Two Days in Ronda: Top Things Do and 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 40.000 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 incredible this small city really is. And these are our top things to do in Ronda (Spain).

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

Take a Stroll Through the Old Town

Ronda’s old town with its Moorish origins is a quaint delicacy for those who love a good stroll. With architectonic jewels left and right, you’ll love getting lost in this labyrinth of narrow passageways and alleys. With a delightful surprise around every corner, adventuring around the old town of Ronda is a must see in the Southern-Spanish city.

Mondragón palace

If you came to the old town via the Puente Nuevo take the alley to your right and follow along the cliff. This way you’ll find the stunning Palacio de Mondragón. Dated by experts back to the early 1300s this palace and its gardens has been home to kings and governors, and seen the birth of the golden era in Ronda.

Its impressive Moorish gardens are a delight to explore and remain as they were back in the day. There can also be found a water garden, a replica of the one found in the Alhambra in Granada.

Currently, the Mondragon Palace houses a museum and can be visited.

Practical Information

Opening Times
Mon – Fri from 9 AM to 7 PM
Weekend and Holidays 10 AM to 3 PM

Entry Price:
General: 3,5€
Reduced: 1.5€ (for ground of 10 or more people, and children)

GPS Location
Latitude: 36.737775 (36° 44′ 15.99” N)
Longitude: -5.166643 (5° 9′ 59.91” W)

Check Out the Many Viewpoints

From the many viewpoints around Ronda, you’ll get the most incredible views over the valley and tajo gorge, and other stunning areas around the city. Some of the best viewpoints (miradores) are:

Alameda Park and Mirador del Coño

Given the city’s location, it is no surprise that the Parque de la Alameda del Tajo is one of the only few parks in Ronda. A beloved area of the city by locals and visitors alike, this park provides a relaxing oasis with stunning views over the gorge at a very short distance from the main attractions. The main viewpoint here, the mirador del coño is more than worth a visit, in spite of its (potentially) offensive name.

While doing some research about the origin of the name, I came across the following:

Unfortunately the name isn’t translatable without causing some offense, but if you imagine a person arriving at the balcony, looking down 150m and exclaiming “Ayy, coño!” and then stepping back rather quickly you might understand its meaning.

Source: Ronda Today

Jardín and Mirador de Cuenca

Spanning all across town from Puente Nuevo and Puente Viejo are the Cuenca Gardens and viewpoint. These gardens were built on the cliff and are formed by several terreaces along the lenth of the park, and the views from each and every one of the platforms is jawdropping.

Mirador de Aldehuela

Another, equally stunning vewpoint in Ronda is the Mirador de Aldehuela. Named after the architecht behind the Puente Nuevo, this viewpoint is a prime spot to get amazing views over the famous bridge. If you follow along you will find a path, tho beware as there are quite a lot of steps.

Mirador Puente Nuevo de Ronda

An lastly, a bit further out of the main city, you’ll find the Mirador Puente Nuevo de Ronda, which similarly to the Mirador de la Aldehuela provides incredible views over the bridge. This time from further down, thus being the perfect spot for those stunning shots of the bridge.

Which brings me to the next point on the things to see in Ronda…

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. They all have different characters and the views over the river from all of them are par to none.

Puente Romano or Puente de San Miguel

The “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.

Puente Viejo o Puente árabe

The “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.

Puente Nuevo

The newest of the three, “New Bridge”, which is actually over 200 years old -finished in 1793- is the one that will delight your eyes with 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 bridge’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
Photo taken from the Mirador Puente Nuevo de Ronda

La Casa y Minas del Rey Moro

It isn’t actually a Moorish King’s house, as it was built sometime in the 18th century. What makes a visit to this place worth it 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 fewer steps than originally built, it’s still a challenge for those with less training, so take it easy on your way up!

Important to note that the Palace itself is closed to visitors but the gardens and the mines are open and a must see in Ronda. Tickets cost around 5€ per person.

