Ronda area guide

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    About this Ronda Area Guide

    Below you’ll find the Realista Ronda area guide, written to provide an overview of this quintessentially Andalusian town, north of Marbella. The guide covers the main attractions in Ronda, restaurants and how to get there as well as information about the weather.

    Where is Ronda?

    The picturesque town of Ronda is located in the south of Andalusia in Malaga province. It lies inland and north of Costa del Sol resorts such as Marbella and Estepona, and is surrounded by high mountain ranges.

    What’s Ronda like?

    Discovered by European tourists in the late 18th century when Ronda’s mountain bandits provided inspiration for Merimee’s Carmen, the town rates as one of the prettiest in Andalusia and indeed Spain. Almost entirely whitewashed and with some fine examples of typical Andalusian architecture, Ronda perches high above the River Guadalevin Gorge and has sweeping views of the fertile river plain and the stunning mountain ranges that include peaks almost 2,000 metres high.

    The town is divided into two sections: Ronda la Vieja (Old Ronda) is the name given to the area that lies to the south of the famous Puente Nuevo bridge, built in 1755 across the gorge; and Ronda la Nueva (New Ronda), which encompasses the rest of the town. Ronda la Vieja lives up to its name and some of the oldest monuments in Ronda are found here including the Arab Baths and the Water Mine. There are many fine mansions with elegant patios, delicate wrought-iron window grilles and magnificent porticos. Some of them boast commanding views over the river plain and mountains.

    Ronda la Nueva does include modern residential districts, but the area nearest the bridge dates back several centuries and includes Ronda Bullring, one of the oldest in Spain and also home to a bullfighting museum. The main shops and restaurants in Ronda are found in this part of town as well as the train and bus stations.

    How big is it?

    Although Ronda is the most important town in this part of Andalusia, it isn’t very large when compared to resorts on the Costa del Sol.

    What’s the population of Ronda?

    Around 36,000 people live in Ronda, which makes the town about half the size of Estepona in terms of population.

    How many foreigners live in Ronda?

    Ronda has one of the smallest foreign populations on the Costa del Sol – just under 1,150 foreigners live in Ronda.

    What’s the weather like in Ronda?

    The weather in Ronda is slightly different to the Costa del Sol. Ronda is hotter in the summer when temperatures can reach 40 degrees, although they cool down at night. Winter weather in Ronda can be cold and it occasionally snows.

    How do I get to Ronda?

    Ronda is easy to get to from Malaga Airport, Marbella and the rest of the resorts on the Costa del Sol, and from Seville. Ronda is accessed by a good mountain road from San Pedro and Marbella – the journey time is about an hour. From Malaga city, it takes around an hour and 20 minutes to get to Ronda. Seville is around an hour’s drive away.

    How far is it to Malaga Airport from Ronda?

    Malaga Airport is 106km from Ronda, a journey that takes about an hour and 20 minutes by car.

    How far is it to Gibraltar Airport from Ronda?

    Gibraltar Airport is a good alternative if you’re travelling to Ronda from the UK. The airport is 111km from Ronda and it takes one hour and 40 minutes to get to Gibraltar Airport from Ronda. Allow extra time to cross the border between Gibraltar and Spain.

    How far is it to Marbella from Ronda?

    Malaga is the nearest Costa del Sol resort to Ronda and is 64km to the south of the town. The car journey takes about an hour.

    What are the main attractions in Ronda?

    One of the biggest attractions in Ronda is visiting the town on foot and admiring the panoramic views from the bridge. You can also enjoy these views from the parks and some of the monuments and hotels in Ronda (Ronda Parador and Hotel Montelirio has particularly stunning vistas). As well as the views, another must-see in Ronda is the traditional architecture perfectly preserved in the many fine mansions and houses that line the cobbled streets.

    Ronda also has interesting monuments to visit. Highlights include the Palacio de Mondragón, a 15th century palace and the Museum of Ronda; the main church with its Moorish minaret; Ronda bullring where modern bullfighting was invented; and the Arab baths.

    What is there to do in Ronda?

    Among the things to do in Ronda, sightseeing is one of the main attractions. Outside the town, the stunning scenery on Ronda’s doorstep provides lots of opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, birdwatching, climbing and paragliding. Some of the best walking on the Costa del Sol can be found near Ronda. You can also go horse riding and hot air ballooning. The town is nearby the Roman ruins at Acinipo and the famous Cueva de la Pileta caves that include paintings over 15,000 years old.

    Ronda wine has made an important comeback over the last decade and one of the most popular things to do in Ronda is to visit the local vineyards and taste Ronda wine. There are nearly 20 bodegas in Ronda producing delicious red and white wines, some of which have won international prizes.

    What cultural activities are there in Ronda?

    Ronda has a year-round cultural programme with concerts and other events. The highlight of the year is the Ronda Fair, which takes place at the end of August and runs into early September. Held in honour of the 18th century bullfighter Pedro Romero, the fair includes week-long celebrations that include the nationally famous Goya-esque bullfights when bullfighters and spectators dress up in costumes from the painter Goya’s time.

    What about eating out in Ronda?

    There’s a good choice of restaurants in Ronda as well as excellent tapas bars. Ronda restaurants tend to specialise in local cuisine where the emphasis is on game (venison, rabbit and boar in particular), oxtail and homemade cheeses. The locally-produced Payoyo is one of the best cheeses in Spain. Chestnuts grown in the nearby Genal Valley feature in many sauces and desserts served at restaurants and bars in Ronda.

    What’s a typical local dish?

    There are several typical dishes from Ronda – one of the best ways to try them is to go to a good tapas bar. A particular local favourite is calabazas rondeñas (Ronda-style pumpkin), stuffed with cheese, almonds, bread crumbs and spices, and then baked in the oven. Another typical thing to eat from Ronda is conejo a la rondeña, rabbit stewed in garlic and white wine.

    How about shopping in Ronda?

    Ronda has a good selection of shops including specialist food stores and shops selling other essentials. There are large supermarkets such as Supersol and Mercadona on the outskirts of town, and if you want a larger choice of shops, Marbella and Malaga are just a short journey away.