Ronda, 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.

When to 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.

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Getting there

  • Planes

    The nearest airports are Málaga (an hour's drive), Seville (two hours) and Gibraltar (two hours). Expect delays at the border with Gibraltar.
  • Trains

    There is a daily morning train to Málaga (1.5 hours; no Sunday service), returning in the evening.
  • Automobiles

    It’s worth hiring a car to explore the mountains and pueblos blancos, or to make the run down to the beaches and nightlife of Marbella.
  • Taxis

    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.