You’ll soon see why Ronda is the third most-visited town in southern Spain: its magnificent Puente Nuevo (“New Bridge”) spans the 120 metre-deep (394 feet) El Tajo gorge and offers a truly vertiginous experience, assuming you’re not afraid of heights. Iron grilles in the middle of the bridge enable you to look straight down to the bottom of the canyon, something which will send a shiver down your spine.
Don’t leave Ronda without visiting the museum located within the Puente Nuevo, which costs just €2.50 ($3) to enter. This small chamber was used as a prison during the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War and it is said that Republicans were thrown from it to their deaths on the rocks below. It is an unsettling experience to stand in the cavern and imagine what a terrifying end that must have been.
Discovering the secrets of El Tajo, the dramatic gorge that’s spanned by the “New Bridge”, is one of best experiences you can have in Ronda. A particularly good walk begins at Plaza Maria Auxiliadora in the old part of town and goes all the way down to the bottom of the canyon, providing you with some stunning views of the surrounding countryside as you go. Allow 90 minutes to get down and back up.
Nowhere else in Spain can you visit a museum dedicated to bandits. Ronda’s Museo del Bandolero looks at the history of banditry in and around the town, especially during the 19th century when it was very difficult to enter Ronda without being robbed by highwaymen in the countryside just outside. The museum costs just €3.75 ($4.6) to visit and is packed full of fascinating panels and exhibits.
Museo del Bandolero, 65 Calle Armiñán, Ronda, Spain +34 952 87 77 85
Located outside the old city walls, Ronda’s 10th and 11th century Baños Arabes are often overlooked by visitors to Ronda, but they’re some of the best-preserved such buildings in Spain. It’s an illuminating, serene experience to wander around their carefully-designed rooms, which maintained hot, medium and cold temperatures and were ventilated by the star-shaped vents in the ceiling.
Banos Arabes, 11 Calle Molino de Alarcón, Ronda, Spain +34 952 18 71 19
Not only is Ronda the birthplace of the modern Spanish bullfight, it is also home to one of the oldest and most beautiful buildings in Spain. Conceived by the same architect who designed the Puente Nuevo and now used for just one bullfight a year, it houses an excellent bullfighting museum. You can also visit all parts of the plaza de toros and even walk down a narrow tunnel through which the animals run out into the arena.
Plaza de Toros, 15 Calle Virgen de la Paz, Ronda, Spain +34 952 87 41 32
Ronda enjoys a spectacular location in between two of Andalusia’s most stunning natural parks. To the east is the Sierra de las Nieves, the highest peaks of which are snow-capped during winter, and to the west is the Sierra de Grazamela, the rugged mountains of which are visible from Ronda’s Alameda del Tajo park. There are amazing trekking, biking and horse riding experiences to be enjoyed in both.