Final Spain post and I have saved my personal favorite place for last. There’s definitely some history here, but I made a pact with myself that I would make this post a little less wordy than some previous ones and really let the pictures (I think I took an actual metric ton of em) speak for themselves. I’m a wordy writer though, so this is always something I struggle with. But I’m going to TRY to honor that pact. Here’s goes nothin’.
The city of Ronda is located in the province Málaga. The very first thing that will strike you about this area right out of the train station is the MOUNTAINS. I’m a big mountain enthusiast if you haven’t read my previous posts, and this place delivers. It never gets old for me to be walking down a city street and seeing glimpses of mountainy backdrops. Ronda is about 2,460 feet above sea level. You can tell the air is different here. We booked two nights at the Parador de Ronda. If you ever get the chance to go to Ronda, STAY HERE. The hotel is situated on the literal edge of a cliff and the views are unmatched. Despite being on a cliff edge in the back, walking out the front door of the hotel puts you right in the heart of the city. It is just steps away from Ronda’s Puente Nuevo (New Bridge), and peering down the cliff into the gorge you can see the Tagus River. Once we got to our room the first thing we did was run across it. Probably doesn’t make sense but I can explain. We knew we had booked a room with a balcony and we couldn’t WAIT to see what our view was like. I won’t even describe it. I’ll just place the pictures here and let you decide how we were feeling.
One of my other cousins had previously been to Ronda and did the gorge hike down into the river and under the bridge and her pictures were mind blowing. I KNEW I needed to do this too. Maya and I are both early risers and early hikers so we decided seeing the sunrise as we hiked down the gorge was a requirement. We were very, very happy with this decision. There were a couple different directions you could go in and we attempted both. One direction led you down the gorge right on down to Old Town. The other, led us under the Puente Nuevo bridge also alongside the gorge. The latter, was a little tricky mostly because there was frost on the ground (it was early morning and December) so it made some areas a little slick. On our way down, this created a few nerve wracking situations because I won’t lie – on your right side is the cliff wall, on the left is a pretty steep drop to the gorge. You won’t fall down the gorge of course, but be careful because it certainly feels like a possibility at times. As we were on our way down, my cousin explained that at least once we were down, on our way back up the worst that would happen is we would fall on our faces. So we were looking forward to the risk of falling on our faces. As opposed to the risk of a steep fall down into the gorge. Other than that, I just really want to share pictures with you all and as always if you have any questions let me know and I’ll be happy to answer!
Other than our big hiking adventure, we just WALKED. Everywhere. We wanted to see the town.
We eventually found ourselves at Ronda’s Arab Walls and city gates. These walls were constructed during the Islamic era (a period of approx. 800 years, roughly from 712 until 1485). They helped keep Ronda secure from attack and allowed the area to develop on its own, independently. You can actually walk up on TOP of these walls which we of course did. It’s high up, but absolutely gorgeous once you make your way. 10/10 would recommend to a friend.
Another tourist attraction that you should definitely check out is the Baños Arabes (Arab baths). These baths are very similar in style to Roman baths. The difference is that these were used more as a steam room to extract pollutants from the body more so than actually soaking in hot water as the Romans did. The Moors of Spain were Muslim; therefore a Mosque was located next to the baths. The idea was for people to purify in the baths before entering the Mosque. You can walk down into the baths which are very interesting and will only cost you about three Euros. Worth checking out for sure. The architecture is so fascinating.
One more thing I would suggest if you ever find yourself staying in Parador de Ronda, grab breakfast at least one morning at the the hotel. The dining room has balconies that overlook AMAZING mountain views. Just do it.
Ronda amazed and inspired me. It was definitely one of the most romantic and beautiful places I’ve ever seen. I will for sure do everything in my power to make it back again. Thanks Ronda! I already kinda broke my “less wordiness pact” so I’m going to leave it there!