The Best Things to Do In Ronda – Historic Sites, Culinary & Wine

Ronda Spain in Andalucia

If you are visiting the province of Málaga or one of the surrounding coastal cities and towns in the Costa del Sol (Southern Spain), a place to put on your radar certainly is the charming town of Ronda. It is one of the oldest small towns in the Andalucía region of Spain. This Moorish town is perched on a rocky mountaintop with spectacular views of vineyards, olive groves, and the valley below along the Rio Guadalevin.

The famous Puente Nuevo, spanning the deep gorge, is an 18th-century bridge standing above the El Tajo Gorge, and it is one of the most photographed bridges in Spain. Ronda is a historic, walkable town of cobbled streets, café, shops, museums, wineries, and the oldest bullrings in Spain, The Plaza de Toros de Ronda.

The Famous Puente Nuevo Bridge in Ronda

Orson Welles and Ernest Hemingway spent many summers as part-time residents in Ronda’s old quarter, La Ciudad. Both of these infamous authors journaled about their time there, writing about Ronda’s beauty and famous bullfighting traditions. Giorgio Armani designed a custom bullfighting costume called the “Goyesco” for the famed bullfighter Cayetano Rivera Ordóñez. They all discovered it as one of the most beautiful places in all of Spain.

The Bull in the Centre of the Town of Ronda near the Bullring

Getting to Ronda

You can easily make a day trip, but with so much to offer in this historic town, Ronda, and the surrounding area, it is recommended that you stay for at least one night. This quaint town nestled atop the rugged cliffs of Andalusia is located just over 60 miles from Malaga.

Ronda is easily accessible by car, just a short distance, and a stunning drive through the Andalusian countryside takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours. You will drive along the famed route of the white hill towns. We made it part of a 3-day road trip around the region on our driving tour, beginning in the Province of Cadiz, then Jerez de la Frontera, and ending our sojourn in this magical mountaintop retreat of Ronda.

The Whitewashed Villages of Andalucia

Travelers can also opt for a more leisurely journey aboard the Algeciras-Ronda train, which offers a scenic route of stunning views of the mountains and valleys along the way. Whether arriving from Malaga Airport or other nearby cities, the journey to Ronda is sure to be as memorable as the destination itself.

We arrived in Ronda just as the mid-morning sun began to cast a warm glow over the terracotta rooftops through the narrow roads of this Andalusian town. We eagerly embarked on a journey to explore the rich tapestry of history, culture, and culinary delights this enchanting Spanish gem had to offer. Our adventure began with a visit to one of the regional wineries before spending the afternoon venturing around this welcoming, noble town.

Parador de Ronda

We were thrilled to book our stay at the infamous Parador de Ronda on the cliffs by the Puente Nuevo in the hilltop village of Ronda. We were even more enthralled when we walked into our corner suite, which had an amazing view of the gorge, the valley below, and the vibrant village of Ronda.

The Parador de Ronda

The Parador offers fantastic views from every point of the hotel and is perched in a spectacular spot in the main square of this small city. Paradores are a Spanish state-owned chain of luxury hotels that are usually located in historic buildings or in natural areas with special appeal. There are 97 Paradores in Spain and one in Portugal.

The Parador de Ronda holds a special place in the town’s history. It offers a unique glimpse into the town’s past while providing luxurious accommodations for modern travelers.

Luxurious Rooms at the Parador de Ronda

Originally built as a Moorish palace in the 14th century, the Parador de Ronda is steeped in centuries of history and architectural splendor. Perched on the edge of the El Tajo gorge, the hotel offers unparalleled views of the surrounding countryside, with the Puente Nuevo, Ronda’s iconic stone bridge, serving as a dramatic backdrop.

Throughout its storied history, the Parador has served various purposes, including as a royal residence, a military barracks, and even a prison during the Spanish Civil War. In 1994, it was transformed into a luxurious hotel as part of the Paradores de Turismo network, which seeks to preserve and promote Spain’s cultural heritage through a stay at the iconic Parador de Ronda. On the other side of Puente Nuevo is the new town of Ronda.

Our View from Our Room at Parador de Ronda Looking at the Bridge and the New Town Area of Ronda

Today, the Parador de Ronda seamlessly blends its rich history with modern comforts and amenities, offering guests a truly unforgettable experience. The hotel’s elegant rooms and suites are tastefully appointed with traditional Andalusian décor, featuring Moorish arches and intricate tilework. All the rooms offer views of the gorge.

Other Accommodation Options

For those seeking luxury accommodations beyond the Parador de Ronda, the town offers a range of high-end hotels and boutique guesthouses. From the elegant Hotel Montelirio, with its panoramic views of the gorge, to the intimate La Fuente de la Higuera, a former olive mill turned luxury retreat, discerning travelers are spoiled for choice when it comes to indulgent stays in Ronda.

Ronda’s Rich History

Stepping out onto the cobbled streets, we found ourselves immediately immersed in the charm of Ronda through its narrow, winding streets. The town’s ancient roots, dating back to Roman times, were evident in its colorful alleys and Moorish architecture, juxtaposed with elegant Renaissance facades providing authentic local experiences and historical sites.

