Ronda is one of the most enchanting places you can visit in the south of Spain. An Andalusian white village set high in the sierras, Ronda makes for the perfect day trip from Malaga or Seville. Keep reading to discover the best things to do in Ronda, Spain, in one day!
Everything about Ronda is charming. It is the largest white village in Andalusia, with plenty to keep you busy for a day (or more!). In one day in Ronda, you can see many of its major attractions, take lots and lots of photos, relax over a superb meal, and wander the pretty streets.
The Best Things to Do in Ronda on a Day Trip
Ronda’s location is dramatic, one of the primary reasons why you would want to visit. Now part of the Sierra de las Nieves National Park, Ronda perches high above the El Tajo gorge, which splits the town into two.
Ronda was settled as early as the 6th century! The Celts, the Phoenicians, and the Romans all lived in Ronda in succession. The Berbers took control in the 8th century, and named it Hisn-Ar Rundah (Castle of Rundah), and that’s where Ronda got its name. In the 15th century, Ronda was captured by the Christians.
Today Ronda is an extremely popular destination in southern Spain: the third most visited city in Andalusia. Boasting amazing historic sights, phenomenal views, great restaurants, and charming bodegas, Ronda will both thrill and charm you. You can walk Ronda on your own, or do a guided walking tour.
Here, then, is the lowdown on the best things to do in Ronda on a day trip!
#1 Stroll the Alameda del Tajo
Just behind the Plaza de Toros in the New Town is a lovely little 19th century park, the Alameda del Tajo. Start your explorations of Ronda by strolling the park. The walk is especially beautiful if you visit in the spring, when pink and white blossoms cover the trees along the walkways. It also looks stunning in the fall, when leaves change color.
Walk to the gazebo at the edge of the cliff and be awed by the jaw-dropping panoramas that greet you. You’ll spend much of the day oohing and aahing over the views of the countryside you get from many places in Ronda, and this viewpoint is one of the best.
To add to the charm, you may be lucky and visit when a street musician is performing near the viewpoint. Linger for a while in the warmth of the Spanish sun, taking in the lilting music while you revel in the views. What could be a more perfect start to your one day in Ronda?
Walk along the edge so you can take photos from different angles, and then follow the pathway along the edge towards the Old Town.
If you visit: Alameda del Tajo, Paseo Blas Infante, 1, 29400 Ronda, Málaga, Spain
#2 Walk over the Ronda Bridge!
There are actually three bridges that straddle the spectacular 400-foot gorge created by the Guadalevín River. The Ronda bridge is the Puente Nuevo, the newest and largest of the three. The Puente Nuevo is actually not that new: it was completed in 1793!
The gorge splits Ronda into the Mercadillo or New Town and La Ciudad or Old Town, and when you cross over the Puente Nuevo, you will be on your way to exploring the historic part of Ronda. But first, you have to admire the Puente Nuevo from all angles!
You’ll start by viewing it from the grounds of the Parador, in the New Town. From here you can get a close look at the room of sorts below the bridge, formerly a prison and now a museum that details the history of the bridge. If you are interested, you can pay the small fee to enter, but I think you have better options for your time and money in Ronda.
You will get fabulous views as you walk over the bridge. There are restaurants on both sides of the bridge, if you want to have a drink and reflect on the engineering marvel before you, built over 200 years ago!
If you go: Puente Nuevo, Calle Armiñán, s/n, 29400 Ronda, Málaga, Spain
#3 Admire the Puente Nuevo from below
You can walk down the hillside for an unobstructed view of the magnificent Puente Nuevo. Walk down Calle Tenorio to the Plaza de Maria Auxiliadora, where you will see a pathway with steps that descends into the gorge. In the spring, the path is lined with pretty wildflowers.
If you go down the pathway, you will come to a couple of viewpoints from where you get fabulous views of the bridge, the waterfall, and the river. From these viewpoints, you can fully appreciate just how tall the Puente Nuevo is at 328 feet, and the labor it must have taken to build it all those years ago.
After you have taken your fill of photos at the second viewpoint, walk back up to the town the way you came.
#4 Explore the Mondragón Palace
The Mondragon Palace houses the Ronda Municipal Museum. Built in the 14th century, the beautiful building started out as the home of home of King Abbel Malik. The original architecture was Moorish. Later, Renaissance and Gothic elements were added.
The palace was used as a residence by the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella when they visited Ronda. The gardens are lovely, and offer beautiful views of the countryside. You will love the patio with the traditional Moorish water feature, and all the pretty columns, tiles and arches in the building. Don’t miss the Mudejar ceilings inside.
The museum contains exhibits that detail the history of the village from pre-Roman and Roman times to medieval times. There is a modest entrance fee.
If you go: Mondragon Palace, Plaza Mondragón, s/n, 29400 Ronda, Málaga, Spain
#5 Take a break at the Plaza Duquesa de Parcent
The main square in the Old Town, Plaza Duquesa de Parcent, is just stunning. The plaza is lined end to end by beautiful buildings.
