Ronda, Spain: The Complete Guide To An Andalusian Gem

by Mark & Kristen Morgan
the main bridge in Ronda

If you’re planning a trip to Southern Spain, you should definitely consider visiting the stunning city of Ronda. This quaint little gem is easily accessible from the Costa Del Sol holiday resorts, Seville or Malaga for a day trip.

Although Ronda is the third most visited city in Andalusia, it doesn’t have the same tourist conveyor belt feel like Granada’s Alhambra. It’s a much more laid back alternative.

We spent 2 fantastic weeks touring Andalusia in May 2018 and our time in Ronda was one of the highlights of the trip. The small town feel gives it a nice vibe and is perfect if you’re short on time.

In this article we are going to explain why you should visit the beautiful mountaintop city of Ronda when you are in Southern Spain. If you want to get a real feel for the city, we would recommend you stay for a night. That way you can eat dinner and watch the sunset with an amazing view once the (relatively few!) crowds have dispersed.

beautiful views overlooking the countryside in Ronda Spain

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If you plan to put some days in sunbathing on the beach before heading up to Ronda for a city day trip, fly into Malaga.

It’s the closest airport to Ronda and is the main airport servicing Spain’s famous Costa del Sol. Many budget airlines fly into Malaga, perfect for cheap flight from most of Europe.

If you’re more about culture and cities, your other option is to fly into the ever popular city of Seville. Once you’ve explored Seville, you can then take an easy day trip to Ronda.

If you have a bit of extra money and want to have local experts take all of the organizing out of your hands, booking an organised tour would be your best option. They handle transport and sightseeing with guided tours, take a look at your options below.

Unfortunately, traveling to Ronda, Spain isn’t the easiest thanks to slow winding roads and inconsistent rail connections, let’s check out how you can get to Ronda.

sign for Ronda train station

Train to Ronda

We would recommend taking the train only for those who have interrail passes. There are multiple trains leaving per day but try to book ahead with interrail passes as there are only a certain amount available per train.

The train from Seville or Malaga takes a long time as you have to change either at Cordoba, Bobadilla, Antequera Santa Ana etc and is way more expensive. Take the bus instead.

Note: If you’re visiting Cordoba and traveling down to Ronda for a day, the train only takes 1h 50m each way.

Check out renfe and/or thetrainline for more information on trains.

Hire Car – Drive to Ronda

Another option is to hire a car in either Seville or whichever part of the Costa del Sol you are staying in. You can reach Ronda from both areas in under 2 hours.

Make sure you check to see if you need an international drivers licence to drive in Spain. Always remember to check local traffic before setting off.

Bus to Ronda

The bus is the best option for those on a budget. You’ll need to book with Damas, who run several buses each day from Malaga to Seville / Seville to Malaga, via Ronda.

It should only cost around 11 euros and is direct into Ronda, taking just over 2 hours.

Here’s the Damas website to search for bus prices, it’s in Spanish but can be translated to English.

Take a Tour of Ronda

From Seville

Travel through the ancient Andalusian kingdoms of Castille and Granada on this 11 hour day tour of Ronda and the Pueblos Blancos. Tour includes hotel pick up in Seville, all transport and tour guide – all for an excellent price.

From Malaga/Costa del Sol

Pick up from Malaga city or the major tourist hotspots on the Costa del Sol. Visit Ronda and the Pueblos Blancos on an 8-10 hour day trip. Tour includes all transport, entry to attractions and tour guide. Amazing value for money!

Best Things to do in Ronda

The secret is out. A little while back Ronda was relatively unknown, but a place of such beauty can never stay a secret for long. However, it’s not yet saturated, so now is a good time to visit.

Because it is so small, it’s easy to see everything in a day trip to Ronda. You won’t feel like you’ve missed anything. 

The city is split in two by a deep canyon that the River Guadelevin has carved out over the years.

