Ronda, known as the largest of Andalucía’s “white towns,” or pueblos blancos, is a cozy little spot in the province of Málaga. A weekend in Ronda is a must while in the south of Spain! We visited Ronda in December of 2018 when we lived in Bucharest to enjoy the mild Andalusian winter (i.e. clear blue skies, temps in the 50-60s Fahrenheit, and los naranjoooos.)
Where to Stay
We stayed at the Hotel Don Miguel, right on the Puente Nuevo. It was an awesome location and we had gorgeous views of the bridge while drinking our morning coffee!
What to Do on a Weekend in Ronda
#1. El Puente Nuevo
Ronda is particularly stunning because of its location atop the dramatic El Tajo gorge. The Puente Nuevo, or new bridge, is probably the most characteristic image of Ronda, as it spans across the gorge and the Río Guadalevín. The bridge is not exactly as new as its name suggests (it was built in the 1700s) – it’s just newer than its counterpart, the Puente Viejo, in the older part of town.
To get a particularly scenic and oft-photographed view of the bridge, take a little walk along Carretera de los Molinos, which starts from the older part of town.
#2. La Plaza de Toros
Ronda’s Plaza de Toros is one of the most iconic in all of Spain. Its full name is “The Bullring of the Royal Cavalry of Ronda,” or “La Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Ronda.” Yeah, sounds legit because it is. The museum includes memorabilia taurina and some works by Picasso. I really enjoyed the visit!
#3. Mirador de Ronda
At the Mirador de Ronda, one of the city’s many scenic lookout points, you’ll find sculptures of Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles. These two dudes loved Ronda: Hemingway was a huge bullfighting fan and a regular at La Plaza de Toros, and Orson Welles’ ashes are actually buried in town!
#4. Iglesia de Santa Maria La Mayor
Like many churches in Andalucía, La Iglesia de Santa Maria La Mayor was once a mosque under Moorish rule. Our visit here was really pleasant – be sure to go up to the roof for pretty views of town!
#5. Jardines de Cuenca
The picturesque gardens you see across from the Puente Nuevo are the Jardines de Cuenca. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the name of these gardens is a dedication to the city of Cuenca in Castilla-La Mancha, one of my favorite little cities in Spain (and low-key one of the most dramatically underrated. Most Spaniards I speak to have never been and/or know little about it. I do my best to enlighten them because Cuenca rocks🤘🏼). Ronda and Cuenca are actually “sister” cities, which makes total sense: they resemble each other in how they’re both perched on gorges – El Tajo gorge and the Río Huécar gorge, respectively.
#6. Wine Tasting at Bodega Joaquín Fernández
A really unique part of our weekend in Ronda was our visit to the Bodega Joaquín Fernández. We called ahead to make a reservation, and the staff arranged pick-up and drop-off for us from our hotel (we obviously didn’t want to make the boozy drive back ourselves). We were given a tour of the winery, followed by a tasting of four of the bodega’s wines. We did the wine tasting outdoors on the terrace with awesome views of the surrounding countryside – 10/10 recommend! We bought a few bottles of wine for ourselves and as gifts for family.
As I say in almost all of my posts, you gotta just stroll through a city to know it and love it. ❤️
Fun History Facts (Disclaimer: Actually these facts aren’t so fun because they’re pretty gruesome 😑)
Events that look place in Ronda’s central Plaza de España served as the inspiration for one of the most savage scenes in one of my favorite novels, For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway, which is about the Spanish Civil War. In the novel, the character Pilar tells us how, early in the war, the anti-fascist guerilla fighter Pablo does some nasty things to his enemies – i.e., traps them inside the city hall in order to be led out into the town plaza, bloodily beaten by the townspeople, and thrown off the cliff of the town gorge. Supposedly events like these occurred in Ronda during the war (the geography and description of the scene in the novel do match Ronda pretty well…) The city hall on the plaza is now the Parador, a nice hotel. Kinda morbid?…
Anyway, brutal history aside, enjoy your weekend in Ronda!