If you are visiting Ronda from the 19th to the 22nd of May 2016 then you are in for a real treat!
Beneath balconies draped with embroidered shawls and the streets bustling with people dressed as peasants, gypsies, bandits and figures from the Napoleonic War era Ronda is celebrating its Royal May Fair Festival “Ronda Romantica”.
The second oldest rural fair in Andalusia, and recreation of the fair’s atmosphere from the Romantic Age. Ronda is the perfect setting for this as it was an emblematic city for writers, artists, mule drivers and bandits in the nineteenth century. Equestrian shows, parades, horse riding tours, street performances, homemade foods, and a host of activities and events to entertain everyone.
You can get an idea of the atmosphere in this short film taken by a visitor to Ronda Romantica in 2014
Visitors to the mountain top pueblo blanco of Gaucín are rewarded by the finest views down over the rock of Gibraltar, into the Rif Mountains of Morocco and many kilometres beyond on a fine day. The village itself sits amongst forests of pine and sweet chestnut, is a mecca for wildlife and straddles the peaks like a lizard stretched out in the sunshine. Gaucín is well known for its artistic community drawn from around the globe by the Mediterranean light which illuminates the landscape and provides never-ending inspiration for painters, photographers, ceramicists and other artisans.
Pro-photographer Geoff Scott-Simpson has lived in Gaucín for two years and continues to be blown away by the beauty of the area which he has turned into a personal project. Being a resident rather than a visitor has meant he has familiarized himself with the local patterns of light and rhythms of nature thereby capturing the best of what Gaucín and the Serranía de Ronda has to offer which is simply world class. His eponymous gallery is located at the entrance to the village on the A-377 Manilva road.
The processions start on Domingo de Ramos (Palm Sunday this year is the 20th of March) and all are organized by the 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.
Have a look at the promotional video for Semana Santa 2016…
Here is a PDF document (in Spanish) showing all the processions and times. semana santa 2016
With commanding views of the Mediterranean Ocean, the Parador Gibralfaro Hotel in Malaga is also located just out of the city next to the Gibralfaro Castle, and is the perfect spot to enjoy lazy days by the pool or in the hotel bar. Peace and tranquility is assured as the hotel sits at the end of the cul de sac with little traffic.