WHAT TO SEE IN RONDA
I still remember the first time I learned Ronda was a place in Spain. Casually chatting with a co-worker about a trip I was planning to Andalusia, he snapped his neck around to fully face me and lit up with sheer joy.
“Whatever you do,” he said, “don’t miss Ronda in Spain.”
He quickly pulled up a photo of the beautiful bridge that spans the El Tajo gorge, and in an instant, I was sold.
With only a few days to visit Andalusia, our itinerary was already packed. But, we couldn’t imagine missing Ronda.
And, because of its location in Spain, it’s not the kind of place we’d easily make it back to. So, we decided to squeeze it in, even though it’d mean a long day on the road driving from Córdoba, to Ronda and then onward to Malaga.
In actuality, it wasn’t so bad.
WHAT TO SEE IN RONDA
We left Córdoba before 11 am and made it to Malaga by 7 pm, just in time for a sunset stroll on the beach and to buy tapas from a grocery store for a hotel room picnic.
The drive from Córdoba to Ronda was unbelievably beautiful- we took a lot of back roads to avoid tolls, and couldn’t get over the rolling hills, pointed mountains, and jaw dropping landscape of southern Spain.
Arriving in Ronda, we parked in a garage and then set out in search of miradors.
Mirador is the Spanish word for viewpoint.
Ronda sure doesn’t disappoint when it comes to miradors.
Most visitors flock to the Puente Nuevo (New Bridge) as their first stop, but I’d recommend starting with a view of valley below.
If you enter ‘Mirador de Ronda’ into your GPS or Google, you’ll have no problem finding the expansive viewpoint that took our collective breath away.
We both agreed we could have ogled the view of the valley and spanning bridge adjacent for hours, but decided to set off and wander town.
I’d read somewhere Ronda was one of the prettiest towns in Southern Spain, and strolling the city’s charming streets, it was easy to understand how it got that reputation.
Walking in the direction of the bridge, we passed Ronda’s bullring. Said to be the birthplace of bullfighting, it’s possible to tour the ring, but events are only held now a few times a year.
I have conflicted feelings about bull fighting- I understand it’s an important part of Spain’s history, but also seems like a cruel sport to continue these days. Short on time and not wholly interested in touring the museum, we decided to skip it and just admire the building and its place in Ronda’s history from the outside.
The small town is packed with wine bars, tapas restaurants, and cafes. We didn’t eat in Ronda, but you’d have plenty of options for a meal.
Arriving at the bridge, we were speechless. The views of the other side of the valley are equally impressive. And, while it’s incredible to see the bridge from a viewpoint, actually walking across it felt like magic.
The New Bridge spans a 390 feet deep spasm that divides Ronda in two. Construction began in 1700 and took almost 30 years.
Surprised by how old the bridge is?
Ronda was first settled by the Celts in the sixth century BC. Later in the first century AD, Julius Caesar declared it a city.
The town used to be referred to as the “Eagle’s Nest” because of its high perch in the mountains of Andalusia.
We kept wandering to the other side of town, searching for the Centro de Interpretacion del Vino.
I was driving, and opted not to drink at the wine museum, but Le enjoyed sipping red wine directly from sprouts in the wall. Beyond wine on offer, the museum also offered information about the region’s history with wine making.
We’d planned on seeing what are said to be the best preserved Arabic hammams at Ronda’s Arab Baths, but I was battling a sinus infection and just wanted to get to our hotel in Malaga before the sun set. If you’re in Ronda and decide to visit, the baths were built in the 13th century, following Roman conventions.
Walking back to the city, we decided to hike down to the mid-way point below the gorge. We knew the views looking up at the bridge would be incredible and decided it would be nice to get some steps in before sitting down for a long drive (over two hours).
If we thought the view of the bridge from the above viewpoint was beautiful, we had no idea what we were in for at the bottom of the gorge.
Gazing up at the bridge, listening to the trickle of the waterfall streams and taking in the architectural details of the bridge felt like the perfect way to end our quick visit to Ronda.
Have you ever heard of Ronda or visited Andalusia? What would you add to this guide of what to see in Ronda?
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