“Celt: Arunda”, “Phoenician: Acinipo”, “Roman: Ronda”, “Arab: Hisn Ar-Rundah”
And yet another weekend in Spain, the 4th in the row, the entire month of November. At the beginning of the year we flew to Gibraltar to be the base for visiting Cordoba and Jerez, while now towards the end of the year we return, to Malaga in this occasion, to be the base for reaching the beautiful and historic city of Ronda. While we’ve already been to Malaga before and been all around the city, this time was different as all we wanted is to spend some time with my friend over there since she moved back to Spain form the UK while enjoying a day out for visiting a place not been before.
Flying to Malaga to be the base for day trips nearby works great. Not only that it is very good located halfway between the many cities worth to see, but will also save you lots of money than if flying for example, directly to Granada or Cordoba. From Malaga either by train or bus you can reach anywhere in Andalusia region, specially with the high-speed trains connecting to Seville and beyond; and if you rent a car as we’ve been doing for the past trips over here, you will get to enjoy more time to yourself and to visit other nice smaller places in between your final destination. Ronda as in this case, is 100 kilometres to the west of Malaga making it an easy trip for the day.
Since Ronda is a small city, and due to its near location to the many holiday resorts by coast, it is mostly visited by day-trippers, either on an organised tour of by themselves. It is not a city where you can spend more time after all, because there is not much more left to do after a few hours. But because of its placement at the top of a mountain and the traditional architecture and beautiful buildings, it is really one of the key destinations in Spain not to be missed that will clearly fascinate any tourist. Also nearby you can find very beautiful traditional villages that you can combine with your trip here, and even enjoy for the evening dinner a stroll along Puerto Banus and Marbella while making your way back to Malaga or any coastal resort.
For more information about Ronda check the Wikipedia and Wikitravel sites. The currency in Spain is the Euro. Please note that any price reference is true as from when this guide was created, therefore check prices in advance as with the time they change.
What to see and do in Ronda:
- Puente Nuevo The “New Bridge” built in 1793 is one of the major sights in the city. At 120 meters high and across the gorge between the mountains where the city lies on top and the Tagus River below. The views over the hanging houses by the cliffs is a must and probably the main reason why to come to Ronda.
- North of Puente Nuevo Since the city can be clearly split in 2 different areas from the bridge, the main sights to the west are:
-Plaza de Espana Right by the western side of Puente Nuevo is one of the largest within the old town, entirely surrounded by beautiful historical buildings as the Armeria and the former City Hall, nowadays the Parador Ronda Hotel on the very edge of the cliff, hence offering incredible views.
-Alameda Park Not far from the western side of Puente Nuevo and all along the edge of the cliff heading farther west, this park offers the best views over the region below from its balconies.
-Bull Ring The Real Maestranza as it is known is located just behind the Alameda Park it is the oldest surviving in Spain and one of the highest regarded. Built in 1784 in neoclassical style.
-Plaza del Socorro If continuing your walk from the Bull Ring, just meters behind it is this nice square, truly traditional Andalusian in architecture and flair.
-El Socorro Church Dominates one of the sides of this square.
-Casino Located on the western side of the square with roads at both sides.
- South of Puente Nuevo Is the oldest area of the city retaining much of the original former Muslim flair from the Moorish occupation, and architecture such as the walls and the Arab baths.
-Arminan Street Is the main street through this area of the city connecting all the sights along.
-Arch of Phillip the V Located downhill following Cuesta de Santo Domingo Street.
-Puente Viejo The “Old Bridge” was the only way of crossing the river before the larger “New Bridge” was built. Much smaller than the New Bridge, older but beautiful for its emplacement and views.
-Roman Bridge The oldest and of course, first bridge ever built here across the Tagus River.
-Arab Baths Not far from the Roman Bridge, dating from the 13th century.
-Mondragon Palace This is a former Moorish palace with nice gardens and great views, with a museum. It is located at the square by the same name.
-Duquesa de Parcent Square On the southernmost area of this part of the city, here you can find:
-Santa Maria la Mayor Built on what was the main city’s mosque in Gothic style with Baroque and Rococo elements specially in its interior.
-Clarisas de Santa Isabel de los Ángeles Convent
-New City Hall Beautiful long building with arched windows all over.
- Almocabar This district at the very south of Ronda, not far from Duquesa de Parcent Square and New City Hall is a must visit for its beautiful Arab walls, and also for a thriving bar and restaurants area with great food at very down to earth prices.
-Almocabar Gate The main access gate to the once walled city.
-Arab Walls Much of the walls that once encircled the town were destroyed during During Napoleon’s invasion of Spain and Portugal in the Peninsular War 1808-1814, but this section is been restored to its former glory.
-Espiritu Santo Church You will get the finest view of the church from outside the walls, couples with the Almocabar Gate and defensive towers.
- Acinipo Also known as Ronda la Vieja (The Old Ronda) is the original Roman settlement for retired soldiers. Of the remains there today, the notorious one is the theatre which is still in use today, and one of the first ever built by the Romans in Hispania. The archaeological site sits little over 20 kilometres from actual Ronda, on direction towards Seville.
The nearest airports to Ronda are pretty much equidistant and indifference in the sense that it really does not matter which one you are flying into. Either Malaga or Gibraltar are 105 kilometres away hence it will only depend on what else you wish to plan for this trip. Perhaps visiting also Gibraltar in one go, or perhaps Malaga. Any of them coupled with Ronda works perfectly for a weekend trip without rush and plenty of time for enjoyment.
While buses connect both Gibraltar (precisely at La Linea de la Concepcion just across the border) and Malaga, from elsewhere in Spain there are good long distance bus connections since Ronda in along the route towards Seville, Granada and farther ahead.
Trains from Algeciras and San Roque-La Linea (a short distance from La Linea de la Concepcion and Gibraltar) pass through Ronda with direct connexion to Madrid and other branches.
Within the city it is out of question there is no need at all for any public transportation to move around. The city is very small and the only way to discover it is on foot.
I cannot recommend in this case any place to stay in Ronda since our base was in Malaga. In any case the chances that you would want to spend the night here might be rare to none. As explained before, Ronda caters mostly day-trippers, specially holiday makers whose resort/hotels are along the coast. The city however, boats a number of establishments, notably small family run business and small hotels.
If you would like some further information on which hotels we have been so far in the cities nearby, click on the following hyperlinks: Gibraltar-La Linea, Malaga, Granada. The last hotel we’ve been on this occasion in Malaga is also updated in the relevant guide. A good and reasonable point to start your search is by checking some of our preferred affiliate hotel search engine such as Hotels.com, Booking.com, Expedia, Otel.com, Agoda, Opodo, Hotels Click, LateRooms or Ebookers.