Most visitors to Ronda come up the infamous windy Ronda road from San Pedro near Marbella for a day trip. But Ronda offers far more than just a quick excursion. Read on for my tips on the best things to do in Ronda.
1. Ronda's New Bridge, Old Bridge and 'Roman' Bridge over the Tajo Gorge
Ronda is most famous for being situated over the Tajo gorge, with three bridges spanning the gap from the old Moorish town to the modern center. It was the old town's situation behind the old Puente Viejo which allowed it to remain Moorish long after the rest of the Muslim rulers had fallen.
But most famous and magnificent bridges is the New Bridge (Puente Nuevo), a spring chicken at 260 years old. Underneath is an interpretation center with digital presentations on the history of the bridge. A little further along is the Puente Viejo old bridge and the 'Roman Bridge', though there is little or nothing Roman about it!
2. Taste the Local Wine
Ronda claims to have the best red wine in Andalusia. The region isn't known for its red wine (sherry is Andalusia's biggest wine export), so that isn't really saying much, but it seemed to go down well enough for me.
There are numerous wine bodegas in and around Ronda, with flyers and maps to help you find them distributed around the city and in the (excellent) tourist information center, so be sure to check one out.
There is a also a wine museum Museo del Vino de Ronda which has reasonably priced tastings, but it closes ridiculously early (7pm when we tried to go). Be prepared to spend your late afternoon feeling a bit woozy or just drink a few wines in the local bars instead.
One place to sample wine from Ronda is at the Vinoteca at the corner between Calle Lorenzo Borego and Calle Sevilla, but any self-respecting bar will do. What Ronda wine lacks in international fame it makes up for with its low prices and great availability in town.
There are also some organic wine producers in the region. You can visit one of them on this tour: Ronda Organic Wine and Olive Oil Tour from Malaga
3. Go for a Hike
The countryside around Ronda is quite something, with rolling green hills in the foreground and mountains behind. There are some hiking routes ('rutas de senderismo') but you'll want to go in spring or autumn as it is far too hot in summer to walk on these quite exposed pathways. Some of the routes take you to some quite interesting destinations, such as the Ermita Virgen de la Cabeza.
Check out these Ronda Hiking Routes from the Ronda tourist board .
4. Take a Day Trip
Ronda itself is normally treated as a day trip, but if you feel like spending a few days in the town (especially if you plan on going trekking), then basing yourself in Ronda for a few days trips is a good way to not feel too claustrophobic.
- The Pueblos Blancos, or 'white villages' are all within driving distance of Ronda. Worth a stop along the way (but not for a special trip) is the Acinipo Roman ruins.
- El Chorro This town is home to the Desfiladero de los Gaitanes, a ravine that is famous for the Camino (or Caminito) del Rey, a dangerous climbing route.
- Cueva de la Pileta and Cueva del Gato, two nearby caves of archeological importance.
- The mountain ranges of La Sierra de las Nieves and Serrania de Ronda.
Adventure sports are also popular excursions from Ronda.
5. Peinado Museum
Fans of Spanish abstract art and Cubism, or those who haven't had a chance to get to one of Spain's Picasso museums, should check out the Peinado museum.
Joaquin Peinado was a contemporary and student of the great Pablo Picasso and his museum is cheaper and less crowded than those of his master in Malaga and Barcelona.
Those not well acquainted with Cubism might not be able to tell the difference between the two artists, while those who've recently been to the Picasso museum in Malaga will have fun comparing the two artists' work.
There is free entry to this museum with the Ronda pass, available from the tourist office by the bull ring.
6. Go for Tapas
You're in Andalusia, so of course you should also go for tapas!
If you wander around Ronda's town center you will be bombarded with offers of paella and tapas from sub-standard tourist traps. Which is what happened to us, famished as we were and new in town. We then checked out Tripadvisor and went to De Locos Tapas, which was ranked number one and in a part of town we were interested in looking at anyway.
If you've recently been to Seville you may not find the tapas as imaginative as you're used to, but for everyone else you'll be treated to an impressive collection of Morocco-inspired dishes, some excellent salmorejo and a very tasty mini-hamburger (complete with a fried quail egg). With nothing over two euros and a very friendly bar owner (who grew up in the Basque tradition of pintxos), you can't go wrong here. Also worth checking out are the tapas bars on Calle Lorenzo Barrego.
7. See A BullfightRonda can lay serious claim to being the true home of bullfighting, or at least the form we know today. There was a time when bullfighting was all done on horseback, but when a rider fell off his mount at the Ronda bullring and continued the fight on foot, the version we know today was born.
There are still regular fights at this historic bullriing, especially during the Corridas Goyescas festival in September.
8. The Moorish Baths (Baños Arabes)
Ronda boasts some of the best-preserved old Arabic Baths in Europe. Entry is cheap and the video room, inside the old baths themselves, is nicely air conditioned. The baths are conveniently located next to the old bridge. Note, the baths are no longer operational.
Entry is free with the Ronda discount card, purchaseable from the tourist office near the bullring.