Ronda’s centerpiece is the magnificent Puente Nuevo bridge that spans the gap over the El Tajo canyon. At roughly 100m above the canyon floor, the bridge is a truly marvelous spectacle. It is the reason most people will visit Ronda and rightly so – it’s awesome!

Ronda just seemed to have a positive, happy and fun feel to it. We loved it.

Marvel at the Awesome Puente Nuevo Bridge

view of the side of the bridge from bottom of reveine

What else could we start with?! You can see from the photos, it’s special! The best part is that the bridge can be viewed from so many different areas and it’s free to visit.

Construction of the 66m wide bridge we see today began in 1759 and finished in 1793. A total of only 34 years. The remarkable design has made it the most photographed bridge in Spain.

Everything centers around the bridge. You won’t need a map because you’ll naturally be sucked in the right direction by the crowds and atmosphere as you get closer to the area.

We highly recommend you take the walk down to the bottom of the El Tajo Gorge. There are several look out points between the river bed and the top of the bridge. The hike should take around 2 hours, which also includes some time for photos. The hardest part is the wide steps in the beginning of the trail (which seem much steeper on the way back up)!

Pro-tip: Get up early or stay out late to get sunrise and sunset photos of the bridge, it’s worth it for some great shots of an awesome spectacle.

water underneath large bridge
amazing view of buildings along the edge of a mountain
view of the countryside in Ronda
Want some interesting facts from the history of the bridge?

The original bridge collapsed in 1741 and 50 people plummeted 100m to their deaths.

On the North side of the bridge near plaza Espana now sits the interpretation museum for the bridge, but the museum used to serve as prison for bandits and dangerous criminals in the 19th century.

Ready for an unconfirmed myth?

It has been said that prisoners of the Spanish civil war were thrown to their deaths from off the Puente Nuevo bridge. Now, these are rumors but does it sound so unlikely?

You can find out more about the bridge on this website.

Picnic With a View

close up of bridge in Ronda

How about this for a picnic spot?! The perfect plan is to pick up some treats from town and set up your ‘picnic with a view’ half way down the canyon looking back up at the mighty bridge.

Grab a bottle of local wine, cheese and chorizo for your baguette. But remember, it will be hot so leave room for an ice cream!

Walk South over the bridge, take the first right onto Calle Tenorio and follow that until you see some footpaths to the right, leading down into the Tajo gorge. You will find the best viewpoints of the bridge and a place to set up your picnic.

Pro-Tip: We visited in June and the weather was perfect, but it can get very hot in July and August. If you know it will be too hot to be exposed, try an early or late picnic, avoiding 12-4pm. This way you can beat both the heat and the crowds.

Plaza de Toros de Ronda

worlds biggest bullfighting ring

The Plaza de Toros in Ronda was completed in 1784 and is made entirely of stone. It is the birth place of the style of bullfighting known as Rondeño.

The bullring has a fascinating history, including being home to Spain’s most notable and oldest order of horsemanship: Real Maestranza de Caballeria de Ronda.

The Plaza de Toros has been called the biggest bullring in Spain. Let’s clear that up.

It is not the largest bullring in Spain, in fact, it only has a 5,000 spectator capacity. Compared to 23,798 at the Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas in Madrid, it’s actually quite small. But it does have the largest round circle of sand in the world at 66m, which is equally as impressive.

The spectator seats have two levels. 136 gorgeous Tuscan sandstone columns support the roof and there are 68 beautifully crafted arches encircling the inside frame.

If you’d like to read more about the history of the bullring, check out this website.

Opening Times: every day 10am – 6pm, 7pm or 8pm depending on time of year.

Price: €6.50 adult, €8.00 with audio guide

Museo del Bandolero (Bandit Museum)

Mark posing outside the Museo del bandolero in Ronda

This museum gives an insight into the lives of the local people in Ronda in the 19th and early 20th centuries. But with a twist. The museum puts an emphasis on some of the most notorious bandits in Spain’s history.

Throughout the museum are various official documents like arrest warrants, newspaper articles and exhibits. They build up profiles on the bandits to allow visitors to delve into their interesting (if not short lived!) lives.

