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Ronda, Spain Travel Guide
Last Updated: Jan-14-2012, Hits: 18,879, Rating: 0, Reviews: 0, Votes: 0 Bookmark and Share
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Ronda, Spain Travel Guide Restaurants (30)
Hotels and Lodging (41)
Bars and Nightlife (9)
Attractions (15)
Services (7)
Maps (1)
Links (4)
Spain Travel Forum (1)
Location: Europe
Geography: Mountains, City
Vacation Type: Romantic, Culture and History
Popularity: Moderate Tourism
Costs: Budget
Attractions: Historical Sites, Scenery, Cultural Attractions

Facts and Stats:
Population: 36,827
Land Area: 185.8 sq mi
Country Dialing Code: 34
Local Dialing Code: 952
Languages: Spanish
Electricity: 220V
Currency: Euro (€) (EUR)
Time Zone: UTC +2 (UTC +1 - Summer)
Current Time:
Ronda is most famous for El Tajo, the gorge that separates the old Moorish area, La Ciudad, and the "new" (1485) town, El Mercadillo. The gorge is spanned by Puente Nuevo (New Bridge) 390 feet above the Guadalevín River. Built in 1751, this bridge and canyon below are the main tourist draws to Ronda, and offer dramatic views of the countryside and Serrania de Ronda mountains. Ronda is also often donned the birthplace of modern bullfighting and has one of the oldest bullrings in Spain.

Ronda is located in the Malaga province of the Andalucia region of Spain at an elevation of 2,530 feet. It lies in the Ronda Mountains west of Málaga city and southeast of Seville. The town is situated on two hills divided by a deep gorge (El Tajo de Ronda), which the Guadalevín River flows through. The city is built to the edge of the 300+ foot high cliffs and offers outstanding views of the surrounding countryside and mountains.

The outskirts of Ronda, particularly in the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park, are home to a number of limestone cave systems that can be explored with a guide.

Slightly Long and Wordy History:
There is evidence in the area around Ronda of prehistoric settlements that date back to the Neolithic Age. Examples include the rock paintings of Cueva (cave) de la Pileta and the dolmen burial sites near Montecorto. The descendants of these cave dwellers are believed to be Tartessian, an indigenous people of Southern Portugal and Western Andalucia, or Bastulo Celts. At the time, the settlement was called Arunda.

Around 1,100 BC, Phoenicians settled Acinipo located about 8 miles away from the current site of Ronda. Later, Greek merchants established a trading post in the area. The various cultures lived in relative harmony for hundreds of years.

Beginning in the 2nd century BC, the peace in Ronda ended when Roman and Carthaginian fought for control of the Mediterranean. The Romans took control of the Iberian Peninsula and it was folded into the Roman Empire. After a brief period of peace, the town of Ronda and its castle were destroyed during the Roman civil war in 45 BC.

As Rome declined, the 5th century AD saw Ronda overrun by Suevi and Vandals. In 440, led by Rechila, the Suevi took control of Arunda and Acinipo. Later, the Visigoth king Leovigild captured the city. Ronda was part of the Visigoth reign until 711, when it fell to the Arabs, who named it Izn-Rand Onda ("city of the castle") and made it the capital of the Takurunna province.

During this time, the native Iberian people were forced to learn Arabic and many were converted to Islam. After the disintegration of the caliphate of Córdoba, Ronda became the capital of a small kingdom ruled by the Berber Banu Ifran, the taifa of Ronda. During this period Ronda received most of its Islamic architectural heritage, most of which was located in the Moorish section of town just south of the El Tajo gorge.

In 1065 Ronda was conquered by the taifa of Seville led by Abbad II al-Mu'tadid.

Christianity began to take hold in Andalucia and the Moorish kings, feeling threatened, hired a fearsome army from Africa called the Almorávids to deal with the threat. When the army arrived, they concluded that their Moorish brothers had become decadent and took control of the city. Although the Almorávids had implemented Sharia law, they were accused of engaging in corruption and immorality, and were dispatched by the Almohads, who arrived in 1146. Within fifty years the Almohads were in charge of virtually everything that remained of Moorish Spain.

In the years that followed, Christian forces continued their attacks in Southern Andalucia. In 1485, led by Marquis of Cádiz, Christian forces finally surrounded the city and took hold after a brief siege. This was the end of the Moorish era in Spain and Ronda has remained under Spanish rule since.

The Plaza de Toros (bullring) is one of the oldest bullfighting rings in Spain. Designed by Martín de Aldehuela, construction of the bullring started in 1779 and finished in 1785. Pedro Romero (1754-1839), a key figure in the history of bullfighting, performed here for many years.

In the early 19th century, the Napoleonic invasion and the subsequent Peninsular War caused much suffering in Ronda, whose inhabitants reduced from 15,600 to 5,000 in three years. Ronda's area became the base first of guerrilla warriors, then of numerous bandits, whose deeds inspired artists such as Washington Irving, Prosper Mérimée and Gustave Doré. In the 19th century the economy of Ronda was mainly rural. In 1918 the city was the seat of the Assembly of Ronda, in which the Andalusian flag, coat of arms and anthem were designed.

Ronda was heavily affected by the Spanish Civil War, after which much of the population emigrated elsewhere.

Tourism began to pick up during the 1960's in part due to the endorsements of Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles.

