Category Archives: Nature

The natural world of the Serrania de Ronda, including the natural parks, fauna and flora, Ronda mountains, activities, and nature photos. Many of the visitors to Ronda will be here for a single day, or at most two days, and by reading our nature articles (frequently updated) we hope visitors will be able to fully enjoy the scenery of Andalucía.

Our most popular articles are the Griffon Vulture, Bonelli’s Eagle, and the Woodcock Orchid.

The Camino del Rey in El Chorro

The Camino del Rey, El Chorro and Guadalhorce Reservoirs

If you are on a road trip across Andalucia then a visit to Ronda is probably on your list but one other recommended place is the stunning area in Malaga province just an hour away from Ronda. The Guadalhorce reservoirs, The kings path (Caminito del Rey) and El Chorro are well worth a drive by and certainly a night in a local hotel.

Famous for the terrifying footpath just a metre wide and hanging from the cliffs in a narrow gorge the kings path has almost been restored to it’s former glory. The Guadalhorce reservoirs are huge and the scenery breathtaking.

Too much information to put on the Ronda Today website so we have built a dedicated website for this area over at www.caminodelrey.es All the information you need including hotel booking and articles about the area.

Welcome

rondatoday-header1Hi, Clive here from Ronda Today.  Feedback is very important to us and we love to get your comments and thoughts about your visit to Ronda “The City of Dreams” so that we can continue to create the best resource of English language Tourist information about the town of Ronda in Andalucia, Spain

Right now and here on this website you have everything you need to get the best out of your tourist visit to Ronda. In depth articles about monuments and museums, hotel reviews and reservations. Books about the area, hire your car and book your flights.

When you book a hotel in Ronda from this link, we receive a small commission and this helps you to help us keep this website up and running with the best information online to enjoy your visit to Ronda

We also have the printable essential guide to Ronda ready for you to download.  21 pages including an essential city map of Ronda to get the best out of your visit.

Pueblos blancos

The White Villages (Pueblos Blancos)

If you are staying in Ronda for a few days and have a car then you will want to get out and about to explore more villages in the area. The “Pueblos Blancos” or white villages encompass the north east of Cádiz and north west of Málaga provinces and this area is saturated in history with palaeolithic cave paintings, neolithic dolmens, bronze and copper age remains, Roman roads, Visigoth fountains and Moorish towers. For the most part, these tours take us through towns created during almost 800 years of Muslim settlement. Berber tribes arrived here in around 714, coming from similar mountainous terrain in Morocco. They chose easily defended sites and built watch towers as an early warning system against attack. All of which was needed as this area was a lasting frontier between the Muslim and Christian kingdoms. You can read more and print off the 3 driving white village routes at the Grazalema Tourist Information website.

If you don’t have a car then our very good friends over at Wildside Holidays can arrange a guided tour of some of the famous white villages of the area and can pick you up and drop you back to your hotel at the end of the day. Wildside Holidays also arrange nature orientated walking tours in the nearby Sierra de Grazalema.

Printable map and guide to Ronda

The Ronda Printable Guide and City Map (just 5€)

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We have received many emails from people asking for a printed version of Ronda Today so we have created a 21 page A4 essential guide (including city map) of Ronda and the Sierras from some of the most popular articles on this website.

At just 5 Euros (Paypal) It is well worth the small investment if you are planning to visit the “City of Dreams” for a week, a couple of days or just a day. The guide contains Ronda Todays’ most important tourist information articles and includes a map of Ronda city, the most popular monuments and nearby places to visit including information on the Sierra de Grazalema and the white villages (Pueblos Blancos).  Just click the link below, pay via Paypal and you will receive an email with a link to download the guide to your computer. It’s a PDF document so you can store it on your machine and print it straight away.

If you don’t want to use paypal then drop me a line at clive@rondatoday.com for other methods of payment. However, paypal is free to use, takes almost all types of payment cards and you don’t need to create a paypal account to use the service. Best of all it is free (No transfer charges) for the buyer.

Click here to buy and download your essential printable guide to Ronda

Thank you for supporting Ronda Todays continued growth by purchasing this essential tourist guide and map of Ronda!

The Sierra de Grazalema

Walking in the Sierra de Grazalema

Andalucían landscapes and wildlife have been bringing pleasure to visitors for decades. The south of Spain and especially the interior of Andalucía holds many wonders and surprises. The “real Spain” has little to do with beach resorts or whirlwind tours of Andalusian cities.

You are discovering the white town and “City of Dreams” that is Ronda and will be amazed by the beautiful Puente Nuevo, the architecture and history, the Plaza de Toros. But, take a moment to enjoy the stunning views from the balcony behind the Parador and the Paseo de los Ingleses. The mountains in the near distance are known as the Sierra de Grazalema. One of Spain’s most famous natural parks. A fabulous location to spend time be it resting, walking, bird watching or photography.
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Little owl on the tajo bridge, Ronda

Birdwatching in Ronda’s El Tajo

The El Tajo gorge offers a wealth of bird species to watch, in fact many tourists book rooms in hotels overlooking the gorge specifically to setup their binoculars on hotel terraces away from the crowds.

The area between the Puente Nuevo and the Jardines del Cuenca is a deep almost enclosed part of the gorge that buzzes with life, from flying insects to spiders, lizards and geckos, and of course the many birds that nest in the gorge or hunt for food here.

