Holidays in Costa del Sol are not all about heading straight for the beach. Ronda is one of the Andalusian holiday destinations that offers far more than the typical beachside tourist fare. In the early 21st Century, this historic and beautiful town overtook Cordoba as one of Andalusia’s three main tourist destinations, behind Seville and Granada. When you take a look at this place, it is easy to see why.
Ronda was first settled by the early Celts in around the 6th Century BC. Later, Phoenician settlers called this place home. The current Ronda is Roman in origin and was founded as a fortified post during the Second Punic War and became a city in the time of Julius Caesar. Later, the city became part of the Visigoth realm, then fell to the Arabs in 713. The city was the birthplace of learned polymath Abbas Ibn Firnas (810-887). Ronda was under Islamic domination until 1485, when it was captured by the Marquis of Cadiz and many of the city’s Moorish monuments were adapted to Christian roles. In the 19th and 20th Centuries, Ronda saw warfare that took a toll on the city and its inhabitants. Ernest Hemingway and Orson Wells both spent time living in Ronda – two of the most famous artists who enjoyed holidays in Costa del Sol.
Ronda’s dramatic cliff-top location is an attraction in itself. The city spans the deep El Tajo canyon, which is over 100m deep and which bisects the settlement. This is a very mountainous area and the city is around 750m above sea level. Three bridges span the canyon, all three of which are counted among the city’s most impressive features. Ronda is home to the oldest bullfighting ring in Spain, the Plaza de toros de Ronda. Partially in tact Arab baths which date to the 13th and 14th Century are found below the city. Many other historic buildings and interesting architectural gems are to be found along the city’s picturesque, narrow streets. Be sure to begin your explorations in the Citadel, the old, Moorish part of the town – this will show you a different side to holidays in the Costa del Sol.
As you walk around Ronda on your holidays in Costa del Sol, taking in all of the fascinating historic sites and the natural beauty of the canyon and the surrounding landscape, you will also find a range of traditional shops to buy food to fortify you for your explorations, or to buy whatever else may take your fancy. Calle Espinel is the main pedestrianised shopping street and many of the side streets around La Bola hide some little gems – independent bookshops, places for flamenco music or for thread and buttons – explore round every corner and you can find some unique shopping experiences with an authentic and slightly old-fashioned charm.
Food & Drink
Of course Ronda is a fairly small city but also has a lot to offer in terms of food and drink, especially if you are keen to experience something truly authentic and Andalusian. Ronda wines are a famous product of the region. If eating seafood enjoy one of the local white wines, Crianza or Blanca Joven, or enjoy a red wine, Crianza or Tinto Joven, with pork products or cheese.