Jardines de Cuenca Ronda Spain

Seville to Ronda Day Trip: Your Complete Guide (2023)

Planning a Seville to Ronda day trip?

Great choice! Ronda is one of the most beautiful and historic spots to visit in all of southern Spain. Undoubtedly, it will be a highlight of your trip.

In this guide, you’ll find details on how to get from Seville to Ronda, the best things to do in Ronda once you’re there, and travel tips to help you plan the best time in Ronda.

Seville to Ronda Day Trip: Your Complete Guide (2023)

Ronda Spain view of white houses on the cliff overlooking the gorge

Built on the top of the stunning El Tajo gorge, this pretty little town embodies all the typical characteristics of the Andalucian “white villages,” or pueblos blancos. The narrow streets of cobblestone, the balconies decorated with hanging flower baskets and colorful plant pots, and the mix of Spanish and Moorish architecture, known as Mudejar.

The town of Ronda is a couple of hours from Seville, whichever way you choose to get there, so it’s easy to include on your southern Spain itinerary.

Ronda’s beauty is only matched by the diversity it offers. It has many sights as a big city, but it still has the authentic culture and local feel of some of the much smaller white villages in Andalusia.

Yet, if you’re a fan of the outdoors like me, you’ll love how Ronda is so intertwined with nature all around. Strolling through the town you’re spoiled by stunning views of the almonds and olive tree groves in the distance, and from its famous Puente Nuevo bridge you can peer down into the El Tajo gorge from high above.

It’s hands-down one of the must-visit-places in Andalucia so let’s get planning!

Getting from Seville to Ronda

Ronda is such a special spot in southern Spain that you want to be sure you can spend the majority of the day enjoying all the town has to offer and not managing logistics. Ronda is southeast of Seville and west of Malaga, and luckily, has several options for getting there.

Rent a Car (for the day)

Ronda Spain view of a narrow street with a car, buildings and a man coming out of a shop

If there’s no traffic leaving the city, driving from Seville to Ronda takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes. You’ll stick to the A-375 road most of the journey, and it’s not a hard drive.

Generally speaking, driving in Spain isn’t anything to write home about, so you can rest assured you’ll find well-managed highways and main roads. But be sure to get an International Driver’s Permit before leaving home. (U.S. travelers can get one at AAA.) While it’s not needed to rent a car, should you get stopped while driving without one, you could wind up with a hefty fine.

For a trip to Ronda from Seville, renting a car (whether for the day or to start a southern Spain road trip) is actually the best option, as with public transportation like the bus, you wouldn’t catch the sunset in Ronda or be able to enjoy the laid-back and animated atmosphere that characterizes Spanish evenings.

On the other hand, parking in Ronda’s city center isn’t the easiest. It gets busy with other cars and pedestrians, plus some of the streets are super narrow in the city center so, if your navigation took you down a wrong turn, you could find yourself stuck in a tricky situation.

I’d recommend parking along one of the outlying streets or in one of the paid parking lots in the newer area of Ronda and then strolling into the city center around the Puente Nuevo area. The town isn’t particularly big, so you’re never far from things even on foot.

If you’d rather leave your car in a car park and park more centrally, then you can book a slot at the APK2 Plaza del Soccoro, which is right by all the tourist attractions.

But if you don’t manage to reserve a parking spot- don’t panic. I drove to Ronda without a parking plan and I quickly found both free street parking and paid lots with availability in the newer area of town close to the historic center.

ProTip: I use a rental car site like Kayak to compare pricing among different companies. Then, I use AutoSlash to track the rental in case the price goes down and I can re-book for less.

Take a Bus from Seville to Ronda

There are a few bus stations in Seville, but the largest and most frequented is the Plaza de Armas station, which is located on one side of the river, by the Puente Cristo de la Expiración bridge.

You can check bus schedules online and book your ticket in advance. For example, the bus company Damas leaves from the Plaza de Armas bus station in Seville three times a day (be sure to check updated schedules before your day trip to Ronda though, bus schedules in Spain change pretty often).

Another thing to bear in mind is that in Spain not every bus takes the same amount of time to get to the same destination, that’s because a lot of people live in remote rural villages and some buses make longer trips to pass through these towns.

