If you find yourself in the fortunate situation of being able to spend a week or more in Ronda, you're in for a treat. Set amidst spectacular scenery in Malaga Province, this picturesque town is…
Let’s face it, heading to southern Spain for winter sun and then spending a day or two skiing is a real novelty. Granada province and the east of Malaga province are within easy reach of the slopes in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. So, if you’re visiting the area for some winter sun why not take advantage of the opportunity to ski?
Where is Sierra Nevada?
The Sierra Nevada in Granada is the southernmost ski resort in Europe. It sits within Andalucia in southern Spain – an area that is known for its mild climate yet the Sierra Nevada is a mountainous area in Granada and has a ski season from mid-December to mid-April.
This mountain range spans three Spanish provinces, Malaga, Granada and Almeria. Yep, that’s the same Almeria which is famed for its desert! The ski resort and highest peak are in Granada so during the ski season locals head up to the well-kept slopes for a dose of fresh mountain air and snowy adrenaline fun.
The ski village is called Pradollano; it’s divided into bajo, medio y alto. This is where you’ll find all amenities including accommodation. Two gondola lifts from the village take you up to the main ski zone, Borreguiles.
What is there to do in the Sierra Nevada mountains?
During the winter season you can ski, snow walk and cross-country ski across the mountains admiring the view across Granada and onto Jaen as you go.
The ski village, Pradollano, has shops, bars, restaurants, hotels with spas and a great children’s play area. If you’re skiing, there’s plenty of choice to eat on the mountain from poke to pizza as well as a champagne bar and traditional canteen style restaurant.
If you’re not a skier, take in the sun in the ski village (Pradollano) and don’t miss the spa at Meliá Sol y Nieve with the added bonus of a fantastic kids club. The Meliá Sierra Nevada also has a smaller spa with views over the slopes. If you want to get active and head higher into the mountains, take a guide and do a snow hike. We recommend Al Andalus Activa for all things active in this region, from cross-country skiing to hiking the highest peaks to short mountaineering courses and snow hiking.
It’s worth mentioning in the spring and autumn that if you’re a keen hiker there’s some tough but rewarding hikes over this mountain range, particularly when tackling Veleta (3,396 metres) or El Mulhacén (3,479 metres).
Is Sierra Nevada Spain worth visiting in the winter?
Absolutely. The Sierra Nevada offers hikers, snow walkers and skiers big blue skies and good conditions. The major concern for many is its southerly location and the relative warm weather. However, the highest peak in the Spanish peninsula, Mulhacén, at 3,479 metres above sea level is part of this mountain range and there are 200 snow cannons allowing the resort to open even when there’s little snowfall throughout the season.
The skiing in the Sierra Nevada is on the northern side of Pico del Veleta (3,396 metres). Although high, it does not replace your annual trip to St Moritz, Trysil or Chamonix – we have to be clear on that one. But with more than 110 km of pistes, 21 ski lifts, family area, snowpark with half pipe and music pumping from most bars it holds its own for a family day or two out.
What is the skiing like in Sierra Nevada?
There are 110km of pistes with a variety of lifts. For beginner skiing and children it’s great. Some routes are specially for children: Pista del Bosque (woodland slope) and Pista del Mar (Sealife slope) have animals and sea creatures encourage little ones along the way.
For intermediate skiers it ticks many boxes, too, with red runs aplenty to keep you in form during a day or two’s skiing.
For those who love off-piste though the options are more limited, although this does depend on snowfall during the season.
There are 19 green (beginner), 41 blue (intermediate), 50 red (advanced) and 8 black (expert) runs in total in the Sierra Nevada.
The main ski zone, Borreguiles, is the gondola drop off from Pradollano. At Borreguiles you’ll find the ski schools, a couple of bars, restaurant, childcare, toilets and a shop. This area is ideal for beginners and non-skiers can also spend time here – there’s lots of seating.
This is where you’ll meet your ski instructor if you choose to have a lesson. If you’re a beginner there are magic carpet lifts, shallow gradients and there’s 19 green runs from here.
From Borreguiles there are two chair lifts that take you to the top of the blue runs at this side which are worth exploring.
Taking the lift higher again is for the next level of skier wanting a little more of a challenge. There are 50 red runs here, a lot are quite narrow and well used like El Rio. Don’t miss the t-bar lift that takes you to the top of Veleta – the views are fantastic and there’s a very rewarding run from here.
Where to Eat & Drink?
In Granada province you get complementary tapas with a drink and spending any time in the area means you quickly become aware of which places offer less generous crisps or olives to those who go a little extra and offer delicious bite sized portions.
