Published On: Sat, Jul 6th, 2024
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Ronda, Spain: Breathtaking cliff-top town | Europe | Travel

Perched precariously atop sheer cliffs, the Spanish town of Ronda is not for those with a fear of heights.

This hilltop gem, located in the mountains west of Malaga, boasts breathtaking views, captivating architecture, and a rich tapestry of history.

Ronda is bisected by the steep El Tajo Gorge, with the Guadalevin River meandering below, splitting the city into two distinct halves.

The architectural style of the town reflects the Christian and Muslim influences that have shaped Andalucia’s past, making it a fascinating destination for exploration.

The city’s history is etched into its streets, from the Almocabar Gate, which served as the main entrance during Moorish times, to the Puente Nuevo, which was repurposed as a prison during the Spanish Civil War.

Ronda is a walker’s paradise, with pedestrianised main street Calle La Bola ensuring you won’t be jostling with cars. For the more adventurous, hiking trails lead down from the town into the verdant countryside below.

The town’s most iconic feature, the imposing Puente Nuevo, is best viewed from the El Tajo gorge trail, where the full scale of this architectural marvel can be truly appreciated.

This 98m high bridge, which took 34 years to build, is the newest of three bridges connecting the divided city.

The area’s settlements date back to prehistoric times, and visitors can journey to the nearby Cueva de la Pileta to view cave paintings dating back 20,000 years. For history buffs, the Roman ruins of Acinipo, free to enter, are just a short 20km trip away.

Ronda’s streets are adorned with whitewashed buildings, brimming with restaurants and shops offering local crafts.

Visitors can indulge in traditional Spanish cuisine or dine at the city’s two Michelin-starred establishments.

The Plaza de Toros de Ronda, one of Spain’s oldest bullrings, once welcomed famed writer Ernest Hemingway. Today, it serves as a museum, save for the annual bullfight during the Pedro Romero festival.

The Sierra Nevada mountains provide a stunning backdrop to the city’s surrounding rolling countryside. Viewpoints across Ronda, such as the Alameda del Tajo, offer breathtaking views of this beautiful landscape.

The Arabic baths, situated at the city’s base, transport visitors back in time. Dating back to the 13th century, they are among the best-preserved baths in Spain.

The Casa del Rey Moro, built in the 1700s, is a more recent addition to Ronda. It houses beautiful gardens and an important relic from Ronda’s Muslim rule, the Water Mine.

Visitors can navigate the 300 steps carved into the gorge walls down to an impenetrable fortress.

Ronda serves as an ideal base for exploring southern Spain, with Seville, Cadiz and Malaga all less than a two-hour drive away. For those craving a touch of familiarity, Gibraltar is also just two hours away.

Flights to Malaga, Spain are available with easyJet, Jet2, British Airways, TUI Airways and Ryanair from 18 airports in the UK. Gatwick to Malaga flights with easyJet can be bagged from £37.99 each way.

If you’re looking for a cheap place to stay, rooms at the Hotel Soho Boutique Palacio San Gabriel cost from £70 a night, while a bed at the Cherry Deluxe apartment will set you back just £39 a night.

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