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…
The Alhambra: crowning the city of Granada, this stunningly decorative fortress-palace complex is one of Spain’s most instantly recognisable sights.
But it’s also the country’s most visited tourist attraction – and as such probably needs little in the way of introduction (and promotion).
So let’s concentrate instead on some of the lesser-known wonders that this fabulous city has to offer. Here then is our pick of the top things to see and do in Granada – that aren’t the Alhambra…
1. The Albayzin
For centuries, Moorish and Christian traditions coexisted harmoniously in Granada, and the Albayzin neighbourhood is a beautiful and atmospheric relic of this enlightened past.
The Alhambra and the Albayzin look across at one another, with each view being just as magnificent as the other. Meander through the narrow cobbled streets, pause in squares to admire the view or stop for a tapas and a cool drink.
Revel in the Moorish and Andalucian style that can be discovered around every narrow corner or small square. Take in the view and drink champagne overlooking the Alhambra Palace – El Huerto de Juan Ranas has a great terrace. (Calle Atarazana Vieja, 6.)
Taberna El Beso. Moroccan food in the surroundings of a beautiful little palace. The owner also has a small collection of antiques and objets from Morocco for sale. (Cuesta de San Gregorio, s/n, 18010 Granada.)
Higher in the Albayzin is Casa de los Mascarones. It’s a little rough and ready, but offers great tapas with a very local Albayzin feel. (Calle Pagés, 20, 18010 Granada.)
Bar Kiki and Cafe Gabriel are two other favourites – see our guide to restaurants in Granada if you’re looking for further recommendations.
2. Palacio Dar al-Horra
Deep in the Albayzin, this mini palace often gets overlooked. Once the home of Aixa, mother of Boabdil, the last Moorish king of Granada, it has magnificent views of the Albayzin and only takes a short time to visit.
The best way to visit Palacio Dar al-Horra is to buy a ticket to the Andalucian Monuments: Tickets.alhambra-patronato.es. This includes Palacio Dar al-Horra, Corral del Carbón, Bañuelo and Casa Morisca (Calle Horno de Oro). You can also buy tickets at the entrance of Palacio Dar al-Horra – it closes between 14.30-17-00hrs. (Callejón de las Monjas Albayzin, s/n, 18008 Granada.)
3. Cathedral & Capilla Real
If you’ve got more than a passing interest in Spanish history a visit to the Capilla Real, where the Catholic Kings Isabel and Ferdinand are buried, is a must.
The first Renaissance church in Spain, the mighty Granada Cathedral also forms part of the sample complex and can be visited alongside the Royal Chapel. (Calle Mariana Pineda, 21, 18009 Granada.)
To the rear of the Cathedral is the fresh food market, San Agustín. Here La Picatería is a great bet for a spot of tapas. (Plaza de San Agustín, S/N, 18001 Granada.)
4. Plaza Bib Rambla
Granada doesn’t have a plaza mayor (a main square) per se, but Plaza Bib Rambla more than ably fills the role.
As the first square of Granada, Plaza Bib Rambla has survived a long and varied history… from markets, jousting, bull fighting, religious processions and even executions, this square has seen it all. Now there are flower stalls, restaurants and street entertainers. Much more civilised.
La Telefonica, just off the square. (Calle Arco de las Orejas, 1, 18001 Granada.)
5. Go Shopping
A memento or two from your travels is always a must. But what should you buy in Granada?
- Spices & tea: Not to be missed are the Moroccan-style tea shops and souvenir shops along Caldereria Nueva, close to Calle Elvira. In the lower part of the Albayzin, it’s a great place to buy some tea, spices or North African cakes.
- Ceramics: Granada (and Andalucia) has a long history of decorative ceramics, dating all the way back to the 15th century. You’ll notice decorative tiles throughout the city. The blue and green pomegranate design (‘granada’ means ‘pomegranate’ in Spanish) on vases and plates are a traditional decoration and make for a lovely gift. Ceramics are still produced in the city today at Fajalauza. (Calle Fajalauza 2, Albayzin Alto.)
- Leather: 5V Valverde is a speciality shop from yesteryear dealing in handmade leather shoes, boots and bags. Exquisite quality, one of the best cordwainers in southern Spain. (Calle Reyes Católicos, 32, 18009 Granada.)
- Jewellery: A great option for giftables is Platonica (Platonicajoyeria.com). Locally designed and made jewellery, some influenced by Nasrid culture. (Carrera del Darro, 8, 18010 Granada.)
Taberna 22 is a sunny little spot with a great atmosphere at the end of Caldereria Nueva. The tapas is, well… basic. But it’s on one of the main thoroughfares from the centre of Granada to the Albayzin. (Plaza San Gregorio, 29, 18010 Granada.)
After choosing your winter boots at 5V Valverde, stop at Casa de Vinos La Brujidera. (Calle Monjas del Carmen, 2, 18009 Granada.)
Near Platonica, for tapas try La Tabernilla del Darro. (Puente de Espinosa, 15, 18010 Granada.) For a drink (after 20.00hrs) go to Huerto del Loro. (Cuesta de la Churra, 4, 18009 Granada.)
6. water & granada – a tour
Water is a constant in the architecture of Granada, from shallow channels that cool houses to elaborate, babbling fountains. A tour is the best way to travel deeper and understand the inventive and intellectual complexity of Moorish water traditions in southern Spain.
On this tour you’ll take in sights such as the Aljibe del Rey (a well) and the Bañuelo (Arabic bath house). Contact our concierge for bespoke tours.
