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High Up, High on the Mountain – Ronda, Spain

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.

Ronda's bridge.
Entrance to the bullring in Ronda.

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.

The Ronda bullring stables.

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?

The area where the bulls are kept.

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.

The bullring of Ronda.

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.

Bullfighters costumes in the museum.
Tiled stairs inside the bullring.

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.

The ancient bullring of Ronda.

If you are in Málaga or the south of Spain, it’s worth the drive to head to Ronda and its famous bullring.

The bullfighter statue in Ronda.

Have you been to Ronda? What do you think of bullfighting? Stay tuned. My next post will be looking at this controversial tradition!

Author Bio: Corinne Vail is a travel photographer, food lover, and a perpetual traveler who has been travel writing for over 14 years. For many years she lived overseas in Germany, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, and the Netherlands teaching the children of the US. military. She’s visited over 90 countries, and she’s not stopping anytime soon.


Tuesday 8th of May 2018

Ronda was such a cool town. We enjoyed our visit and we stayed hanging right over the gorge. The view from our hotel room was really awesome.

Corinne Vail

Wednesday 9th of May 2018

Natalie, We had heard so much about Ronda before we went and it lived up to our expectations. I felt it was a bit sleepy in the day time, but by evening it sure was hopping, such a great little Spanish town.

Tom Bartel

Monday 23rd of September 2013

Corinne, I've passed through Ronda a few times, usually on the way to Granada or Sevilla. One of these days I'm going to have to stop. It looks so much like the typical small Spanish town that says so much about the Spain I love.

Corinne Vail

Tuesday 24th of September 2013

Tom - Yes, Ronda is a cute little town. We spent one fantastic day there. There are some really touristy restaurants near the bridge or the bullring, but like anywhere if you go a little off the beaten path there are some gems. I just asked the lady at the ticket office. Enjoy your upcoming Spain trip.