Case in point, from Plaza de Armas there’s a bus that leaves for Ronda at 9 a.m., but it actually gets there later than the bus that leaves at 10 a.m!

The 10 a.m. trip takes just over 2 hours but if you get the 9 a.m. bus to Ronda, then it takes 3 and 1/2 hours.

If you book both your outward and return journey at once you’ll save on your second ticket so it’s worth doing. From Ronda, there’s a Damas return bus to the Plaza de Armas station in Seville that leaves Ronda at 6:30 p.m.

Be careful though, two return buses depart at the same time on weekends, but one is direct and takes under 2 hours, while the other takes a whole hour more!

Overall, the best idea to go from Seville to Ronda by bus is to take the 10 a.m. Damas bus from Plaza de Armas to Ronda, arriving at 12:15 p.m., and then hop on one of the 6:30 p.m. buses back, that arrive in Seville at 8:15 p.m. or 9:15 p.m.

Unfortunately, though, the faster and more direct return bus only runs on Saturdays and Sundays, not weekdays.

Taking the Train to Ronda

There aren’t any direct trains from Seville to Ronda, and some of the train routes require hopping on a bus for part of the way anyway. Beyond that, it’s going to cost you about double the price and take twice as long.

Overall, I’d discard the idea of getting the train to Ronda if you’re just going for a day, and rent a car or take the bus instead.

Go to Ronda with a Local Guide

Lastly, if you rather not worry about any of the logistics, you can go on a guided tour of Ronda. This is also a great option if you aren’t driving into the Andalucian countryside at all and would like to experience some of the region’s famed white villages like Ronda and others.

This popular day trip stops in the white villages of Grazalema and Zahara de la Sierra, before spending time in Ronda. Once there, you’ll spend some time with your guide, but also have some free time to explore the town.

Best Things to Do in Ronda

Ronda Spain top of Puente Nuevo

It’s hard to not spend all your time staring at the spectacular Puente Nuevo, or “new bridge,” and the breathtaking views in every direction. But, Ronda is one of the oldest towns in Spain with plenty of historical and cultural sights to visit, not to mention soaking up the Andalusian ambiance that radiates from the old town’s squares lined with orange trees.

With one full day, you have plenty of time to see Ronda’s highlights and savor the town at a comfortable pace.

Peer into the Gorge from the Height of the Puente Nuevo.

Ronda-Spain Puente Nuevo

Puente Nuevo is an 18th-century bridge in the heart of Ronda (just through Plaza de Espana) that has a sheer drop of 320+ feet down into the gorge below where the Guadalevin River flows. It’s an absolute engineering feat that connects both sides of town!

The views of the bridge from the bottom are just as impressive as the bridge and countryside views from above!

You’ll likely spy the bridge as soon as you arrive in Ronda’s center, but sunset is also a great time to come if you want to see the gorge and the valleys in the distance lit up in orange, red, and pink hues.

Make sure you visit the little prison in the middle arch of the bridge while you’re there! There are some lovely restaurants along the cliff edges surrounding the bridge too – the perfect place for a bite to eat.

You can also descend a bit into the valley along a steep trail for about 10 minutes. There are a few different hiking trails, one of which starts near the San Juan Bosco Monument and takes you to a lookout point. If you’d like a longer hike, there’s a 2-3 hour loop along the Molinos del Tajo trail that has views of the Puente Nuevo and a diverse landscape from mountains, olive groves, farms, and vineyards.

Lastly, if you drove to Ronda, you can drive to the small road that has a path with a viewpoint of the bridge. The road is quite narrow and a bit of a challenge to find. But the views, especially at the end of the day, are fabulous!

Navigate to Mirador La Hoya del Tajo on Google Maps. I’d recommend stopping at this viewpoint as you leave Ronda so that you can keep your car parked during the day.

It’s here where flowers bloom in spring and a small waterfall cascades down to the river below.

The trick is getting there! With a car, a map, and a spirit of exploration, you’ll turn off onto a gravel road. That leads down to a small parking lot where you can see and photograph the bridge views and the white town sitting overhead. Below, you’ll find my notes from having finally found this viewpoint on my last trip to Ronda, as well as a photo from above showing the spot.

