TOP THINGS
TO DO & SEE in Ronda, Spain

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What You Can’t Miss

You travel to Ronda to see the colossal Puente Nuevo (New Bridge). It alone is worth the journey. You can admire the bridge from a handful of viewpoints including from one of the many restaurants perched on the cliff side. Ronda oozes with charm and has enough to keep you occupied for a full day. Don’t forget to visit Ronda’s famous bullring and check out the Arab baths which are some of the best preserved in all of Spain. Below you will find more information about the top things to do in Ronda.

Top Things to Do in Ronda

1

PUENTE NUEVO & TAJO GORGE

Ronda's impressive New Bridge seen from the bottom of the gorge, Spain
New Bridge seen from the bottom of the gorge

The Puente Nuevo (New Bridge) is a sight to behold. It is a true behemoth of a construction that was completed in 1793. For 34 years, workers painstakingly lifted quarried stone from the bottom of the gorge, all the way up until they reached the top – a full 98 meters (300 ft) above. The three arches of the bridge span 70 meter (230 ft) across the Tajo Gorge, connecting the Moorish quarter known as “la ciudad” with the newer “el mercadillo” sections of the city.

But why did the city of Ronda build such a massive bridge with a solid foundation at the bottom of the gorge? The answer is quite simple. The first bridge only went down 35 meters and 6 years after it was finished, it collapsed, killing 50 people. It took several years for the city to recover and even think about building another bridge after such a traumatic event. And when they finally started with the Puente Nuevo that we see today, they didn’t want to take any chances.

Today, the bridge can be admired from all along the cliffs on both sides of the gorge. You can even eat at a restaurant or have a drink on a terrace overlooking all of the drama. But if you want to see the entire bridge and get the best photo, you have to go to the bottom. You can drive there but we recommend to walk down the path from the top that starts at the Plaza de María Auxiliadora. That way you can enjoy even more lovely views at different lookout points on the way down.

Of all the things to do in Ronda, the New Bridge is without a doubt the main attraction.

2

ROYAL SCHOOL OF CAVALRY (BULLRING)

Ronda's bullring in Spain
Bullring in Ronda

Founded in 1572, the Real Maestranza de Caballería (Royal Calvary School) de Ronda is the oldest in Spain. Calvary schools were created by the nobility under the order of King Phillip II. These schools could be defined as “nobility clubs,” which had the job to prepare the horses for battle. For training the horses, they often used bulls which ended up developing into what we now call bullfighting.

Ronda is the birthplace of modern bullfighting and home to one of the oldest bullrings in Spain. Inside the Royal School of Calvary (8€ entrance fee) you will be able to see the bullring, bullpen and horse stables. In addition, there is a museum where you can learn how the calvary and bullfighting impacted Spain’s history and culture. Regardless of your position on bullfighting, we highly recommend a visit.

Museum exhibition in Ronda's bullring, Spain
Museum exhibition in Ronda's bullring

Besides the bullring and museum, Ronda’s Maestranza still runs an equestrian school. It is possible to see Spanish thoroughbred horses when you visit and if you are lucky, they might even be training. If you are interested in seeing an actual bullfight, then you will probably find it very difficult since there is only one fight per year (go to Seville for bullfights). It happens at the beginning of September during Ronda’s largest fiesta, the Feria de Pedro Romero.

3

CUENCA GARDEN & OLD BRIDGE

Crossing the old bridge in Ronda, Spain
Crossing the Old Bridge in Ronda

The Cuenca Garden (Jardines de Cuenca) is a delightful small garden located right in the edge of the cliff. It offers a wonderful full view of Ronda’s famous bridge all the way down to the Tajo gorge below. At the Cuenca Garden you will find yourself surrounded by a beautiful collection of roses. There are over 60 different varieties in this small garden.

If you have the time, make sure to visit the Jardines de Cuenca at sunset, when the views of the bridge are some of the best. Entrance to the Jardines de Cuenca is free and it is open from 9:30 am until 9:30 pm (until 6:30 pm in winter).

At the end of the Cuenca Garden you will find the old bridge which dates back to the 1300’s. It’s a beautiful setting and only steps away from the Arab Baths, found right below.

