through the world,you'll find it only here and in some rare californian places!
for the botanists,as a "dinosaur" tree!
a tree which has stopped evolving...
you'll find on the very picturesque mountain road A366 ,near km 20,coming from ronda...4km before el burgo.
also in a pretty botanical garden of "el bosque" ,road A372,49km from ronda,on the way to arcos de la frontera.
I went to Ronda on a daytrip from Marbella, but of course you can also do it the other way round. Marbella is a vibrant beach resort at the Costa del Sol which is dominated by the tourism industry. It has endless beaches, a lovely marina and a small old town with cobbled alleys.
About 5-6 buses serve the Ronda to Marbella route per day and the trip takes 75 minutes.
Why not take a trip to Gibraltar if you are staying in the Andalucia area. If you are driving it will only take about 1.1/2 hours.
Gibraltar is celebrating 400 years of British rule this year. It is a haven for day trippers from Spain. There is quite a lot to see, the Rock of course, and the monkeys who live there. Lots of british pubs serving typically british food. Prices are good as well, petrol cheaper, although a word of warning, if you are driving dont cross into Gibraltar in your car the queue at customs/border control can be horrendous and can take 2 hours of queuing in the summer. Leave your car in La Linea and walk across the border. Dont forget you will need your passport though. Also the currency is not euros but british pounds. Lots of shops along Main Street selling Lladro and cigarette shops where they cost approximately £9 for 200.
You can get the cable car up the rock to see the monkeys or taxis ply for business, if there are a few of you sharing it will work out cheaper and you can get these taxi's at different places but one spot is by the Trafalgar Cemetary.This picture is taken from near the cable car at the top, you can see Spain in the distance.
Coming back down to the main road from Castellar de la Frontera, turn left and follow the road to Jimena de la Frontera. This drive isnt quite so hair-raising.
Because of its position and remoteness this was once a refuge for smugglers. On the top of the hill stands the ruins of a moorish castle.
The town streets are very narrow and winding and a lot are one way for obvious reasons. There is a small parking area at the top near to the ruined castle.
Set in the Parque Natural this village stands high on a hill with on a clerar day amazing views of the Atlas Mountains of Africa and the Rock of Gibraltar.
Such a quaint little place you think its a castle but on entering its a village with tiny cobbled streets.
We took the road from La Linea (over the border from Gibraltar) and headed towards Algeciras. You will then see signs for Castellar de la Frontera. Again this road is very windy, worse in fact I thought that the road to Ronda which was bad enough. Its a bit like riding on a roller coaster except it goes on longer! Wonderful views if you can bare to look!
If you're from the U.S., going to the Cueva de la Pileta gives you the feeling of what it must have been like not long after they opened up Carlsbad Caverns to the pubic. The entrance is literally a cave in the side of a mountain and there's no electricity within so several tourists are asked to carry a lantern to provide light during the 1-hour tour. But the formations and prehistoric cave drawings make the entire experience worth it.
Tours leave approxiately on the hour and are limited to 25 people so you may have to wait if it's a busy day. Guides speak a variety of languages to give you the background of the cave (still family-owned and operated) and point out significant drawings and formations. You also drive through some pretty countryside to get there as well as the small town of Benaojan.
We were staying in Gibraltar and hired a car for 3 days to pop into Spain and have a look around. This was our first trip and we went to Estapona. Quite a nice place, except everywhere seemed to be like a building site. Construction was going on everywhere, and in every direction you could see huge cranes!
Walked along the beach and had a paddle, showers along the beach for showering and ones just to wash your feet in.
Nice little cobbled streets, with may restaurants, cafe, bars, and shops.
Unfortunately my husband forgot the camera!!!!!! Needless to say he was in big trouble!
26km east through very picturesque and spectacular C344 to coin and then to malaga or marbella.
a summary of andalusia's history:
-ruins of roman road to malaga
-ruins of arab castle
further to coin you enter in natural park "sierra de las nieves" and its "pinsapos" a very old pine,rare species which has never advanced since dinosaurs times! if you miss them here,you have to go to california,the only other place through the world where you'll find them!
Ronda has a few prehistoric caves not too far away. The important one is located outside the village of Benojoan. A bit difficult to reach, it is about 25 km (16 miles) from Ronda. There is a train that will leave you at Benojoan if you prefer. Getting to the cave itself involves a steep climb uphill. Getting there on public transport would have been rather difficult. Perhaps you can check at the tourist office or your hotel if some private tours can take you there more economically.
In any case, the cave was discovered in 1905 and has some great cave paintings from the pictures Ive seen of it.
Entrance costs 8 euro.
This minaret used to be belong to one of the mosques in Ronda. When the Christians took over mosques were converted over to Churches, which is part of what gives churches in Spain their rather unique appearance. The mosque in question became the Church of San Sebastian, which has since also disappeared.
Originally used for the muezzin to call the faithful to prayer (in Islam 5 times a day), the minaret over time has been used for a variety of functions,. Notice, however, that for a minaret it is really quite small.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows (templete de Nuestra Senora de Dolores) is one of those things that the tour guides often don't mention because it has much to do with the darker side of the city. You will see this little shrine, attached to a house and probably not think of giving it a second look.
Condemned prisoners used to be executed in the nearby Plaza Carmen Abela. This was a little shrine that the prisoners could use to say their last prayers before facing their destiny. Of course, this has to do with the Christian doctrine of redemption, that honest prayer and genuine sorrow over ones shortcomings (crimes) might lead to Redemption (though probably not in this world.) Next to the portrayal of the Virgin are the shields of the Reyes Cristianos, Ferdinand and Isabella..
The pillars supporting the cupola, when looked at more closely are a group of men with the rope around their necks in their final moments apparently.
The rare 'Pinsapo' or 'Spanish Fir' only occurs in the mountains around Ronda, and in northern Morocco. They are an ancient relic of the forrests of millions of years ago. They have recently been threatened by the pine needle devouring caterpillers of the Pine Processionary moth, these are best steered clear of as the caterpillers fur can cause a sore rash.
To see the famous White Villages at their absolute best it's hard to beat the A369 road from Ronda to Jimena de la Frontera.
Numerous 'Miradors' along the road are effectively viewpoints in all the best places, with a good place to pull off the road and park. The villages can be seen in all their glory, many of them are dominated by old fortifications from the Moorish times.
From the southern parts of the A369 it's possible, on a clear day, to see Gibraltar's famous rock and even across the strait to the mountains of North Africa.
Be sure to stop at the Mirador nearest to Ronda for a spectacular view of the City perched on the clifftop.
A369 Jimena de la Frontera - Ronda
Ronda lies high in the mountains and is surrounded by other white villages (pueblos blancos). Many of them are fortified and lie high on a hill for protection.
Make a tour around the lovely landscape and visit some of the nice white villages where time stood still.
The Arab Baths are reached by rudimentary steps from the Puente Viejo (old bridge) below the Salvatierra palacio. They are said to be one of the best surviving examples of original Arabic hammams, water baths, in Spain and well worth a visit - plus on Sundays you can get in free of charge! The three main rooms – hot, medium, and cold – would have been fed with water from the two streams (one is called Arroyo de las Culebras, the Snake Stream) that meet nearby. Most notable are the star-shaped light and air vents in the domed ceilings, a common touch in Arab architecture.T he baths are believed to have been the main hammam for Moorish Ronda, although interestingly they lie outside the defensive walls and would have been used in more peaceable times.