RONDA

A Beautiful Brute PHOTOS
Button for Hotel Search Hotel Search
Welcome to Ronda, Spain

The picturesque white town of Ronda is famous for its fascinating cliff-side setting along the Tajo gorge and the monumental Puente Nuevo (New Bridge) that spans across it. If it looks impressive in photos, wait until you see it in person – it will take your breath away.

Interior of the Arab baths in Ronda, Spain
Houses with colorful flower pots in Ronda, Spain
Terrace at the Morabito Restaurant in Ronda, Spain
Inside the bullring of Ronda, Spain
+9

Ronda’s old Moorish quarter is surreally perched on the side of a cliff. These steep cliffs and some additional fortified walls completely surround the town. Like an island in the sky, this unique location made it perfect for a castle-like enclave. Even though they were on top of the gorge, the Moors were able to secure water access from the Guadalevín River below. A secret tunnel was dug down nearly 100 m (300 ft) to the river which supplied water to Ronda’s residents for centuries. However, in 1485, Christian forces managed to overcome this access to the water and the Moors lost the city.

Besides the bridge and the gorge, Ronda is also the birthplace of modern bullfighting and home to one of the oldest bullrings in Spain. The interesting story of how bullfighting grew from the need to train horses for war is told in the bullfighting museum.

Today, Ronda still retains the historic charm that in the past attracted such famous writers as Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles. Beyond its impressive New Bridge and its bullfighting heritage, Ronda is a pleasure to get lost in. Its incredible location, along the walls of the canyon, makes for an array of astonishing views waiting to be discovered. Whether it’s by wandering the narrow cobblestone streets, enjoying a cold drink on a veranda next to the New Bridge, or just watching the birds glide through the canyon – Ronda is a town that begs visitors to slow down, take in its beauty and relax.

Puente Nuevo

Ronda's Puente Nuevo seen from the Aldehuela lookout, Spain
Ronda's Puente Nuevo seen from the Aldehuela lookout

The Puente Nuevo and the Tajo gorge are Ronda’s main attractions. The striking bridge looks like something you would expect to find at the entrance to some fantasy kingdom in Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings. To say it looks “sturdy” or “heavy-duty” would be an understatement.

But this brute of a bridge was not the first bridge to span the Tajo Gorge. In 1735 a single-arc bridge was constructed. But only 6 years later, it came crashing down into the gorge below, killing 50 people.

The response was to build a new bridge and make sure that it could withstand the weight from passing traffic. When work began on the new mammoth structure, a sophisticated set of pulleys and lifting equipment had to be developed to raise the quarried stones from the gorge below. In 1793, the 98m tall bridge was opened, 34 years after its construction began.

Ronda's New Bridge at night – Malaga, Spain
New Bridge at night

WHERE CAN YOU TAKE THE BEST PHOTOS OF RONDA'S PUENTE NUEVO?

There are many great vantage points to view the bridge and the surroundings. There are three main spots from the top and one from the bottom. These are our favorite spots from the top:

Tajo gorge & new town as seen from the Aldehuela lookout, Ronda
Tajo gorge & new town as seen from the Aldehuela lookout

If you want to see the entire bridge and take a nice photos then go to this view point at the bottom of the gorge. To get there, you have two options:

  • The quickest path starts at the Plaza de María Auxiliadora and zig-zags rapidly to the bottom of the gorge.
  • The other option is to drive or walk through the Moorish old town and then stay to the right once you leave the walled city through the Almocábar Gate.
Green countryside around Ronda, Spain
Green countryside around Ronda

HIKE THE PERIMETER

If you like to hike, then it’s also possible to walk the entire outside perimeter of the walled town. It takes about 40 - 60 min one way. Start at the Cuenca Gardens and continue down to the Arab baths. From there, stay on the road (Calle Molino de Alarcón) until reaching the Almocábar Gate. Then, follow Calle del Prado which becomes Carretera de los Molinos in the last stretch.

If you don't mind the long walk, then we really recommend to do the entire perimeter – it’s simply beautiful. You will have the opportunity to enjoy great views of Ronda and the green hillside landscapes that surround it while listening to the birds singing and the cow bells in the background.

Also, instead of backtracking from the viewpoint at the bottom, you can follow the zig-zagging path back up to the Plaza de María Auxiliadora. It is much quicker and you will be rewarded with some more amazing views of the bridge.

The Two Cities of Ronda

Views of el mercadillo from la ciudad – Ronda, Spain
Views of "el mercadillo" from "la ciudad"

Ronda has a long history. It dates back to at least the 6th century when it was settled by Celtiberians who called it Arunda. Later the Romans took over Ronda and it received the title of city from Julius Caesar.

But it wasn’t until 713 when the Moors arrived that the city as we know it today began to be formed. The Moors called the city Hisn Ar-Rundah (Castle of Rundah). They built walls on the eastern and southern sides of the city. These walls together with the sheer cliff drops found to the North and West created an impenetrable castle of a city.

This old Moorish medina, known locally as “la ciudad” (the city), is full of winding alleyways with whitewashed buildings. Most of this area is quite austere in appearance but there are a couple of Moorish ruins dotted throughout. There are a few places of interest that are worth visiting.

