I wanted to visit Ronda just because I saw somewhere the pictures of that famous bridge. All these photos with sunset looked fantastic, and I decided I had to see it personally. I was not sure how much time I would need, so I googled for things to do in Ronda, and I was left under impression that one day would be enough. I ended up with 1 day trip to Ronda: I left Malaga in the early morning and in the evening took bus to Seville.
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1 day trip to Ronda
Like I mentioned in the part 1 of my series, ALSA buses (my fav!) do not go to Ronda, so I had to look for alternative bus companies. I bought tickets for Los Amarillos buses, but, frankly, they were not as good as the ALSA ones, but they got me to the destination without accidents, so I can’t complain 🙂
I arrived at Ronda around 10 AM. The bus station is very small, and you won’t see those fancy electronic displays with arrival and departure times. When I exited the bus platforms, the first thing I saw was a sign which said that anyone wishing to have the pleasure of using the WC will have to pay 0,50 EUR. That was a surprise after free toilets in Madrid, Cordoba and Granada. And that’s when I thought: “We aren’t in Kansas anymore!”.
As I had my backpack with me, I had to look for a place to leave it as otherwise it was too heavy to climb down to the gorge to see the bridge. I did not see any lockers in the bus station and headed to the tourist information office hoping they would help me with this issue. It was very cold, and I sincerely hoped it would get better later.
The tourist information office is at the bullring, easy to find and relatively not far from the bus station. I waited in the queue just to find out that there are lockers at the bus station! I went back but I just could not figure out how I could have missed them if the station is just a small hall. When I got there I realized that the sign with the toilet price simply distracted me from looking up where it was written in big letters in several language that one could leave their bags there 🙂
My bus had to leave at 6 PM, I planned to be at the station around 5 PM, so I left my backpack at the station for six hours. 1 hour of keeping baggage is 1 EUR, and after I paid 6 EUR, the lady – very nice lady, by the way – let me use the toilet for free, because I paid enough for my bag. I don’t think this happens often 🙂 FYI, there is a WC at the tourist information center, and the fee is 0,60 EUR.
Things to do in Ronda, Spain
I suppose that many people, just like me, come to Ronda to see the famous bridge. It is called Puente Nuevo (new bridge from Spanish) and was built above a spectacular gorge. The landscape around Ronda is truly mesmerizing, and the gorge with its headlong rocks is a part of it. Anyway, this is something to see not to read about 🙂 But Puente Nuevo is not the only noteworthy bridge. Not far from the Casa del Rey Moro there is Puente Viejo (old bridge from Spanish): the views are not that dazzling, but I would not miss it if I were you 🙂
Puente Nuevo of Ronda
I decided to start exploring the city with the Alameda del Tajo Park at the Cathedral of Merced: it is small, but offers fantastic views of the adjacent landscape.
After the park tourists usually visit the bullring, but that’s not something I am interested in, so I skipped it and went closer to the bridge. There are panoramic decks along the way with the gorgeous views of the gorge. And there it was, as breathtaking as I imagined it, but there was one problem: it was under shadow. So, here is my advice number 1: come here in the late afternoon to climb down the gorge and take pictures of the bridge.
I thought I would come here on my way back to the station, and continued to the Casa del Rey Moro. After crossing the bridge I saw that there is another panoramic deck – Mirador de Aldehuela. This one offers views of the other side of the Puente Nuevo. I had to thread my way through the crowd to get closer to the edge and take some pictures, but at that hour half of the bridge was under shadow as well. I guess if you come around 8-9 AM, you will get beautiful pictures.
La Casa del Rey Moro in Ronda, Spain
I did not spend much time at the Puente Nuevo and headed to the Casa del Rey Moro. The place is mostly famous for the so-called Water Mine. The mine is a steep staircase that runs down till the bottom of the gorge to the river Guadalevin. There are 231 steps carved in the rock, and the lower one goes the wetter they become. It is not that easy to climb down and even more difficult to climb up.
But it is totally worth it! The mine was built during the Moorish kings reign with the purpose of always having access to water in case of sieges. It has vaulted chambers and was a proper fortress. Now water runs down its walls, and when you reach the bottom, you will get gorgeous views of the river and rock formations.
To reach the mine you will have to first pass the ticket seller 🙂 giving him/her 5 EUR to get access inside, and then cross a garden overlooking the gorge and offering spectacular views of the gorge and the Cuenca Gardens on the opposite side.
Puente Viejo and Puente Arabe in Ronda, Spain
To exit the Casa del Rey Moro don’t go back to the gate where you bought the ticket, but follow the sign to the restaurant as the exit is there and it leads right to the Puente Viejo. You will pass below the Felipe V Arch which used to be the main entrance to the city.
As the name suggests, Puente Viejo was built earlier than Puente Nuevo to link two parts of the city. It offers amazing views of the Puente Arabe or Roman Bridge and the Arab Baths. As the Puente Arabe is on the lower level, you can get a good view of the Puente Viejo from there.
The Arab Baths are a very important historical monument, and are considered to be the best preserved baths in Spain. I saw ruins of baths in Granada and was not keen to go in so I did not 🙂
The ancient walls of Ronda
After seeing the bridges I went in the direction of the Almocabar Gates passing on my way the Palace of the Marques de Salvatierra. Unfortunately, only the exterior can be seen, but it is my understanding that it is open sometimes to the public, but I did not see any timetables.
