It is hard to believe that Ronda was once a major centre in the Iberian provinces of the Roman Empire, however a quick look at the history books will find references to Acinipo and the terrible battles that occurred at Monda during a civil war between Julius Caesar and the sons of Pompey.
Acinipo the city was most likely founded by native Iberians several thousand years ago, and archeological evidence at the site shows a bronze age settlement existed here between 1100BC and 750BC, and a Carthiginian town may well have been established after this period, before the fall of Carthage in the Punic wars.
The Ronda area is, without doubt, a cyclists delight and can be challenging at times! In fact the areas around Ronda and the sierra de Grazalema are well known and a popular training destination for proffessional cyclist wintercamps preparing for long distance road races and triathlons. so lets take a look at Cycling from Ronda and around the Serrania
For those of us who are’t so competetive there a choice of route lengths from 30km to 100km some of them being relatively easy to complete for regular cyclist. (like myself :) ) Keep reading for more information about who you should contact to get the best out of cycling and mountain biking in the Ronda area.
Regardless of the route you choose you are absolutely certain to enjoy the spectacular views. The serrania of Ronda and the sierra of Grazalema is amazingly diverse with it’s river basins and valleys, rocky mountains, and long stretches of flat windy roads. The white picturesque villages blend in to the environment perfectly and are great places to stop for a well earned rest!
Look up as you ride and you’ll see vultures, eagles, and other birds of prey and check out the slopes for mountain goats and deer. Almost every turn in the road presents vistas that will take your breath away and the springtime roadside wild flowers are stunning.
From Ronda, some shorter day 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.
E-Bike – Acinipo and Setenil Circular Guided Cycling
Fancy visiting Acinipo by bike? A cycling journey through history. An undulating mountain loop from Ronda up into the hills and the Roman remains of Acinipo. Continue riding down to the ancient riverside “cavehouses” of Setenil de las Bodegas and then back up to Ronda. Quiet roads with long ascents and descents.
Professional cyclists should attempt the ride to Grazalema and then across the mountain top to Zahara de la Sierra via the puerto de las palomas (doves gateway), or the breathtaking route to Gaucin, perhaps with a detour to Genalguacil.
Here are a few of the most popular routes to take a note of to ask about for when you are in the bike hire shop…(see at the bottom for a list of companies that hire bikes or organise cycling holidays in the Ronda area.)
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
Cycling the Via Verde de la Sierra with Hike and Bike
Where to get more information and hire your bikes?
Hike and Bike is a company run by local guides Heather and Wayne and they specialise in hiking and biking they are based in Ronda and are specialist providers of cycling holidays, cycling tours tours, day trips and bike rental.
On their guided holidays and day trips, the guides are with you every step of the way. You will never lose your path or waste precious holiday time trying to find the best trails.
For the self guided tours you travel at your own pace with one of the preloaded Garmin GPS devices. Simply follow the Garmin route, supported with our bespoke maps, to experience the most charming sights and sounds of rural Spain.
Cycle Ronda Can hire you a bike on a daily basis and recommend the best routes to suit your level of fitmess. They also organise fully supported bespoke cycling holidays based in Ronda or on an inn to inn basic… What a great way to see the area staying in a different hotel each night with your bags delivered for you whilst you enjoy the ride, the challenge and the scenery!
As far back as pre-Roman times Ronda has occupied an important role in this part of Southern Spain because of it’s high cliffs, deep gorge, and easily defensible position on a main trade route. Located on one of the main routes inland from southern coastal ports, Ronda and it’s older but now ruined sister city Acinipo, have together been occupied since at least 1,100BC.
Paleolithic and Neolithic people roamed the hills around Ronda leaving many fascinating reminders of their presence, including cave paintings at Cueva de la Pileta, dolmen burial sites near Montecorto, and in the Grazalema Natural Park, and numerous sites where archeologists have discovered stone age pottery and other relics.
Cueva de la Pileta is open to the public and your guide will show you all the important cave art in an easy walk through the cave that takes about two hours. It’s fascinating to think that the very land we live on in the 21st century was also inhabited in historical times ancient humans and maybe even Neanderthal tribes. Continue reading Pre-History in Ronda→
The Construction of an Interpretation Centre at Acinipo has been delayed by the Ministry of Works of the Junta de Andalucia on the grounds that the proposed location sits on underveloped land zoned for comprehensive protection.
In the last year the Ronda Council and the Ministry of Culture have been working together to develop and excavate the ruined Roman city of Acinipo for the enjoyment of visitors and future generations. The most recent delay affects the construction of a museum and cafe/restaurant, shop, audio visual room, and education room for groups such as schools.
Under plans submitted to the Junta for approval the interpretation centre is to be built within the city boundaries, and would incorporate the foundations of a Roman villa under the museum so that this could be glassed over as a permanent exhibit. The delay is caused by concerns that the building’s construction would unnecessarily endanger archeological heritage.
The group Ecologists in Action have called for the interpretation centre to be constructed on farmland outside the Acinipo boundaries, and have welcomed the decision of the Junta to have Acinipo registered in the general catalog of historical heritage. Acinipo is widely considered to be amongst the best preserved Roman archeological sites in Spain, primarily due to it being covered over for hundreds of years.
Whilst most of the structures are these days only foundations, it is possible to map the streets and most buildings, and the partnership between Ronda’s archeologists working from the Palacio Mondragon and the Ministry of Culture have unearthed and are now preserving the Roman baths. The interpretation centre is seen as an essential part of promoting and protecting Acinipo’s heritage.
A man was yesterday arrested at 22:00 by the Guardia Civil SEPRONA division whilst attempting to vandalize the historic Acinipo ruined Roman city.
Readers of Ronda Today will recall our story about vandals digging several hundred holes and making off with buried precious artifacts from the site. Since we reported that story the Guardia Civil have mounted regular night time patrols.
The accused is a man from Sevilla province who was taken to Ronda and held under questioning pending a court arraignment today. He was caught red handed carrying a metal detector and had already extracted several Roman coins when the Guardia Civil decided to apprehend him.
Ronda Today has been at the forefront of this battle, and has connected a supplier of remote video cameras with the ministry responsible for historic sites. We hope the apprehension of this scoundrel puts an end to illegal excavations at Acinipo.
Planning on visiting Ronda, Spain? English tourist Information – Hotel booking – Activities – Events . Guided tours in Ronda, Spain
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