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Top Things to Do in Ronda, Spain

Top Things to Do in Ronda, Spain

DESTINATIONS, SPAIN, TOURS

Ronda sits in the heart of the Serrania de Ronda, surrounded by lush river valleys and sitting above a deep ravine; it is a place that literally takes your breath away and captures your imagination. Anyone who has been lucky enough to visit Ronda will understand its appeal. You’ll discover beautiful alleyways, cobbled streets, ancient city walls, the famous new bridge and incredible sweeping landscapes.  Not only is it one of the most photogenic cities in Spain, it’s also the third most visited city in Andalucía.

While Ronda is an easy day trip from Malaga (only 100 km), it’s also perfect if you’re spending a weekend in Marbella or Seville.  The roads are easy for tourists to navigate, and the countryside you pass through will have you glued to the window the whole journey!   Traveling alone through Spain, I decided to play it safe and went with a professional guide named Matt from Toma & COE tours.  He showed me some of the most beautiful and visited cities in Spain.  Ronda was our first stop on the Andalucía tour of Southern Spain.  I decided to spend the night in Ronda and experience all this city has to offer.

Here are some of the highlights of Ronda that are absolutely worth seeing.

The town of Ronda Spain Photo Carmen's Luxury Travel

The town of Ronda Spain Photo Carmen's Luxury Travel

 The New Bridge – Puente Nuevo

The Puente Nuevo – new bridge – offers unforgettable views over the El Tajo gorge.  It was actually completed in 1793 and took forty-two years to build. The bridge joins the old Moorish town and the newer ‘El Mercadillo’ parts of the city. This is Ronda’s most famous landmark by far and also the largest of Ronda’s several bridges that cross the impressive Tajo gorge which separates the city in two. The bridge is 98 meters tall with a high central arch, and a room under the road that has transformed from a hotel, bar, prison, and now to a small museum where you can see stunning views over the gorge.

The Parador de Ronda is a cliffside hotel which sits adjacent to the bridge and is well worth a visit. The views of the El Tajo gorge are quite unforgettable, especially in the evening.

Puente Nuevo Ronda

If you have the time, walk down into the gorge along the Camino de los Molinos. The views are the best to be had down there. In springtime, the whole valley floor is awash with flowers.

Plaza de Toros de Ronda- The Bullring

Ronda is said to be the home of modern day bullfighting. Plaza de Toros stands on the west edge of Ronda, about two blocks from Puente Nuevo and the El Tajo canyon.  The Real Maestranza bullring is one of the oldest and most picturesque in Spain. It was built in 1785 by the architect Jose Martin Aldehuela – the same architect who built the Puente Nuevo. The ring can hold up to 5,000 spectators.

Plaza de Toros - Ronda photo by Carmen Edelson (Carmen's Luxury Travel)

Plaza de Toros - Ronda photo by Carmen Edelson (Carmen's Luxury Travel)

Francisco Romero, born in Ronda in 1695, is credited with giving bullfighting its modern day rules with the introduction of the cape and the muleta. His grandson, Pedro Romero (1754-1839), became one of Spain’s greatest bullfighters. He founded the Ronda School for Bullfighting, and it is still known today for its classicism and strict adherence to the rules. There’s a museum and guided audio tours for visitors who want to walk around the bullfighting ring.

Santa Maria la Mayor

Santa Maria la Mayor is Ronda’s largest church, and also home to many of the Easter floats used in processions during Holy Week. The church was built on the foundations of an Islamic mosque, part of which is still visible in a small alcove as you enter.

Santa Maria de Mayor Iglesia - Ronda photo by Carmen Edelson (Carmen's Luxury Travel)

Inside Santa Maria de Mayor Church - Ronda photo by Carmen Edelson (Carmen's Luxury Travel)

Plaza Duquesa de Parcent – Duquesa de Parcent Square

Plaza Duquesa de Parcent is Ronda’s most picturesque square and one that is brimming with monuments. The Santa Maria del Mayor church is the highlight, a church which took over 200 years to build, and is a mixture of Gothic and Renaissance style architecture.

