Ronda is famous for its mighty ‘New Bridge’ spanning the deep gorge below, yet this stunningly appointed Andalusian town has much more to offer than its most iconic structure. Read on for our pick of the 20 must-visit attractions in Ronda.
The Puente Nuevo (‘New Bridge’) was completed in 1794 and is one of the reasons why this town is the third most-visited destination in Andalusia. Spanning the frightening 120-metre (394-foot) deep gorge that splits Ronda in two, it took 40 years and the lives of 50 workers to build. The small chamber at its centre contains a museum about its construction and history.
Puente Viejo (‘Old Bridge’) is the more notable of the two crossings that the gigantic Puente Nuevo was built to improve upon. Comprising a single stone archway, this early 17th-century structure is reached by strolling down through the beautiful Jardines de Cuenca, and from its centre, there are some spectacular views of the countryside beyond Ronda.
At 120 metres (394 feet) deep, the canyon that quite spectacularly splits Ronda in half is an acrophobe’s worst nightmare. There are two ways to enjoy this breathtaking natural phenomenon: either admire it from the centre of Puente Nuevo, or trek down to the bottom and goggle at the town high above you (the path starts from Plaza Maria Auxiliodora). The best approach, though, is to do both.
Named after Ronda’s twin Spanish city, these stunning gardens are staggered down the eastern side of Puente Nuevo, leading to that famous crossing’s older and smaller brother. Best visited either during the morning, before it gets too hot, or at sunset, they offer jaw-dropping views of El Tajo canyon, Puente Nuevo and the fertile landscape south of Ronda.
Andalusia’s most stunning park is located just behind Ronda’s historic bullring. Particularly beautiful during spring and autumn, the Alameda del Tajo features several viewing platforms that hang over the cliff edge; hilariously, Spaniards call these coño balconies, coño being a versatile Spanish swearword that you may well want to use upon looking down.
The gracefully ageing Casa del Rey Moro clings to the western cliffs of El Tajo and is a spectacular sight from the other side of the gorge. It dates from the 18th century and, although the building itself is closed, the tiered gardens are well worth a visit. From these, the 200+ steps of Ronda’s medieval Water Mine take you down to a Moorish fortress and the bottom of the canyon.
For fast and cheap tapas surrounded by locals, El Lechuguita is your place. Nestling on a sidestreet just off Plaza España, this hugely popular joint flings out bite-sized treats for as little as 80 cents, while the more ‘expensive’ tapas will set you back two or three euros. It’s traditional fare – think grilled meats and tortilla – and it’s very small, so arrive early to avoid disappointment.
Don’t leave Ronda without treating yourself to a meal at Meson El Sacristán, one of the town’s stand-out restaurants. Its USP is a gorgeous old wood oven, in which a variety of mouthwatering, locally sourced meat dishes are cooked. Star platos here are the roasted suckling pig, the baby goat chops and the stewed bull’s tail, a Rodeño classic. The restaurant is also famous for its world-class cured jamons and its homemade desserts.
Casa Maria likes to surprise its clients. You don’t order off a menu here: you simply take your table, order the drinks and let the kitchen staff serve you several courses made from whatever was freshest at the market that morning. This ingredient-driven approach to cooking has made Maria’s House extremely popular, so be sure to book in advance. Order the fabulous lemon cheesecake for dessert.
Come early September, Ronda throws itself into its annual Pedro Romero festival. Named after the legendary 18th-century Ronda-born bullfighter who is credited with inventing modern bullfighting, the fair takes over streets and squares in the Mercadillo area, converting them into a giant open-air party. Food and drink stands appear on every corner and ceilings of balloons and paper lanterns provide shade for revellers. The feria culminates with a bullfight in the town’s 18th-century bullring.
The “newer” part of Ronda is located on the northern side of El Tajo and is referred to as El Mercadillo (‘the little market’). Abounding in charming whitewashed townhouses, pretty squares and romantic cobbled streets, this part of town richly rewards aimless meandering. Start from Plaza España, perhaps after refreshments at Hotel Don Miguel, and take any street off this central square: within minutes, you’ll be in the heart of the barrio.
The oldest part of Ronda sits on the northern side of the gorge and is simply called La Ciudad (‘the town’). Its tightly packed sugar cube houses and narrow lanes mostly date from the city’s time under Moorish dominion, which lasted from the 8th to the late 15th centuries. La Ciudad is home to many notable buildings, including the Mondragón Palace and House of the Moorish King, and the most hauntingly beautiful spots in the city. You can also walk to the bottom of El Tajo via a path that starts at Plaza Maria Auxiliodora.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.