With a smart dining room and terrace El Bodeguita is a great option for lunch or dinner. It looks over the main square and onto the mountain. The tapas here are excellent with mini stews and paella accompanying your drink.
Plaza de Pradollano Meliá Sierra Nevada, 18196, Sierra Nevada National Park España
This is the fine dining option in the resort with an open fire in a cosy dining room. It does have an outdoor terrace but this isn’t the most attractive corners of Pradollano. The food most definitely makes up for the humdrum approach and lack of views.
Pl. Pradollano, 4, Edif. Genciana, Bajo 1, 18196 Sierra Nevada, Granada
Lunch time at El Lodge should be on the to do list while skiing. This is a five star hotel, restaurant and spa. It’s located quite high in the resort so best to ski to it on the Maribel run. Walking up to it from Plaza Andalucia in the village is a bit of a task, especially in ski gear. There’s usually a DJ on the sundeck and reservations are necessary.
Great option for a hungry family, expect pizza, steak and burgers. There’s an indoor dining room as well as a huge terrace with heaters.
Plaza Andalucia edificio, local 4, 18196 Sierra Nevada
Restaurante Badia Gastro Chill
With a great location next to the gondola, huge terrace and a DJ, Badia is a good option for a drink. The food isn’t great on our visit nor is the service but it has fun atmosphere, is always busy and has a view of the slopes.
Plaza Andalucía Edificio Montebajo n12, 18196 Sierra Nevada, Granada
What is There to Do WITH Children?
There’s a day care area at Borreguiles where the gondolas take you. Dreamland and the Snow Garden are for children ages of 3 – 12 years (out of nappies), opening from 9.30 – 16.30, seven days a week.
In Pradollano, Mirlo Blanco is the children’s excellent play area. It has toboggans, ski-bike, chair-bike, mini-ski, mini-snowboard, donuts and roller-sled. But the most popular ride is the Russian Sleigh (trineo ruso), this is a kind of roller-coaster bobsled and fun for all ages.
Do a lunch and spa package at El Lodge where you get a 50-minute massage, lunch on their sun deck, access to the gym, indoor pool, outdoor pool and a locker. It’s ski in and out so ideal as a spot to meet for skiers and non-skiers.
The second tip is the first lift from Pradollano is at 10.00hrs and last at 16.45hrs.
What’s the Weather like?
Winter in the Sierra Nevada has recorded average temperatures of between -10°C and 5°C. In real terms though your heavy-duty warm ski wear is rarely needed. Hitting the slopes at the start of the season is chiller than March or April. Factor 50 is a must, great eyewear and light to medium weight jacket will serve you well with layers. For non-skiers in Andalucía Plaza, Pradollano you’ll likely have lunch in a t-shirt. That all being said, the weather can of course turn…
How to Buy Ski Passes
The best way to approach buying ski passes is via the resorts main website. You collect the passes from the ticket office with your credit card and QR code on arrival to the resort. During the weekends and holidays the ticket office can be busy so allow 20 minutes but at other times there is no wait at all.
Ski pass cost: A day pass is 45 euros. There’s a half day pass from 13.00hrs and nocturnal skiing from 19.00 a 21.30hrs.
Buy parking for the main car park in the centre of Pradollano just a short stroll to the gondola and ticket office in Plaza Andalucia. It’s just 18.00 euros per day. Sierra Nevada Parking.
Where to Hire Skis
When it comes to hiring ski equipment convenience is key. The ski schools mentioned offer links with ski hire so by all means this is a great place to start. If you just need ski or board hire then two places stand out for ski/snowboarding equipment hire in the Sierra Nevada: the heavily snowboarding leaning Surfin. And Rio Sports offering quality and style, not far away from the gondolas with a fast turn around.
There are plenty of shops in Pradollano selling ski wear and equipment. Burton, Goldbergh, Rossignol and all the major brands are available. There’s also a pharmacy, mini markets for any other essentials too.
Where to Stay?
Distances from the coast and Granada city
Pradollano is just under an hour from Granada city centre and 1.15hrs to Salobrena the nearest coast.
Would you like to incorporate skiing in the Sierra Nevada into your winter sun holiday? Take a look at our villas within easy reach of the slopes, Granada city, the beach and only an hour from Malaga airport – Luxury villas in Granada.
Array (  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 244982 [post_author] => 4 [post_date] => 2023-11-30 13:47:18 [post_date_gmt] => 2023-11-30 13:47:18 [post_content] => If you find yourself in the fortunate situation of being able to spend a week or more in Ronda, you're in for a treat. Set amidst spectacular scenery in Malaga Province, this picturesque town is known for its iconic eighteenth bridge, which arches over the plummeting El Tajo gorge beneath, and offers fabulous restaurants and wealth of historical sites. Discover why Ronda is Andalucia's third most-visited destination with our ultimate guide to Malaga's most scenic town, with a full list of the best things to do in Ronda. Ready? Grab your sunglasses and let’s go exploring.