A friend recommended the bandit museum and we found it really interesting! Bandits are a popular and sometimes romanticized topic from the history of Spain.

The museum is about a 5 minute walk away from the bridge heading South.

Opening Times: every day 11am – 7.30pm except Saturday open until 8pm

Price: €3.75 adult

Arab Baths

The top place in town to see Moorish architecture is the Arab Baths or Baños Arabes. The baths, built in the 13th century, are now widely regarded as the best preserved Arabic hammams in Iberia.

You will find the baños in the old Arab quarter (now San Miguel quarter) about a 10 minute walk from the Puente Nuevo.

The hammam is split into three distinct areas following the Roman model: hot, warm and cold.

Fires would heat water in the furnace room, then steam would heat the warm and hot baths but exit through chimneys before reaching the cold bath.

More information about the history and design of the baths can be found here.

Opening Times:

Autumn and Winter

Monday to Friday 10am to 6pm / Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays 10am to 3pm

Spring and Summer

Monday to Friday 10am to 7pm / Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays 10am to 3pm

Price: €3 adult

Explore the Town

street views of old buildings in Ronda

If you have any time left you can explore the pedestrian friendly town center around Carrera Espinel.

Ronda’s streets and Plazas are filled with clothes shops, gift shops, restaurants, churreria’s and cafes.

There are also plenty of bars with seating outside in the sun if you fancy slipping into a tavern for a cold beer.

New town buildings in Ronda

Where to Eat in Ronda

Plaza Mayor in Ronda with restaurants and a cathedral

Usually we would have a bunch of restaurants to recommend but because we had a kitchen for the first time in almost 2 weeks in Spain, we cooked in the whole time!

There are tons of great looking places to eat, many on the South side of the bridge so don’t forget to look over on that side too.

Calle Nueva (where the apartment is located) is a street full of eateries, as is Plaza del Socorro (pictured above) about 5 minutes’ walk away.

If you’re really stuck, check out the reviews of restaurants on tripadvisor here.

Ronda Accommodation

Where are those morgans apartment in Ronda Spain

You could use Ronda as the perfect stop off point between Seville and Malaga, or as a round trip from either city. But why not stay a night to enjoy the atmosphere once the crowds diminish?

When we visited Ronda we stayed a night at Studio del Tajo Ronda, Calle Nueva. Our preference is to stay in hotels/apartments and we travel on a low to mid-range budget, looking for best value double rooms where possible.

The apartment was awesome! Perfect location 2 minutes’ walk from the bridge and bullring. It scores a 9.3 with location of 9.8 on booking.com. At just over €40 for the night, it’s a steal.

One of our biggest recommendations for booking accommodation in Spain is that if you know your dates early, book early! We booked mostly a week or so before and in May/June there’s not much available, so we paid over the odds too often.

Book your stay using the search box below!

Booking.com

Ronda Interactive Map

Recommended Reading

If you’re planning a Spain itinerary for an upcoming trip, be sure to check out some other articles from our Spanish adventure!

Day Trip to Toledo – A beautiful UNESCO city, picture perfect and an easy to reach day trip from Madrid.

Hiking Los Cahorros in Sierra Nevada SpainOne of our favorite hikes in Andalusia!

Segovia: Ultimate Day Trip Guide – Another easy to reach UNESCO city from Madrid. Segovia is home to an incredible aqueduct that has to be seen to be believed.

Cordoba, Spain: One Action Packed Day – An awesome Andalusian city, similar in many ways to Granada. Don’t miss the Mezquita Mosque-Cathedral!

7 Best Things to do in Granada The city home to Spain’s famous Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada mountain range. 

An Ultimate Guide to a Weekend in Barcelona – The beautiful capital of Catalonia with stunning architecture and medieval quarters.

Quiz Question: At what altitude is Ronda?

739m
So make sure you remember a lightweight pullover for evenings, even in Summer!

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ronda pinterest graphic spain

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