The pueblos blancos (white towns) of Andalusia in southern Spain are extremely popular with tourists due to their picturesque whitewashed buildings and the stunning surrounding mountainous landscape, and there’s no better example of this than in Ronda. This beautiful town can be easily reached by public transport from the nearby cities of Malaga and Seville in just a few hours, making it the perfect day trip.
From Ronda to Seville by bus
While it’s super easy to get public transport to Ronda from Seville, the buses are not frequent. To do it in a day you’ll need to catch the 9.15 bus in the morning from Prado de San Sebastian Bus Station in Seville and the 15.30 bus from Ronda Central Bus Station back. The journey takes around 2 to 2.5 hours.
You can buy your tickets at the station or ahead of time online, which is advisable during the busy tourist season. The cost is around €23.00 for a return.
Things to do in Ronda
Puente Nuevo (New Bridge)
If you google the white towns of Andalusia, the visual you’re most likely to come across is Ronda’s Puente Nuevo (New Bridge). It is arguably the most famous landmark of the region and, in all honestly, was the reason I decided to day trip there while I was in Seville. This impressive structure connects the old Moorish town and the ‘new’ town. It has three arches, stretching 120 metres down into the depths of the El Tajo Gorge and was completed in 1783, having taken over 40 years to build! The bridge also features in For Whom The Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway, who was once a resident of Ronda.
One of the best views of the bridge can be seen from the bottom. I didn’t have time to do this on my trip but according to other online sources you can follow the unpaved path from Plaza de Maria Auxiliadora square down into the gorge for what looks like a spectacular view of the bridge and also the waterfall that lies underneath – something I would definitely do on a return visit!
Alameda del Tajo gardens
On your way into town from the bus station you’ll most likely walk through the Alameda del Tajo gardens. This is without a doubt one of the most stunning parks I’ve ever been to, due to the panoramic views spanning the gorge that lie in wait at one end. The anticipation as you walk the paths lined with trees towards the cliff edge and take in more and more of the view is not to be underestimated. It really is the perfect introduction to Ronda, and a taster of some of the amazing landscape and natural wonders on offer in the region.
Puente Viejo (Old Bridge)
Crossing over the new bridge, and walking down towards the Old Town you’ll come across the two other smaller bridges in Ronda. The Old Bridge and Bridge of San Miguel (also known as the Arab Bridge). Both of these bridges also cross the gorge and offer fantastic alternative viewpoints of the town and new bridge.
Plaza del Toros
Ronda is home to one of Spain’s oldest bullrings, dating back to 1785 – Plaza del Toros. Like many, I don’t agree with bullfighting, and didn’t actually enter the arena to look around, but from photos I can see it is undoubtedly a spectacular feat of architecture. Whilst controversial, bullfighting is still an important part of the history and culture in this region, although it is becoming less popular with each generation and there is now only one bullfight a year that takes place at this particular arena.
Built during Ronda’s Moorish era in the 12th century, the Arab Baths were used by Muslims to purify themselves before visiting the mosque. What remains is some of the best preserved baths in the whole country. There’s not much information on display here but you can still really get a sense of what the baths would have been like in their day. The star-shaped roof vents that let the light through the arched stone ceilings are particularly special.
WIth its narrow cobbled streets and white buildings, you could be forgiven for thinking you were in Greece while you wander around Ronda’s old town. In this area you can walk on some sections of the 13th century city walls, or enjoy tapas in a local restaurant. You’ll find more Ronda residents frequenting this area of the town than tourists so it’s good if you’re looking for a more relaxed vibe to enjoy some local food and drink.
Have you visited Ronda or another one of Southern Spain’s white towns? I’d love to go back and visit some of the others, let me know your recommendations in the comments!