The 3 top must-sees in Ronda
1. El Tajo de RondaNo trip to Ronda would be complete without witnessing the captivating beauty of El Tajo, the gorge that divides the city into two parts: the ancient Moorish Old Town and the modern new town. The canyon and its surrounding valleys are best viewed from the Puente Nuevo, or New Bridge, a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture that spans the Guadalevir river. El Tajo de Ronda is not only a natural wonder, but also a cultural and literary treasure, providing the inspiration for Earnest Hemingway’s novel ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’. Top tip: Stay at our beautiful pedigree townhouse Casa Amaia and enjoy your own private views of El Tajo gorge. 2. The Old City If you want to discover the true essence of Ronda, then the Old City is a must. Known as La Ciudad, this part of the town extends South of the famous Puente Nuevo Bridge. Featuring cobbled streets, charming squares and examples of Moorish architecture, this area is perfect for a morning of aimless wandering taking in the sites. Top tip: To get the best out of your visit to the Old City, visit early in the morning or later in the evening when the streets are quieter away from day-trippers, and the temperature is a little cooler.
3. Plaza de Toros (& royal cavalry of Ronda)Completed in 1785, Ronda’s bullring was declared a National Heritate Site in 1993. Known locally as the Real Maestranza de Caballería, its the oldest and one of the most attractive in Spain. This unique bullring offers a fascinating glimpse into Spain's (often controversial) heritage of bullfighting and equestrian arts. Nowadays, the Plaza de Toros is mostly a museum and cultural centre, and it continues to house the Royal Riding School teaching professional dressage. It is used only for its original purpose during the spectacular September Goyesca bullfights and annual festival, in which the townsfolk dress in the manner of Goya's portraits of 18th century life in Spain. Where is Plaza de Toros? C. Virgen de la Paz, 15, 29400 Ronda. When to visit? 10:00 – 18:00 November to February, 10:00 – 19:00 March to October. Partially closed early September for the Goyesca festival Website: Royal Cavalry and Bullring of Ronda
- Castillo del Laurel: Explore the historic Castillo del Laurel, a captivating fortress with a fascinating past.
- Puerta de Almocabar: Step through Puerta de Almocabar, a medieval gateway to Ronda's enchanting Old Town.
- Murallas del Carmen: Discover the ancient city walls, Murallas del Carmen, that once protected Ronda.
- Fuente de los Ocho Caños: Charming eight-spout 18th century fountain.
- Plaza España: Revel in the lively ambiance of Plaza España, a bustling square at the heart of Ronda.
- Plaza del Socorro: Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of Plaza del Socorro, a central square surrounded by cafes and shops.
- Plaza Duquesa de Parcent: Experience the elegance of Plaza Duquesa de Parcent, a picturesque square renowned for its tranquil atmosphere.
- Talleres de Granados Somera: Explore the artisan workshops at Talleres de Granados Somera.
- Ernest Hemingway Sculpture/Orson Welles Sculpture/Hemingway/Welles Tour: Tap into Ronda's literary history with sculptures and tours dedicated to Hemingway and Orson Welles.
- LA Organic: Savour exquisite organic products at LA Organic, a boutique offering a taste of Andalusian luxury.
