Up in the mountains of Malaga province lies the magnificent town of Ronda, split down the centre by a 100m gorge, known as ‘El Tajo’ that separates the medieval old part of the town from the 18th century part. Ronda is 60km away from Marbella and is very popular amongst day-trippers from the Costa del Sol reputed to be Hemingway’s favourite city in Spain.
The gorge is spanned by three bridges ‘The Roman Bridge’, ‘The Old Bridge’ and ‘The New Bridge.’ The most impressive of the three is ‘The New Bridge,’ an elaborate stone structure standing 120 metres above the canyon floor. Designed by the famous architect Aldehuela, it was finally completed in 1793 having taken 40 years and many lives to build. You can take a tour bus to the bottom of the gorge to capture the classic Ronda picture for yourself.
Crossing over to the modern Ronda, you will come to the Parador; a walkway that runs along the river gorge and offers visitors superb views of the river Guadalevin below. If you follow the walkway round you will come to the Mirador where sightseers are surrounded by flower beds and look out onto the surrounding countryside, the perfect backdrop for a picnic. Behind the Mirador is the famous ‘Plaza de Toros’ bullring designed also by Aldehuela, which is the largest, oldest and most beautiful in Spain. It also has an in-house museum that tracks the history of bullfighting and some of its legendary matadors.
There is also the partially intact ‘Arab Baths’ found below the city passing through the arch of Felipe V, that date back to the 13th and 14th Centuries. Another sight worth mentioning is The Mondragon Palace that is an exquisite mansion house with fabulous gardens, formerly the home of King Abomelik. This is a great place to settle in the shade and take in the City Hall.
There are a number of fantastic restaurants in Ronda. Here are just a few to tempt you: Bar Faustino- which is a Tapas bar in the centre of the city that is non-stop but if you like the buzz the food is good and so is the atmosphere. If you're looking for more of a sit-down, relaxed meal there's the Tragabuches, which is the most renowned in the town, being one of the few Michelin starred restaurants in Andalucia and deservedly so.
A beautiful town, Ronda is an ideal day-trip for those wanting to branch out from the glitz of Marbella and experience some real Spain. The journey up to Ronda takes just over an hour from Marbella and the road up meanders through the mountains with some spectacular scenery all along the way!