4

ARAB BATHS

Inside the medieval Arab Baths of Ronda – Spain
Arab Baths – Ronda

Ronda’s Arab baths (3.5€ entrance fee) are some of the best preserved in Spain. Dating back to the 13th and 14th centuries, pretty much everything here is original because they were actually buried underground until about a century ago.

Ronda’s Arab baths are divided in three main areas (cold, warm and hot) that can be visited today. The rooms are pretty much intact and feature beautiful horseshoe arches, brick and stone work.

Inside of the baths, there is a short video with interesting information about the baths and how they worked. Among other things, it explains how horses powered a wheel that would transport the water from the river to the baths.

Although not widely known as one of the top things to do in Ronda, the Arab baths should definitely not be missed.

5

CASA DEL REY MORO

Casa del Rey Moro seen from the other side of the gorge in Ronda – Spain
Casa del Rey Moro

Although the house is called “house of the Moorish king,” it was never actually lived in by any king, let alone Moorish. Instead the name comes from its Neo-mudejar architecture which pays homage to the city’s Moorish heritage and founding. This massive 20th century house which clings to the steep walls of the Tajo Gorge was conceived by the Duchess of Parcent. It’s actually composed of several existing 18th century buildings that were all joined together.

The duchess commissioned Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier (the same guy who designed the Maria Luisa Park in Seville) to create the surrounding gardens. The gardens took inspiration from Granada’s Alhambra and Seville’s Alcazar with some traditional French influence added in.

While the house and gardens are a sight themselves, the real highlight of Casa del Rey Moro is its secret passage known as the “mina” in Spanish. The mina tunnels all the way down to the river at the bottom of the gorge.

In the 14th century the Moors cut almost 300 steps into the rock so that they could have a safe access to water if they were under attack. The construction was quite successful and helped Ronda to be one of the last strongholds of the Moors in Spain. However, Christian forces were able to take control of the steps in 1485 and after only 10 days, the Moors surrendered.

The house is currently closed for renovations but you can still explore the mina and the gardens for 7€.

More Things to Do in Ronda

6

PLAZA DUQUESA DE PARCENT & CHURCH OF SANTA MARÍA LA MAYOR

Church of Santa María la Mayor in Ronda – Spain
Church of Santa María la Mayor

The Plaza Duquesa de Parcent is the main square in the old Moorish area of the city and is probably the most beautiful in Ronda. The center of the square is full of super tall trees with plenty of benches and a fountain – a great place to take a little break and relax.

Surrounding the green area you will find some of the city’s most important buildings such as the town hall. It was built in 1734 and in the beginning, was a military prison.

On the same square you will also find the Iglesia de Santa María la Mayor (4.5€ entrance fee). It was originally Ronda’s mosque but was later transformed into a church after the Reconquest. The bell tower is actually the mosque’s former minaret. The church’s interior is an eclectic mixture of styles such as Moorish, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque.

7

PALACIO DE MONDRAGÓN

Moorish gate at the Palacio de Mondragón (Mondragon Palace) in Ronda – Spain
Moorish gate at the Mondragón Palace

The Mondragón Palace is the real “house of the Moorish King” in Ronda. It is believed that it was built in the 14th century for King Abd al Malik, son of Morocco’s sultan Abul Hassan. After the Christian Reconquest of 1485, the Catholic Kings used it as one of their residences.

The palace is relatively small and set around 3 patios full of Mudéjar details. There are two small gardens that butt up against the cliff’s edge and offer spectacular views of the countryside surrounding Ronda.

Currently the municipal museum is located in the palace. While the museum is not particularly noteworthy, the building itself is one of the most significant in Ronda. Admission will cost you 3.5€.

8

PLAZA DEL SOCORRO

Socorro church in the square with the same name in Ronda – Spain
Socorro church in Plaza del Socorro

The Plaza del Socorro is the main square in Ronda’s new city. This area is known locally as “el mercadillo” and was built by the Christians after the Reconquest in 1485. The square was mostly built later after the Spanish Independence War (1808-1814).

The square is lively and in it you will find a variety of bars and restaurants with terraces. The two most important buildings around the square are the Casino de Ronda and the Socorro Church. The Carrera Espinel crosses the square and is the main shopping street of Ronda.

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