7. Rodriguez Acosta Foundation
While you’re up on the Alhambra hill, if you love architecture this carmen (a house with garden in Granada) is definitely worth a visit.
Owned by artist Rodriquez Acosta and built between 1916 and 1930, the building itself is an eclectic mix of styles, but the gardens and tunnels are absolutely fascinating.
It’s worth bearing in mind that some tickets for the Alhambra include entrance to this lesser-known museum. During summer 2022 the museum has been closed for works; a new open date is to be confirmed. (Callejón Niño del Royo, 8, 18009 Granada.)
8. Corral del Carbón
Back in the city centre, head to the Corral del Carbon. This building dates back to the 14th century, when it was used as an inn for merchants of the silk trade, but over the years it’s had many uses.
There would have been hundreds of these buildings in Spain but, sadly, very few still stand today. For this reason it has great historic significance and is an excellent example of a Moorish construction in superb condition.
Entrance is free and it’s open from Monday to Sunday from 9:00 to 20:00. (Calle Mariana Pineda, 21, 18009 Granada.)
Asador Corrala del Carbon – a characterful bar and restaurant; stop for tapas, not a meal. (Calle Mariana Pineda, 8, 18009 Granada.)
9. Botanical Gardens
The Jardin Botanico de la Universidad de Granada is a small botanical garden in the centre of the city under five minutes’ walk from the Cathedral.
As botanical gardens go it’s perfectly pleasant enough, but it’s in a lovely corner of town and you can stroll through the university building, too. The area has a student feel, with a great selection of vintage clothes shops and fun tapas stops. (Calle Escuelas, n, 18001 Granada.)
Tapas (or cocktail) stop:
Humo El Origen (Calle Escuelas, 2, 18001 Granada) or Lemon Rock, for a buzzy live music vibe (Calle Montalbán, 6, 18002 Granada).
10. The Science Park
A great stop for kids is Granada’s Parque de las Ciencias. It easily keeps little minds busy for a day with indoor/outdoor attractions, interactive play for all ages, and a biodome with animals. Closed Mondays. (Avenida de la Ciencia, s/n, 18006 Granada.)
Cut Granada and it bleeds flamenco. And at the heart of that flamenco heritage is Sacromonte, a neighbourhood of cave houses just on the outskirts of the Albayzin.
Sacromonte is famed for the ‘Zambra’ style of flamenco. This raw form of dance is often performed barefoot and is thought to have its origins in Morisco dance.
Where to see flamenco in Granada?
Although Granada has this deep flamenco heritage, catching some of the real deal first hand can be a little harder.
12. MAKE FOR A Mirador
With its skyline spectacularly crowned by the Alhambra Palace, Granada was always going to be a city that’s about the views.
Mirador San Nicolas and Placeta Cristo Azucenas are two large squares in the Albayzin neighbourhood with uninterrupted views of the Alhambra. Hang around as the moon rises from behind the Alhambra and watch as it changes colour from ochra to terracotta.
13. San Juan de Dios Basilica
This church is one for Baroque fans. With its intricate frescoes, it’s one of the finest examples of the architectural style to be found anywhere in Andalucia. (Calle San Juan de Dios, 19, 17, 18001 Granada.)
14. Sacromonte Abbey
This impressive abbey is right at the end of the Sacromonte neighbourhood, an interesting (if slightly tiring) walk from the Paseo de los Tristes.
The cloisters of the abbey are often the venue for live music events, and we’d definitely recommend a visit if you can get your hands on tickets. For events: email@example.com. (Camino del Sacromonte, s/n, 18010 Granada.)
Outside of Granada: Granada Province
15. La Cartuja
Another outstanding example of Spanish Baroque architecture, the Cartuja monastery is just a short drive outside Granada city. (Paseo de Cartuja, s/n, 18011 Granada.)
16. Rio Verde
About an hour’s drive to the south of the city, Rio Verde is an exceptional canyoning spot. A guide is necessary as wetsuits, ropes and protective equipment are needed.
Recommended guide: Localexperiences.es.
17. Las Alpujarras
Hidden away along incredible winding roads, this collection of 25 white mountain villages was once pretty much cut off from the outside world.
Trevelez, the highest municipality in Spain, is 1476m above sea level and located at the foot of Mulhacen, the highest mountain in mainland Spain. Other Albujarras villages of note are Soportújar, Lanajaron and Pampaneira.
At the height of a sultry Granada summer it can be hard to believe that the winter might bring snow. But you can ski in the nearby Sierra Nevada mountains from December to April. See our full guide here.
19. Lecrin Valley
While it may be less well-known than the nearby Alpujarras, in our opinion this collection of 17 villages is more beautiful. They may not have any obvious gimmicks or the fame and visitors that come with it, but they also go about their rural business relatively untouched by tourism.
National Geographic named this pretty town as having one of the best views in the world – and who are we to argue?
It’s got an atmospherically ruined Moorish castle and an impressive church, while just outside the town is Las Peñas de los Gitanos, which is home to some excellent examples of Megalithic constructions.
21. Alhama de Granada
This strikingly handsome old town is perched precariously on the edge of a gorge. It’s famed for its natural spa baths just outside the town (rather more medical than luxury) and has a great walking route through the gorge if you like to stretch your legs.
22. Vereda de la Estrella
And while we’re talking about walking… there are an awful lot of great hiking routes in and around Granada. One of particular note, La Vereda de la Estrella, is from the village of Güejar Sierra: a 10km linear hike, with a gentle slope, which climbs over the Genil River to the Sierra Nevada.
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.