Ronda was our next stop on the Southern Spain road trip and to be honest, I think it’s my favorite small town ever. As much as I love big city living, there’s something about a historic small town that really slows down your life. Maybe it’s just a much needed break from daily life, or maybe something inside my soul just screams for a simpler life. Either way, Ronda is nothing like I’ve never seen before. We only spent one night here because it’s a mid point between Granada and Seville and at first look, didn’t seem to be worth a longer stay. But once we got there I learned pretty quickly that I made a mistake. This place needs at least a 2 day stay.
What to Do:
Ronda is a city situated on top of a mountain above a deep canyon. This canyon separates the 15th century new town from the old town that dates back to Moorish rule. These two towns are connected by a stone bridge called Puente Nuevo which was built in the late 1700s. This bridge is breathtaking and I can’t even believe it’s man made. For the best views, head towards Plaza de Quesa de Parcent to take the winding road down to the bridge view point. At sunset, the bridge is lit up and is truly a marvel.
Explore Old Town. The small winding roads, the plazas, the old castles and churches, it’s all at your doorstep. Parks and viewpoints overlooking the landscape with beautiful tints of yellow reflecting off the sand.
Mirador de Ronda is one of these amazing view points in the park Alameda del Tajo. There’s a gazebo situated on the edge of the mountain overlooking it all.
Plaza de Toros de Ronda is the oldest bullring in Spain and was once home to the most prestigious bullfighting school. At some point, it was also a training ground for soldiers on horses. This historic landmark stands at 5 stories tall and visitors can walk through the entire building. You will see first hand where the bulls were held and are free to walk through the center arena, and through the stands. I very much enjoyed pretending to be a bull.
Where to Eat:
I can’t tell you a specific restaurant that we found to be so memorable as we were only there for a day. But we really enjoyed lunch at the Plaza del Socorro. This plaza, like many others in Spain, are lined with restaurants around a beautiful fountain with a Hercules statue. Right behind it is the Santa Maria del Mayor church which took 200 years to build and is a mixture of gothic and renaissance style. You should also note that it is unbearably hot in the middle of the day. All of the restaurants are covered with awning and spray mist on the guests. Everyone, literally, walks around the perimeter of the plaza to get where they’re going in order to avoid being in the sun. In the evening we also ate outside at the Plaza de Quesa right outside the Arabic walls. What I loved about it was that you can tell this is where the locals go. Many families were out with their kids playing in the playground ahead while the adults, us included, dined on tapas and bottles of wine.
Where to Stay:
The Parador de Ronda hotel was once the town hall and sits right in the center of Ronda, perfectly between old and new town, and right on the edge of the Puente Nuevo Bridge. The wrap around terrace opens to amazing views of the city. This hotel isn’t very updated but is clean and comfortable. The location is perfect, walking distance from everything, and the breakfast is amazing.