic

€150 for a guided tour

Malaga Roman, Moorish, Catholic

See the symbols of the city and get to know the local cuisine on a historical and gastronomic walk

Ecotour in the Catalan Mountains

Eco-tour in the Catalan Mountains

Ascent of the Montseni mountain range to the waterfalls and the 11th century church of Aiguafreda de Dalt

Ronda – a city in Spain, soaring over the abyss

Ronda in Spain

Ronda in Spain is a city soaring over the precipice, the birthplace of bullfighting and one of the most beautiful places in the country.

Its spectacular location on the cliffs and stunning views of the green plains of Andalusia have made the town world famous.

Ronda, magnetically attracting artists and other people of art, inspired Ernest Hemingway himself.

Tourists are enthralled by it, and the description of the sights will help prepare for a trip to this wonderful region.

Where is it

Ronda is one of the famous Andalusian white towns, incredibly photogenic and loved by travelers.

It is located in the mountainous area of the province of Malaga, which is part of the autonomous community of Andalusia. The distance from Malaga and the golden beaches of the Costa del Sol is 50 km.

The main feature of the town is its location at an altitude of 723 meters above sea level. It is built on two high mountains and appears to float above the El Tajo Gorge.

At the bottom of the gorge flows the Guadalevin River, which forms a steep canyon.

Visitors to Ronda will also remember the sky, which has an astonishing ultramarine hue that shows up beautifully in the photographs.

History

According to Wikipedia, Ronda was founded in the 4th century BC by Celtic tribes. In those distant times it was called Arunda.

One of the oldest settlements of Europe received the status of city under King Julius Caesar. Under the Romans Ronda reached a special prosperity.

The city, which played the role of a military fortress, grew its population, trade and connections with other countries.

City of Ronda - photo

But the Roman Empire fell, and the settlement began to pass into the hands of other conquerors – the barbarians, then the Arabs.

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In 1485, Ronda was conquered by Spanish monarchs. The place of the mosques were taken by churches, began to build new quarters.

However, many buildings were seriously damaged during the invasion of Napoleon and the Spanish Civil War.

But the town was restored, so that today it is a famous tourist center and a popular vacation spot.

Ronda - the city that soars over the abyss - photo

Climate, best time to visit

Since Andalusia is the south of Spain, the climate in Ronda is Mediterranean and quite hot. Thanks to its proximity to Africa, summer temperatures reach +40°.

In addition, there is no sea and no fresh breeze to soften the heat.

So if you do not like the heat – come in spring or fall. During the day the air heats up to +26 °, and walk around very comfortably.

In winter it is also quite warm (up to +23 °), but it often rains and daytime temperature fluctuations are strong.

Attractions in Ronda

There are many ancient and modern attractions in Ronda. To avoid searching for them for a long time, create a detailed itinerary on a map beforehand.

Here are the TOP interesting places recommended to visit.

Puente Nuevo (New Bridge)

Overhanging over the cliff, the ancient Puente Nuevo Bridge is the town’s calling card.

Construction of the grandiose structure, connecting the Old and New Town, lasted from 1759 to 1793.

The architect José Martín de Aldeula supervised the construction of the bridge. The architect managed to organically blend his brainchild into the natural landscape and overall 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 the bridge to settle accounts with their lives.

But ordinary tourists don’t know these tragic details and are happy to be photographed against the 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 the small exhibition dedicated to the history of construction (it used to be the local prison).

New Bridge in Ronda

Puente Viejo and Puente de San Miguel – the lower bridges over the gorge

Going down Comandante Linares Street and passing through the arched gate, you will see two more bridges familiar from photos in guidebooks.

They are the Puente Viejo, built in 1616, and the Puente de San Miguel, also known as the “Roman Bridge”.

Today, tourists use them as a vantage point, and the area around the bridges is great for outdoor recreation.

Puente de San Miguel - photo

La Ciudad (Old Town)

La Ciudad is the main tourist attraction. This Moorish architectural heritage is a maze of old quarters, dead ends and winding alleyways leading up to a rocky cliff.

