Category Archives: Ronda

Ronda city is one of the most picturesque destinations in Spain, and the third most visited city in Andalucía. Popular sites to see are the Puente Nuevo bridge, the Plaza de Toros Bullring, Ronda’s cathedral, the historic Arab Baths, and much more.

In the Ronda Mountains you’ll find the beautiful white villages of Andalucía, including the most popular, Grazalema, Setenil de las Bodegas, Zahara de la Sierra, Genalguacil


La Playita – The Little Beach in the Mountains

Sometimes you just want to go to the beach, but staying near Ronda means a one hour drive to the coast for the closest beach, however, not too far away at Zahara de la Sierra is La Playita at Arroymolinos, a fresh water pool made into a huge man-made beach.

From June until mid September the little beach is open, and is only a 25 minute drive from Ronda, or 10 minutes from Zahara de la Sierra or Montecorto. Located under Monte Prieto, the views of surrounding mountains make La Playita a truly isolated place, yet just a few minutes from civilization.

Facilities on-site include ample parking, changing rooms with toilets and showers, picnic tables under shady trees, a bar, plenty of room for kids to play, and the pool is nearly 100m wide. Lifeguards also keep an eye on the pool ensuring your day will always be fun.

After a day at the little beach, drive into Zahara for dinner or tapas at one of the village restaurants overlooking the azure waters of the lake.

Directions: From Zahara drive along the lake until you reach marker 5km, you’ll see a sign for the Playita, and then drive through the gate.

Cycle the Mountain Roads of the Serrania de Ronda

Cycling from Ronda and around the Serrania

The Ronda area is a cyclists delight and challenge, with spectacular views, and treachorous hill climbs as well. In fact the Serrania is a popular training destination for cyclists preparing for long distance road races and triathlons.

For holiday makers we have a choice of route length, from 30km to 130km, some of them relatively easy to complete, and others aimed at professional cyclists who know their capabilities.

Reardless of the route you choose however, you’re absolutely certain to enjoy the views. The Serrania is amazingly diverse within a small area, we have river basins and valleys, rocky mountains, and long stretches of flat windy roads.

Look up as you ride and you’ll see vultures, eagles, and other birds of prey, or keep looking for mountain goats and deer. Almost every turn in the road presents vistas that will take your breath away.

From Ronda, shorter rides will take you to Arriate on a loop that is only 30km, or if you have the energy, take a longer ride to Setenil and Acinipo. Professional cyclists should attempt the run to Grazalema and then across the mountain top to Zahara de la Sierra, or the breathtaking route to Gaucin, perhaps with a detour to Genalguacil.

CycleRonda recommend the following routes (13-54km) from Ronda on a road bike;
1. Arriate
2. Setenil-Cuevas del Becerro
3. Faraján-Cartajima in the Genal Valley
4. El Burgo through the Sierra de las Nieves
5. Benaoján-Atajate
6. Acinipo-Setenil

For Mountain bike enthsiasts these routes (13-40km) are fun;
1. Pilar de Coca
2. Puente de la Ventilla
3. Parchite & Arriate
4. Genal Valley or the Guardiaro River
5. Lifa and El Burgo

Finally, professional cyclists should ask about longer road routes (30-144km);
1. Setenil-Cuevas del Becerro
2. Faraján-Cartajima
3. El Burgo-Ardales-El Chorro
4. Acinipo-Setenil
5. Zahara-Palomaspas-Grazalema
6. Grazalema-Ubrique-El Colmenar
7. Benaoján-Atajate
8. Atejate-Algatocín-Jimena de la Frontera


Things To Do in Ronda During Your Stay

Ronda is one of the oldest towns in Europe, people have lived in the district for more than 30,000 years, and Ronda has been occupied for 9,000 years.

If you’re planning to visit Ronda here are the top things to do to help you enjoy your holiday. Ronda is a small city, and almost everything is within 500m of the Puento Nuevo bridge. Tourist office maps are printed in Spanish, English, German, French, Dutch, and Italian.

