Written by proxam2 on 11 Jul, 2012
When we were visiting the Costa del Sol at the end of May, we decided to take a day-trip to RONDA. Of course, being situated so very close to the concrete jungle of the Costa del Crime, 50km or around an hour's drive, coupled with…Read More
When we were visiting the Costa del Sol at the end of May, we decided to take a day-trip to RONDA. Of course, being situated so very close to the concrete jungle of the Costa del Crime, 50km or around an hour's drive, coupled with the fact that the town is stunningly scenic, means that we weren't the only ones with this in mind.IT GETS VERY BUSY.Never mind. It was the first full day of our holiday, so we were up at the crack of dawn (almost) and half-way there before most tour buses had even struggled out of their cosy garages.RONDA is literally jam-packed with history and is one of Andalucia's most visited towns. It hangs, precipitously, atop a plateau which commands wide vistas in all directions. Such a position was always going to be a natural choice for settlement, and so it proved to be. It's been settled since prehistoric times and was well development during the Roman occupation. But it was during the Moorish period when the town blossomed, and continued to do so after the eventual Catholic re-conquests.All a bit before my time.The drive from the coast up to Ronda (770m above sea level) is through a series of steep climbs and hairpin bends along a winding mountain road which, although in good condition and reasonably wide, is still quite time-consuming, especially if you're stuck behind a slow-moving truck. It does have its compensations, however. Some of the scenery is pretty spectacular and if it's clear enough, you can see the coastline of Africa if you look behind you (not advisable when driving).Eventually, you arrive on the plateau and level(ish) ground again.On approaching Ronda, it's hard not to be impressed by its situation. The town stops dramatically at the edge of tall, sheer cliffs and you wonder exactly how you'll be able to drive up to it.Actually, it was pretty easy - so much for first impressions.We parked the car very close to the centre of town and strolled off to see the sights.Ronda consists of two very distinct quarters (shouldn't that really be halves?) - the old and the new. Don't get carried away now, the 'new' quarter is mainly 18th century so 'new' is a relative term.The two areas are divided very neatly by a gaping chasm called El Tajo through which the River Guadalevín flows. This, and the 'new' bridge that crosses the gorge is probably one of the most photographed sites in this part of the world. The views down into the gorge are breathtaking and with the buildings clinging precariously on the knife-edge of cliff, it's pretty impressive. Apparently, the views looking up from the bottom of the gorge are quite good too, but only a fool would walk all the way down just to walk all the way back up again......After we had walked all the way to the 13th century Puerto de Almocábar, and then followed the ancient town walls all the way down towards the C11th 'old' bridge, we walked, or rather climbed, back up again pausing not to admire the views, but to gasp for breath.Everywhere you look in the old town there is something to see. The buildings are steeped in history and literally reek of ancient times. Almost all the places worth seeing are in this part of town: churches, palaces, monuments, town hall, museums etc. and it's pretty compact so it's possible to see quite a lot in a short time. However, wander off the main north-south drag, and it becomes quite an ordeal - the streets are really steep and when the sun pokes through, the heat can make it fairly uncomfortable.There are several museums in the old town, including: A Hunting Museum, an Art Museum and the Municipal Museum. We didn't visit any of those. We did, however, visit the MUSEO del BANDOLERO (Museum of Bandits).This is the only museum in Spain concerning this subject and was really quite interesting. It's not huge and can be seen in under an hour, but it was very enjoyable.Apparently, this area was not free from bandits until the 1930's and there are lots of photographs of the last of these 'romantic' characters after they had been hunted down and, in most cases, executed.I was amazed at the collection of books, comics and magazines that dealt with the subject - in a way, I was reminded of the legends of the American Wild West, the romantisising of what were essentially thieves, kidnappers, cut-throats and murderers.I was a bit dubious of visiting it, thinking it would be rather sparse and tacky, but it was thoroughly enjoyable. My one quibble was that there could have been more multi-lingual explanations of the displays - only the most basic information was in English.Another museum, this time just across the bridge in the 'new' town, is the Bullfighting Museum.Ronda is famous for its bullring - apparently it's the oldest, and