As part of our European Road Trip in April 2017 we made sure to make a de-tour to Ronda, situated in the Andalusian mountains and perched on an inland plateau, split by the 100 metre El Tajo gorge, Ronda is Malaga's most spectacular town, and indeed one of Spain's oldest towns dating from the 9th century BC. Ronda is located about 100km (62 miles) west of the city of Malaga.
The location is superbly dramatic, perched high above the rest of the surrounding land, its existing old town, La Cuidad (the City) largely dates back to Islamic times, when it was an important cultural centre filled with mosques and palaces.
There are three bridges which span the canyon; the Puente Romano ("Roman Bridge", also known as the Puente San Miguel), Puente Viejo ("Old Bridge", also known as the Puente Árabeor "Arab Bridge"), and Puente Nuevo ("New Bridge") the latter isn't exactly new though as it was built between 1751 and 1793. The Puente Nuevo is the tallest of the bridges, towering 120 m (390 ft) above the canyon floor, and all three serve as some of the city's most impressive features.
The 'Corrida Goyesca' is a unique and historical bullfight that takes place once a year in Ronda in the 'Plaza de toros de Ronda', the oldest and largest bullfighting ring in Spain. (Read here for a more detailed explanation of how the bullring claims that status). It was built in 1784 in the Neoclassical style by the architect José Martin de Aldehuela, who also designed the Puente Nuevo. For €8 you can tour around the Plaza de Toros with and audio guide.
The cobblestone streets are bustling with locals going to the fruit stalls and to religious ceremonies, the tourists are scattered around with their cameras to their faces, you will also see the former town hall which sits next to the Puente Nuevo, it is now a luxury hotel which offers spectacular views of the Tajo canyon. Look over the edge of the railings as you walk around, the views are vast and expansive, you get a real sense of how high you are when you see the little winding roads below.
How to get there-
Around 1 hour 30 minutes drive from Malaga, the roads are tight and twisting with many hair pin bends along the way, causing you to stick to the speed limit, the views are astounding but a little tedious for the driver as they need to keep their wits about them on these roads as you are literally on the cliff edge. Parking in Ronda is around €1.40ph. There are day tours from Malaga and the Costa Del Sol which cost around €38 most including a wine tasting. There is also a direct train from Madrid to Ronda which operates twice daily.
What to wear-
Ensure you have a comfortable pair of shoes for all the cobblestones you will walk on.
The sheer beauty of Ronda, the mountains, the gorge, the views, the bullring is not to be missed.
When to go?-
The summer months of June, July and August are the peak season and will be the hottest. Around April it will still be warm and glorious but a little quieter.
Spending 3-5 hours here will give you ample time to visit the bullring, explore the streets, and to enjoy a refreshing drink on one of the cafes boasting spectacular views.