1. The Bullring (Plaza de Toros), considered to be the most historically important bullring in Spain, and home to the Ronda style with a matador on foot instead of horseback. The building can only seat 5000 people but has the largest central sand surface, known as the rueda, in the world. The structure is entirely built from locally quarried stone, then plastered and whitewashed. Read more.

2. The New Bridge (Puente Nuevo), the largest of Ronda’s several bridges that cross the impressive Tajo gorge that separates the city in two. The bridge is 98 meters tall with a tall central arch, and a room under the road that has been a hotel, a bar, a prison, and is now a small museum. Read more.

3. The Arab Baths are considered the most complete in Spain even though they are ruins, and offer a tantalizing glimpse into medievel Islamic times. Visitors are able to see the pump tower on which a donkey turned a crank that fed cold water to the baths. The water was heated and distributed in three rooms, a hot room for sweating out impurities, a warm room for massages and soaking, and a cold room to cool down. Read more.

4. The Mondragon Palace is a 13th century palace that archeologists believe was the home of Ronda’s Islamic King Abomelik when Ronda was the capital city of a large kingdom in Al-Andalus. The palace is home to the city museum with displays from the paleolithic, neolithic, Roman, Moorish, and Christian eras. Read more.

5. The medieval walls, with numerous gates and Islamic arches, high defensive towers and long stretches of impregnable stone wall that surround the old city and would take at least an hour to walk around. The most impressive sections are located at Almocabar in the Barrio San Francisco, Calle Goleta, and near the ruined flour mills in the Tajo gorge. Read more.

6. The Water Mine, a dark and scary escent to the Islamic era fortress carved into the gorge below the Casa del Rey Moro. Known as the Water Mine because for hundreds of years it operated as the only source of water into the city, with slaves chained to the steps to pass water bags upwards. Read more.

7. Visit the Santa Maria la Mayor church to see Ronda’s largest church, and also home to many of the Easter floats used in processions during Holy Week. The church was built on the foundations of an Islamic mosque, part of which is still visible in a small alcove as you enter. Read more.

8. Walk to the bottom of the gorge, though not for the faint hearted because this is a steep descent, but completely worth it to get that perfect photo of the bridge. Follow Calle Tenorio to the end and after the plaza take the walking track to the old Arab gate. If you wish, you can go through the gate and walk down and then under the Puente Nuevo.

9. Enjoy local tapas at one of the many outdoor bars in Ronda, with popular places being Plaza Socorro, Calle Nuevo, the Plaza in front of the Almocabar Gate, or Plaza Duquesa de Parcent.

10. Stroll through the old town at sunset as the tourists leave and Rondeños reclaim their city. This is the time when the real Ronda comes alive, with children playing in the plazas, families preparing their evening meal, and the sites and smells change completely.


Balloon Flights over Ronda

Balloon flights over Ronda
The overwhleming majority of visitors to Ronda arrive, walk around the old town taking photographs, sample tapas in one of the popular tourist restaurants, and then leave. Meanwhile they miss so much that makes Ronda special, such as the adventure tourism that the city is nationally known for.

For the truly adventurous, a balloon flight over the city is a memorable way to get that special photo that so few ever seem to capture, and which can only be seen from 300ft above the city, suspended under a great globe of hot air.

During the summer months when the daylight hours extend from 5am until nearly midnight is when you’ll see balloons hovering over the Puente Nuevo and Tajo gorge almost every morning, in fact so regular are the flights one could almost consider them de jure.

Flights over Ronda will usually depart around 8am, and last between 60-90 minutes depending on wind, and all will allow passengers to photograph the city from up high so bring your camera with a fully charged battery, and a strong neck strap to avoid dropping your camera in the streets below.

After your flight it is normal to enjoy a champagne breakfast with your pilot and other passengers, and then you’ll be awarded a diploma to prove you really did go up in a balloon.

