Ronda is a small town of about 35 000 inhabitants located in the mountains of Malaga province. The old town, dating from the Moorish era, and the new town, 15th century (gotta love what they call new around here) are separated by a dramatic gorge. We spent a day here in January. Let me tell you all about it. First of all even though it was January, and our friends back home in Canada were freezing their noses, we enjoyed a gorgeous warm and sunny day.
We arrived around midmorning and parked the car on a side street near Plaza Ruedo Alameda. There are several restaurants across the street from this plaza that put tables out there, so we decided to have a meal before starting our serious sightseeing. The plaza is beautiful. There are large shade trees, a fountain and a view of the Puerta Almocábar. The Bodega San Francisco serves delicious croquettes, try some if you are ever in Ronda!
After our meal we strolled through the Puerta Almocábar, this is part of the old fortifications and you csn climb up there for incredible views. To the right of the main street are more ruins. From here you can see across the gorge to some farmland. In the midst of the fields are foundations of Roman and Bronze Age buildings. There are also some paths that go down to the Moorish baths from here, these were unfortunately closed for restoration work so we were only able to see a little bit through the fence. If you don’t fancy the goat trails there is another way down here from a bit further along the street.
To the left of the main street there is a really beautiful plaza in front of the church Iglesia Maria Auxiliadora. Take a few minutes to relax in the shade here, and browse through the little gift shop beside the church for something a little bit different. If you stroll through the alleys in this area you will discover little treasures like the Hotel San Gabriel on Calle Sor Angela de la Cruz which has been operating since 1736. So if you have the time wander around this lovely neighborhood.
After exploring the little alleys and plazas in this part of town we headed to the Museo del Bandolero de Ronda in Calle Armiñán. They have a little of everything and this will really help you to appreciate the history and culture of Spain. Different members of our group liked the collections of scientific instruments, guitars and lady’s accessories. They even have a room downstairs dedicated to the Spanish Inquisition.
Keep walking along the same street and to the right you come to a sign to the Moorish baths. This path goes down some steps, so if you didn’t go down earlier have a look now!
Now we are almost at the Puenta Nueva, the New Bridge. The bridge was built in the 18th century to span the 120 m deep gorge that carries the Guadalevín River. There are several viewpoints on both sides of the bridge for taking photos. It’s also possible to hike down to the bottom which, I think, is the only way to get the entire bridge into the picture.
After crossing the bridge to the right of the street there is a nice park with another viewpoint. The tourist information center and the Plaza de Toros are also located in this area.
We ended our walk through Ronda at the Plaza del Socorro with its picturesque fountain Fuente de Hércules y los Leones and several tapas bars. In the winter you can also buy freshly roasted chestnuts from the guy on the corner.
One day is not enough for this beautiful town. We hope to return to this area again some day and also explore the mountains and other villages in this part of the country.