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

The Old Arabic Walls and City Gates

Spread all over the city, the Old Arabic Walls are a must see while in Ronda. But if you’ve just come out of the Moorish King’s House, you can just head down towards the old jewish quarter and the Arab Baths. Dating back to the Islamic era (712 – 1485), these walls in combination with the gorge, made of Ronda an impugnable city. The one exception would be the jewish quarter, which was located outside the original location, making it a bit more sensitive to attack and requiring an extra set of wall. There are few remains of that quarter in comparison to the rest of Ronda. Thankfully, the Arab baths survived.

The Arab Baths

If you continue down the road from the Old Arabic Walls and City Gates, you’ll come to the Arab Baths. Built around the 11th or 12th century, these seem to be one of the best-preserved remains of an Arab Hammam in Spain. Carefully restored and handsomely conservated, these 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.

Practical Information

Opening Times:
Autumn and Winter

Mon – Fri: 10 AM to 6 PM
Weekend / Public Holidays: 10 AM to 3 PM

Spring and Summer

Mon – Fri: 10 AM to 7 PM
Weekend / Public Holiday: 10 AM to 3 PM

Entry Price:
General: 3,5€
Reduced: 1.5€ (for ground of 10 or more people, and children)
Free on Sundays

GPS Location
Latitude: 36.738893 (36° 44′ 20.01” N)
Longitude: -5.162914 (5° 9′ 46.49” W)

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

Placa de los Viajeros Romanticos

Last but not least, right where the Puente Nuevo and the old town meet, you’ll find the Placa de los viajeros romanticos. A collection of ceramic tiles commemorating Ronda’s Romantic famous visitors. A sweet gesture to end a wonderful visit.

After just a couple of days in Ronda, we were left wanting more. But for 48 hours in the Sierra de Grazalema, these top things to see in Ronda 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!

14 Comments

  • Reply
    Emily of Em Busy Living
    February 16, 2016 at 3:38 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
      February 17, 2016 at 9:59 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
        February 17, 2016 at 3:03 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
          February 17, 2016 at 5:35 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
    February 17, 2016 at 1:28 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
      February 17, 2016 at 9:53 am

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

  • Reply
    Mel (illumelation)
    February 23, 2016 at 4:31 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
      February 23, 2016 at 8:17 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
    February 23, 2016 at 5:44 am

    Beautiful piece and lovely country, the bridges look awesome.

  • Reply
    Hostal & Backpackers Osio de Córdoba - Wanderwings
    February 24, 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 […]

  • Reply
    Zooey
    March 10, 2019 at 4:30 pm

    Hi Henar! I’m wondering if the steps to water mine (in the Casa del Rey Moro) are very steep and slippery… Do you think they would be too hard for a 5 year old? I’m going to Ronda in May with my husband and daughter and wondering if we could include the water mine to our itinerary.
    Have you also visited the pueblos blancos near Ronda? Any recommendation which towns are worth visiting? 🙂
    Thank you 🙂

    • Reply
      Henar
      March 10, 2019 at 7:34 pm

      Hi Zooey,

      Ronda is great, you are going to like it. The Casa del Rey Moro is incredible. It is not a house per se, but the building is crazy and the gardens around are stunning. The steps were not slippery (it may depend on the weather) and there were kids there when I visited. However, there are quite a few steps to get all the way down. Every once in a while there’s a small area where you can rest but going down and then up again can be a bit exhausting, it’ll all come down to how willing your daughter is :).

      I didn’t make it to any other of the Pueblos Blancos this time around but Ubrique is quite popular and not too far off. The natural park Sierra de Grazalema is also worth a visit. Did you know that this is one of, if not the rainiest region in Spain!! Who’d have thought!

      Anyhow, I hope you have a wonderful time there and let me know if I can help you with anything else 🙂
      Cheers,
      Henar

      • Reply
        Zooey Barnett
        March 11, 2019 at 11:52 am

        Hi Henar,
        I didn’t know that and since Ronda is so close to Costa del Sol I thought it’s a pretty warm region! 😀 I hope it won’t be raining too much in May!

        I think we will try to go to the water mine, my daughter is quite active and she often joins us on short hikes so hopefully we will all make it 🙂
        I’m adding Ubrique to my list and I will definitely check it. I love the atmosphere of small towns in Andalucia.. 🙂

        Thanks,
        Zooey

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