some say the most beautiful in Spain. The arena itself is also the country's largest. It's open to visitors (when they're not slaughtering bulls) and the adjoining museum houses many mementos of Spain's most famous bullfighters, including Pedro Romero - the man credited with turning bullfighting from a ritualised slaughter into an 'art-form'...albeit an art-form encompassing blood and gore.I don't get my jollies from watching dumb beasts being slowly killed to satisfy anyone's blood-lust, so I'll be jiggered if I'm contributing a solitary, shiny, sin-sangre eurocent to the 'sport'.We didn't visit.The 'new' town is where you'll find most of the shops, bars and restaurants. There are a few in the old town, scattered around, but these generally cater only to tourists and consequently are on the expensive side.After our visit around the old town, we had a stroll around the shops of the new town, stopping for occasional refreshments (of a non-alcoholic variety...*frown*) and a seat in the shade. The shopping is good, with a good mix of local, everyday shopping and plenty of opportunities for day-trippers. Many of the shops have retained the feel of more leisurely, bygone age, with store-fronts dating from 100 years ago. Very nice.We stopped for a spot of lunch at one of the many pavement cafes which line the plazas and side streets. It seemed to me that the speciality in these parts was a selection of tapas as a main course with almost every restaurant and bar offering a 'tapa tipico' dish. I couldn't resist and for around 7-8 euros, I treated myself to all sorts of scrummy nibbles...¡Delicioso!After lunch, we had a promenade around the edge of the cliff near the Parador and through some lovely tree-lined parks which led to the mirador and some spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. That'll do nicely, I thought.Incidentally, the ubiquitous McDonald's is situated in a prime location next door to the Parador, but the town council in their wisdom have prevented them from raping the townscape with their usual garish display of corporate decor (it's not just the food that's 'taste-free' at McD's) - all there is is a very small 'golden arch' thingy - not much bigger than a dinner plate. Blink and you'd miss it (although I for one wouldn't miss McD's)RONDA is one of those gems of a town. I don't know if you could spend more than a day there without running out of things to do, but as a day-trip destination it has everything - history, culture, fantastic architecture, eating and drinking, good shopping, natural attractions and...well that's about it - it's enough, isn't it?We arrived there just after 9am and nothing much was open. However, this gave us a chance to have a good wander around in relative solitude. By around 11am, convoys of buses were disgorging hordes of snap-happy visitors and by lunch-time, you could hardly move in the place and that makes for a far less enjoyable experience.If you ever go, take my advice and go early, you'll thank me for it. Close
Written by catsholiday on 25 Sep, 2010
Ronda, Andalucia, SpainRonda is apparently Andalucía's fastest-growing town after Sevilla and Granada and is bigger than Cordoba. Ronda is still a very Spanish town with all the driving difficulties that presents and I would suggest leaving the car on the outer edges of the town…Read More
Ronda, Andalucia, SpainRonda is apparently Andalucía's fastest-growing town after Sevilla and Granada and is bigger than Cordoba. Ronda is still a very Spanish town with all the driving difficulties that presents and I would suggest leaving the car on the outer edges of the town and walking in as the roads are VERY narrow and rather too dramatic for easy driving. Initially we made the mistake of driving through the town. There is a one way system and going in was fine but trying to retrace our steps found us stuck on what appeared to be a footpath, we chickened out and managed to reverse back and drive right out of the town and back in to park where we should have parked in the first place, out of the main old town and walked into the old part of town along steep cobbled streets.Ronda attracts tourists most specifically to experience its famous dramatic escarpments and views provided by the deep El Tao Gorge with the Rio Guadalevín running through its centre. The 18th century (rather misnamed now) Puente Nuevo 'new' bridge, crosses the 100m chasm below and the views into the gorge and not to be enjoyed by those with, a fear for heights and the drop is very dramatic. This amazing bridge was finished in 1793 and is the tallest of the three bridges of Ronda at a towering 120 metres above the canyon floor.Unfortunately it was raining on the day that we visited Ronda so although we enjoyed looking down through the hazy clouds to the gorge below we were not really able to enjoy the views out beyond to the Serranía de Ronda Mountains.Ronda is also famous as the birthplace of modern bullfighting but today