Weekend in Ronda: Bridges, Bull Rings, & Bottles of Wine

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.)

weekend in Ronda
One of my favorite pics from our weekend in Ronda

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!

Breakfast views from the terrace of Hotel Don Miguel 🙌

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.

El Puente Nuevo
weekend in ronda
Pepster and I at the Puente Nuevo
weekend in ronda
Views of Los Jardines de Cuenca from the Puente Nuevo

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.

weekend in ronda
Views of the Puente Nuevo from La Carretera de los Molinos

#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!

weekend in ronda
La Plaza de Toros de Ronda
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Sunset at the Plaza de Toros

#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!

weekend in ronda
Views from the Mirador de Ronda
Views from the Mirador
Sculpture of Ernest Hemingway, my man
Sculpture of Orson Welles

#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!

Iglesia de Santa Maria La Mayor
Views of town from La Iglesia de Santa Maria La Mayor
Views from La Iglesia de Santa Maria La Mayor

#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.

Jardines de Cuenca – This is my kind of winter! 😛

#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.

weekend in ronda
The vineyards at Bodega Joaquín Fernández
Our wine tasting at Bodega Joaquín Fernández…Amazing views!

#7. Pasear!

As I say in almost all of my posts, you gotta just stroll through a city to know it and love it. ❤️ 

weekend in ronda
Blanca Navidad en Andalucía

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!