Plaza Duquesa de Parcent Ronda

Plaza Duquesa de Parcent Ronda

Another square I would recommend is Plaza del Socorro, the square in front of the Almocabar Gate, and around Calle Nueva. La Plaza del Socorro is named after the church that sits in the square. It’s a large, tree lined square in the heart of the older part of the new town. It’s important because of its location and size, and so it’s always been a meeting point, as well as a great place to spend the evening. Paseo is an activity Spaniards used to do in the evening in a square like this; local Rodeños still partake in this type of gathering. There are several bars and restaurants lining the square. The buildings were heavily damaged by French troops around 1805 during the war of Independence (Napoleonic War 1793-1815) so what we see today dates from after that time. Its close location to the Bullring makes it a lively and convenient place to see when you’re visiting Ronda.

Plaza del Socorro Ronda Photo: Steve Keiretsu
Plaza del Socorro Ronda Photo: Steve Keiretsu

Jardines de Cuenca – Cuenca Gardens

The Cuenca Gardens are located on the ledges of the Tajo, a winding staircase from Puente Viejo (Old Bridge) to the top of El Mercadillo.  The views are fantastic and give you a unique and differing perspective of the city.

The Cuenca Gardens

Mirador de Aldehuela and Balcón del Coño Viewpoints

Here’s you’ll find one of the most popular viewpoints of the city, and with good reason! The views of the gorge, the Puente Nuevo, and the surrounding countryside are simply spectacular.

Mirador de Aldehuela Photo Carmen's Luxury Travel

Mirador de Aldehuela Photo Carmen's Luxury Travel

The viewpoint has been named in honor of the architect José Martin de Aldehuela. This is the same architect who built the bullring, the Puente Nuevo, and finished Malaga’s cathedral, along with many other projects. The Balcón del Coño viewpoint is another spot that should not be missed.

Puerta de  Almocábar

The Old Town is surrounded by massive fortress walls, pierced by two ancient gates: the Islamic Puerta de Almocábar, which in the 13th century was the main gateway to the castle; and the 16th-century Puerta de Carlos V. Inside, the Islamic layout remains intact, and its maze of narrow streets now takes its character from the Renaissance mansions of powerful families whose predecessors accompanied Fernando el Católico in the taking of the city in 1485.

Puerta de Almocábar

Ronda was everything you can imagine and more. Honestly, if you are ever in Southern Spain, don’t miss out on visiting Ronda.

About the author

Carmen Edelson is the Founder and Senior Editor of Carmen's Luxury Travel. Carmen has been traveling the world for over a decade. Our travels allows her the opportunity to pursuit her itch to travel to the best luxury destinations, and experience those first class tastes from around the world.

42 Comments

  1. Katie @ Zen Life and Travel
    March 18, 2017 at 2:50 pm
    Reply

    This place looks incredible! The New Bridge – wow! I have yet to make it to Spain but it’s high on my list.
    Katie @ Zen Life and Travel recently posted…How To Earn And Use IHG PointsMy Profile

    • Carmen Edelson
      March 22, 2017 at 7:41 am

      Spain is such a beautiful country! I hope you get to visit it one day, Katie.

  2. Tom
    March 18, 2017 at 3:45 pm
    Reply

    I was in Andalucia about five years ago, and I’m always sorry I missed Ronda. Everytime I see photos of it, yeah like this now, I kick myself. Any place that looks that good, and surely has brilliant food, deserves a weekend at least.

    • Carmen Edelson
      March 22, 2017 at 7:42 am

      Now you have a reason to return, Tom 🙂

  3. jo
    March 18, 2017 at 5:05 pm
    Reply

    I’ve never been to Ronda but it look stunning. Those views are fantastic what a beautiful place. The bullfighting arena looks worth a visit on it’s own!

    • Carmen Edelson
      March 22, 2017 at 7:42 am

      It’s truly stunning… difficult to take a bad photo!