The 4 best viewpoints in Ronda
Mirador Puente Nuevo de Ronda New BridgeFor a truly unforgettable experience, take a short walk down a steep but well paved path from Plaza de Maria to a viewpoint approximately halfway down the gorge, where you will be treated to incredible views of the New Bridge. Consider visiting with a local guide who’ll not only provide some fascinating insights but also have transport waiting at the bottom to whisk you back to the town, sparing you the tiring hike back. Where is Puento Nuevo? C. Tenorio, 20, 29400 Ronda, Málaga
Alameda del TajoLocated next to the bullring, this 19th century park culminates in a sheer drop (don’t worry, there are railings!). From here you can enjoy expansive westward views of the neighbouring Grazalema Natural Park, the highest peaks of which are often snow-capped in winter. For an extra special visual treat, visit in Autumn when the park comes alive with a rich tapestry of colours. Where is Alameda del Tajo? P.º Blas Infante, 1, 29400 Ronda, Málaga
PUENTE VIEJOOne of the two original - and much lower - crossings that Puente Nuevo was designed to replace, Ronda’s “Old Bridge” dates from the early seventeenth century and offers views of the canyon and the rolling farmland south of town. Where is Puente Viejo? C. Real, 2, 29400 Ronda, Málaga
JARDINES DE CUENCANamed after Cuenca, a hilltop town halfway between Madrid and Valencia with which Ronda is twinned, these gardens consist of a series of terraces pinned to the edge of the gorge. Follow them all the way down - lingering in the colourful rose garden on the way - and you’ll end up on Puente Viejo. Where are Jardines de Cuenca? C. Escolleras, 1, 29400 Ronda, Málaga
some other incredible views in Ronda
- Paseo de los Ingleses
- Mirador de Aldehuela
- Calle La Bola
- Mirador de Ronda
must-visit Ronda Museums
1. Palacio de MondragónA firm favourite with The Luxury Villa Collection team, the Palacio de Mondragón is is one of Ronda’s finest remaining instances of Arabic architecture and dates back to the 14th century. Key features include tranquil inner courtyards, intricate tile mosaics and cliffside gardens. There’s also a museum housing Roman and Moorish relics. Where is Palacio de Mondragón? Plaza Mondragón, s/n, 29400 Ronda Opening times: Monday to Friday 10:00 - 13:45 and 15:00 – 18:00, Saturday and Sunday 10:00 -15:00. Website: Palacio de Mondragón
2. Arab Baths Archaeological SiteTucked away in the old Jewish quarter, Ronda’s Arab baths date back to the 13th and 15th centuries and are considered the best preserved in Spain. The Arab Baths served both a practical and spiritual purpose for the Moors, and although buried by floods over time, the three rooms with star-shaped skylights have been meticulously restored to their original splendour. Where are the Arab Baths? C/ Molino de Alarcón, Ronda, 29400 Opening times: Tuesday to Friday 09:30 – 19:00, Saturday 10:00 – 14:00 and 15:00 – 18:00, Sunday 10:00 – 15:00, Monday 10:00 – 14:00 and 15:00 – 18:00. Website: Ronda’s Arab baths
3. La Casa del Rey MoroAnother favourite of ours is the enchanting Casa del Rey Moro, an incredible 18th century palace with Moorish-style gardens. Its pièce de résistance is the 14th century 'water mine' ingeniously carved into the solid rock. Descend 300 winding steps through intriguing caverns and emerge by the babbling river at the foot of the gorge. Make sure you take water, though, as there’s only one way back up! Where is La Casa del Rey Moro? C. Cta. de Santo Domingo, 9, 29400 Ronda Opening times: 10:00 – 21:30 May to September, 10:00 – 20:00 October to April. Website: Casa del Rey Moro
4. Reservatauro RondaOwned and run by local bullfighter Rafael Tejada, this vast bull- and horse-breeding ranch is situated a ten-minute drive outside the town. Guided 4X4 tours take visitors through the countryside, enabling glimpses of the magnificent fighting bull in its natural habitat. You can even round off a visit with lunch and a wine tasting. Where is Reservatauro Ronda? Carr. Ronda Campillos, km 34, 29400, Málaga Opening times: Open every day 10.00 – 18.00 Website: Reservatauro Ronda
Other Ronda museums to explore
- Centro de interpretacion del puento nuevo
- Palacio de Salvatierra
- Casa del Gigante
- Museo de Carruaje de Ronda
- Museo Lara
- Casa Museo Don Bosco
3 best places to eat in RondaWhichever restaurant you choose in Ronda, we can say with confidence that you’re unlikely to be disappointed! However, we've picked out 3 of the best restaurants in Ronda:
1. BardalIn this incredible Michelin-starred restaurant, Chef Benito Gómez crafts creative dishes inspired by local traditions. Two tasting menus, with 16 or 19 courses, offer wine pairings and a tempting trolley of Andalusian cheeses before a sumptuous dessert. Where is Bardal? C. José Aparicio, 1, 29400 Ronda Website: Restaurantebardal.com
2. TragataBoasting an eclectic decor with mismatched seating and quirky lighting, Tragata’s menu seamlessly blends Asian, Moroccan and Spanish flavours, offering imaginative twists on traditional dishes. With its lively ambience and modern vibe, this is a real favourite of ours. Where is Tragata? Calle Nueva, 4, 29400 Ronda; Telephone: +34 952 87 72 09; Website: Tragata.com
3. Restaurante AzaharLocated in Hotel Catalonia Reina Victoria, this top fine-dining spot with stunning views across the mountains and gorge offers exquisite, high quality dishes presented in a fresh and innovative style Where is Restaurant Azahar? Calle Jerez 25, Ronda 29400 Website: ebocarestaurants.com/en/restaurants/azahar/ For more top tips on where to eat in Ronda, take a look at our Guide to Ronda’s best restaurants and tapas bars.
