Looking for a day trip from the beach? Ronda, only about an hour’s drive into the mountains will give you something completely different to do. It’s got charm, a great bullfighting museum, and excellent food. Check it out!
About an hour and a half driving time north of Málaga, is the gorgeous little city of Ronda. It is one of many day trips from Málaga that are really worth it.
Many people come here to gawk at the view of the deep El Tajo canyon with the wild Guadalevín river far below. The canyon is crossed by one of the most iconic sights in Ronda, El Puente Nuevo, the bridge pictured above. Along the sides of the canyon, long terraces extend out for the view and there are plenty of tapas restaurants and cafés to while away a few late afternoon hours before the sun starts to set.
But! We did not come for the bridge, or the view, or even the tapas. They were just bonuses! We came because Ronda is also known as the home of the oldest bullring in all of Spain. The Plaza de Toros is a great sight to visit. It is also the grounds of the La Real Maestranza de Caballería and a fantastic bullfighting museum as well.
We started on the route through the horse-training school and the bullring, by first entering the covered horse-training area where two horses were wandering around without tack or trainers. I was curious, and so were they, about the mirrors on the wall. Can horses see themselves in a mirror, or was that just for the riders?
Next we went into the holding area for the bulls. It is in a narrow two-story building and the bulls are brought there at least the day before they are due to go into the ring. For them, it is a new place with new smells; the bulls spend the time there quite agitated. There is a system of pulleys for the stall doors to open. From the second story, you can look down on the animals as they pass through.
Naturally the very next stop is the bullring itself. It is quite impressive, and so yellow! It was built in the late 18th century, and it must have been very modern in its time. It’s still impressive. Although not very tall, it is very spacious and round. Going in through the back hallways, every detail shows the love of the bulls and the fight. Even the stairs were completely tiled with bull scenes.
Underneath the bullring is the museum which is much larger than I expected. Not only did it detail the history of the riding school and the bullfighting, highlighting the Ronda ring, but it also housed a firearms exhibit that told the history of dueling. Very cool.
If you are in Málaga or the south of Spain, it’s worth the drive to head to Ronda and its famous bullring.
Have you been to Ronda? What do you think of bullfighting? Stay tuned. My next post will be looking at this controversial tradition!