Exploring Ronda: 5 things you must see when in Marbella.

Despite having a population of around 35 000, Ronda is one of Spain's most visited cities.

This little treasure located in Andalusia is so compact that you can see the major attractions within a short 30 minutes walk. Tourists from Malaga or Seville often decide to spend a day in this historic city. In fact, Ronda is located just one hour (63km) from Marbella and the beach resorts of Spain's Costa Del Sol and approximately 100 km from Malaga, and 130 km from Seville.

Set in a beautiful Mediterranean setting with orange trees, cobbled streets and incredible views, Ronda is also one of Spain's oldest towns. It was first settled by the Celts, who called it Arunda in the sixth century BC, and later by the Romans and the Moors. Ronda lies 750m above mean sea level and is divided by the Guadalevín River, which separates the city in two and carves out the El Tajo canyon giving it its characteristic look.

During the Spanish Civil War, the city suffered emigration and depopulation, which seems to have inspired the scene in chapter 10 of Hemingway's "For Whom the Bell Tolls", where the writer describes the execution of various figures in a village thrown off a cliff.

Fortunately, you can still live Ronda's original charm, and if you are planning to pay a visit, here are some things you can't miss when staying in Marbella:

Ronda's Bridges

The city is famous for three fantastic bridges: Puente Romano "Roman Bridge" (or Puente Arabe "Arabic Bridge") which dates from the Moorish period, between the 9th and 15th centuries; Puente Viejo "Old Bridge" (also known as the Puente San Miguel), built in 1616; Puente Nuevo "New Bridge" completed in 1793 which is the highest and the most spectacular. Puente Nuevo is Ronda's most famous landmark with its 120 meters columns extending down into the gorge's depths.

Plaza de Toros

Did you know that Ronda is the birthplace of the modern Spanish bullfight and the hometown of its greatest dynasty? The architect Jose Martín de Aldehuela, which also developed the Puente Nuevo, designed the impressive Plaza del Toros. The building was built in the year 1785, and at the time, 5 000 visitors could come and see the bullfights. Here you can visit the museum and hear more about the bullfighting tradition or attend the "Corrida Goyesca" which occurs once a year in September.

Baños Arabe 

The Baños Arabe ("Arabic baths") dates back to the Moorish period in the 13th century, when Muslims used it before entering the mosque. The tradition was that they would purify themselves. These baths are located underground, and temperature is the biggest reason for this. It was easier to control it this way. Although well preserved, you can not enjoy an Arab bath. However, you have a chance to see them and find out more about the traditions and the inner rooms.

The Old Town

Enjoy having a stroll through Ronda's historic old town! This pueblo blanco (white town) is filled with white and yellow-painted buildings and cobbled streets. Along with the Paseo E. Hemingway, you could stop and experience the thrill of the height from the balconies that hang precipitously over the edge of the Tajo gorge. What could be better than drinking some coffee, eating churros, or having a gazpacho after that?

The Casa del Rey Moro

You might think that this mansion was the Moorish king's home. However, Casa del Rey Moro was only built during the 18th century and is located close to a Moorish well. You can see many gardens that were designed in the year 1912 by Jean Claude Forestier, who was a landscape gardener from France. Moreover, the primary point of attraction is the view of the gorge that you will have after climbing down the 200 steps staircase carved into the cliff wall.


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