Explore Ronda in 3 Days: A Hidden Gem in Andalucia, Southern Spain
The small yet charming hilltop city is home to spectacular viewpoints and bridges. Don’t skip Ronda on your Andalucia road trip itinerary!
Ronda is without a doubt, one of the most amazing hidden gems in Andalucia, a stunning region in Southern Spain. The small yet charming hilltop city is home to the spectacular Puente Nuevo, an iconic stone bridge, and an old and new part of town covered in cobblestone streets.
Ronda is full of incredible view points and you don’t need to actively seek out miradors – stroll down the main street and the edge of the town and you’ll pass view point…after view point….after view point!
If you’re driving from Granada to Seville or Seville to Granada and want to stop somewhere, Ronda is an amazing place to stop for a few nights if you are going on a Andalucia road trip as it is halfway between the 2 cities; we stayed in Ronda for 3 nights and found myself wanting to stay a few more nights to enjoy the views for just a smidge longer. If you’re visiting Southern Spain, read on for the best places to visit in Ronda!
How to get around Andalucia
The best way to get around the region of Andalucia is by car, but you’ll find that you can get around within cities easily on foot. Expect to pay anywhere from 10-20 Euros for overnight parking, or 1-3 Euros per hour, and in our experience there was minimal highway tolls and plenty of gas stations along the way.
We picked up our car from Europcar in Madrid and drove down to Granada before venturing onwards to Ronda and Seville, and would recommend that you pay close attention that you aren’t overcharged. Alternatively, you can fly directly into Seville International Airport or Granada Airport and drive 2 hours to Ronda.
Looking for the best prices for rental car companies around the world? Click here to book your rental car ahead of your trip. Bookings can be cancelled or amended if your plans change!
The drive towards Seville from Ronda is one of the most stunning you will ever see – it is home to hundreds (thousands?) of acres of bright yellow sunflower fields during the summer months! Click here to see some photos of the breathtaking sunflower fields of Andalucia.
How to get around Ronda in Spain
Ronda is a very small city and all of the tourist attractions can easily be reached on foot – nothing is more than a 10-15 minute walk away. I wouldn’t recommend driving around Ronda to go sightseeing. However, you may want a car so that you can head to a few must-see attractions just outside of Ronda, or to head down to the coastal cities like Marbella or for a beach day or two.
Ronda is in a mountainous area about 750 metres above sea level, so if you are driving down to the coast just be aware that your ears may pop as you drive down and all the way back up. The difference in temperature is also significant, so bring a light jacket for the evenings in Ronda.
Also headed to Seville? Click here for 7 places you really can’t skip in Seville!
Where to stay in Ronda in Spain
We stayed in an amazing apartment located right next to the Alameda del Tajo park. The Ático Exclusivo en Ronda had 2 bathrooms, 1 bedroom, a kitchen and massive terrace. It is a 5 minute walk away from the Puente Nuevo and has a private underground parking lot next to the apartment building which will cost you just 10 Euros a day.
Though it is a self-catered apartment so doesn’t offer breakfast, there is a supermarket nearby so you can stock up on bread, cereal, yoghurt and fresh fruit. You need to contact the owners to let them know what time you’re expected to arrive so that they can meet you to give you the keys.
I can’t recommend Ático Exclusivo en Ronda highly enough – click here to check rates and availability of the Ático Exclusivo en Ronda apartment or click here for more highly rated accommodation options in Ronda!
The best places to visit in Ronda
Ronda is incredibly underrated, and I would go as far as to say that it was my favorite city to explore in Andalucia. The houses are precariously perched on the edge of massive cliffs, and it is a laid back and charming escape for anyone who loves stunning views and exploring heritage & culture landmarks. For a small city, there are a ton of things to do in Ronda. Read on for 8 places you can’t skip if you only have 3 days in Ronda, Spain.
