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“I first contacted Paul because we needed an interpreter to help resolve an issue at Sevillana, the electricity company. He was very efficient and effective and the problem was quickly solved. I have since used Paul in other official settings, including my bank, Unicaja, the Provincial Payments Office and the Administrator of our Community of Owners. Excellent value for money.”
Bill Douthwaite, Ronda, September 2009

Ronda, Andalucía: The perfect break PDF

By Anthony Jefferies

                                            Wednesday 4 June 2008 

  Ronda, Andalucia

 Ronda is a must-see town at any time of year

The Spanish mountain town of Ronda is the home of bullfighting – but its dramatic scenery and fine restaurants are the real delights, says Anthony Jefferies.

This most emblematic of Andalucía’s white towns, so named for their distinctive whitewashed houses, is a must-see at any time of year, split in two by the spectacular gorge of the Tajo river with centuries-old houses teetering on the cliff top.


A cool, wet spring this year means the hills are still full of flowers, making Ronda’s setting even more lovely. The days (and nights) are hotting up, but in the mountains the temperature is still pleasant. And although the town gets busy with day trippers, there’s plenty of room to breathe when the coaches roll back to the Costa del Sol in the evenings.

Travel by...


Air to Málaga, Sevilla or Jerez, all less than 90 minutes from Ronda. Málaga handles flights from most British airports with budget airlines such as easyJet (0870 600 0000; offering returns from Luton or Stansted for £66. British Airways (0870 850 9850; has flights from London airports from £192. Ryanair (0871 246 0000; ) flies to Jerez and Sevilla from Stansted and to Sevilla from Liverpool; prices from £95. Clickair (0034 800 254 252 47; has daily flights from Gatwick to Seville from £125.

Major car hire firms such as Avis ( and Hertz ( and budget companies such as Goldcar ( and Auriga Crown ( operate from all three airports. Expect to pay from £120 a week for a compact car.


Stay at...

The luxury rural retreat of Hotel la Fuente de la Higuera (Partido de los Frontones, Arriate, Ronda; 0034 952 114 355; is five miles outside the town, surrounded by olive groves and has stunning views of Ronda and the countryside. Total television-free tranquillity, a friendly atmosphere and good local fare. Doubles from £123.


In the old town, Hotel Montelirio (Calle Tenorio, 8; 0034 952 873 855; has stunning views over the gorge, as well as dining terraces and a neat little pool. Bedrooms are big and most look on to the gorge. Doubles from £119.

The nearby Hotel San Gabriel (Calle Marqués de Moctezuma, 19; 0034 952 190 392; in a grand old townhouse blends comfort and intimacy, and there’s even a mini-cinema. Doubles from £65.


Spend the morning at...

A couple of the town’s many museums. Most are not worth the effort but the beautiful Plaza de Toros, the bullring in which the rules of bullfighting were codified more than 300 years ago, and its attached museum (Calle Virgen de la Paz, 15; 0034 952 874 132; 10am-8pm; £4.70) offer a good insight into one of Spain’s bloodiest traditions.


The Museum of Bandits (Calle Armiñán, 65; 0034 952 877 785; 10.45am-8pm; £2.40) has a fine haul of slightly gruesome tales and exhibits, while the town museum (Plaza Mondragón; 0034 952 878 450; 10am-9pm Mon-Fri, 10am-1,45pm & 4pm-8pm Sat, 10am-3pm Sundays; £1.20) is worth a peek largely because it’s housed in the lovely Palacio de Mondragón, with its Moorish patios and trickling fountains.

Lunch in...


Restaurante Escudero (Paseo de Blas Infante, 1; 0034 952 871 367), part of the Tragabuches mini-empire, which represents the best cuisine in Ronda and far beyond. The menú del día (set lunch menu) is excellent value at £10 for three courses with water or wine. Typical dishes are picadillo soup (broth with rice and egg) and stuffed aubergines.

At Tragatapas (Calle Nueva, 4; 0034 952 877 209), the snack-sized sister establishment, you can choose from modern or traditional tapas from around £1.60 a dish. El Campillo (Plaza María Auxiliadora, 1; 0034 952 878 652) sits on a leafy clifftop square with outside tables and awnings. Good local food, with salads and grilled meats popular. Around £14 a head.


Stroll around...

The old town with its Moorish palaces and street layout. Start at the main bridge, the Puente Nuevo, and head south east through the winding alleys, keeping close to the gorge.


At Plaza Duquesa de Parcent, go north-east, crossing the road out of town, and head down the hill to the peaceful restored Arab baths (Calle San Miguel, Barrio de Padre Jesús; 10am-9pm Mon-Fri, 10am-1.45pm & 4pm-8pm Sat, 10am-3pm Sun; £2.40), then cross the gorge via the Puente Viejo (old bridge) and circle back through the new town to the edge of the gorge.

The century-old, British-built Hotel Victoria makes an evocative place to take afternoon tea, sitting in the gardens which inspired the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke.



Engravings from the vast range at Grabados Somera (Calle Armiñán, 75). Choose from historic local scenes or contemporary subjects, from £12 to around £350. Across the road, at no 52, Arte Natural has well-made linen tablecloths with a dozen napkins for £32.


Have dinner at...

The flagship Tragabuches Restaurant (Calle José Aparicio, 1; 0034 952 190 291;, where you can spend plenty on Michelin-starred chef Benito Gómez’s à la carte menu, which contains dishes such as liver and goat’s cheese in green apple yarrow, noodles with octopus sashimi, or pork cheeks in pear purée. The tasting menu, at £78 a head, is a good way to sample the outstanding variety of Tragabuches’ kitchen.


Restaurante Almocábar (Calle Ruedo Alameda, 5; 0034 952 875 977) offers simple but excellent alternatives, with the emphasis on salads and inventive fish dishes (such as squid rings stuffed with chives and truffle) at £30 a head.

Stay up late...


Ronda has a couple of small clubs and a lively late-night bar scene. Plaza Carmen Abela, Plaza del Socorro and Plaza Ruedo Alameda are good options.



With a trot down the hundreds of steps to the foot of the 150-metre gorge, though the return trip will be a slog. Alternatively, jump in the car and head west through beautiful mountain ranges to the lakeside village of Zahara de la Sierra, or drive south towards the coast and its glitzy capital Marbella.

At all costs avoid...


Buying any souvenirs – even postcards – in the new town. Everything is vastly overpriced. The best options are the artisan stores and workshops in the old town.