I reached the St Mary Major Parish and wanted to go in. The entrance fee is 4,50 EUR and I decided that so far I paid enough tribute to see Catholic churches and skipped it.
Not far from this church there is a staircase that leads to a path which runs along the old walls of Ronda: I strongly advise you to take it! The views from there are splendid!
I went to the Almocabar Gates which are very well preserved, passed them and took Calle Cuesta de las Imágenes back to the St Mary Major Parish. And guess what? On my way there I saw the ruins of the Alcazaba, from where the entrance to the city was controlled. The construction date of the Alcazaba is unknown, but it for sure existed in the 11th century.
The Mondragon Palace in Ronda
It was already afternoon and the time to go back to the Puente Nuevo. On my way there I went to the Mondragon Palace that houses the museum of the local history: the entrance fee is 3,50 EUR. Honestly, I did not expect that I would enjoy it that much! Apart from the gorgeous views of the adjacent landscape, the exhibition is very interesting. It starts with the history of the early settlements and visitors can walk through the exhibited dwellings. The building itself is very beautiful with Moorish elements, so I advise to visit it.
Puente Nuevo in Ronda, again 🙂
The way down the gorge is in the park in the Plaza de Maria Auxiliadora not far from the Mondragon Palace. When one goes down, there are two roads to choose: one leads right to the bottom of the bridge, the second one deeper into the gorge and farther from the bridge. It is from here that all those fantastic pictures are made. Just keep in mind that the path leading to the bottom of the bridge is closer to water and is muddy and slippery.
Frankly, I did not go that far down, as it was pretty scary: unfortunately, I am afraid of height 🙁
I was at the Puente Nuevo after 3 PM, but there still was shadow covering a part of the bridge, so if you have time I would advise to wait till sunset. Oh, and that way up: I thought I would die, especially considering that I had already done much of walking and climbing up and down everyday in the cities I visited before Ronda. But it was worth it 🙂
As I still had time till my bus departure and the zero hour when I had to get back my backpack from the baggage room, I decided to visit the Cuenca Gardens: after all, that looked very lovely. It is a very nice place with benches to sit, terraces with staircase, beautiful flowers and gorgeous views of the gorge and the Puente Nuevo. The gardens are opposite the Casa del Rey Moro and, as you may have already guessed, everything was covered in shadow at that time. Now I know that I should have started with the gardens in the morning, and that is my tip number 2 🙂
PS: just like I said, Ronda is just one of the cities I visited in Spain, so if you are curious, I have a detailed, day by day itinerary for those 3 weeks I spent in Spain.
Back to the bus station
On my way back to the station I stopped at the Plaza del Socorro: a very nice and colorful place. I think it would be a pity to miss it 🙂
But when I arrived at the station, I had probably the most hilarious moments of my trip to Ronda. You see, in the evening there was another lady responsible for the baggage room and the toilet. She was quite a character, rigorously carrying out her duties. Like Cerberus, she was guarding the way to the toilet to make sure no one passed without paying. She was yelling at people who tried to go by her: many of them (unlike me 🙂 ) did not even see the note about the fee. And she was especially frustrated when she had to manually register bags and staple pieces of paper on them with their identification numbers and to watch people going to the toilet. There was even an ugly and (shame on me 🙂 ) funny situation when a bus arrived and a lady ran to the toilet – one could clearly see she needed to get in fast – just to be stopped by that station lady demanding money. The newcomer did not have a purse on her, she explained that but this worker of the month would not let her in. In the end, she was pushed away and kept banging on the door where the lady went to do her business.
Where to eat in Ronda
I thought I had a very rich plan of places to see in Ronda and I did not think I would have time to eat in restaurants, so I just bought bread and jamon in a supermarket on my way to the tourist information center. As it turned out, I could easily manage that 🙂 Anyway, during my walk around the city I saw on the stairs at the city hall in Calle Escalona a restaurant Pastaghetti with relatively cheap food.
Another place is not far from the Puente Nuevo in Calle Virgen de Los Remedios, 35: it is a bar Casa Moreno el Lechuguita.
How to move around Ronda
Ronda or at least the area tourists go to is very small, so, trust me, you will not need any buses. And, frankly, I do not remember seeing any of them: only cars, and, again, I admire the skill of the drivers! If you look at the map, the distance between the bus station and the Almocabar Gates, the farthest point I went to, is less than 2 kilometers.
For me this 1 day trip to Ronda was enough to feel the vibe of the city. I will stand on my belief that Ronda is better enjoyed from outside than from inside. What I mean is that the nature and landscapes are so spectacular and striking that one does not really need to visit the churches and museums of the city. But, again, that’s my opinion 🙂
If you rent a car, you could drive and see the neighboring areas, the ones I saw from the panoramic decks only. In addition, there are some historical sights that might be accessible by car only (not sure if there are buses): like Roman ruins or the Pileta cave 22 kilometers away from Ronda.
Bus from Malaga to Ronda – 11,68 EUR
Food from the supermarket – 2,25 EUR
Entrance fees to touristic sights – 8,50 EUR
Baggage storage – 6 EUR
Well, in any city you travel, you have to stay somewhere 🙂 When I search for accommodation, I always use two options: it is either AirBnB (click here for a discount on your first booking with AirBnB) or Booking.com.