1. Puente Nuevo
Puente Nuevo (The “New Bridge”) is the newest and largest of 3 bridges that span the 120-metre-deep chasm that separate the old and new parts of Ronda. The current bridge took 34 years to build beginning in 1759, and replaced a poorly constructed predecessor that collapsed in 1941.
The best views of the Puente Nuevo are from the bottom of the El Tajo Gorge. Hiking to the bottom of the gorge is one of the best things to do in Ronda – the hike should take you no more than 20-30 minutes, though it can get very hot during the summer months. Bring proper walking shoes, a hat and water as there is minimal shade.
The stairs down to the El Tajo Gorge can be found at Plaza de María Auxiliadora. Head left at the bottom of the stairs to head through the Arco del Cristo stone arch for a perfect front-on view of the bridge, or head right at the bottom of the stairs to get closer to the base and a better look at the waterfall beneath the Puente Nuevo bridge.
Tip: Plan to be at the bottom of the gorge at around 1 PM so that a shadow isn’t cast across the face of the bridge.
2. Parroquia de Nuestra Señora del Socorro
Plaza del Socorro is a small town square a few blocks away from the Puente Nuevo. The Parroquia is a stunning 1950s church in the middle of the plaza and has a beautiful white and yellow facade. This plaza is a great place for a coffee or cocktail, and is a hub of activity in Ronda.
3. Puente Viejo
Ronda has not 1, not 2, but 3 bridges! Head through the Felipe V Arch to see the Puente Viejo (Old Bridge), a 16th century pedestrian-only bridge.
On one side of the bridge you can see the massive gorge and both sides of the city, or look over the other side to see the smallest of the 3 bridges, the Arab Bridge.
4. Puente Arabe
The Arab Bridge is a small bridge in Ronda that you can see from the edge of the Puente Viejo. There seems to be differing opinions on why this was named the Arab Bridge, so please leave me a comment below if you know the history!
5. Mondragon Palace
Visiting this quiet palace is one of the best things to do in Ronda. The Mondragon Palace public museum offers a glimpse into the history of the region, and is housed in a 14th century palace with gardens and beautiful courtyards (somewhat reminiscent of a mini Alhambra in Granada).
It was once the palace of the Moorish ruler Abbel Mallek, and costs just 3.5 Euros for entry.
6. Alameda del Tajo Park
This part has long balconies overlooking lush valleys and there are hardly any tourists! It’s a great place to take photos of the town below and shows you exactly how high up Ronda is; look at these views, see why this is one of the best places to visit in Ronda?
Keep walking along the edge of the park to check out this viewpoint in Ronda with a beautiful pagoda. It’s a great sunset viewpoint in Ronda!
7. Acinipo Ruins
For an easy day trip from Ronda, head to the little-known Acinipo ruins, located about 20 KM or so from Ronda.
The ruins include a beautifully preserved Roman theatre dating all the way back to the 1st century AD; head to the cliff directly in front of the ruins for amazing panoramic views across the countryside of Andalucia.
Plus, the drive to Acinipo ruins is filled with fields of gorgeous wild flowers!
The opening times of the Acinipo Ruins are…somewhat flexible, and on the day we visited the guard had gone home early. You’ll want to make sure you arrive at least an hour before closing time to make the most of your visit to the Acinipo ruins.
8. Cueva del Gato
Also make sure that you don’t skip the Cueva del Gato (the “Cat’s cave”) for an icy refreshing dip in the cave’s turquoise coloured pools. This watering hole is a favorite for locals in the region, and is a perfect summer day trip from Ronda.
It will take you just 15 minutes or so to drive out here. Park your car in the parking lot above and stroll towards the cave, the short walk will take no more than 10 minutes or so.
Looking for other amazing things to see and do in Andalucia? Click here for 8 beautiful cities to visit in Andalucia or here for your perfect 1 week Andalucia road trip itinerary!