the bullring or Plaza de Toros, is now a museum, and visitors can pay to go in and learn about the Spanish ‘sport’ and walk out into the arena. This building is the oldest bullfighting ring in Spain that is still used once a year I understand for a celebration festival. It was built in 1784 in a Neoclassical style by the same architect that designed the Puente Nuevo. It is a very impressive building and quite beautiful if you can get beyond its raison d’etre and its history.Outside the front of the Plaza de Toros are a couple of bullfighting statues but I am not sure whether were specifically of Ronda’s most famous bull fighter Pedro Romero. He came from a bullfighting family and this family is responsible for the style of fighting known as the "Ronda school" to distinguish them from the "Seville school" which had been the dominant style before Romero exploded onto the scene. Surprisingly considering his profession this man lived to the amazing age of 10 and he died in Ronda in 1839.This famous building has also featured in a music video by Madonna (Take A Bow). The song had nothing to do with bullfighting but the video did feature a bullfighter, Emilio Muñoz and some aerial views of the historic bullring of Ronda.Apparently the author, Ernest Hemingway loved bullfighting, and he particularly loved Ronda - so much so that he used it as a setting for his novel ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’. Hemmingway describes the murder of Nationalist sympathizers early in the Spanish Civil War where the sympathisers are thrown from cliffs in an Andalusian village. It is said that Hemingway based this experience on killings that took place in Ronda at the cliffs of El Tajo.Orson Wells was equally enchanted by Ronda and spent many summers in the town. His ashes are spread in the Plaza del Toros in Ronda. To celebrate the interest paid to Ronda by these two celebrities two rather special walkways are named after them .The Paseos de Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles The Paseo Orson Welles goes behind the Parador hotel and leads from the bullring to the Puente Nuevo. The Paseo Ernest Hemingway heads behind the bullring towards the Alameda itself. It was rather strange to go to a Spanish town and find two walkways named after famous people that I had no idea had any connection to Ronda.Ronda is an amazing town perched high in the mountains and split is two by the El Tajo gorge with the Rio Guadalevín running through the gorge. The bridges are quite special, particularly the Puente Nuevo which offers extremely dramatic views. There are a couple of places where you can view the bridge and the buildings and small gardens that creep down into the gorge. This was all the more eerie for us as the misty drizzly rain and cloud kept flowing in and and round the gorge. This is a lovely Spanish town that appears much smaller than it is because the streets are tiny and the town is spread lengthwise. A lot of the newer buildings are out of the main older town area. The actual older historical town is not big and you can easily walk around providing that you can cope with walking up and down steep hills and cobbled streets. It is possible to go for more dramatic walks down into the gorge but as it was very wet so we didn’t fancy slithering down the paths.I would definitely recommend a visit to this very attractive historical town. It is an easy drive from the Costa del Sol and many coach trips run from the Costa to Ronda. The drive from the coast inland is also quite an experience and there is some lovely scenery to enjoy. As we drove over we saw snow on the mountains against a bright blue sky but this changed to cloudy drizzly rain but with a biting wind for our walk around Ronda which was a shame.Thank you for reading. I trust this has been of some interest. This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name.© Catsholiday Close
Written by Praskipark on 16 Dec, 2009
The town of Ronda lies in an impressive position on a steeply dropping rocky plateau, split asunder by a very narrow 100 metre deep gorge, known as El Tajo. The southern part of the town, the Ciudad, consists of the old town, which was founded…Read More
The town of Ronda lies in an impressive position on a steeply dropping rocky plateau, split asunder by a very narrow 100 metre deep gorge, known as El Tajo. The southern part of the town, the Ciudad, consists of the old town, which was founded by the Arabs. North of the gorge is the 16th century 'new' town, El Mercadillo. The very high Punte Nuevo which was built from 1784 to 1793, links both parts of the town and is the town's main attraction. Two older bridges span the Tajo river lower down the hillside where the terrain is flatter: the Puente Romano, which was rebuilt in the early 17th century ; and the Puente Arabe, which has Moorish origins, has also been rebuilt.While day to day life unfolds in El Mercadillo, tourists are always drawn across the