Churches in RondaRonda’s churches stand as magnificent symbols of the town’s diverse history and spiritual legacy. Here is a selection of some of the finest:
- Iglesia de Santa Maria la Mayor: a majestic mosque turned catholic church showcasing stunning Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance architecture.
- Nuestra Señora del Socorro: a charming 20th century parish church located on one of Ronda’s beautiful plazas. The current structure was built in the 1950s to replace the original 18th century church, which was destroyed during the Spanish Civil War.
- Iglesia de Padre Jesús: 17th century catholic church renowned for its baroque style architectural beauty. Notable features include a Gothic arched entrance, Renaissance-style bell tower and an ornate image of Jesus which is paraded through the town every year on Holy Thursday.
- Minaret of San Sebastian: a historical monument with Moorish origins, offering a glimpse into Ronda's diverse heritage.. Once attached to one of Moorish Ronda’s several mosques, this small tower was later converted into a bell tower for the San Sebastian church, which was destroyed in the 1600s
best places to visit near RONDAIt’s not just the town of Ronda itself which is worthy of a visit. The surrounding countryside is jam-packed with areas of outstanding natural beauty and sites of historic interest. See below for our pick of the best:
Parque Nacional Sierra de las NievesOnly a 15-minute outside Ronda, this natural park is home to Andalusia’s most elaborate system of underground caves, along with 2,000-metre-high mountains and sulphurous water baths. Fauna includes 120 species of bird and the largest spider on Continental Europe
Parque Natural Sierra de GrazalemaOn the other side of Ronda from Las Nieves is another natural park, home to a scattering of white villages – or Pubelos Blancos – dotted amongst the oak forests and mountains. Atlantic storms make this the rainiest spot on the Iberian Peninsula.
Cueva del GatoFound near the village of Benaoján in the Grazalema Natural Park, this is the southern entrance to a network of underground chambers, lakes and caves. Its clear, cool waters make for a perfect summer swimming spot. Where is Cueva del Gato? MA-7401 Km 3 Carretera de, 29370 Benaoján, Málaga
Cueva de la PiletaSituated just south of the Cueva del Gato, this cave was discovered in 1905 by a local resident. Visit the interior to see Neolithic remains and Palaeolithic wall art representing animals such as horses, fish, goats, bulls and bison. Where is Cueva de la Pileta? Cueva de la Pileta Parking, 29370 Benaoján, Málaga
The Ruins of AcinipoSituated a half-hour drive north of Ronda, the ruins of the Roman town of Acinipo feature one of the best-preserved amiptheatres in Andalusia: you can still a section of tiered seating, the orchestra pit and actors’ changing rooms. Where are the Ruins of Acipino? MA-8406, s/n, 29400 Ronda, Málaga
13 unforgettable experiences in rondaWe know many of our guests love to dig deeper into the culture, history and nature of our Spanish destinations. That’s why we've curated some exclusive, unforgettable activities designed to make your stay in Ronda truly memorable. Here are 13 of the most amazing experiences we can organise for your private group:
- Access to the main events of the Ronda Romántica (May) and the Corrida Goyesca (August-September) de Ronda, or a private guide to show you around.
- Private tours following the footsteps of Hemingway and Orson Welles in Ronda and around the pueblos blancos (whitewashed villages of the Serrania de Ronda).
- Closed tour of the Real Maestranza (bullring) and private access to other places of interest around Ronda.
- Romantic private dining at a selection of local beauty spots.
- Advance reservations at the Michelin-starred Bardal and Tragata or have a local Michelin-grade chef cook up a feast for you and your guests in the comfort and privacy of your luxury villa.
- Spectacular horse riding trails through the woodland of the Serranía de Ronda.
- Bookings at Ascari race course for the ultimate VIP Ascari experience - perfect for motorsport enthusiasts.
- Meditation in the Cueva de Pileta – open-eyed meditation sessions that take place in complete darkness.
- Visits to the makers of international award-winning goats cheese, ‘Queso Payoyo’ produced in Ronda
- Private wine tastings in some of the area’s finest boutique wineries followed by a gourmet lunch with the winemakers themselves
- Tasting of Jamon de Castañas – fine cured ham made from very rare breed, chestnut-fed pigs.
- Workshops with local artisans including seagrass weaving or ceramics.
- Outdoor sports around Montejaque, Benaoján and Grazalema, such as hiking, cycling, mountain climbing, river walking and wild swimming.