Especially Ronda's Old Town (La Ciudad) which is situated in between the Arab fortifications to the south and the El Tajo gorge to the north is best explored on foot.
It is small and many alleys are not accessible for traffic. Just keep in mind to wear proper shoes, as some of the ways are cobbled and quite steep.
I went to Ronda on a daytrip by bus from Marbella. The route is served by 5-6 daily buses. The 50 km drive up the winding roads offers fantastic views of the Andalusian Mountains and takes about 75 minutes. Single tickets cost about 5 Euro (2006).
Ronda's bus station is located at the Plaza Conception Garcia Redondo just a 15 min walk north of the Old Town. It is served by various bus companies from all over Spain. Some of them are:
CTSA Portillo: http://www.ctsa-portillo.com/
Los Amarillos: http://www.losamarillos.es/
TG Comes: http://www.tgcomes.es/
Sue and I like to be independent to do our own thing when travelling and it usually involves getting off the beaten track. As a result, we almost always hire a car if it makes any sense at all given the circumstances of where we are visiting. In this case, because Sue's sister was joining us from England for eight days of our trip, I had to go one size larger than normal to accommodate three suitcases. It turned out to be a diesel Ford Focus station wagon with a 5-speed manual transmission. There was enough space in the rear for the suitcases plus a few other odds and ends as well as a flap that covered-up everything from prying eyes.
We hired it from Red Ribbon Car Hire Spain but picked it up from the Goldcar desk four days earlier away up the Mediterranean coast at the Alicante airport - at a daily rate of 18.26 Euros. However, when all the extras like insurance and diesel surcharge were added in, the total for 18 days came to 617 Euros. The car did not give us any mechanical problems during the 3240-km (~2000 miles) we drove it and was just great in allowing us to reach the many smaller destinations on our trip.
In this view taken about a week after our visit to Ronda, our Ford is sitting in an olive grove as we picnic near Alhama de Granada, another mountain community not too far east with a gorge rivaling that of Ronda (details in my 'Torremolinos' page).
Ronda is an extremely easy town to navigate by foot; the local tourist centre has good quality maps with all the attractions located on it and all within easy reach of each other.The newer part of the city is relatively flat with the large shopping district being paved and car free.
The older part of the city which have a large number of museums and older, historical buildings are partially via level ground, however, there are many cobbly streets and some areas which are very hilly and steep.
Of course if you want to relax and take it easy, there are plenty of horse drawn carriages located outside the bullfighting ring to take you in relaxed style and back in time for a tour of the old city. The drivers speak English and Spanish and will point out the major attractions. Please be aware though that Ronda does get very hot in the summer, and out of respect for the horses welfare, please avoid using the carriages during the hottest part of the day.
Every route to Ronda is scenic, so to say we drove along the scenic route implies there's another way that isn't scenic. The route we took in the morning from Mijas was probably the truly extra scenic route because it went through Coin and along the back way through the mountains. Once we got past Coin, the area was very sparsely populated with only a few tiny towns, a road that climbed into the mountains and a lot of rugged rock formations. The road to Coin was narrow and not in the greatest condition, but once we got to Coin, we got on a well-maintained two lane road and followed that all the way to Ronda. Signage is pretty good, but it did help that we had a GPS system.
When we returned to Mijas in the afternoon, we took the faster route down to Marbella. That is a beautiful drive. The full loop was worth it.
The roads to Ronda are in good condition so if coming by car there is no problem. There are several routes:
From the Costa del Sol, via San Pedro de Alcántara on the A376/C-3 via the scenic Sierra Bermeja mountains.A gentler route leaves Málaga on the A357, bypassing the interior towns of Ardales, Carratraca and Cuevas de Becerra. There's also a more westerly and also very dramatic route from San Luis de Sabanillas near Estepona, taking the A377 via Casares and Gaucín on to Ronda.
We passed Ronda on the way down from Seville to Marbella and the whole journey was scenic. Anotehr vist we will go back to Seville and stop off at Ronnda and explore morte from there before going back home from Malaga airport - a good place for car hire.