Puente Nuevo into the old town, right into Calle Tenorio and on to Plaza del Campillo, from where there is a stunning view over the valley.On the way is Ronda's bullring. Ronda is proud of its status as the birthplace of bullfighting. It was here in the eighteenth century that the Romero family first laid down the rules that remain valid to this day. The arena here, inaugurated in 1784, is the oldest in Spain. A corrida goyesca (so called because the toreadors and some of the audience dress in the 18th century costumes of Goya's paintings) is held in September, during the annual fair.Part of the complex houses a museum which is open daily from 10 am until 7pm. Here posters, photographs, daggers and costumes are on display. Many of these items belonged to famous toreadors.A narrow alley leads first to the Palacio de Mondragon. This wonderful residence was used by the Catholic Monarchs after the reconquest of the town, it still has some of the original Moorish mosaics and is now home to a modest archaeological museum which includes the reproduction of a dolmen. The narrow alley then leads you on to Plaza de la Duquesa de Parcent.On the south side of the square lie the scant remains of the Alcazaba, while to the north stands Santa Maria la Mayor, which was built on the foundations of the mosque. If you enter the church through the bell tower, originally the minaret, the mosque's prayer niche can be seen in the vestibule. Days can be very hot in this part of Spain and you need always be on the look out for shade. Behind the church is a shady square with a handful of antique and souvenir shops.If you turn back n the main street, Calle Arminan, to the Puente Nuevo you will see just before the bridge a road leading steeply downhill, with the Casa del Rey Moro on the left hand side. A flight of some 365 steps cut out of the rock in Moorish times leads down from the garden to a spring in the gorge. The Casa has now been converted in to a luxury hotel although you can still visit the gardens.Other interesting sights are the Arab baths complex (Banos Arabes) in the new town which were built around 1300. To the right, on the edge of the town, stands the Espiritu Santo church which is a very pretty 16th century church. If you walk through the panoramic viewing terraces, the Alameda de tajo, to Plaza de espana, there is an a amazing view of the old town, the gorge and the 18th century bridge.Although the town of Ronda is extremely pretty and it's location is spectacular the surrounding areas are just as interesting. If you take the road out of the town past the steep mountain slopes and lush cork, and chestnut oak forests of the Sierra de Grazalema you will encounter some of the finest of the white villages (los pueblos blancos). They are named this because of the dazzling whiteness of the interlinked blocks of houses. Nestling on the hillsides, the houses cluster around a church. From a distant, the compact, gleaming villages look like snow on the dark mountainsides. Ronda and its surroundings are a world apart from the Costa del Sol. Close
Written by fatjaz on 02 Jan, 2002
Southern Spain is famous for its little white towns. Each one has its own character and is situated on some mountain side to set-up a picturesque scene. Ronda is a town that must been seen and is a good starting point to explore…Read More
Southern Spain is famous for its little white towns. Each one has its own character and is situated on some mountain side to set-up a picturesque scene. Ronda is a town that must been seen and is a good starting point to explore the ‘pueblos blancos’.
Ronda was built up by the Celts, Phoenicians and the Greeks. It lies about halfway between Malaga and Seville – so has always had an important role as a market town. Its setting is even more dramatic since it stands on an enormous gorge that drops for over 100m. Spanning this gorge are a few bridges – the most spectacular is the 18th century one that you can drive across. It is larger than the others and stands on two massive pillars that have been built to the bottom of the gorge. Martin de Aldehuela – the architect – fell to his death whilst inspecting his just finished work.
The town has two sections. The southern old town (la Ciudad) is the most interesting. The northern part was built after the reconquest brought high taxes to the old town, and so the traders crossed the gorge and set up a new town. The northern part has the bull-ring which is where the first rules of bull-fighting were laid down, and is the oldest and most prestigious bull-ring in Spain.
The town is lovely for walks and you get amazing views of the Rio Guadalevin as it flows slowly through the gorge. A particularly good walk is to go down the side of the gorge from near the Palacio de Mondragon. This is the most important building in the town, and has been used by Moorish Kings onwards as a palace. It too stands on the edge of the cliff and has some amazing views from its gardens.
