Ronda is not the first name that springs to mind when planning a holiday to Andalucia. Talk of Marbella, Malaga or one of the resorts on the Costa del Sol tends to dominate the conversation but there is a beautiful charm to Ronda which needs to be experienced.
Often overlooked by neighbours such as Seville and Granada, Ronda has been Andalucia’s fastest-growing town since the turn of the 21st century. Despite heightened notoriety it has managed to maintain its charming heritage which has made it a hit with visitors. From the El Tajo gorge to the Puente Nuevo bridge and iconic bullfighting ring, Ronda is an Andalucian gem like no other.
So why should you make Ronda your next holiday destination? Here are just a few reasons.
Ronda sits above the El Tajo gorge and this location has provided the town with some breathtaking sights. Stand at the Mirador de Ronda and gaze out on the magnificent landscape and countryside below. Take a stroll through Plaza Espana and you’ll come to one of Ronda’s most iconic landmarks – Puente Nuevo.
Translated as the ‘New Bridge’ it connects the old Moorish town with the newer part of El Mercadillo, crossing the huge chasm which carries the Guadelevin River. Completed in 1793, it offers amazing views of El Tajo. Make the most of your time here by walking down into the gorge along the Camino de los Molinos to see Puente Nuevo in all its glory.
National sport pioneers
While it may remain a controversial topic today, the art of bullfighting is said to have been created in Ronda. During the late-1700s and early-1800s Pedro Romero, son of Juan Romero another innovator of the sport, became the first matador to determine that bullfighting was a skill and set standards and rules for the team of matadors (or corrida) had to follow.
Both the Romero and Ordóñez families’ fights were legendary drawing huge crowds at the Plaza de Toros de Ronda. Statues of Cayetano Ordóñez and son Antonio Ordóñez stand outside the stadium today.
Once a year, the arena plays host to the Feria Goyesca where fighters dress in the style of a Francisco Goya sketch and honour the memory of Pedro Romero’s modern bullfighting. The rest of the year Plaza de Tores de Ronda acts as a museum.
Provided inspiration for famous artists
Walking through the streets and looking over the vast countryside it’s hard to feel enamoured with Ronda. The beauty of the town didn’t go unnoticed by American artists Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles. The pair would regularly spend time throughout their lives penning accounts of the beauty of the town and its famous bullfighting tradition.
Hemingway wrote his novel For Whom the Bell Tolls about his time in Ronda during the civil war while Welles was so fascinated by Ronda’s bullfighting that when he died in 1985 his ashes were scattered on the rural property of his good friend Antonio Ordóñez. While Hemingway and Welles wrote extensively about Ronda, it is German poet Rainer Maria Rilke’s words that really paint a picture.
She regularly spent time at the Hotel Reina Victoria and wrote: “I have sought everywhere the city of my dreams, and I have finally found it in Ronda. There is nothing that is more startling in Spain than this wild and mountainous city.”
It makes some of the best wine in Spain
A holiday in Spain would not be complete without sampling some of the local tipple and in Ronda you won’t be disappointed. Home to the aptly named Ronda wine, the area is awash with vineyards and wineries creating some of the best plonk in Spain.
This winemaking region is known as the Serrania de Ronda where expert winemakers create reds from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Tempranillo. While white wine includes Colombard, Sauvignon Blanc and much more. Tour the vineyards such as Bodega Gonzalo Beltran or Bodegas La Sangre De Ronda and then treat yourself to a glass or two with an evening meal of freshly-caught fish.
Throws a great party
Forget Marbella, Ronda is the place to be for a good party. While the bars and restaurants remain lively into the night, Ronda comes alive when the festival comes to town. During the Holy Week, it celebrates the Fiesta De La Virgen De La Paz with extravagant processions through the streets before indulging in a feast.
There is then, of course, the main event of Feria Goysesqua. The whole of Ronda goes into party mode as it honours the bullfighting pioneers of Pedro Romero and Antoñio Ordóñez. It is a celebration you will never forget.
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