Ronda is quite central to most of the major tourist highlights of Andalucia, being just 45 minutes to the Costa del Sol or Antequera, an hour to Sevilla, Malaga or Jerez de la Frontrera, an hour and a half to Córdoba or Cadiz, and about 2 hours to Granada or Gibraltar. All in all, Ronda is the best place to stay if your holiday plans include seeing the Alhambra, the Mezquita, Malaga’s Picasso Museum, the Caminito del Rey (El Chorro), or the annual Jerez Horse Fair.
Holiday makers in Ronda are spoiled whilst in our little city, there are just too many museums and monuments to see, so much culture and history to enjoy, and within just a few kilometres of Ronda we have the Natural Parks, the Pueblos Blancos, and numerous walking, biking, or horse-riding trails. Bird watching is extremely popular in the Serrania, from the species that inhabit our Gorge, to the high cliffs of the Grazalema where Griffon Vultures make their nests.
Closest to home are the Pueblos Blancos of the Serranía, with perhaps the most famous of them being Grazalema, Setenil de las Bodegas, Zahara de la Sierra, Benalauria, Arcos de la Frontera, Gaucin, and of course there are many more I haven’t mentioned. Each village has its own charm, its own reason to visit, some have castles on the hills above them, others are known for their produce, still others for the festivals unique to their village, certainly you’ll want to invest in a guidebook or at least visit the village tourism office to find out more.
Costa del Sol
The Costa del Sol is only 45 minutes away, in fact the main road to Marbella and the Costa del Sol, the Ronda to San Pedro de Alcantara road, was recently named in the Alamo Rent A Car list of top 20 roads in Europe to drive on. Their description is certainly appropriate, “View the savage highlands of southern Spain on a serpentine route” although it must be said that the road itself is quite safe with excellent asphalt covering.
San Pedro de Alcantara is the first town you encounter on the Costa del Sol, and from here it is only a short drive to Puerto Banus where you’ll find a fantastic beach and one of the most exclusive marinas in Spain, as well as La Cañada shopping centre. Marbella, the second largest city in Malaga Province, is only a little further along the road and is well loved for the amazing Old Quarter (Casco Antiguo).
Further east from Marbella you’ll go through Fuengirola which is better known for the Zoo, before getting to Benalmadena and the Sea Life Aquarium, and then Malaga and the Picasso Museum, the Alcazaba, the Castillo de Gibralfaro, the Botanical Gardens, and the Contemporary Art Gallery.
Alternatively, from San Pedro head west and Estepona is the next major town home of Selwo Adventure Park and the Museum of Paleontology.
Further afield in Cadiz province, don’t miss the Sherry region at Jerez de la Frontera, or Cadiz, Spain’s oldest city which is over 3,000 years old and is one of the longest continuously occupied cities in the world. The beach at Cadiz is known the world over, and is a definite family destination. Cadiz offers a wealth of museums, but the highlight for most visitors is the Torre Tavira and its camera obscura.
Dolphin and whale watching outside the straits of Gibraltar can be booked with departures from La Linea, Gibraltar or Tarifa.
Seville (Sevilla in Spanish), Andalucia’s capital city is well worth seeing, in fact no visit to Southern Spain would be complete without at least a day in Sevilla. Start in the Old town close to the rio Guadalquivir where one of Sevilla’s most iconic monuments can be seen, the Torre del Oro which is now a maritime museum. Walking east along Calle Almirante Lobo for about 200m brings you to the fountain at Avenida de Roma and Avenida de la Constitución.
At this point you can see Jardines Reales Alcazares, and Sevilla’s magnificent Cathedral which includes the Giralda Tower. The square behind the cathedral is home to the Royal Palace (Reales Alcazar de Sevilla). A tourist information office is also located here and will be able to give directions to the Plaza del Toros or Plaza d’España.
The Mezquita in Córdoba is the main reason for any visit to this graceful city, formerly capital of Al Andaluz, the Moorish caliphate in Iberia. The Mezquita is these days a cathedral, but during the Arab conquest was the main Mosque in Córdoba, and considered one of the finest Mosques in the world. Córdoba was originally occupied by the Romans who built the Puente Romano, the Mausoleums, and the ruined Roman temple.
In modern times Córdoba has been a centre of horsemanship and the Royal Stables adjacent to the Royal Castle breed the distinctive Andalusian horse. The Royal Castle and it’s gardens are a popular tourist destination.
Only two hours by train or car, Granada is home to the Alhambra, one of the most visited monuments in Andalucia, and originally the palace of the Kings of Granada. The sprawling complex will need a full day to appreciate and admire its many courtyards and gardens. Also not to be missed in Granada is the cathedral which took 181 years to build. If you’re in Ronda, and would like to book tickets to see the Alhambra, the La Caixa automatic teller machine in Plaza Socorro.