The nearby Church of Santa Maria la Mayor is an interesting mixture of Christian and Muslim architecture. The Christians converted it from the mosque, so it still has much of the Moorish character.
The eastern side of the old town is also nice for walks and the other bridges are worth exploring.
We drove back from Ronda in the direction of Gibraltar. This took us down the windy mountain roads, but through some lovely white towns. Benalauria was very nice, set in the mountains of Sierra Bermeja. The best we went through was Gaucin.
Gaucin is a mountain village set beneath a Moorish fort. It’s free to visit the fort, and you get some glorious views of the surrounding mountains and down to the sea, Gibraltar and Africa. If you drive a little further along the road, you get a great view of Gaucin in its mountain-side setting. Its little church tower stands out amongst the collection of closely packed white buildings.
Each town has its own character and is always picturesque. If you take the bus you miss all of them, so it’s worth either driving or walking through the mountains.
Written by sam and ofi on 24 Dec, 2001
Ronda has a way of communicating peace and beauty through its simple old
buildings, whitewashed homes gardens, beautifully adorned wooden doors, and windy narrow, lanes and alleys.
From what we saw and read this typifies the Andalusian vision of space and
Before going to Spain a friend leant…Read More
Ronda has a way of communicating peace and beauty through its simple old
buildings, whitewashed homes gardens, beautifully adorned wooden doors, and windy narrow, lanes and alleys.
From what we saw and read this typifies the Andalusian vision of space and
Before going to Spain a friend leant me a book about Jewish Medieval
Andalusian poetry (Wine, Women, and Death)
whose introduction shed some light on this simple beauty and the place it held
in medieval Andalusia. (For more information click here.)
During the golden age men would gather on warm evenings and have wine parties
in these geometrically-shaped courtyard or backyard gardens. Unlike the parties
we are used to, the participants would listen to soft music from string and
simple wind instruments, drink fine homemade wines, and participate in poetry
contests. Like the gardens which are naturally beautiful but are contained by
the geometrically shaped garden, the rhythm and meter of the poems was very set,
while the content was up to the improviser.
The poems were often of love, and pleasure, as well as beauty of the natural
world. Muslims and Jews would celebrate together. The revelers would often drink
enough to elevate their spirits, but these parties are not described as rowdy -
instead, tired partygoers would lead back on the garden's cushioned benches and
take a nap for awhile. Later they would be awakened for another round of
Wandering through the streets and alleys of Ronda you get a sense of the
natural and simple beauty that inspired Spaniards a millennium ago to celebrate
life the way they did.
Some of the most beautiful scenes are the ones you see peering into private courtyards or
between anonymous buildings - the pictures below represent some typical views,
but to really experience it you need to breathe the clean mountain air and walk
the quiet streets.
A few lines by the Jewish poet Shmuel HaNagid
the lass who plays the lute
To fill the cup with coral drink,
Put up in kegs in Adam's time,
Or else just after Noah's flood,
A pungent wine, like frankincense,
A glittering wine, like gold and gems,
Such wine as concubines and queens
Would bring King David long ago...
taken from: Raymond P. Scheindlin. Wine, Women, and Death. Copyright © 1986 by
JPS (Philadelphia, PA).