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andalusian-sierras-malage-to-gibraltar-crossbill-guides

Book Review: Andalusian Sierras, from Malaga to Gibraltar (Crossbill Guides)

From the jacket, “At the Strait of Gibraltar, where Europe touches Africa, Spain shoes its rugged side. The jagged mountain chain that lies at the very southern end of the peninsula is one that harbours many delights. Dense, fern-draped forests alternate with unexpected bare mountaintops and dazzling steep cliffs. Flowery rock fields on windswept crests overlook picturesque white villages amidst green oak groves. These are the Sierra of Western Andalusia, an enchanting region with an incredible natural diversity.”

The first thing that stands out when picking up a copy of the Crossbill Guides Andalusian Sierras, is the heavy paper, and full colour photos and maps. The quality of the paper makes a huge difference to your enjoyment of this guide, which should accompany you in the car. Buy a second copy to keep on the coffee table, for easy reading at home.

At 208 pages, this is a meaty guide that is also only slightly wider than a paperback novel, and very easily fits in a daypack when you’re walking or hiking around the district. Though district might be too localised a description, since the area covered in Andalusian Sierras stretches from the Bay of Gibraltar, through the Alcornacales, Grazalema, Sierra de las Nieves, Torcal and Ardales-El Chorro parklands.

Visitors to the area are often struck by the contrasts between differing parts of Western Andalucia, that in such a small geographical area there can be so many ecosystems bordering each other. The terrain is unique in being the meeting ground where Africa is pushing into Europe, with high limestone mountains, rolling sandstone hills, and low fertile valleys.

Needless to say, the flora and fauna of the area can differ quite substantially. In Andalusian Sierras we are first introduced to the landscape, written in an appealing descriptive style, and heavy on facts. Climate and geology is discussed first, and includes schematics of the terrain explaining the various habitats to be found.

For the infrequent visitor to Andalucia, a book with 30 walks of the Serrania de Ronda is useless. Far batter to invest in Andalusian Sierras: From Malaga to Gibraltar (Crossbill Guides) with 14 excellent walks covering a wider area, that take in a broader variety of habitats. The majority of visitors to Andalusia are after all, only here for a week or two, and it would be a shame to not experience El Torcal, Grazalema, or the lowland walks of the Campo de Gibraltar near Tarifa.

Nature lovers who travel the world in search of new experiences will thoroughly enjoy the treatment of the the natural spaces in Andalusia by the Crossbill Guides Foundation. Whilst this guide only covers the nature of Malaga and Cadiz provinces, anyone familiar with the district would confirm that the native and migratory flora is amongst the richest in Europe.

Pages are colour-coded, and roughly divided into four sections, Landscape, Flora and Fauna, Walking Routes, and Tourist Information and Observation Tips.

The walking routes are graded, include a map, description of terrain, colour photos of highlights, and itinerary. The routes are; bird Migration along the Strait of Gibraltar, the Southern Alcornacales, the Northern Alcornacales, Climbing Aljibe Mountain, El Pinsapar Spanish Fir forest walk, Salto del Cabrero, La Garganta Verde, Along El Bosque river, the north slope of the Pinar mountains, the karst landscape of Villaluenga, the fir forest of Luis Ceballos, the hight mountains, El Chorro, and walking in the Torcal de Antequera.

The back of the book gives a species list for plants, mammals, birds, invertebrates, and reptiles. Curiously, the editors have decided to provide English, Latin, German, and Dutch, but not Spanish. This isn’t a huge oversight, but does mean when speaking to Spaniards about fauna and flora, you’ll need to use the latin name to find common ground.
andalusian-sierras-malage-to-gibraltar-crossbill-guides

Spanish Fir

The Spanish Fir, Abies pinsapo

Dotted around the mountains of Grazalema and the Sierra de las Nieves, and also in the city of Ronda itself, the observant visitor will occasionally run across a type of evergreen fir that looks different from others.

This is Abies pinsapo, the national tree of Andalucía, and one of a very few species that survived through the last major ice age into the modern era. That alone gives the tree special significance, and sadly Abies pinsapo is endangered. Reforestation efforts seem to be working, but the tree is often found in zones that have a high risk of fire.

In their natural environment the Spanish Fir tree is most comfortable at higher altitudes, typically above 900m, which means that in most cases you’re going to have to get out of Ronda and the valleys to see the tree. Driving from Ronda to El Burgo, or from Zahara de la Sierra though Benamahoma to Grazalema are where they are easily seen without stopping. Of course, I prefer to avoid a car, and simply walk over the mountains :)

A fully grown Spanish Fir will be tall and upright, tapering to a point at the top, though it isn’t unusual for older trees to become irregular in shape. The leaves of the Spanish Fir are my favourite aspect of them. They are glaucous (blue-green in colour), tubular, only 2cm long, and waxy to touch. The colour of the leaves can in fact give the entire tree a distinctly blueish look from a distance.

Abies pinsapo’ seeds are cone-like, and can grow to nearly 20cm. Typically the tree will seed in the summer, and by October the cones are mature and falling to the ground. They are pink and green, and can be quite attractive.

There are two varieties of Abies pinsapo, the one known to us in Andalucía, and another that is very similar but finds its home in the Rif mountains of Morocco.

Spanish Fir