This is where most of the city’s landmarks are located:

  1. Moorish King’s House.
  2. Church of Santa Maria la Mayor.
  3. The Palace of the Marquis of Salvatierra, a beautiful Renaissance building.

Pay attention also to the only bandit museum in Spain, of which there have always been many in the mountains surrounding Ronda.

In it you will see clothes and weapons of bandaros (including huge nawahi knives), colorful scenes of bandoleros’ life, photos and archival documents.

It is an unusual place in Via Arminhane, the entrance costs about 4 euros.

Old Town in Ronda - photo

The bullfighting arena in Ronda

A short walk from the New Bridge is one of the oldest bullfighting arenas in the country, Plaza de Toros.

It was built in 1785 at the initiative of the Royal Riding Society.

The structure is a huge sandstone amphitheater consisting of a gallery of arcades and fifteen hundred Tuscan columns.

The arena holds 5,000 spectators, but on fight days there are no vacant seats.

For many Andalusians cannot imagine their lives without the spectacle.

Ronda is also the birthplace of the Romero dynasty matadors, the founders of modern bullfighting.

Bullfighting square in Ronda - photo

Church of Santa Maria la Mayor

The Iglesia de Santa Maria la Mayor, built on the site of a former mosque, is considered Ronda’s main temple.

If you look closely, you can even see the mihrab pointing in the direction of Mecca.

The church has a low-key exterior but a splendid interior.

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The two-tiered choir of cedar and walnut and the carved wooden seats, with figures of saints and apostles, are particularly noteworthy.

The Church of Santa Maria la Mayor - photo

Alameda del Tajo Park

Since there is not much green space in the cliff-built city, admission to the city’s parks is free for those wishing to enter.

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 avenue ends with a luxurious balustrade with an observation deck – a great opportunity to see Ronda from the most advantageous angle.

Park Alameda Del Tajo - photo

Wineries

The town is part of the Sierra de Malaga mountain wine region, and the local wines have won many awards. So don’t deny yourself the pleasure of taking a specially designed itinerary for a tasting.

During a visit to the wineries you will taste the most exquisite drinks, learn to distinguish the taste and aroma.

If you don’t feel like going anywhere, you can visit the city wine museum. The price of a tour with tasting depending on the program is from 5 to 45 Euros.

Arabian baths

In the Barrio de San Miguel you will find the Arab baths, the largest and best-preserved of the Pyrenees.

Under the vaulted ceilings with star-shaped vents (as in the Alhambra) there are hot, cold and warm baths.

Their water came from the Arroyo de las Culebras spring using a special system borrowed by the Arabs from the Romans.

The Arabian Baths in Ronda - photo

Mondragon Palace

The largest park and palace complex of Moorish rule was built in 1314 on top of a cliff.

Unfortunately, most of the medieval elements have been obscured by numerous reconstructions, but the palace, surrounded by a picturesque garden, looks impressive.

It is no coincidence that it served as the residence of the last Arab ruler of Ronda, Hamet el-Zegri, and with the arrival of the Catholics came into the possession of Ferdinand II and Isabella.

Church of the Holy Spirit

The Church of the Holy Spirit, which looks more like a well-fortified fortress, was founded by the Catholics in 1485, in honor of Ronda’s liberation from the Arabs.

The church was finished and consecrated only in 1505: then it was the only Catholic parish in the city.

The church was built in strictly Gothic style, without extra decorations. Such ascetic architecture was justified. The authorities feared enemy raids on Ronda, and the church became a defensive outpost in the event of a military threat.

The Church of the Holy Spirit in Ronda

Lara Museum

The museum with rather unusual exhibits, named after the founder Juan Antonio Lara Jurado, is located in one of the 18th century palaces.

In the halls of the museum you can see gruesome instruments of torture used by the Holy Inquisition, as well as exhibits devoted to witchcraft and black magic.

On the upper floors there are simpler artifacts: old sewing and printing machines and movie cameras, which were used to shoot silent movies in the early 20th century.

Moorish King’s House

Contrary to the name, the Moorish rulers never lived in a palace that was built on the site of a medieval well.