In Ronda there are two companies that fly regularly, Gloventosur with their base at Algodonales (very close to Ronda), and Green Aerostacion with their base at Sevilla. Both are professionally affiliated and licensed to carry passengers.

Their contact details are;
Mobile/SMS: (+34) 678 885 078

Green Aerostacion
Mobile/SMS: (+34) 669 809 055


Semana Santa Processions in Ronda

Semana Santa (Holy Week) Processions in Ronda 2012

In any traditionally Christian nation Easter celebrations are common, though in the English speaking world we are more likely to simply scavenge for chocolate eggs, bunny rabbits, and other miscellaneous chocolate shapes in the back garden and consider the holiday over when all the “eggs” have been eaten.

In Spain which was until the advent of democracy officially a Catholic nation, processions involving hundreds of men, women, and children are common, with groups of people carrying heavy pasos adorned with Easter iconography. In Andalucia, three cities especially are renowned for their processions that attract thousands or millions of bystanders to watch them. They are Sevilla, Malaga, and tiny Ronda.

The processions start on Domingo de Ramos (Palm Sunday), all are organized by local Catholic Brotherhoods, and may involve several hours of hot sweaty walking through the city streets until the icon returns to its church at which point a party may start that lasts longer than the actual procession.

Women are often dressed in the finest outfits or in complete mourning black, children in communion dress, and men wearing robes with tall pointy hats unless they´re helping to carry the icon. Many will be carrying banners, or holding tall candles. In total there are 14 processions taking place in Ronda over 8 days.

Palm Sunday
11:00 from the church San Antonio de Padua (Barrio Dehesa) to be in Plaza Socorro after 13:05, and returning to the church at 15:30.

17:00 from the church San Cristobal (Barrio San Cristobal) to be in the Plaza Socorro at 21:15, and returning to the church at 23:30.

20:00 from the church Santa Maria la Mayor (Old Town) to be in the Plaza Socorro at 23:15, and returning to the church at 01:30.

Easter Monday
20:30 from the church Santa Cecilia (Los Descalzos) to be in the Plaza Socorro at 23:30, and returning to the church at 01:00.

Easter Tuesday
22:00 from the church Padre Jesus (Barrio de Padre Jesus), then across the Puente Viejo (Roman Bridge) and up Cuesta de Santo Domingo, along c/ Tenorio and finishing at the Santa Maria la Mayor church.

Spy Wednesday
20:15 from the church San Cristobal (Barrio San Cristobal) to be in the Plaza Socorro at 22:45, and returning to the church at 24:00.

23:00 from the church Santa Maria la Mayor (Old Town), this is the eerily silent procession, the only sound that of chains being dragged on the street by penitents. Plaza Socorro at 01:00, and returning to the church at 03:00.

Maundy Thursday
20:15 from the church Santa Maria la Mayor (Old Town) to be in the Plaza Socorro at 22:00, then returning to the church at 23:30.

19:30 from the sanctuary Virgen de la Paz (Old Town), this is the procession involving the Spanish Legion carrying the Body of Christ. Plaza Socorro at 22:30, returning to the church at 01:00.

23:00 from the church Padre Jesus (Barrio Padre Jesus) to be in the Plaza Socorro at 01:15, returning to the church at 03:30.

Good Friday
12:00 from the church Santa Cecilia (Los Descalzos) to be in the Plaza Socorro at 14:15, then returning to the church 15:30.

19:00 from the Brotherhood Lodge (Barrio San Francisco) to be in the Plaza Socorro at 22:15, then returning to the lodge at 00:30.

20:45 from the church la Merced (in front of the Alameda Park) to be in the Plaza Socorro at 23:00, then returning to the church at 00:15.

Easter Sunday
10:30 from the church Espiritu Santo (Barrio San Francisco) to be in the Plaza Socorro at 12:45, returning to the church at 15:30.