Ronda has a lovely promenade built along the edge of the gorge. It is a tree lined set of 5 parallel streets or paths (they call them avenues) that have a lot of nice little parks and places to look out at the surrounding countryside.
This a beautiful stroll in Ronda, quite stunning if you are near sunset.
Ronda is divided by the El Tajo Gorge which is up to 100 m deep. The gorge has been gaped by the river Rio Guadalevin. South of the gorge the old Moorish part of the town called La Ciudad can be found whereas the newer part (El Mercadillo = Little Market) is situated to the north.
The best views of the gorge can be enjoyed from the New Bridge (Puente Nuevo) and from the Old Bridge (Puente Viejo).
During the Arabic period the city of Ronda was protected by the El Tajo gorge on the northern side and by massive city walls with gates on the other sides.
The most important gate from this time is the Almocabar Gate at the southern end of the city. It dates back to the 13th century and consists of semicircular towers and three arches.
Other defensive fortifications include the Cijara Gate and its walls at the eastern side and the walls of Albacara on the western side of the city.
The Plaza del Socorro is one of the main squares in Ronda's New Town (El Mercadillo). On the South side it is dominated by the Church of Soccoro and in the middle stands a nice fountain.
The square is surrounded by many touristy shops, restaurants and cafes. Most of these places are probably tourist rip-offs and not recommended to the gourmet travellers.
Ronda is located in the mountainous interior of Andalusia, with no major highways presently providing access to it. As far as starting out from a divided highway goes, the best way to get there is on the A397 off the excellent E15 and A7 highways along the Mediterranean coast near Marbella (not far from my 'Estapona' balloon in the map, where we had booked a B&B). As with most roads in Spain, the A397 is smooth and well-maintained but, with all its twists and turns winding up from the coast, the average speed is only about 60 kph - as long as it is not snowing!
Our map also showed what appears to be a brand new divided highway (the A357) heading into the mountains from Malaga (beside my 'Torremolinos' balloon) - and it is pointed directly at Ronda! The map shows it as already built for about 1/3rd of the distance to Ronda.
There are also other secondary highways, similar to the one we used, approaching Ronda from the west, north and east but the drives from major tourist spots such as Granada, Sevilla or Cadiz are quite a bit longer. Under the best of conditions, Google shows the following one-way driving times and distances to Ronda:
Estepona ---(70 km & 1 hour)
Antequera --(90 km & 1.5 hours)
Seville -------(130 km & 2 hours)
Cadiz --------(150 km & 2 hours)
Granada ----(180 km & 2.5 hours)
With driving times like those, a round-trip day visit is not really practical unless you happen to be staying in either Antequera or along the Mediterranean coast in the Marbela area (between Malaga and Estepona). Of course it would be better in the longer daylight hours of Summer, but the temperature in Ronda sometimes exceeds 40 C at that time of the year!
Favorite thing: One of the things that my wife Zohara and I enjoy the most of the towns and villages, even the big cities, we visit is just "WANDERING" the streets and coming across small places of beauty or peace in them....some could be a park, or even just a fountain on a street corner, but all are little pieces of the lives that sometimes show you what the people who live here or there are like. If you can, just take the time to see what you can see aside from the big tourist attractions.
This baroque facade made of stone masonry has a very surprising look to it. You find two couples, the male with his tounge sticking out as if mocking the world and the females being quite chaste and covering their nudity, but even on the uncovered males you see no signs of any sex organs. The figures do not look European and when you read the sign explaining what you are seeing it says the figures have an "Indian" influence...South American Indian we can assume. In the centre is Vasco Martín de Salvatierra's coat of arms.
You can find out more at the Ronda web site below.
Fondest memory: http://www.turismoderonda.es/catalogo/eng/salvatierra.htm
Built in 1585 this convent contains some religious relics, like the HAND of St.Theresa of Jesus from the 17th century that according to church legend does not rot...... Sorry that we did not have time to visit and see that. From the exterior it is a very simple building when compared with the ornate decorations usually found on religious buildings, but it is very striking in its simplicity and actually pleasant to look at.
Fondest memory: http://www.turismoderonda.es/catalogo/eng/merced.htm
This at one time was the main city entrance, replacing the older Arab Gate, built in 1742 during the reign of the first Bourbon king of the Spanish Kingdom, Philip V.
You can learn more at the web site below.
Fondest memory: http://www.turismoderonda.es/catalogo/eng/felipev.htm
We read about and then went looking for the minaret of St. Sebastian. It is a small tower belonging to one of the mosques of Ronda and later used as a church bell tower.
Very typical arab architecture, but no less beautiful for that, this is where the Arab priest would call the faithful to prayer.
If you like you can find out more detail on the excellent web site I found and have added here.
Fondest memory: http://www.turismoderonda.es/catalogo/eng/alminar.htm
Festival, Culture and History, is what the plaque dedicating the bullring and the stature of elToro standing outside.....this is a life size and very acurate statue of a irate bull, would not want to be the one to face him with only a fancy cape in my hands.
The second photo shows the Ronda city symbol, emblazoned on the city hall.
The last photo shows one of the most common decoration types in Spain, the use of the ceramic tile, here showing the layout of the entire town of Ronda.
Favorite thing: For the most part, the Spanish wines we tried on our visit were excellent. We often went with the restaurant's recommendations, since we were unfamiliar with many of the wines. Just a small number of Spanish wines are widely sold in the US, so that makes it difficult to know much about the Spanish wines. Most of the wines available in Spain are not found in the US. This Liabalis produced by Castillo de Maetierra, a fruity white, was excellent, and I doubt I will find it in the US, so it was a real treat.
Favorite thing: The immense Tajo Gorge runs through Ronda. No matter where you are on the bluffs, you'll have a gorgeous view. The town is on top of the bluff. Hiking trails wind through the gorge. In the valley below are miles of olive groves and vineyards.
Favorite thing: Just opposite the Cafe de Ronda is this ceramic mural giving a good overview of the town t help ypu get your bearings. Failing that opposite the Bull ring is a tourist office that can provide you with town maps and the most important sights to see.
Favorite thing: With all this sightseeing you'll be glad to know there are plenty of places to eat and drink - esp by the bridge (most touristic and expensive)with views of the gorge - wonderful to sit and rest those aching feet whilst still enjoying the views. We also enjoyed breakfast at Cafe de Ronda (just past the new bridge and before the old town on the main street) which seemed very popular and not as expensive.