The Perfect Itinerary for a Day in Ronda
Explore the stunning views and historic sites around one of the oldest towns in Spain.
Easily accessible from Malaga, Marbella and Seville, Ronda is a great destination for a day trip should you be visiting Southern Spain. This beautiful city is famous for its cliff side location and deep valley which dissects the town in two.
It is very popular with tourists, however, still retains the charm and culture of a small town. The main sites include the three bridges over the Tajo canyon, bullfighting ring, Arabic Baths and the ancient city walls – and the compact nature of the town make all of these sites easily accessible by foot.
Read the tips and highlights from my day in Ronda so you can make the most of your visit.
Plaza de toros de Ronda
Bullfighting is a core symbol of Spanish history and culture, and dates back thousands of years. Now considered by most a cruel and controversial event, it represents an ancient sacrificial ritual between man and beast.
Ronda is home to the one of the oldest bullrings in Spain and the most famous ‘school’ of bullfighting. I was surprised to learn that bullfights still occur across Spain, with sporadic fights scheduled throughout the year in Ronda, and several in the ‘Corrida Goyesca’ festival in September. In my opinion, bullfighting is incredibly inhumane and not something I would recommend to visitors.
Instead, visitors can learn about this ancient tradition through visiting the museum and ring. These are open daily costing €6,50 per adult.
Another way to appreciate the site is from the rooftop terrace bar at the Catalonia Hotel. Here we enjoyed some cocktails, and took in the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape and cultural monument below.
Alameda del Tajo
From the bullring it is a minute walk to the Alameda del Tajo – a beautiful public park perched high on the cliff edge. Here you can enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the idyllic gardens, whilst admiring the breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.
Wander though the gardens towards the center of the town and you will find yourself at the next must-see sight; the Puente Nuevo bridge.
Connecting the old Moorish part of town to the newer side, this iconic bridge spans across the 120m deep gorge. The Puente Nuevo “New Bridge” was completed in 1793 is the newest and largest of the three bridges in Ronda. Since being built, the chamber above the middle arch has been used for a variety of purposes, including a prison and torture chamber.
The view of the bridge across the dramatic gorge was spectacular, and there are several viewpoints to admire the magnificent arches from all angles. Whilst you can enjoy the views from the cliffs above, the scale of this architectural wonder can be truly appreciated from within the gorge. Cross the bridge (away from the side of the bullring), and you will find the path leading you down to the bridge’s base. Most of this path was well constructed and easy to navigate, and the roundtrip took us around 40 minutes to complete.
After making your way back up the gorge, stop by El Morabito restaurant. Tables are spread over a beautiful garden situated just on the cliff edge, making it a great spot for birdwatching and enjoying the weather.
Explore the Old Town
Situated to the south of the river, the old town is brimming with picturesque cobbled streets, fountains and churches. Allow yourself to get lost amongst the narrow, twisting streets which will guide you past some quaint cafes nestled below beautiful buildings and homes. There are also many convents in Ronda, including some where nuns sell biscuits and sweets from. Visit ‘Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Merced’ church and go to the door to the left of the church. From here you can ring the bell and purchase biscuits baked by the nuns. You won’t interact with the nuns in person, but instead be served on a lazy Susan. This relatively well kept secret offers a unique experience and is not one to miss from your Ronda itinerary.
Puerta de Almocabar and City Walls
Towards the south of the city you will find the magnificent stone entrance to Ronda’s Old Town. This 13th century gateway was the main entrance into the city during Moorish times. Along with it’s geographic advantage on a rocky peninsula, these city walls and gate made Ronda a very strongly defended city. From the gates you can walk around the outside of the reconstructed city walls, which mark the historic boundary of the town.
Banos Arabes (Arab Baths)
The Arab Baths are a symbol of Ronda’s Islamic history, and an architectural reminder that Spain was ruled by the Moors for longer than it has been Christian.
Despite being abandoned and buried from river floods following Christian invasion, the Arab Baths are the best preserved 13th Century Arab baths in Spain. Excavations revealed the hydraulic system still almost perfectly intact today. This small site can be completed within 20-30 minutes and only costs €3,50 to enter.