Presiding over the square is the Iglesia de Santa María de la Encarnación la Mayor, with its beautiful bell tower. Built on the site on a mosque, the church is a mix of Renaissance, Gothic, and Baroque styles. Because of an earthquake, the church took a long time to complete, hence the mix of styles. It has been designated a national monument.
You’ll find cafes in the leafy square, so it’s a good place to sit for a bit and have a drink.
#6 Wander the streets of the Old Town
I always spend some time wandering around the streets of old towns, and Ronda has some pretty cobbled streets you can explore.
White walls are accented with bright yellow, and colorful flower pots decorate outside walls, as in other parts of Andalusia. The narrow streets are cool, and if you are visiting on a warm sunny day, you will appreciate some time in the cool shaded alleyways.
If you got a late start in Ronda and have taken your time over the sights so far, it may be time to head back. But if you have the time, swing by the city gate and the Arabic baths before you call it a day well spent in Ronda.
#7 See the Old Walls and City Gate
In Moorish times, Ronda was protected by gates and high walls that ran around the entire perimeter of the town, making it impregnable.
The Puerta de Almocábar was the main gate into the old Moorish town. Around the gate you can see part of the old walls that protected Ronda from invaders.
It is possible to climb the steps and walk along the top of the wall, but you will likely not have the time on a day trip to Ronda.
If you go: Puerta de Almocábar, s/n, Plazuela Arquitecto Francisco Pons Sorolla, 29400 Ronda, Málaga, Spain
#8 Discover the Old Arabic Baths of Ronda
Ronda’s Arabic baths, or hammams, are some of the best preserved in Spain. They were built many centuries ago, during the time of King Abbel Malik. The underground baths have since been partially renovated.
There are three main rooms, one each for hot, warm, and cold, fed by nearby streams when they were functioning. Don’t miss the star-shaped vents for air and light in the ceiling, similar to the hammams in the larger cities of Granada and Seville.
Hammams were places to socialize, and it is fun to stand in these rooms and imagine the chats, gossip, and plotting they must have witnessed all those years ago!
If you go: Baños árabes de Ronda, 29400 11, Calle Molino de Alarcón, 29400 Ronda, Málaga, Spain
And that brings you to the end of your one day in Ronda! Walk back over the Puente Nuevo to the New Town.
With more time…
If Ronda charms you into spending a night, like it did us, there’s more to see and do in this pretty Andalusian white village. Or, if one of these activities excites you, swap it for one on the itinerary above!
TOUR THE RONDA WINE ROUTE
The countryside around Ronda is prime grape-growing country, and the area is known for several award-winning wines. If you are an oenophile, and have an extra day in Ronda, tour some of the bodegas on the route.
Enjoy tapas paired perfectly with local wines. If you are interested, you can even join a workshop detailing the processes of winemaking!
VISIT LA CASA DEL REY MORO
The name of this structure, “The House of the Moorish King,” is a bit of a puzzle, since it was not built until long after the reign of the Moors. The gardens were laid out in the early part of the 20th century, in the formal Moorish style. Although small, they are charming.
The Casa is worth visiting for the water mine. La Mina, the mine, is accessed by a set of 200+ steps going down into the gorge from the gardens. The pathway was designed to allow access to water when the town was under siege. The water is crystal clear!
The water mine actually is from Moorish times, and Christian slaves were said to have been chained to the staircase in order to pass bags of water up to the top.
If you go: La Casa del Rey Moro, 9, Calle Cuesta de Santo Domingo, 29400 Ronda, Málaga, Spain
SEE THE PUENTE VIEJO AND THE ROMAN BRIDGE
Ronda actually has three bridges than span the gorge. Although Puente Nuevo gets all the press, and deservedly so, it’s worth taking a look at the other two.
Puente Viejo, the Old Bridge, is today a pedestrian-only bridge. It is a 16th century bridge, but it was restored in the 20th century, so what you see is not the original.
The oldest bridge is called the Roman Bridge, but it is an Arab bridge…very confusing! This bridge has also been restored so you don’t see much of the original. It goes to the San Miguel quarter. You can see this bridge on the way to the baths. You can see the Puente Viejo from here.
If you go: Puente Viejo, Calle Real, 2, 29400 Ronda, Málaga, Spain
STROLL THE JARDINES DE CUENCA
The terraced Cuenca Gardens are a must-see if you love rose gardens and visit during bloom time. And they are a great escape from the crowds as well. The gardens were created in honor of Ronda’s sister city, Cuenca.
The views from the paths are stunning, as they are from so many spots in Ronda. You can get lovely photos of the Puente Nuevo, and of the gorge. You can also see the Puente Viejo and the Roman Bridge from these paths.
TAKE A BREAK AT THE PLAZA DEL SOCORRO
One of Ronda’s beautiful plazas, the Plaza del Socorro is surrounded by beautiful architecture. The square features a statue of Hercules. The Plaza is historically significant because it was here that Blas Infante unfurled the flag of Andalusia in 1918.
