Ronda, Andalucia Overview
- Timeless gorge
- Country life
- Sleepy village pace
Set high on a bluff and protected by the dizzying El Tajo gorge, the mountain fastness of Ronda was one of the last strongholds of Moorish Spain.
The spectacular Puente Nuevo now spans the ravine, but the almost impregnable town retains a sense of seclusion, far removed from the razzmatazz of the nearby Mediterranean coast. The dramatic sierras still guard a traditional way of life: slumbering pueblos blancos or ‘white villages’; valleys of fruit orchards, olive groves and vineyards; ancient forests of cork oak trees. Ronda, with its whitewashed houses and winding streets, epitomises a land little changed since the Moors ruled these mountains.
Remarkably Ronda, AndaluciaThe beautiful Palacio Mondragón was once the residence of Ronda’s Islamic rulers. Extensively added to over the centuries, it has exquisite water gardens teetering precariously on the edge of the precipice. Walk there along the ridge and Calle Tenorio, by way of the Plaza de Maria Auxiliadora, to enjoy the best views.
- Cabs are cheap, but not always metered. Those that aren’t should carry an official book of rates, so check with your driver before you set off. Taxis display a green ‘libre’ notice or green light at night.
- Tipping culture
- Ten per cent in restaurants is appreciated; otherwise a few euros with drinks or tapas is sufficient.
- Siesta and fiesta
- Banks and shops close between 14h and 17h during the week and at 14h on Saturdays. Restaurants don’t even begin to get busy until well after 21h.
- Packing tips
- Take warm layers for the winter months, when the weather is changeable. Bring good walking boots for the mountains.
- Recommended reads
- For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway; Driving Over Lemons by Chris Stewart.
- The cooking in the interior of Andalucía is dominated by Serrano mountain ingredients, with some subtle Moorish influences. Oxtail is a particularly tasty local speciality, along with smoked ham, beef with artichokes and kidneys in Jerez sherry. The mountains also produce excellent game dishes.
- Dialling codes
- Country code for Spain: 34. Malaga province: 952.
- Do go/don't go
- Ronda attracts daytrippers from the Costa, especially in the height of summer, but after 14h the town returns to its more peaceful self. Spring and autumn are warm and tranquil. Winter weather can be changeable in the mountains.