Ronda is an incredible sight with a rich historical heritage, hidden high in the Serrania de Ronda Mountains. Its natural drama will leave you breathless! It is a perfect one-day trip from Malaga. And it has everything that an ideal day trip should have, at least for me ha ha ha Spectacular views, small cobble-stoned streets to wander around, high-end cuisine and hundreds of local wine producers lol
Approaching Ronda en route the Pueblos Blancos – a winding string of cliff-top white-washed villages that stretches from the Moorish town of Arcos and gives you a little foretaste of Ronda’s steep river gorge which falls a sheer 130m down.
Because of its stunning location on a plateau of a large outcropping rock, Ronda was one of the last Moorish cities to fall during the Reconquest of Spain by the Catholic monarchs.
The impressive gorge divides Ronda into the Moorish Old Town and La Ciudad, which doesn’t hold too many remarkable sights besides the Plaza de Toros and the Gardens of Alameda del Tojo.
Ronda has the oldest and most renowned bullring in Spain! Built in 1785, it hosts the annual Corrida Goyesca in honour of Ronda’s native son, Pedro Romero, one of the greatest bullfighters of all time. The bullring is a piece of architectural art, built in beautiful limestone with double arches and Tuscan-like columns.
Beyond the Plaza de Toros, in El Mercadillo – the New Town – you can find a park remembering the heyday of the British invasion in the 19th century – the Gardens of Alameda del Tojo. Do not miss the panoramic balcony at the end of the gardens to admire extraordinary views of the valley and the Serrania de Ronda in the distance.
The old quarter is much more fascinating than the new part of town, it charms you with a labyrinth of narrow alleys, stone houses and wrought-iron balconies, wine cellars and Moorish architecture.
But Ronda’s biggest attraction is Puente Nuevo. There are three bridges ( Puente Viejo, Puente de San Miguel and Puente Nuevo) that cross over the gorge, but Puente Nuevo is a true architectural marvel and Ronda’s true landmark. It remembers some dark days from the Spanish Civil War when it served as a place of executions for Franco’s troops.
Iglesia de Santa Maria de la Encarnacio la Mayor proudly stands on the Plaza Duquesa de Parcent. During Moorish times it served as a Great Mosque of Ronda. As a result both its interiors and exteriors feature a medley of architectural styles.
Outside you can see Moorish, Gothic and Renaissance influences, with a belfry constructed on top of the old Moorish minaret. Inside you’ll find naves in the late Gothic style, a main altar heavy with baroque gold leaf, a Plateresque chancel, and an arch still covered with Arabic calligraphy.
You can still see an old Muslim mihrab (prayer niche) in front of the current street door. The two-tiered balcony on the facade was a gallery where notables could watch special events staged on the square below.
Banos Arabes, dating from the 13th century, are the finest example of Moorish baths in Spain. The baths have glass-roof windows, hump-shaped cupolas and beautiful octagonal brick columns supporting horseshoe arches.
Another great example of the Moorish style is Palacio de Mondragón, which was once the 14th-century private home of the Moorish king Abomelic. Inside you can see a trio of wonderful courtyards and a collection of Moorish mosaics.
There are the Casa del Rey Moro and Museo Lara with a unique collection of everything – from bullfighting objects, antique clocks to early cameras and knives.
You can stroll over to the Old Town, enjoy some coffee in a hidden cafe and pop in for wine testing at the Interpretation Centre of Wine, but my favourite place doesn’t hold such cultural and architectural heritage.
It is called Tragabuches and serves the finest and most creative cuisine in the whole town. The inventive menu is likely to feature well-crafted dishes, all accompanied by a perfect wine selection from the region. Delicious! And worth a trip itself.