Chasing thewinter sun in Ronda

Winter Sun in Ronda Andalusia Spain

I’m a light chaser, so my heart jumped when I was offered the opportunity to go on a trip to Ronda in Spain in the middle of November. The thought of escaping the English weather for a milder climate was enough for me, but chasing that beautiful winter sunlight in the South of Spain was a bonus! Here are 9 things to do in Ronda, don’t forget to enjoy a night out!

How to get there?

We flew from London Gatwick to Malaga. I couldn’t believe how full the flight was. It seemed that everybody had decided to escape the gloomy weather that day. It takes about 2h50 to fly there, more than I ever thought, but you are flying to the extreme South of Spain from London, that’s quite a journey.

We landed when the sun was setting. Stepping out of the plane, you could watch the sun coming down over the Mountains of the Natural Park of Malaga (Parques Natural Montes de Malaga), it was a beautiful sight, and you could still feel the warmth of the day dispensing away. Finally, I thought I was in the place I wanted to be!

We then transferred from Malaga Airport to Ronda to stay at the Hotel Reina Victoria in Ronda, which is part of the Catalonia Chain Hotel. There are two Catalonia Hotel in town, and I recommend staying at the Reina Victoria for the gorgeous views over the valley from the outdoor terrace.

Things to do in Ronda

1. Ponto Nuevo

The first thing that will astound you is walking over the new Bridge, Ponto Nuevo. It is Ronda’s most famous landmark and reasonably so. It’s impressive standing on and watching over the gorges at night but also by day. The current bridge is a fantastic piece of engineering it took 34 years to build and stands 98m from the bottom to the top and 66m from one side to the other.

2.Plaza de Toros de Ronda

I’m really not into bullfighting. But, curious about where this tradition originated, I discovered that it started in Ronda.

Whatever your feelings are about bullfighting, it is part of the Spanish culture and a strong-rooted tradition. Bullfighting traces its roots to prehistoric bull worship and sacrifice in Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean. In Spain, it is considered an ancient sacrificial ritual and art form symbolising a dance between humans and death.

The arena in Ronda is next to one of the tourist offices and is one of the biggest arenas in the country part of the patrimonial heritage of Spain. It was officially inaugurated in 1785 with a corrida by Pedro Romera, a famous figure in the history of bullfighting. You can visit the arena, the collection celebrating bullfighting’s evolution and take the horse riding school tour. After the bridge is the second landmark not to miss in Ronda. There is only one corrida a year, during the Feria In September.

3. Ronda View point

Don’t be lazy and only wander over the bridge. You can take a viewpoint over the valley from behind the bullfighting arena.

It can be quite tricky to find a way to get down. I went down via the steps leading from Plaza Maria Auxiladora. You can stop at a first point of view or choose to go further down where you can see cars parked. I went to the bottom wondering how I would ever go back there. The trick is to walk back via the road via Puerta del Viento towards Puerta del Almocabar, you still have to climb up and it’s longer but the climb is not so steep. Even if you only go half way down the views are spectacular so don’t give this one a miss. I walked down to be there around 5pm for that perfect golden light (this was mid-November, you can use an app like GoldenHour: One, to help you find the ideal light for your pictures.).

4. Ronda Mondaragon Palace

The palace hosts the Municipal museum devoted to the area’s local history. The building was the home of Hamet El Zegri Ronda’s last Moorish governor. I didn’t visit the place but walked by many times. Once you are in front of the palace, continue walking towards the Duchess of Percent Square.

5. Duchess of Percent Square

I came across this square by chance, wandering around in the narrow lanes of the old town on the other side of the Ponto Nuevo. I could spot the tower bell of a beautiful church Iglesia de Santa Maria del Mayor, in the cityscape and searched for it. It is how I came across this church. The exciting part about the church, like many places in Andalusia that used to be Moresque country, it was first a mosque turned into a catholic church. As a result, the church bears a mix of Renaissance and Gothic styles.

Duchess of Parcent Square (Plaza Duquesa de Parcent in Spanish), considered one of the city’s most beautiful squares. The court is surrounded by the city hall, which used to be a military prison and other churches and convents.

6. Puerta de Almocabar and the Arab Walls

Your way from the Gorges will lead you to The Puerta  Puerta de Almocabar, the former city gate. These gates were the main city entrance when Andalusia was occupied by the Moors. The thick walls and the city’s location made it impossible to conquer it. 

The ancient walls of Ronda can be seen in many parts of the city, with the Cijara Gate in the east and the Albacara walls in the west. You can also see two other gates: The windmills (Puerta de los Molinos) gate and the wind gate (Puerta del Viento).

7. Ronda’s Arab Baths

You’ll find them in the San Miguel district. These are the best preserved in Spain. They were built in the 13th century and traditionally arranged like Roman baths with a cold and hot zone supported by a clever hydraulic system still intact. The most striking is the room with the star-shaped vents, which creates a mosaic of light inside. The architecture has been inspired by the Alhambra of Granada and its baths.

8.La Casa del Rey Moro

A palace built by the Moors in the 14th century, located in Calle Cuesta de Santo Domingo. It was made famous by the clever pumping water system it initiated. 

The water was directly pumped from the Guadalevin River through a staircase of 236 steps down 60m metres. The water was fetched from the river by enslaved Christians. This place was a real surprise for me. You can stroll through La Casa del Rey Moro’s (House of the Moorish King) sumptuous gardens with beautiful views overlooking Ronda and the gorges. Designed by a French architect, Jean-Claude Forestier (the same architect who built the Maria Luisa Park in Seville).

The other surprise was walking down to the river via the steps. So often, I wondered if I had reached the bottom to finally step outside into the magnificent gorges. It felt so amazing to be at the bottom of the gorges in the riverbed. When you finally step out, you can’t believe the views. Going down these steps was very rewarding, even if going up again was a struggle. But if you are in good physical condition. Just take your time. It’s all worth it.

9.Plaza del Socorro

Finish your tour with the Plaza del Socorro, a square surrounded by bars and restaurant terraces. The ideal place to take an aperitif at the end of your day. Don’t miss the beautiful view of the Nuestra Senora del Socorro Church.

I hope this post has given you some ideas for your own photography and shown you a few shooting locations in Ronda that you might not have known about. Likewise, I’m sure there are countless more picture-worthy spots throughout the town – so I’d love to hear which places inspire you to create images! Also, if you’ve any questions about any of the photos or the areas we visited, please feel free to contact me.

 

Where to stay

I stayed at one of the Catalonia Chain Hotel, the one I stayed was Reina Victoria, there’s also another one in town next to the bull fighting ring. The room were spacious, I loved the views over the mountains from the outdoor terrace. There was a lot of choice for breakfast and good quality food even for someone on a keto diet! Lots of choice of cold meats, eggs, plain yogurt and more. I would have wished more choice of fruits with berries but otherwise it was great.

Where to eat

Spain is the places for tapas, we dined in the same tapas bar two nights in a row and this was one of the only place where you can book a table! Otherwise you just have to turn up and be lucky. Most of the tapas places are full after a certain time. People love to go out and enjoy a meal with friends in the evening.

For tapas

Tabanco Los Arcos
El Lechuguita

For Dinning

Restaurant Albacara

 

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