Written by Zhebiton on 25 May, 2012
This small town is located 130 kilometers from the capital of Andalusia in the direction of Africa and 117 kilometers from Malaga. In the center of a huge gaping "crack" the depth of 120 meters."New Bridge", built in the 18th century, is so monumental, that…Read More
This small town is located 130 kilometers from the capital of Andalusia in the direction of Africa and 117 kilometers from Malaga. In the center of a huge gaping "crack" the depth of 120 meters."New Bridge", built in the 18th century, is so monumental, that resembles a fortress wall.Rhonda is good at any time of year. Landscapes, which opens your eyes are not real. But in the first week of September, a quiet town into a hive - Feria begins and Goyeska. With feriey all clear - drinking, singing and dancing about the same everywhere, and about the same. Bullfighting - a rare sight and this is especially famous for Ronda. Goyeska different from the rest of Spanish bullfighting no rules, and the external environment - the participants are sewn costumes from drawings by Goya. All are elegant and historically restrained.It remains to add that the arena for a bullfight in Ronda - the first of those which still hold a battle, and one of the most prestigious in Spain.Attraction to the "All Seasons" is the church of Santa Maria. How many churches and cathedrals of Spain, its architectural style - the collection of Romanesque, Gothic and Moorish preferences.Usually, tourists come to Ronda for a day and do not stay for the night. Although, this is one of the pleasures - rent a room in the Parador on a cliff overlooking the Andalusian infinite distance. Parador - a hotel chain in Spain, which has existed since 1928. Parador, as a rule, four-star and occupy the old monasteries, fortresses, castles and palaces. In Ronda parador - the building of the former town hall of the 18th century. Close
Written by Zhebiton on 21 Jun, 2011
Passing along a little break, we went to the Royal arena, built in the 18th century to train cavalry. For a long time, the arena remained the largest in the world. By the way, was born in Ronda bullfight in its present form. Once in…Read More
Passing along a little break, we went to the Royal arena, built in the 18th century to train cavalry. For a long time, the arena remained the largest in the world. By the way, was born in Ronda bullfight in its present form. Once in the city was a major livestock market and Local Cavalry School decided to use oxen to work out methods of combat. Over time, these activities have grown into a colorful spectacle, which brings together people from all around, and riders have come to replace the bullfighters on foot. From the arena quite close to the main tourist "attractions" Rhonda: divide Tajo depth of 160 m, separating the city into two, and the Puente Nuevo through it. The bridge was built in the late 18th century and today is the de facto hallmark and symbol of Ronda. Crossing the bridge, you find yourself in the old town, which has the shape of the peninsula. If you immediately turn right and walk along the cliff a little, then very soon see the track uhodyuschuyu right and down. It seems that if you go down on her until the very end, it opens a new panoramic view of the bridge. However, after that still need to climb back ... and other descents, climbs now remained to be plenty, so such a feat we have not decided. A little further on is the palace of Mondragon (palacio de Mondragon), which, after the Reconquista was the seat of the Catholic kings, and now it is the City Museum Rhonda. In general, we are not lovers of museums, but this one caught me with courtyards in the Arabic style. Close
Written by raherahn on 14 Jan, 2008
Set amid the Andalucian mountains, Ronda is pleasant little town. The gorge running straight through the center of town creates a dramatic accent as the building hugs its cliffs. Walking on the terrace alongside the large hotel leads to a small fragile balcony hanging precipitously…Read More
Set amid the Andalucian mountains, Ronda is pleasant little town. The gorge running straight through the center of town creates a dramatic accent as the building hugs its cliffs. Walking on the terrace alongside the large hotel leads to a small fragile balcony hanging precipitously over the gorge. Close
Written by Jamaparker on 19 May, 2007
The drive to Ronda in itself is an adventure. Ronda is hidden in a valley high up in the mountains and the mountain road is long and winding. This ancient city is filled with history and has the oldest bullring in Spain. Puerto Nuevo is…Read More
The drive to Ronda in itself is an adventure. Ronda is hidden in a valley high up in the mountains and the mountain road is long and winding. This ancient city is filled with history and has the oldest bullring in Spain. Puerto Nuevo is one of the old bridges connecting the old section of town with the newer section. Look down from the bridge and you can see a deep gorge where convicted criminals were once thrown to their death! Beautiful views and lots of local shops and restaurants. Close
Written by Coronado Bob & Berie on 04 Apr, 2004
The Moorish mountain city of Ronda is just beautiful. The Puente Nueva (new bridge) above a 300-foot gorge is breathtaking. The houses built along the gorge are a sight to behold. It’s a busy, friendly place to tour, shop, and have a…Read More
The Moorish mountain city of Ronda is just beautiful. The Puente Nueva (new bridge) above a 300-foot gorge is breathtaking. The houses built along the gorge are a sight to behold. It’s a busy, friendly place to tour, shop, and have a nice lunch. The "white towns" are built down high cliffs to ward off the enemy. They are fascinating and unique in the eyes Americans since we have only a few such sights. Close