It was built in the 18th century, and the neo-mudejar style gardens surrounding the palace only appeared in 1912.

The most original element of the complex – the staircase of 300 steps leading to the bottom of the gorge.

Out of interest, look into the “Room of Mysteries” located here. Two people, who are in different parts of it, can talk in whispers and still hear each other perfectly.

The House of the Moorish King in Ronda - photo

The City of Achinipo

On the outskirts of Ronda, 20 km to the northwest, are the ruins of the ancient settlement of Acinipo.

This 32 hectare archaeological site was a prosperous city in the 1st-2nd centuries AD that minted its own coins.

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But in the V century Acinipo was plundered by the Visigoths, and now only an amphitheater with terraces carved into the hillside and the remains of Roman baths remind of its former greatness.

The Cave of Piletus

If you drive 30 km south of Ronda, you will find the Piletà cave, which dates back to the Paleolithic period.

This natural monument is famous for its prehistoric paintings: animals, fish and various abstract symbols are depicted on the walls.

Interestingly, the cave is the private property of the descendants of Jose Bullon Labato, the man who discovered it in 1905. They will give you a tour.

The Cave of Pileta - photo

Viewing sites

Ronda is one of the most photogenic cities in the world, so don’t miss the viewpoints with breathtaking views.

The most popular are at the New Bridge and Alameda del Tajo Park.

From the Mirador Puente Nuevo de Ronda you can access it by following the path from Maria Auxiliadora Square.

View from the Observation Point in Ronda

Excursions

In order not to miss the most interesting things in Ronda, book a city tour in Russian.

The guide will show you the Old Town, tell local legends and mystical stories, introduce the Andalusian traditions of gastronomy and winemaking.

To book a personal tour you can online ⇒ . The cost of the tour, designed for 1-4 people, is from 220 to 250 euros, depending on the program.

Transportation and how to get there, parking lots

Since there is no airport in Ronda, you can get there by the following means:

  1. From Málaga, Ronda is about 100 km away, by road or rail. The journey takes 2 to 3 hours and costs 15 to 37 euros.
  2. From Marbella, which is 61 km away, take the L-525 bus, a cab (about 80 euros), or a rental car.
  3. From Seville, which is 128 km away, you can get there by train or car.

Due to the compact size of the town and the peculiarities of the terrain the situation with parking is not very good.

Therefore if you travel in Andalusia by car, leave the car at paid parking lots outside the old city (cost starts from 2 euros per hour). Otherwise, you risk losing time looking for a parking space.

Districts of the city: Where to stay

Although Ronda is a relatively small city, booking sites offer about 150 accommodation options.

Among them are the usual hotels from 2 to 4 stars, apartments equipped with the necessary furniture and appliances, as well as cozy and atmospheric hotels, located in old mansions and castles.

The cost per day stay in the range 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 of this hotel are mostly rave).

It is better to stay close to the historic center: sights will be in walking distance.

Shopping and dining

Wandering around the beautiful terracotta white town quickly whets your appetite.

You can satisfy it in the restaurants Parador, Azahar, Restaurante Goyesca.

The bill for two in a restaurant is from 60 to 150 euros, especially good for local chefs meat dishes and sweets.

If you are on a small budget you are welcome to go to tapas bars known far beyond the country’s borders.

A glass of wine will cost from 2,5 euros, appetizers set (olives, nuts, fried shrimps, minish kebabs) – from 10 euros.

Shopping in Ronda is of secondary importance, but nice shopping you can do here too:

  1. Local shops have a good selection of textiles, bright ceramics, leather goods.
  2. Look for international and Spanish brands of clothing and shoes in the main shopping street Espinel.

If you are going to Andalusia and are wondering what to see, look no further than Ronda.

Romantic streets with dazzling white houses, ancient bridges over a bottomless gorge, breathtaking bullfighting, monuments of the Moorish era, picturesque gardens with cedars, palm trees and oleanders – Ronda is beautiful, and time has no power over it.

As E. Hemingway said:

“It is a holiday that is always with you.”

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