  4. Kevin's Travel Diary
    March 18, 2017 at 7:29 pm
    Reply

    Been to a few of these places, what a great list you have put together for everyone. The bullring is a must!

    • Carmen Edelson
      March 22, 2017 at 7:42 am

      Thanks, Kevin!

  5. Lauren Craving Sunshine
    March 18, 2017 at 8:18 pm
    Reply

    I’ve only ever visited the Spanish islands, never actually mainland Spain. It is up there on my list of destinations to see! Plus i have a friend who lives in Madrid so i really don’t have an excuse anymore!
    Lauren Craving Sunshine recently posted…What Long Term Travel Has Taught MeMy Profile

    • Carmen Edelson
      March 22, 2017 at 7:43 am

      Yes… no excuses! 🙂 I just love all of Spain, especially the islands.

  6. Sarah Boyle
    March 19, 2017 at 8:05 am
    Reply

    Great post. Andalucía looks absolutely gorgeous and the views are incredible. Do you know if they still have bullfights in the town? I’m really put off by the Pampalona bull run as I feel like it’s a massive tourist thing now rather than tradition, but I’m not really aware whether they still have small scale town ones.

    • Carmen Edelson
      March 22, 2017 at 7:46 am

      I believe they do a “run with the bulls” type of event in several small towns, not just Pamplona. But that certainly is the most popular one! And yes, they still have bullfights in Ronda.

  7. Brianna
    March 19, 2017 at 8:59 am
    Reply

    Looks like a beautiful place! I love learning about the smaller, less visited towns in Europe. I would have loved to see the bull ring and learned more about the history of bull fighting. I’m sure there are some interesting things to learn about!
    Brianna recently posted…Travel Gear I UseMy Profile

    • Carmen Edelson
      March 22, 2017 at 7:47 am

      Ronda certainly has a fascinating history, Brianna!

  8. Angela @ Dang Travelers
    March 19, 2017 at 9:12 am
    Reply

    So excited to read your post! My husband and I are heading to Spain next month, walking the Camino (500 miles!) and then road tripping through Spain and Portugal. Rhonda is now on our places to visit list. Thanks for the info!

    • Carmen Edelson
      March 22, 2017 at 7:47 am

      I’m so happy to hear that, Angela! I hope you and your husband have a fabulous time in Spain.

  9. Punita Malhotra
    March 19, 2017 at 9:14 am
    Reply

    Ah…and I’m pining for Spain again! Love this country. There are several places we haven’t visited in our first trip and Rhonda will surely feature in our second, when that happens.

    • Carmen Edelson
      March 22, 2017 at 7:47 am

      Glad to hear it, Punita! You’ll love it.

  10. Milijana
    March 19, 2017 at 3:15 pm
    Reply

    These beautiful photos of are feeding my soul! I have just added Ronda to my Andalucia itinerary. La hermosa ciudad de Ronda, viva Andalucia!

    • Carmen Edelson
      March 22, 2017 at 7:48 am

      That’s great, Milijana! It’s definitely worth visiting.

  11. Skye Gilkeson
    March 19, 2017 at 9:47 pm
    Reply

    Oh Ronda. I am so sad I still haven’t made it there after living in Spain and travelling there often. It is so quintessentially Spanish, the buildings, the bullring, the little plazas. It takes me back. Gorgeous guide.

    • Carmen Edelson
      March 22, 2017 at 7:48 am

      Thank you! And yes, it’s certainly quintessentially Spanish.

  12. Harvey (H-Bomb's Worldwide Karaoke)
    March 19, 2017 at 10:07 pm
    Reply

    I wouldn’t go to the bullring, as bullfighting is cruel and barbaric. But lots of the other sights in Ronda look stunning — such as the new bridge (although if the “new bridge” was finished in 1793, I’d hate to think when the old bridge must have been built). The Cuenca gardens and the Mirador with the long name are beautiful too.
    Harvey (H-Bomb’s Worldwide Karaoke) recently posted…Country no. 44 on my World Karaoke Tour: this year in Jerusalem!My Profile

    • Carmen Edelson
      March 22, 2017 at 7:49 am

      Bullfighting is a part of their history and culture, but it certainly isn’t something that needs to be at the top of everyone’s list. Thanks for reading, Harvey!

