Ronda is a small mountain town in Andalusia, Spain known for its beautiful surrounding scenery and the famous Puente Nuevo. This bridge separates the Old and New Towns with stunning views of a gorge. The Old Town is increasing in popularity each year as travelers share their experiences over social media. However, a majority of tourists that arrive each day have the same agenda – a day trip. However, I think that Ronda actually deserves so much more of your attention!
As an expat, I want to share with you my reasons for why Ronda warrants so much more than a quick visit. For me, the choice to work in Ronda was simple. First, the organization that I work for, Entrelenguas Cultural Centre, seemed like the perfect environment to improve my Spanish. Second, I also could learn more about running a sustainable tourism business. But, it was the surroundings of this authentically Spanish city that completely took my breath away! Many old traditions and customs are still remaining today.
Given my experiences, I have compiled a perfect itinerary for a three-day trip to Ronda. This itinerary is filled with my favourite spots and sustainable tourism experiences I love.
Day 1 Morning: Ronda Spain Puento Nuevo Bridge
For me, the first day is about exploring and getting a feel for Ronda. For this reason, I suggest that you spend the morning finding your bearings and taking in the stunning views and scenery.
I recommend starting with the Puento Nuevo bridge. People come from all over the world to see the Puente Nuevo and for very good reasons! The views the bridge gives over the gorge, which splits Ronda in two, are breath-taking. It’s also the perfect place to get some amazing photos. The bridge is architecturally beautiful so it’s definitely worth getting a view of the bridge from all angles. My favourite viewpoint is from the Jardines de Cuenca gardens that cascade down the side of the gorge and lead into the Old Town below.
Take time to wander through the enchanting, winding streets of the Old Town. Follow the original city walls and you will find the Arab Baths just outside.
Day 1 Afternoon: Ronda’s Arab Baths & Old Town
The Arab Baths are unique as compared to Roman Baths. For one, the architecture is completely different. Roman Baths are usually all straight lines and squared off pillars. But, Arab Baths are designed with characteristic arches and rounded pillars. The baths were also used for different purposes. The Arab Baths were used for bathing and cleaning before entering the mosque, which is located beside the entrance to the baths.
Next, if you continue along to the end of the city walls, las murallas, you will find the original entrance to the Old Town. Just inside this entrance, there is a bar called Bar Sanchez, which is the perfect local and authentic bar to grab a bite to eat. I recommend the serranito, a delicious and typical sandwich with slices of Iberian pork, serrano ham, fried green peppers, and tomato.
To finish out this perfect day, I would suggest visiting one of the many museums or exhibitions in Ronda to learn about its deep and enriched history. Ronda is a city that has been around for over 2000 years so there is plenty to learn! My favourite place to explore Ronda’s diverse past is Mondragon Palace, also located in the Old Town. The palace takes you through the stages in which the Romans, Arabs, and Catholics occupied Ronda. And, its charming courtyard provides a stunning view over the valley below.
Day 2 Morning: Ronda’s Tradesmen
Another must is to explore and learn about local traditions and trades. You can find many traditional workshops in Ronda, from bakeries and ham shops to leather and engraving shops.
These tradesmen work to ensure that Ronda remains authentic and doesn’t lose its past. For the morning, I would suggest going on a tour of these artisan businesses as they provide the perfect insight into the culture and history of the town. You’ll find these experiences to be outside the usual tourist traps.
Day 2 Late Morning: Ronda’s Culinary Delights
You can visit the bakery and buy delicious fresh bread and then move on to the jamon shop. There, you can dip your bread into various organic olive oils and try different Spanish meats, including the renowned Iberian ham. This is so tasty! At both of these locations, make sure you take time to chat with the owners and learn about the traditional methods they use to make their organic products. Then, you can visit one of the local leather makers. You’ll not only learn about their trade, but also see first-hand the techniques used in their work!
Another spot I would recommend trying out for your lunch is El Lechuguita. It’s a very authentic experience eating at this tapas bar as it’s always full of locals (the sign of a good restaurant). You have to try the lechuguita, the dish the bar is named after. Basically, it’s lettuce in a delicious dressing and one of my favourites! Best of all, each dish is just 90 cents!
Day 2 Afternoon: Hiking Around Ronda Spain
For the afternoon, I would suggest a hike in the beautiful countryside surrounding the town. Ronda is situated on top of a mountain in the Serranía de Ronda, a stunning series of mountains and valleys full of beautiful walks, rides, and climbs. You absolutely have to spend part of your trip exploring it. My favourite route for a hike is through the valley, where you start in El Barrio (the area outside of the city walls) and descend into the valley behind the town. You will pass farms, vineyards and olive groves, and get stunning views of the bridge. Keep following the path along until you eventually begin to ascend back up the other side of the valley, and then you will make your way back through the town. This walk is relatively easy, and the countryside is so peaceful and relaxing.
Day 3 Morning: Ronda Spain Wine Tasting
For your final day in Ronda, I suggest one of my favourite activities, wine tasting. The climate here in Andalusia is the perfect environment for cultivating grapes. In the surrounding valleys of Ronda, there are many family-run vineyards that use traditional and organic methods to produce local wines. This is, for me, the perfect way to spend a sunny day in Ronda.
Not only can you visit a vineyard and learn about the different variations of grapes that grow in the area, but you can also learn about how they are grown, harvested and made into wine. Then, of course, you can try them with the company of a local who knows all about the different notes and flavours in each wine. Click for an example of a wine tasting experience in Ronda.
Day 3 Afternoon: Ronda Spain Bullfighting Traditions
Ronda also boasts one of the oldest bullrings in all of Spain. Bullfighting was founded in 1765, and of course, it plays a huge part in the history of Spain. So, I would advise giving it a visit on the afternoon of your last day.
Although bullfighting is very controversial nowadays, and I personally would never watch a fight, it remains a huge part of the history and culture of Andalusia. So, it’s still important to learn and understand the custom so you can form your own opinion. The building itself is beautiful and feels grand and important, and there is only one bull fight a year, so you do not have to watch a fight. You can simply visit the site if you are only interested in the building and the history of the tradition.
If you don’t want to enter the bullring at all, I really enjoy having a drink and maybe a little snack on the rooftop bar of Hotel Catalonia as it sits above the bullring so you can see in and admire the building from afar!
Ronda’s Numerous Authentic Experiences
And so that sees the end to your trip! In conclusion, Ronda is absolutely brimming with authentic culture, rich history, numerous culinary experiences, and natural beauty.
This little Spanish town is definitely worthy of so much more than a day trip. While I’ve described three days in Ronda, there is still more to do and see. Ronda presents numerous unique and authentic experiences that are unparalleled and it absolutely should be on your list of travel destinations!
If you would like some advice on choosing where to stay in Ronda, you can check out this article on the Entrelenguas blog.