I am a big fan of day tours especially whole day tours so, whilst in Seville, I decided that I wanted to go and see Ronda. After going to the tourist office, I booked in on a day tour. The landscape changed so quickly once you get out of town from town to barren hills and continued to change the further out you go. We saw farm lands, fields of olive trees, a national park and cork trees!
The first town we stopped at was Zahara de la Sierra. This town is one of the ‘Pueblos Blancos’ or white towns dotted in Andalusia. It was a tiny town so we only stopped for a morning tea break and some quick pictures. I had heard a rumour that these towns are required to paint their houses white at least twice a year but cannot confirm! Our guide assured us that we would see at least one house painting their house today but we didn’t end up seeing any!
After a rocky descent up surrounding mountains and over the hill and far away, we stopped at another pueblos blancos, Grazalema for lunch. This town was bigger and a stopping point for different tour groups for lunch and is also the base to explore the Sierra de Grazalema national park. Grazalema is famous for being the wettest place in Spain but we were lucky this day and there was no rain! Unfortunately, we didn’t get any time to walk around to discover this small city but this is where the local area hospital and high school are for this region. This was such a shame as Grazalema is known for its long time production of local honey and cheese. After lunch, we continued on towards Ronda.
Ronda was packed with tourists but I am told that there are even more in the peak summer season. The streets were lively and both pathway and roads were very busy. The viewing point for this picture of the Puente Nuevo is off the beaten track so I was so happy that our guide brought us here. There was no-one around allowing an un-interrupted picture for once. Puente Nuevo is THE bridge in Ronda. Construction of this bridge started in 1759 and during the civil war, was used as a torture chamber.
This town (much like the rest of the big towns in Andalusia) has a mixture of roman ruins and Christian and Muslim architecture co-exisiting. We wondered through the old town past orange trees and large wooden doors. Brick towers propped against white two-story houses. We had a wonder in the Jardines De Cuenca and walked past the Plaza del Torro (bullfighting ring) to the Mirador de Ronda for a lookout view. Ronda is also surrounding by fields so don’t forget to also look out and beyond.
It was quite rushed and I would have loved to have stayed in Ronda for a night or 2. However, without a car, I would recommend a tour as the pueblos blancos are each quite small and quite hard to get to. Buses don’t run very frequently to these small towns and they are worth seeing if you’re in the area. We had 1-hour free time in Ronda, but I think you could spend at least half a day there walking around the town. Remember to pack your good walking shoes as these towns away from main cities tend to be very hilly and the paths are made from bricks or stones.
Have you been out to any other pueblos blancos? Did you like Ronda?
Basing your time in Seville? Check out the Must See Highlights of Seville here.