  13. Sandy N Vyjay
    March 19, 2017 at 11:51 pm
    Reply

    Ronda looks really charming. It has an old world charm that is so endearing. The Bullring looks amazing. I can almost visualize images of raging bulls and bull fighters and hear the sounds of combat. The architecture somehow reminds me of the Colosseum,
    Sandy N Vyjay recently posted…The Changing Face of Management EducationMy Profile

    • Carmen Edelson
      March 22, 2017 at 7:49 am

      I see what you mean, Sandy!

  14. Corinne
    March 20, 2017 at 12:46 am
    Reply

    Ronda, such a gorgeous little Spanish town. We loved it for all the reasons you mention. We loved the museum and the history of the bull ring, and the bridge is ever impressive.

    • Carmen Edelson
      March 22, 2017 at 7:50 am

      Glad you agree, Corinne! It’s a beautiful part of Spain.

  15. Kerri
    March 20, 2017 at 5:34 am
    Reply

    There’s so much to love about Spain but I’ve still got more to see. Haven’t been to Ronda, but thanks for highlighting the city to me. Love the bridge (I have a thing for bridges) and the hotel on the bridge edge would be awesome. The architecture is also something I really love about Spain. Thanks for all the info.

    • Carmen Edelson
      March 22, 2017 at 7:50 am

      You’re welcome, Kerri! You would certainly love this bridge 🙂

  16. Vicki Louise
    March 20, 2017 at 6:59 am
    Reply

    I love the Bridge! Its absolutely stunning! It’s nice that they are educating people about bull fighting and its history – and whilst I don’t agree with it, it would be interesting to learn about it!

    • Carmen Edelson
      March 22, 2017 at 7:50 am

      I totally agree with you, Vicki!

  17. Greg
    March 20, 2017 at 12:38 pm
    Reply

    That looks amazing! I have been dying to go to Spain and Portugal! I’ve yet to see a picture that makes them look bad!
    Greg recently posted…We Moved Back to MexicoMy Profile

    • Carmen Edelson
      March 22, 2017 at 7:51 am

      I know, Greg! It was difficult to take a bad photo in Ronda 😉

  18. Lieurene Tran
    March 20, 2017 at 7:49 pm
    Reply

    This town looks stunning! I love the Puente Nueva, it looks huge and gorgeous. The bullfighting ring also looks great too. The architect is very talented and given that they were built in the late 1700s, it still stood strong today. It looks like a great getaway for a day or two to explore this beautiful town.

    • Carmen Edelson
      March 22, 2017 at 7:51 am

      Yes, definitely give yourself at least two days!

  19. Juliette @ Snorkels To Snow
    March 20, 2017 at 9:55 pm
    Reply

    What beautiful scenery and architecture – especially the churches. They are quite exquisite! And that bridge is just incredible – what a view. How did you feel about visiting the bull fighting ring? This part of Spain looks beautiful. Quite dramatic scenery, from some of your photos.
    Juliette @ Snorkels To Snow recently posted…Isa Lei: Farewell FijiMy Profile

    • Carmen Edelson
      March 22, 2017 at 7:52 am

      It’s a part of their history and culture that I was fascinated to learn more about! Thanks for reading, Juliette 🙂

  20. Mike
    March 21, 2017 at 6:42 am
    Reply

    The Cuenca gardens look simply stunning! I visited a Ronda in Cebu, Philippines that was named after this city but the original one looks so much nicer! I love the architecture here too.

    • Carmen Edelson
      March 22, 2017 at 7:52 am

      Oh how interesting! Didn’t know there was a Ronda in the Philippines.

  21. Therie
    March 23, 2017 at 6:56 am
    Reply

    That bridge and garden look marvelous! How was Ronda not in everyone’s travel bucket list!

    • Carmen Edelson
      March 25, 2017 at 7:40 am

      I ask myself the same thing! 🙂

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