Category Archives: Tourism

Come and visit Ronda and the surrounding areas, or plan your itinerary around the most popular sites, and some of the lesser known things to do. Ronda is much more than the bullring and new bridge (Puente Nuevo). There are also the Arab Baths, the Water Mine, the Mondragon Palace, and outside the city, the Cueva de la Pileta, or the Dolmen structures at Antequera. Further afield are the beaches of the Costa del Sol, Sevilla’s cathedral and palace, or Cordoba and the Mezquita. And of course for discovering the beautiful Sierra de Grazalema have a look at Wildside Holidays – Grazalema

Benaojan Walk – Station to the Cueva del Gato

Ronda Today recently caught up with Tony Bishop, the author of a new walking guide entitled “Walking in the Ronda Mountains: 30 half-day walks in Andalucía” due to be published by Editorial La Serranía in October 2010, and we believe will soon become the guide against which all others are judged.

As part of our interview, Tony kindly escorted us along the Guadiaro River from Benaojan Station to the Cueva del Gato, explaining the birds and wildlife we saw through the binoculars he provided. Tony isn’t a professional walking guide, though he enjoys nothing more than to show friends his favourite walking tracks.

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Interview with Francisco Cañestro, Councillor for Tourism

The tourism industry is widely acknowledged to be the most important in Ronda, with the city receiving millions of visitors per year who come to admire Ronda’s many important cultural and historic monuments. Ronda Today talked to Francisco Cañestro, Councillor for Tourism about his goals over the coming year.

A recent report commissioned by the town hall was quite critical of accessibility in Ronda, not only for people with disabilities, but also for the aged and holiday makers with an injury. The majority of Ronda’s monuments, hotels, restaurants and public streets will need to be renovated to bring them up to EU standards for accessibility.

Cañestro recently took over as councillor and says he was overwhelmed with how large the task is, though he is pressing ahead, and has recently officiated at the re-opening of the Arab Baths after extensive modifications.

A budget of 50 million Euros has been set aside over the next 12 months for accessibility, which includes ramps and footpaths at Acinipo, rebuilding public streets and footpaths in the old city, creating wheelchair access ramps on footpaths, upgrading certain buildings to allow disabled access, including removable ramps in buildings that cannot be modified.

In addition, most of the information signs scattered around Ronda are being written in Braille so that blind visitors can enjoy more of the city than previously. All in all, these efforts are intended to meet and exceed accessibility guidelines and confirms the importance of tourism in Ronda.

Asked about other projects, Cañestro was quick to point out that refurbishment of the Paseo de los Ingleses and the Jardines de Cuenca are on track for completion by the end of the year, and will restore these two dilapidated parks, not just for the enjoyment of visitors, but also to improve their photographs.

Taking a longer term view, the councillor confirmed to Ronda Today that the long term objective for Ronda Tourism is to promote Ronda as a destination for families wanting a 3-4 day break. This is in marked contrast to previous councillors who have intimated that day trippers will always form the bulk of visitors to the city.

Whilst many would agree that day trippers are an important group of visitors to Ronda, their value to the city is minimal with most spending only a few Euros, contrasted with families who book hotel accommodation, hire cars, eat in restaurants, visit our museums, and travel to nearby villages. A single family staying in Ronda for 4 days will usually spend as much as a coach load of day trippers, and this fact is not lost on Cañestro.

To further promote the city, the town hall and the Junta de Andalucía are working to ensure that Ronda is featured prominently as a quality vacation destination. To that end the Andalucían Tourist Board will be restructuring their advertising to highlight the attractions of the Serranía de Ronda.

Finally, we asked Cañestro about plans for the Serranía de Ronda to be recognised as a UN World Heritage Site of Universal Importance, and as expected, the 22 town halls of the Serranía and the Málaga provincial council haven’t been able to agree on funding allocation and representation, though the Junta de Andalucía is said to be keen to submit the Serranía for consideration.

Despite the apparent slow changes, Cañestro is keen to push forward with projects, and welcomes the input of tourism operators. Ronda Today isn’t able to predict what will happen after May when the next municipal election is held, though in discussions with PSOE, PP, and PA, there seems to be broad consensus that tourism promotion must focus on vacationers instead of day trippers.

Ronda’s Arab Baths Now Accessible for People with Disabilities

Francisco Cañestro Opens the Arab Baths

Yesterday the Councillor for Tourism Francisco Cañestro, and the Junta de Andalucía’s Minister of Tourism, Commerce and Sport, Luciano Alonso Alonso officially reopened the Arab Baths in Ronda after extensive renovations allowing wheelchair access for one of Andalucía’s most important Moorish monuments.

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Ronda’s La Algaba Prehistoric Center to get Science Center

The Andalucían government has announced plans to decelop a science centre at Ronda’s Finca La Algaba Prehistoric Centre to further research into lifestyles and technologies of prehistoric peoples who inhabited the Serranía and Andalucía.

Currently La Algaba best known activity is the ‘El Poblado’ village, a reproduction paleolithic and neolithic village used as part of an archeological experiment to discover how prehistoric prople lived, worshipped, cooked, made pottery, hunted, etc. The layout of the village is based on those found at Acinipo and the Silla del Moro neolithic villages.

In recent years La Algaba has become the benchmark from which all other European university archeological experiments are based, in part due to seminars developed in Ronda that go beyond simply interpreting archeological data to recreating the prehistoric implements and other archeological items, and then conducting experiments to determine how they were used.

The science park, the first in Andalucía, will complement existing programs at La Algaba such as the protection of traditional seed stock, and breeding of native cattle breeds known to have been important to prehistoric people. Neolithic wheat varieties are also being grown organically to learn more about food preparation in prehistoric times.

Maria Elena Sanchez, the director of Finca La Algaba, told Ronda Today she is excited that the hard work and effort expended in Ronda has been recognized in this way, and that the science park represents a qualitative leap forward for archeological experimentation in Europe.

For more information, see Finca La Algaba’s prehistoric village website.