People & Culture:
As outlined in the history section above, Ronda, like the rest of Andalucia is rich in cultural history. From the Romans, to the Moors, to the Catholics, Ronda's culture and architecture have been influenced by many different groups of people and their marks can still be seen today.

The people of Ronda are referred to as Rondeños. Rondeños have been described as friendly, tough, and refined. Their main language is Spanish, although many of them speak at least some English.

Food & Nightlife:
Hope you like Spanish food! Ronda has a number of good restaurants to choose from, but not a lot of variety. Spanish cuisine and tapas bars make up the bulk of what you will find for good food in Ronda. Some of the common Andalucian specialties found in restaurants include oxtail stew, Iberian pork loin, gazpacho soup, duck breast, roasted lamb, grilled swordfish, and squid.

If you have never been to Spain, you should note that their dining hours are a little later than most places. Lunch is typically between 1pm-3pm and dinner usually starts at around 8pm. Most businesses, including restaurants close for "siesta" in the late afternoon.

There isn't a whole lot of nightlife in Ronda. In fact, it is hard to classify which establishments should be considered nightlife since many restaurants are bars and vice versa. Many of the tapas bars are brightly lit, close early, and are not like what are considered bars/taverns/pubs in the USA and many other countries. There is at least 1 dance club in town that stays open late.

Money & Costs:
The Euro is the form of currency used in Spain. The Euro coins come in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 1 Euro, and 2 Euro denominations. Bills are found in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, etc. denominations.

Compared to many other places in Europe, Ronda is pretty affordable. Most lodging and dining options range from budget to moderate.

Credit cards are widely accepted, however, foreign currencies are not. There are plenty of ATMs around the city for getting cash.

The tipping situation in Spain is a little convoluded and a source of controversy. Your best bet when dining is to round up the bill. So, if your tab is 18.50€, leave 20€. If your tab is 5.65€, leave 6€. The same would apply for taxi service. For fine dining, larger tips are more appropriate. A 92€ tab would likely warrant paying 100€. Tipping is not customary for drinks at a bar. A bellhop can be tipped 1-2€ per bag.

Entry Requirements:
You do not need any vaccinations against illness to travel to Spain. Generally speaking, if you are a citizen of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein: you need a valid passport or ID card. A passport is needed if you are travelling from one of the following countries (Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Panama, Paraguay, San Marino, South Korea, the Vatican, Singapore, USA, Uruguay or Venezuela). Visitors from these countries can stay for 90 days without a visa. If you are coming from a country not listed above, you will likely need a visa. Always check before traveling as the list above can change.

Getting There & Around:
The closest major aiport is in Malaga, Spain (AGP). If you choose to drive from Malaga to Ronda, there are 2 routes to choose from. They are both approximately 60 mile drives. For the northern route, you will take A-357 to Cartama and then A-367 into Ronda. This route will take 1-1.5 hours. For the more scenic route along the Costa del Sol, take A-7 (free) or AP-7 (toll) just past Marbella to the San Pedro de Alcantara exit. Follow this to the A-397 to Ronda. This route takes approximately 1.5 hours.

If you are coming from the airport at Seville, it is an approximately 80 mile trip that takes about 2 hours. Take the A376, followed by a short section of the A382, before returning to the A376. You will eventually see Ronda signposted.

If driving, you must be 18 years old and have a valid drivers license. You must be 21 years or older to rent a car.

If you are taking a bus, there are connections from Sevilla, Málaga, Cádiz, Fuengirola, Marbella, and other locations. For a list of bus times and schedules, click here.

If you are taking a train, you can find connections from places such as Málaga, Córdoba, Granada, Algeciras, Antequera, Madrid and others. To find a train, go to the Renfe web site. If Ronda doesn't appear in the list of destinations, click on the "Find All Stations" link and locate Ronda in the list.

Once in Ronda, the city is fairly walkable, but you will likely need additional transportation to see all of the sites. You can rent a car or rely on taxi service. Having a car is nice as it affords you the ability to explore the surrounding countryside. The problem with having a car is the parking situation which can cost 25 Euros per day.

See the services section of our travel guide for more information about transportation.

Circled by mountains, Ronda has a markedly different climate to that experienced along the Costa del Sol. The height above sea level, around 2,500 feet, helps to keep the summer heat tolerable, but in the winter it can be grey, cold and sometimes wet.

Below are the current conditions and weather forecast for Ronda.

The table below shows the average high and low temperatures.

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg High 62 64 67 70 75 82 86 87 83 75 68 64
Avg Low 47 47 50 52 57 65 69 70 66 59 53 49
Precipitation 1.96" 1.51" 1.55" 1.07" 0.20" 0.01" 0.09" 0.64" 1.64" 2.42" 3.14" 3.01"
Days of Rainfall 7 7 6 5 9 2 1 1 2 6 7 7

  • Emergency Doctor: 061
  • Emergency Police: 091
  • Directory Service: 11818
  • Mobile Directory Service: 11855

  • Tips & Additional Information:
  • Ronda is a very safe city and you should use usual precautions and common sense.
  • There are places around the El Tajo where there are no railings. People do fall into the gorge and die. In fact, hundreds of years ago, even the architect of the Puente Nuevo bridge fell to his death while inspecting his work.
  • If you have a car, you may consider parking far away from the bullring. You will have a better chance of finding parking, save money, and not spend unneccesary time fighting traffic.
  • Be careful when driving on the roads around Ronda. Many of them are steep, narrow, and curvy.

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