Ronda: Southern Spain’s surprise

Proclaimed as one of the Pueblo Blancos de España, or Spain’s white villages, Ronda with all its captivating charm stands with pride as an impressive historical ruin town. With an incredibly spectacular scenic spot split in the center by a deep gorge, it lords over a slice of the southern part of the country.

Situated some 100 kilometers from Malaga, the seaside playground of the rich and famous, it is a favorite getaway of families and friends for its sheer beauty and relaxing tranquility. Traversed by the majestic Guadalquivir River with the nearby Sierra de las Nieves National Park, it is an ideal site for those who wish to engage with the best of nature, while relishing the laid-back hamlet.

With these five scenes as our agenda, we took a series of paseos between pintxos y sangrias, mas picas y vinos. Olé!

Satisfy curiosity: Plaza del Toros

Home to one of the oldest stone bullrings in all of Spain, Ronda provides a glimpse of the old sport — an entertainment in the olden days. This solid arena played host to the dangerous and often bloody bullfights, which even piqued the interest of literary greats such as Ernest Hemingway.

We likewise entered the Bullfighting Museum with their expansive display of anything and everything we wanted to know about bullfights, toros, toreros and bullrings. We even heard whispers about the Real Maestranza De Caballería, touted to be the oldest order of horsemanship in the world. Challenge yourself — how many stone sculptures of toros can you find throughout the suburb?

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY of mikatzuperla/CREATIVE COMMONS | A stone sculpture near the Plaza del Toros.

Amble through: Puente Nuevo

Ironically called the New Bridge, the 18th-century walkway is the icon of Ronda and is suspended over the 100-meter Tajo Gorge. In the middle of the path lies an arc which was utilized as a prison back then. Today, it has been converted to a visitor’s museum.

This vantage point provides a picturesque overview of the territory, along with some homes which hang just above the rock formation. This is the main tourist draw and it is rare for one to leave without the customary photograph at this Instagrammable location.


Culturally immerse: Arab Baths

A relic of the 13th century, the Arab Baths serve as a reminder of the Muslim influence and remains to be the best-preserved in the entirety of the Iberian region. Each bathroom, with carvings and scripts on some walls, holds various stories. If only walls could speak!

Remember to drop by the palace within and discover an abandoned mine which carries a stairwell that descends to the river. Talk about secret passageways!


Be intrigued: Casa del Rey Moro

The House of the Moorish King is a dominating testimony of architecture that looms over much of the valley. It possesses hanging gardens and fountains, designed in the 1900s by French landscape artist Jean Claude Forestier. However, several guests noted that despite its name, it was never a home of a Moorish King. Such findings never cease to surprise us.


Wind down: Alameda del Tajo Ronda

Consisting of five avenues, it features gigantic trees and ornamental plants that are grown throughout Malaga. The plaza is a wildly admired locale to appreciate the fresh breeze. In addition to the walkway, kids can have a world of their own by the children’s playgrounds, duck ponds and gushing fountains.

Come nightfall, families and friends still gather here for the paseo — a national pastime — that has already become a revered Spanish tradition, where they walk through the streets all the way to the balconies, where they admire the lights from other viewing decks of the settlement.

These are our five magical postcards. What’s yours?