The Ronda-Pilar de Coca loop (PR-A 71) is a wonderful walk for exercise junkies and visitors to Ronda alike, it’s a circular route that takes us about 9km out of Ronda, past vineyards, oak groves, an old aqueduct that supplied Ronda with water, the Pilar de Coca spring, and finally the mountains of the Sierra de las Nieves and the Serranía de Ronda.
Ronda can sometimes be a difficult little city to drive around for the uninitiated, especially if you’ are driving a large SUV or motor home, and if you’re towing a caravan don’t even think about entering the city centre, instead park in one of the outlying streets and then walk into the centre.
Most hotels have their own parking and if not at the very least a temporary parking bay so that you can unload any luggage and the staff will then direct you to the nearest parking.
By the middle of the 13th century the Almohads had lost most of their former possessions in Iberia to Castile, all that remained in 1238 was the Kingdom of Granada, of which Ronda was now an important capital. The first Nasrid Sultans of Granada managed to halt the first reconquista of Ferdinand I by promising fealty to Castile, and historical evidence confirms that until 1480 an annual payment of gold was made to the treasury of Castile.
Ronda’s museums are a delightful way to spend a few hours for both holiday makers and residents alike. Children will love the Lara Museum, while adults may prefer the museum of wine, and art aficionados will positively love the collection of Joaquin Peinado.
Ronda Municipal Museum
Located in the historic Mondragon Palace (Palacio de Mondragon), the Municipal Museum of Ronda details our city’s history from the stone age to the present time with some very well made exhibits such as the Pileta Cave reconstruction, the stone age hut, iron age technology including sword making, the Roman period with an important exhibit on Acinipo, Moorish Ronda including a detailed exhibit of Arab funeral rites, and a very interesting display on life in Ronda’s heyday, the 17th and 18th centuries.
Originally built at the end of the 15th century and beginning of the 16th century the church was dedicated to Santa Cecilia who at the time of the reconquest was enjoying a great deal of popularity as the patron saint of musicians and churches.
The tower and entrance of Padre Jesús is gothic having been part of the original church, the remainder is renaissance period.
In 1542, a few short years after the reconquest, and at a time when the market districts of Ronda were forming, the citizens of Ronda requested a new bridge that would directly connect La Ciudad with the highest point across the gorge, an area that was long and flat, and ideal for the expansion of Ronda which was already becoming crowded.
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.
The Arab Baths, known in Spanish as the Baños Arabes are one of Ronda’s most important tourist attractions, and some argue more important than the unquestionably beautiful Puente Nuevo, or Ronda’s other claim to fame, the Plaza de Toros, home of Ronda’s bullfighting tradition.
Ronda’s Arab Baths are similar to the design perfected by the Romans, except that steam was used to sweat out pollutants from the body rather than soaking in hot water as the Romans used. The Moors of Spain were also Muslim, so religious traditions were important, a Mosque was located next to the baths, and the baths were more than just a sanitary facility; they were also a place where locals and visitors alike would stop to purify and cleanse their bodies before entering the Mosque to purify their souls.