Ronda is built on a rocky outcrop and is split in half by deep river gorge the El Tajo. This gorge is spanned by an 18th century arched bridge, the Puento Nuevo, and tall whitewashed houses perch along the edge. Amazing!
When you visit Ronda enjoy the spectacular views from the gorge and you can even walk down by the river in the valley bottom. The city is split into two by the gorge. Most of the sights lie on the south side amongst the whitewashed houses and cobbled alleys.
This town was one of the last parts of the Moorish empire to fall and it has left a strong influence. The Palacio Mondragon is largely rebuilt but has original Moorish mosaics. The Santa Maria la Mayor is an attractive mix of Moorish, Gothic and Renaissance styles. The minaret survives from the 13th century mosque which existed before the church.
The Palacio de Mondragon is a beautiful Moorish palace with lovely gardens and courtyards. Its water gardens are miniature replicas of those at the Generalife in Granada. The building has Mudejar ceilings and Moorish mosaics. It also houses the Museum of Ronda.
The Casa del Rey Moro is an 18th century mansion, the gardens are open to the river and include 365 steps down to the river. These hanging gardens were designed by Jean Claude Nicolas Forestier. The Casa del Rey Moro is also the entrance to the Water Mine. The Water Mine was built by slaves and was used to haul up water for the city. It is possible to descend the mine (steps) down to the river and up again - be warned this is quite a climb. The Casa del Rey Moro is one of the palaces visited by Michelle Obama on her 2012 trip to Spain. She also visited the house of St John Bosco, another of the palaces overlooking the gorge.
The Palacio del Marques de Salvatierra is a little further along the same street. This 16th century mansion has biblical scenes and South American Indians carved on its facade.
Ronda is also home to one of the oldest bullrings in Spain. This is considered to be one of the most important and fans flock in in September for the Corrida Goyesca. The bullring is very beautiful and was used for the video of Madonna's ' Take a Bow'. As well as the bullring you can visit the stables and the bullfighting museum.
The Arab Baths were built in the 11th century and still used in the 17th century. They are one of the best preserved in Europe. The baths are located next to the Puente Arabe (the Arab bridge) - one of the entrances to the city. This is because it was necessary to be purified to enter the city.
There are three bridges which span the gorge, the tallest of which is the Puente Nuevo. Next to this is the former town hall which is now a parador and has fabulous views over the gorge.
Walk down the cliff face on a path which starts to the east of the old city. Walking down here gives you some excellent views of the 'White Town' and the surrounding countryside.
Ronda was a favourite of both Orson Wells and Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway lived here for a while and wrote of Ronda's beauty and bullfighting traditions. In his book ' For Whom the Bell Tolls' about the brutality of the Spanish Civil War, one of the scenes is thought to be based on the killings that took place in Ronda at the El Tajo cliffs.
Places to Visit Nearby
Surrounding Ronda are lots of charming white villages known collectively as the 'Serrania de Ronda'. A couple of day trips out from Ronda will give you the opportunity to visit most of them.