The square is a lovely place to relax and people-watch or admire the architecture. The Iglesia de Socorro presides over the square.
VISIT THE PLAZA DE TOROS
Ronda’s bullring is a historically significant building, constructed in the late 18th century. It was designed by Jose Martin Aldehuela, the architect who designed the Puente Nuevo. Today it is used mainly for concerts, and houses a museum.
We did not visit, but I wanted to include the Plaza de Toros here because it is an integral part of Ronda’s history and Andalusian culture. If you don’t approve of the sport but still wish to view the architecture and design, the museum and arena are open to visitors during the day.
If you go: Plaza de Toros, Calle Virgen de la Paz, 15, 29400 Ronda, Málaga, Spain
Getting to Ronda from Malaga
Ronda lies about 62 miles west of Malaga, and it is one of the best day trips from Malaga that you can do. Ronda is accessible both by bus and by train from Malaga, or you can drive yourself or do a guided tour.
If you drive
If you are driving, take A-357 to A-367. Drive time is generally around one hour and 30 minutes.Or you can take E-15 along the Costa del Sol to San Pedro de Alcántara, and then A-376 and A-369 to Ronda. This is a very scenic drive, and should take you about an hour and 45 minutes.
There is an underground parking garage right beneath the Plaza del Socorro, where you can park and then start your one day in Ronda.
Andalusia has a robust bus network, with several bus companies connecting the cities, towns, and pueblos blancos in the region. We found the buses in Andalusia clean, comfortable, and timely.
From the bus station in Malaga, there are several buses that run on weekdays, with a reduced schedule on Sundays and holidays. Some services are direct and faster. The average travel time is about 2 hours, and the ride is very scenic!
The bus companies operating the route tend to change, so check at the time of your visit to obtain current information. We just showed up at the station and purchased return tickets the day of our trip.
The train is faster, but the ride is less scenic. The direct train takes about one hour and 30 minutes, and is operated by Renfe. There is usually more than one train in both directions each day, but not every train is direct.
BY GUIDED TOUR
If you have only one day in Ronda, and you do not want to drive yourself, your best option is a guided tour. You can choose a tour that combines Ronda with a couple of other white villages nearby, or a dedicated Ronda guided tour.
You can also pick a tour that combines a winery tour and tasting with a tour of Ronda.
Getting to Ronda from Seville
Ronda is 82 miles from Seville, and makes for a lovely day trip from the Andalusian capital, even though your day will likely be a long one. You can drive yourself, or take the bus, or opt for a guided excursion. The train is not a convenient option for a day trip from Seville.
IF YOU DRIVE YOURSELF
If you are planning to drive, take A-375 to A-374 to get to Ronda from Seville. The drive time is generally about one hour and 45 minutes.
There is an underground parking garage right beneath the Plaza del Socorro, where you can park and then start your one day in Ronda.
If you want to do a day trip to Ronda from Seville by public transport, the bus is the only convenient option. The ride time is about 2 hours and 30 minutes.
BY GUIDED TOUR
If you are not planning to drive yourself, a guided tour is an efficient way to do a day trip to Ronda from Seville. You can pick a tour that is dedicated to Ronda, or one that combines a trip to Ronda with one or more nearby white villages.
Ronda can also be visited as a day trip by bus or as a self-drive from towns on the Costa del Sol, and from Granada.
Where to stay in Ronda
If you decide to spend a night (or more!) in Ronda, splurge on the Parador de Ronda. Its spectacular location on the edge of the gorge, proximity to the Old Town, and the fabulous views of the valley make it a wonderful place to stay in Ronda.
Where to eat in Ronda
We ate lunch in the dining room of the Parador de Ronda. Our meals were delicious, with fresh flavorful ingredients. The menu had vegetarian options for me, and the desserts were yummy.
Ronda has a Michelin starred restaurant, Restaurante Bardal, and it’s open for both lunch and dinner. It gets rave reviews on Trip Advisor. Make a reservation if you want to be assured of a table at the time you want when you visit.
For great tapas and salads, and excellent service, try Santa Maria.
The best time to visit Ronda
Spring and fall are the best times of year to visit Ronda. We visited in late April to gorgeous weather and blossoming trees: it was perfect. September would be another ideal month, with great weather and lower prices. Summer is peak season, so expect crowds and higher prices. Winters tend to be rainy.
So there you have it: my guide to one perfect day in Ronda! If you haven’t yet visited this stunning white village of Andalusia, I hope I have inspired you to place it on your Southern Spain itinerary!
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO ANDALUSIA
Seville: The Best Things to Do in Seville in 3 Days
Malaga: The Most Awesome Things to Do in Malaga
Cordoba: The Top 8 Things to Do in Cordoba
Granada: The Best Things to Do in Granada in 3 Days
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Photos of Arab Baths and Casa del Rey Moro, Wikimedia Commons License CC BY 2.0