4 Things you Must See in Ronda (Spain)

Ronda (Spain), a hidden gem in the Málaga region || Wanderwings

Ronda (Spain) is one of those small cities you may or may not have heard of before your trip to Spain. If you are a literature fan, you may have heard of Hemingway’s and Orson Welles’ many summers in this beautiful place. However, if you aren’t don’t despair, despite its under 40000 inhabitants, this small city has already found its way into the hearts of many visitors on its own terms. In a breath-taking location, Ronda stands at about 750 meters above sea level, divided in two by river Guadalevin, surrounded by the rolling hills of sierra de Grazalema in the region of Málaga. The affordable high-quality leather goods produced in the region are an attractive enticement for many. For others, it’s the medieval and Moorish historic sites. All in all, Ronda seems to have something for all. Who would have thought! During our amazing 8-day road trip we discovered how amazing this small city really is.

Ronda (Spain), a hidden gem in the Málaga region || Wanderwings

The Bridges

The three bridges that connect the different parts of Ronda to one another are one of the many sights worth seeing while in Ronda.
The “Puente Romano or Puente de San Miguel” (“Roman Bridge or Bridge of St. Michael”), is the original bridge in Ronda, and despite its name, it was originally built by the Moors. It would connect the city to the main northern gate. You’ll find this bridge if you head down towards the old (almost intact) Arab Baths from the 13th and 14th centuries.

The “puente Viejo o puente  árabe“(“Old Bridge or Arab Bridge”), is the oldest of the three bridges in Ronda. Its origin is controversial but from the few records found it was probably built by the Arabs, and re-built in 1616 after being destroyed by a flood. This bridge would connect the city to the market neighbourhood.

The newest of the three, the “Puente Nuevo” (“New Bridge”), which is actually over 200 years old -finished in 1793- is the one that provides the most stunning views over the Guadalevin gorge. 120m above the river bed, this bridge took 42 years to build. If you are adventurous like us, you can take a stroll down to the bridger’s machinery, or even further down to the river. But make sure to wear appropriate shoes as it may be a bit slippery.

Ronda (Spain), a hidden gem in the Málaga region || Wanderwings

The Arab Baths

Built around the 11th or 12th century, these seem to be one of the best-preserved examples of an Arab Hammam in Spain. Carefully restored and handsomely conservated, this ruins gather to this day the splendour of the Moorish kingdom of Ronda. Despite being located outside the defensive walls of the city, it is believed that these were the main Ronda baths during quieter times.

La Casa del Rey Moro

It isn’t actually a Moorish King’s house, as it was built sometime in the 18th century. What is worth the visit to this place is the water mine. In the 14th century, Ronda was in the line of fire between the Christians from Seville and the Moors from Granada. Often besieged, the starting point was to cut the water supply. To avoid being left with no water, it is said that king Abomelik, with the “help” of Christian captives, carved steps on the stone of this cave to allow for them to get water from the river Guadalevin. Heavily damaged the original 360 steps-stair had to be restored. Even tho now there’re less steps than originally built, it’s still a challenge for the unfit, so take it easy on your way up!

Ronda (Spain), a hidden gem in the Málaga region || Wanderwings

The Riding School (The Bullfighting Ring)

Inaugurated in 1785, Ronda’s Bullfighting Ring is one of the oldest in Spain. Now principally used as a museum, with the exception of the Corridas Goyescas every September. But within the walls of the Plaza, is the world renowned (among horseback riding lovers at least) Real Maestranza de Equitación de Ronda (The Royal Cavalry of Ronda). Dating back to 1573 is the oldest known brotherhood, and a stunning sight if you catch the youngsters training in the paddock. If not, well, you’ll have plenty of time to read about the evolution of the Spanish (Andalusian) horses, the Spanish step, and how it all started.

As an interesting fact, while there, we learnt that the origins of Bullfighting weren’t as it is today. Nothing to do with show and glitter. It was a training technique for the cavalry when these were not yet fully developed to their full potential. They would train with bulls as a way to learn to fight against unpredictable opponents. Over time, it evolved to what we know now.