We made the journey to Ronda by local bus from Marbella - a 50km journey. It is about a one hour drive and you pass through San Pedro de Alcantara and then you drive up the narrow, winding road through the mountains of the Sierra Bermeja along the Route de Carreteras ( A376 ) - wonderful scenery but not suited to those who don't like mountain roads! Cost was about 5 euros each way - several bus companies make the journey and you must purchase tickets from those particular companies inside the bus station. Often seats are allocated so beware don't sit in someone else's seat!! The bus station is Ronda is a about 10 mins walk from the centre.
An alternative is to arrive here by train.
From Málaga bus station there are several bus companies who go to Ronda. Some of them are Portillo, Los Amarillos y Ferrón Coín. Prices are from 5 euros per trip.
By road you can get Ronda from Málaga by the Road A-366 from Churriana, Alhaurín, Coin, etc.
By the road A-357 til Campillos and them take the A-367.
By the highway get the N-340 until San Pedro de Alcantara and there take the A-367 from San Pedro to Ronda.
By train is another way to get Ronda. There´s few trains to Ronda from Málaga.
Son varias las compañias de autobuses que viajan a Ronda desde Málaga. Portillo, los amarillos y sierra de las nieves son las que mas viajes tienen al día desde Málaga.
Hay varias carreteras que te llevan a Ronda. Cogiendo la A-357 Málaga-Campillos, cuando pases Ardales hay un desvio a la izquierda que desemboca en la ctra A-367 o siguiendo por la A-357 cuando a la altura de Campillos coger a la izquierda por la A-367.
Otra ctra es la A-366 que es la que discurre por churriana, Alhaurín, Coín. etc
Por autovia por la N-340 a la altura de San Pedro de Alcántara tomar la A-397.
En tren es otra opción para ir a Ronda, hay varios servicios al día desde Málaga hacia ronda. Visita www.renfe .es para consguir mas información.
The rental car is reasonable since I have my wife and three kids to fit in a ford focus and we were able to get around from Marbella to Ronda. Gas prices are way too expensive especially paying in euros. Driving is difficult if you are not used to drive on narrow roads. Give yourself enough time when driving otherwise stay in an area hotel.
If you stay in costa del sol I highly recommend a one-day trip to Ronda, which is a breathtaking town up the montain. I suggest going there by your own car. The way to get there is really easy, just follow the signs but... don't worry if you run, run, run and you don't meet anybody/anything... you are on the right way!! You might take one hour and a half to get there from Marbella/Estepona, but believe me, it is worth! Just get sure you have enough gasoline and go... and avoid it if you suffer from car sickness...
Ronda is located 50 km from Marbella which is on the coast. It is about a one hour drive and you pass through San Pedro de Alcantara and then you drive up the narrow, winding road through the mountains of the Sierra Bermeja along the Route de Carreteras ( A376 ).
You can also get there by local bus from the Marbella Bus Station.
There are three trains a day from Granada to Ronda and the journey takes about 2 hours 45 minutes. Tickets cost about 10 Euro for a single. Ronda's station is in the Mercadillo district, about 10 minutes walk north-east of Plaza del Sorocco, which is the main square in Ronda.
If you're driving to Ronda, you can park right in the heart of the action at a car park that is located beneath the Plaza del Socorro. Follow the signs to the center of town and take the ramp down when you get to the end of the street at the plaza. Hopefully you'll have a smallish car otherwise maneuvering will be a bit difficult. Prices to park were around 1 euro per hour. We arrived around 2pm on a Saturday and got a spot no problem. However if that's full there are also places to park near the Plaza de Toros (very limited outdoor parking) and near the Iglesia de la Merced a couple of blocks north and 1 block west of the Plaza del Socorro
It sounds simple enough but while our drive to Ronda was uneventful the journey back was a four and a half hour adventure on a single track winding mountain road undergoing repair and at one stage passing through a national park. Did I mention this was all in the dark?
We hired a car before we travelled out through the internet. But we picked the car up across the Gibraltan border in La Linea de la Concepcion. Its cheaper to do it that way than hire in Gibraltar itself.
Its very easy to get to the parking garage where the hire cars are. As you walk through the customs at the border, continue across the junction, there is a McDonalds on the right hand side, just further along on the left you see a parking garage which is called Focona, that slopes down to an underground parking lot, and the office for Crown Car Hire is just inside the door on the left hand side. Takes only about 3 minutes from the border.
It was approx £21 a day including all insurances.