Where to eat in Ronda
We absolutely loved Tragata, conveniently located along Calle Nueva. It serves delicious modern tapas and the decor is warm and inviting – we ate there twice because the food was SO good!
For a cool outdoor cocktail spot head to Maruja Limon Bar – it has a spacious terrace area where you can watch the colours change as the sun goes down.
Ready to book your stay in Ronda? I can’t recommend Ático Exclusivo en Ronda highly enough for its location, private terrace and spacious rooms – click here to check rates and availability of the Ático Exclusivo en Ronda apartment or click here for more highly rated accommodation options in Ronda!
Headed to Spain? You might also enjoy these reads:
- Looking for other amazing things to see and do in Andalucia? Click here for 8 beautiful cities to visit in Andalucia
- And check out this 1 week Andalucia road trip itinerary
- You won’t want to miss out on wandering through the Alhambra palace and gardens in Granada
- Or check out this list of things to do in Seville
- Driving to or from Seville? You might stumble upon these breathtaking sunflower fields
Have you been to Ronda? Tell me about your trip in the comments section below!
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I am debating where to spend my time – 2 nights in Ronda and 3 nights in Marbella – however for some reason Ronda seems magical and I could easily switch it to 3 nights ronda and 2 nights marbella. We wont have a car as we will take public transit/bus or train. What are your thoughts.
Marbella looks nice – but i’m not sure if its as magical as a place like Ronda. What are your thoughts? 🙂 We would love some relax time however the big resorts in Marbella look ok -but perhaps similar to what you can get in Caribbean or other?
Hi Lynn, we only spent half a day in Marbella but I would tend to agree with your assessment – there’s no place like Ronda. Personally, I would spend more time in Ronda and fewer days by the coast. Have an amazing time either way!
Nice article. I love Ronda, it is sucha a magical place and it has a very calm atmosphere. Highly recommended
Hi Peter, thanks so much for taking the time to read this! Ronda is such a stunning hilltop town – can’t wait to go back one day.
Hi! I found your blog while I was looking for information about Ronda and it’s so nice to read and your photos are really good! Ronda has been on my travel bucket list for a very long time and I’m finally going there in May (yay!). I have all the places you recommend on my itinerary 🙂 I’m also planning to do a few day trips from Ronda and I’m thinking about cycling to Acinipo ruins. But I’m not sure if it is safe to go along the main road or if there’s any dirt road that I could follow… Do you think it’s doable? Do you know if there is a place onsite where I could leave the bike before the visit? Any tips would be helpful!
I’m also thinking about visiting the rest of Andalucia this fall so I’m saving your articles about Granada and Seville for the future! 🙂
Hi Zooey, so happy to hear you found this helpful. We drove along the main road and if I recall correctly it wasn’t too busy, but there were some uphill sections. If you cycle safely with the right gear you should be ok. You can probably leave the bike outside the ruins, there is space for parking/some metal barricades and fences where you could potentially lock your bike. If you’re concerned I would probably do a quick recon before embarking on the ride. Stay safe and have fun!
Hi Flo! Thank you so much for replying and for these tips! I’ve just checked the route on Google maps and the road seems to be quite narrow and cycling uphill may be pretty challenging, I need to think this through! 🙂 I’m also considering visiting the ruins on my way from Setenil, if I decide to rent a car. I’m still hesitating.
Anyway, thank you and I’ll be back here for sure 🙂
Hope you have an amazing trip Zooey! Ronda is incredible – you’ll love it!
Must admit I’d never heard of the place and I think if anyone had mentioned it to me I’d have assumed they were talking about the Rhondda Valley in Wales but that is staggeringly beautiful; Puente Nuevo especially. Acinipo also appeals as we’re fond of a Roman ruin when we’re travelling. Lovely photos. Definitely somewhere to consider.
I hope you get to visit Ronda, Mark! We stumbled upon it because we were looking for a place to stay between Seville and Granada. It’s definitely a lot less crowded than those 2 cities, and well worth a visit!