Ronda (Spain), a hidden gem in the Málaga region || Wanderwings

After just a day in Ronda, we were left wanting more. But for 24 hours in the Sierra de Grazalema, these 4 must-sees will keep you entertained. Have you ever been to Ronda? What would you recommend for my next visit? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂

11 Comments

  • Reply
    Emily of Em Busy Living
    Tuesday February 16th, 2016 at 03:38 PM

    What a beautiful place! I love all of the history and that even some of the newest things/places there are still over 200 years old! Where I live in the US the oldest things we see around are only 400-ish years old max (and that’s rare), so if 200 is new I’d love to see the rest of the old there! I love the bit about bull fighting. It makes so much sense, but I’d just never heard that before.

    • Reply
      Henar - Wanderwings.com
      Wednesday February 17th, 2016 at 09:59 AM

      Hi Emily! This place does have some charm doesn’t it, and so much history. I think the US despite its not-so-long history (so to speak) has its new-old things, but yeah compared to Europe, may seem like kids talk. That being said I love the East coast contrast between old and new, can’t wait to go back explore more, any tips?
      About the bull fighting, I had never heard it myself, and I grew up in Spain. Sometimes history gets lost, unfortunately.

      • Reply
        Emily of Em Busy Living
        Wednesday February 17th, 2016 at 03:03 PM

        It’s a very fascinating history to lose like that!

        I do love that the east coast is full of so much history. When we lived in CA the oldest things there were from the Catholic spread north from Mexico as they built Missions to spread Christianity and assist the communities there. I enjoyed that history, but there wasn’t very much of it. I highly recommend places like Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, the first capitol of the American states, which is just outside of Richmond. (Very near us! I haven’t been since I was really young and I can’t wait to go back.) Other historical cities would be NY and Boston of course, but I love the southern cities of Charleston and Savannah.

        • Reply
          Henar - Wanderwings.com
          Wednesday February 17th, 2016 at 05:35 PM

          Agree with you about CA, there’re all the remains of the Spanish colonial times (beautiful architecture) but most is either gone or mixed up. I’ve already been to NY and Boston while I was living in MA, loved both but wasn’t long enough to actually learn much of either. Need to go back! But Georgia, SC, Virginia, basically the south-east US has been on my to do for ages! Need to get on it! 🙂

  • Reply
    Karen Wanderlustingk
    Wednesday February 17th, 2016 at 01:28 AM

    Fantastic photos! I visited Ronda last year. I’d definitely add doing the Tajo de Ronda to your list. A fantastic view of Puente Nuevo with a rush of adrenaline! More info here on doing the via ferrata: http://www.wanderlustingk.com/blog/desafortunado-en-andalucia-spain

    • Reply
      Henar - Wanderwings.com
      Wednesday February 17th, 2016 at 09:53 AM

      Thanks! Somehow Ronda seems to be a winner, given its size. 🙂 and thanks for the tip!

  • Reply
    Mel (illumelation)
    Tuesday February 23rd, 2016 at 04:31 AM

    HENAR! Amazing post! Seriously want to go and visit Ronda now… I can almost smell the heat and dust. La Casa del Rey Moro also looks beautiful. (P.S. Your new layout is dope!)

    • Reply
      Henar - Wanderwings.com
      Tuesday February 23rd, 2016 at 08:17 PM

      MEEEL! Nice to hear from you again 😀 Thanks for your lovely words. The place is a must if you like some unexpected lesser known fun! 🙂 Haha cheers, I had such a hard time finding a layout/look that fitted with what I wanted to do…! 😀

  • Reply
    Vyjay Rao
    Tuesday February 23rd, 2016 at 05:44 AM

    Beautiful piece and lovely country, the bridges look awesome.

    • Reply
      Henar - Wanderwings.com
      Tuesday February 23rd, 2016 at 08:15 PM

      Thanks! The place is great, sometimes the lesser know places are amazing 🙂

  • Reply
    Hostal & Backpackers Osio de Córdoba - Wanderwings
    Wednesday February 24th, 2016 at 12:01 PM

    […] a wonderful time in Ronda, our trip was rapidly approaching its end line. Córdoba was our last stop before heading back […]

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