The Colorful Cobblestone Streets of Ronda

But it was the iconic Plaza de Toros, the oldest bullfighting ring in Spain, that truly captured our imagination. Standing in the center of the arena, we could almost hear the echoes of cheers and the rhythmic pounding of hooves as matadors faced off against fierce bulls in a display of courage and tradition.

The Casa del Rey Moro

The Casa del Rey Moro is a Moorish fortress and ruined castle with stunning gardens and a labyrinthine staircase leading down to the river below. It offers a fascinating glimpse into Ronda’s Moorish heritage. Built in the 14th century, the palace served as the residence of the Moorish king and later as a fortified stronghold during the Christian Reconquista. Today, visitors can explore the palace’s beautifully preserved rooms and terraced gardens, which offer panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

Museo Lara

Another must-visit attraction in Ronda is the Museo Lara, a quirky museum housed in a restored 18th-century mansion. The museum showcases a diverse collection of artifacts, ranging from ancient weaponry to vintage clocks. Founded by local businessman Juan Antonio Lara Jurado, the museum offers a fascinating journey through the history of Ronda and its inhabitants, with exhibits spanning various time periods and cultural influences.

Ronda’s Bullring

Plaza de Toros de Ronda – The Famous Bullring

One of the top things to do in this beautiful town in the South of Spain is visit The Plaza de Toros de Ronda, which was inaugurated in 1785 with a bullfight in which Pedro Romero and Pepe Illo performed. It is one of the oldest and most important bullrings in Spain and the cradle of bullfighter dynasties. It is also home to the Real Maestranza de Caballería de Ronda, Spain’s oldest and most noble order of horsemanship. The building and the museum are a must-visit are some of the best things to do in Ronda. The Pedro Romero festivities and fair are held every September, and the bullfight has become a great event of the Spanish season.

Sculpture of the Famous Matador – Pedro Romero

Ronda’s Culinary Scene

After soaking in the bullring’s history, we ventured into the heart of Ronda to discover its culinary delights. From traditional tapas bars serving up savory bites of cured meats and local cheeses to fine-dining restaurants showcasing the best of Andalusian cuisine, the gastronomic scene in Ronda did not disappoint.

One of the main attractions is to delve deeper into Ronda’s culinary scene. One of the oldest cities in Spain, Ronda focuses especially on its gastronomic delights, including the iconic Ibérico Jamón. No visit to Ronda would be complete without sampling its famous “Rondeño” cuisine (The Cuisine of Ronda, Spain).

Ibérico Jamón

Iberico Jamon in Ronda

Ronda is a paradise for food lovers, where every meal is an opportunity to savor the rich flavors and culinary traditions of Andalusia. While the region boasts a diverse array of dishes, one of its most iconic delicacies is Ibérico Jamón. This prized cured meat, made from the meat of acorn-fed Iberian pigs, is renowned for its melt-in-your-mouth texture and complex, savory flavor.

Casa Ortega

One standout was Casa Ortega, which was our favorite. Here, we savored a feast of regional specialties such as gazpacho made from their famous tomatoes, Ibérico Jamon, marinated artichokes in regional olive oil with Iberian Ham, and grilled sardines, all paired with several glasses of wines from Spain. The Bio-Tomate Salad with Fillet of Tuna in Olive was absolutely memorable! This popular restaurant is located in the city centre of Ronda. “Their Tomatoes are their flagship, and their flavour, aroma, and texture will make you remember your childhood.”

Bodega San Francisco

For an authentic Ibérico Jamón experience, head to Bodega San Francisco, a traditional tapas bar tucked away in the heart of Ronda’s old town. Here, you can sample thinly sliced Ibérico Jamón served with crusty bread and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, allowing you to fully appreciate the rich, nutty flavor and buttery texture of this beloved Spanish delicacy.

La Niña del Guarda

But Ibérico Jamón is just the beginning of Ronda’s culinary delights. The town is also famous for its tapas and small plates of savory snacks that are perfect for sharing and sampling a variety of flavors. La Niña del Guarda, a charming tapas bar located near the Puente Nuevo, offers an extensive selection of traditional tapas, including patatas bravas (crispy fried potatoes with spicy tomato sauce), gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimp), and croquetas de Jamón (ham croquettes), all served with a generous pour of local wine or sherry.

Aperitifs are commonly served to dining guests after meals in Ronda

Restaurante Almocabar

For a more upscale dining experience, make a reservation at Restaurante Almocabar, housed in a beautifully restored 17th-century mansion overlooking the Tajo Gorge. Here, you can indulge in modern interpretations of Andalusian classics, such as grilled octopus with saffron aioli, slow-roasted suckling pig with honey glaze, and pistachio-crusted sea bass with citrus beurre Blanc.