Puerta de Almocábar in Ronda's old moorish city – Malaga, Spain
Puerta de Almocábar

PLACES OF INTEREST IN "LA CIUDAD"

  • Puente Viejo (Old Bridge) – A bridge from the 1300’s that crosses the river at the bottom of the gorge.
  • Arab baths – Some of Spain’s best preserved Arab baths that date back to the 13th & 14th centuries. Located right next to the Puente Viejo. Entrance fee is 3.5€.
  • Casa del Rey Moro – The house of the Moorish King is a Neo-mudéjar palace with a secret tunnel that descends to the river below. It was used to secure access to water, even with Ronda under siege. Admission for the gardens and tunnel visit is 7€.
  • Palacio de Mondragón – A Mudéjar style palace from the 14th century with 3 beautiful patios, a garden and great views of Ronda’s countryside. Today it houses the city’s museum. Admission is 3.5€.
  • Plaza Duquesa de Parcent – The main square in “la ciudad.” The center is a green park and surrounding it you will find the Church of Santa María la Mayor (4.5€ entrance fee) and the town hall.
Street in el mercadillo, Ronda
Street in el mercadillo

Even though the medina is known as “la ciudad,” only a very small portion of Ronda’s 35,000 inhabitants actually live here. Most live on the other side of the Tajo Gorge in an area that is known as “el mercadillo” (street market). This is the new part of the city that was built after the Christian Reconquest and once a bridge was built over the gorge.

Most of the buildings in el mercadillo date from the 18th and 19th century and they have a more typical Spanish style. The most important sight on this side of the city is the bullring and calvary school known as the Real Maestranza de Caballería (8€ entrance fee) which was established in 1572.

Inside one of the oldest bullrings in the world – Ronda, Spain
Bullring in Ronda

El mercadillo has much more going on than the extreme quiet on the other side. It is after all where locals actually live, so you will find more restaurants and shopping. Overall, the streets are charming and it’s a great place to take a stroll through.

For a complete list of the places of interest in the city check out our Things to do in Ronda page.

Plan your Trip

BASICS
GET TO RONDA FROM...
HOW TO GET AROUND RONDA?

Ronda is quite small and all of the sights are located quite close to one another. The best way to get around is definitely on foot. The only exception might be if you want to go to the viewpoint at the bottom of the gorge and you don’t want to take the footpath down. It is quite steep and strenuous so if you have any kind of mobility issues, it may be best to either drive down yourself or hire a taxi.

Top Hotels & Apartments

HOTELS
APARTMENTS

Best Restaurants, Bars & Cafes

OUR TOP PICKS
Stylish modern restaurant that offers very creative dishes by using a mixture of traditional flavors with an innovative touch. It’s not one of the cheapest alternatives in Ronda, but it is quite good. It is also conveniently located 2-min walk away from Ronda’s famous bridge. Make sure to check out the day’s specials on the blackboard. Address: Calle Nueva 4
Occupying an old mansion perched on the side of the cliff, this restaurant features a beautiful garden with views to the green countryside that surrounds Ronda. You can choose 5 tapas from the menu for 16€. Great price, especially taking into consideration its incredibly charming setting. It is one of our favorites in Ronda. Address: Plaza de María Auxiliadora 4
Popular tapas bar frequented by tourists and locals alike. The menu is made up of a very long list of traditional tapas starting at 0.90€. Their order-forms make it very easy to place orders. It is a small busy bar with great ambience, just don’t expect a sit-down meal. Great value for your money. Address: Calle Virgen de los Remedios 35
×
1/13  Puente Nuevo seen from the Aldehuela lookout
Puente Nuevo (New bridge) seen from the Aldehuela lookout in Ronda, Spain
2/13  New Bridge seen from the bottom of the gorge
Puente Nuevo seen from the bottom of the gorge in Ronda, Spain
3/13  Puente Nuevo at night
Puente Nuevo (New Bridge) at night – Ronda, Spain
4/13  Views from the Aldehuela lookout
Views from the Aldehuela lookout – Ronda, Malaga
5/13  Flower pots in Ronda
Colorful flower pots in a white facade in Ronda, Spain
6/13  Ronda's lovely countryside
Girl walking in Ronda's lovely countryside, Spain
7/13  Views of "el mercadillo" from "la ciudad"
Views of el mercadillo from la ciudad – Ronda, Spain
8/13  Almocabar Gate
Puerta de Almocabar (Almocabar Gate) in Ronda, Spain
9/13  Street in "el mercadillo"
Street in el mercadillo of Ronda, Malaga
10/13  Bullring in Ronda
Bullring in Ronda, Spain
11/13  Arab Baths
Inside the medieval Arab Baths of Ronda – Spain
12/13  El Morabito Restaurant
Great views from El Morabito restaurant, Ronda - Spain
13/13  Tragatá Restaurant
Modern interior of the Tragatá restaurant, Ronda - Spain
arrow to scroll to top
CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE OF THE BEST HOTELS IN RONDA!