Ronda in Andalucia with its fantastic bridge

Ronda in Andalucia with its fantastic bridge

Ronda is a town in Malaga in Spain. Set in and around a deep gorge spanned by an impressive bridge, the relaxing atmosphere here is a great break from some of the more tourist-ridden places on the south coast of Spain, however it can still be packed with day-trippers from the Costa del Sol, especially during the peak summer months.

Ronda is a small town, easily navigable on foot.

Things to see in Ronda:

- Puente Nuevo. The large and incredible bridge over the gorge (el Tajo), finished in 1793. The height from top to bottom is about 100 m, like a 30 floor building. Inside the bridge there is a small museum.

- Calle la Bola is the local name for Calle Espinel, the main shopping and strolling street in town. (Trivia: "La bola" means "ball" in Spanish; the street earned its nickname when, after a heavy snowfall, a group of citizens rolled a large snowball down its slope.)

- Plaza de Toros. The oldest and one of the most highly regarded of Spain's bull rings. You can visit the museum inside (€5).

- La Alameda. A nice park with shady trees and ample walking space. It's right next to the bull ring, and you can see wonderful panoramas from the balconies.

- La Ciudad. The old district of Ronda, beyond the new bridge. Full of twisting, narrow streets. Located there are the church of Santa Maria la Mayor and the Palacio de Mondragon. The former, on the site of town's main mosque during Moorish rule, is a Gothic style cathedral that, inside, has elements of the Baroque and Rococo as well. The latter is a former Moorish palace with beautiful gardens, a fantastic view, and a small museum. (Small fee).

- Puente Viejo and Arco de Felipe V. On the eastern side of the old city, down the hill. This small bridge was the means of crossing the Tajo before the completion of the newer, larger one. Also in this area is a beautiful arch, named for Phillip the Fifth.

Special travel tip:

A must is to walk to the bottom of the gorge where you'll get the best photo shots. But if there is an extended dry spell, the gorge can stink because they still release sewerage into the river -- you have been warned.
A small adventure is to find the tiny small path along to the water mill below the bridge. There is a tiny canal carved into the walls to deliver the mill with water. It's big enough to walk in... but be careful it might be slippery and you don't want to drop. :)

Avoid the restaurants in the tourist area during the day, as they are overpriced and often only full of other tourists! Look for smaller cafes and bars. A quick breakfast usually consists of toast (pan tostada) and coffee (cafe con leche--coffee with milk; be sure to add the pack of sugar always served with it for a real treat.) If you are looking for an inexpensive snack or lunch, any bar will be able to make you a sandwich (bocadillo) with your choice of ham, cheese, or tomato. Also, look for bakeries (pastelerias), as Spain has some of the finest pastries around.