Jamon Iberico

Restaurante Tragatá

When it comes to dining, Ronda boasts a plethora of restaurants serving up delectable regional cuisine. In addition to Restaurante Tragatá, there are several other noteworthy establishments worth exploring. Casa María, located in the heart of the old town, offers a cozy ambiance and a menu brimming with traditional Andalusian dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. Their hearty stews, succulent grilled meats, and flavorful seafood dishes are sure to tantalize your taste buds.

Fresh Pressed Olive Oils in Ronda are at All of the restaurants

El Lechuguita

For a taste of Ronda’s Moorish heritage, El Lechuguita is a must-visit. This charming eatery specializes in Moorish-inspired tapas, such as spiced lamb kebabs, savory pastries filled with spinach and pine nuts, and aromatic couscous dishes. Pair your meal with a glass of refreshing mint tea or a crisp local wine for the perfect culinary experience.

A lovely bottle of wine for lunch from Rioja

Shopping and Crafts in Ronda

Calle Espinel – “La Bola”

As for shopping, Ronda offers a delightful array of boutiques, artisan workshops, and markets along the narrow streets, where you can find unique treasures to take home as souvenirs. Calle Espinel, also known as “La Bola,” is Ronda’s main shopping street, lined with charming shops selling everything from handmade leather goods and ceramics to exquisite jewelry and fashion accessories.

The Village of Ronda with many shops and cafe’s

Cerámica Rondeña

For a taste of authentic Andalusian craftsmanship, pay a visit to Cerámica Rondeña, a pottery workshop where skilled artisans create beautiful hand-painted ceramics using traditional techniques passed down through generations. From intricately patterned plates and bowls to vibrant tiles and decorative objects, their creations are sure to add a touch of Andalusian charm to your home. As they will ship, it was easy to buy many of your favorites to enjoy when we returned home.

Mercado de Abastos Ronda

If you’re a fan of artisanal food products, be sure to explore the Mercado de Abastos, Ronda’s bustling central market, where you’ll find an abundance of fresh produce, cheeses, cured meats, and other gourmet delights sourced from local producers. Take your time wandering the aisles, sampling the various delicacies on offer, and chatting with the friendly vendors who are always happy to share their passion for food.

Ronda’s Wine Country

Ronda is also known for its burgeoning wine region, dotted with picturesque vineyards producing some of Spain’s finest vintages. Here are three wineries worth visiting during your stay in Ronda.

The Wine Region of Ronda

Bodega Dona Felisa

Bodega Dona Felisa, named after the owner’s grandmother, is a family-run winery dedicated to producing small-batch wines of outstanding quality. Their vineyards are located in the Sierra de Ronda mountains, where the combination of altitude, climate, and soil composition results in grapes of exceptional concentration and flavor. Visitors to the winery can enjoy guided tours of the estate, followed by tastings of their award-winning reds, including the flagship wines—the Mercure and the Encaste Crianza. It is a perfect place to capture the essence of Rhona’s wines.

Wine Tasting at Bodega Dona Felisa

The Wines of Bodega Dona Felisa

Bodega Descalzos Viejos

Bodega Descalzos Viejos, located within a restored monastery dating back to the 16th century Trinitarian convent, offers a unique setting for wine tasting. The 16 hectares that accommodate 10 hectares of vineyards here are cultivated with meticulous care, resulting in exceptional wines that reflect the terroir of the region. Visitors can enjoy guided tours of the winery and cellar, followed by tastings of their signature reds and whites, accompanied by local cheeses and olive oils.

Bodega Joaquín Fernández

Bodega Joaquín Fernández, situated in the heart of Ronda’s wine country, is committed to sustainable farming practices and minimal intervention winemaking. Their organic and biodynamic approach yields wines of exceptional purity and complexity, with a focus on expressing the unique character of each vineyard parcel. Visitors to the winery can take guided tours of the vineyards and production facilities, followed by tastings of their acclaimed Garnacha wines.

Vineyards and Olive Groves in Valley Below the Village of Ronda

Festivals In Ronda

Let’s not forget about the festivals! Ronda hosts several lively celebrations throughout the year, with many in the summer months, where locals and visitors alike come together to revel in the town’s cultural heritage.

Festivals in Ronda

One of the most popular events is the Feria de Pedro Romero, held in September to honor the legendary bullfighter who was born in Ronda. Well worth seeing and the best time to visit. The festival features colorful parades, traditional music and dance performances, bullfights, and fireworks, creating a festive atmosphere that’s not to be missed.


Whether you’re savoring slices of Ibérico Jamón, indulging in traditional tapas, tasting local wines, shopping for unique souvenirs, or joining in the revelry of a local festival – Ronda offers endless opportunities for unforgettable lifetime experiences that will leave you longing to return.

The beautiful evening view from our balcony at Parador de Ronda

As the sun set that evening, we took in the painted golden glows of the gorge with enchanting views from our balcony at the Paradores and reflected on our unforgettable journey through Ronda. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to discover one of the most picturesque villages in this magical corner of Spain. From its ancient streets steeped in history to its vibrant culinary scene and breathtaking natural beauty, Ronda has captured our hearts, and we will definitely return on our next visit to Andalucia.