Ronda Spain birdseye of viewpoint

ProTip: The best way to explain the location of this road is to find the gas station that sits just outside the city walls. There’ll be a traffic circle. You don’t want to head into the historic center and you don’t want to veer off to the right and head away from the town. Instead, look at the traffic circle exits that head into what looks like a very local part of town.
In this local neighborhood, there’s a main road to follow. But ever so slightly to the right, you’ll see a small road that looks too narrow for cars. That’s where you want to be. Follow this gravel hill down a way. Watch out for people walking it and other cars going in the opposite direction until you reach the pull-off on the right that can fit about 3-4 cars. You’ve made it to one of the most famous Ronda bridge viewpoints!

Go to the Banos Arabes.

Ronda Spain Arab Baths

Down the hill, past the Arco de Felipe V, lies one of Ronda’s most iconic attractions – the old Arab Baths. If you’ve spent time in Seville, Cordoba, Granada, and other parts of Andalucia, you’ll be familiar with some of the region’s Moorish history. Cultural influences from when the Moors controlled the region can be seen, felt, and tasted all over southern Spain.

Ronda’s old Arab Baths were once the place where the village men gathered for a long relaxing soak, and even today the baths are so well preserved that it seems they could burst to life at any moment.

Built between the 13th and 14th centuries, these old baths showcase the ingenuity of the Arab community that lived in Southern Spain. While the architecture and design of the bathhouse are similar to those built by the Romans, the Arabs used steam baths to detox their systems, rather than hot water baths.

The old baths were built next to an old Mosque where the locals came to pray, so the bathhouse was used as a place of purification where worshippers would cleanse their bodies before the call to prayer too.

ProTip: Just near the Arab baths, you’ll see Ronda’s other 2 bridges. The Roman Bridge, not Roman at all in fact, but built by the Moors, and the Puente Viejo, are only a few minutes on foot from the Arab baths. From the Roman Bridge, especially, you can really marvel over the chasm created by the river and how people over time have adapted to building all around it.

Take a Tour of the Plaza de Toros.

Plaza de Toros Ronda Spain

Whether you agree with the practice or not (I do not), it’s undeniable that Andalucia’s culture is as strongly tied with bullfighting as it is with tapas and flamenco. While younger generations tend to be against the practice and agree that it’s carried on out of tradition, the practice is still very much alive.

Ronda’s Plaza de Toros was built out of stone in the 18th century when Pedro Reomero was the country’s champion bullfighter, and it is the home of the unique Rodeño style of bullfighting.

The bullring is often claimed to be the oldest and largest in Spain, which should be taken with a pinch of salt. While there are only enough seats for 5,000 spectators (far from the largest audience), the inner circle of the bullring (known as the “rueda”) has a diameter of 216 feet, which is the largest in the world!

Similarly, Seville’s bullring began its construction first, though Ronda’s bullring was finished a year earlier and held the first corrida, or a running of the bulls. It wasn’t much of a success, though, as part of the stand collapsed and after its inaugural corrida, it had to be closed for a period of repair.

ProTip: The Alameda del Tajo, a park and promenade just next to the Plaza de Toros, comes with great views of the gorge and the surrounding mountains. As you stroll, keep an eye out for the monuments honoring Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles, both of whom loved Ronda.

Stroll through the Jardines de Cuenca.

Jardines de Cuenca Ronda Spain

Molded into the ledge of one of the cliffs above the El Tajo gorge these stunning gardens are a relaxing and soothing way to ease yourself into sightseeing. They’re also a great refuge to escape to in the afternoon when the sun gets intense and all the locals make their way home for their siesta.

Stroll the winding path that leads you along the edge of the gorge and through the gardens, which were dedicated to Ronda’s twin city Cuenca (hence the name!) after both cities signed a twinning in 1975. There are views of all three of Ronda’s most famous bridges from the gardens too!

Admire Plaza Duquesa de Parcent.

Plaza Duquesa de Parcent Ronda Spain

This square, also known as Plaza Mayor, is in the heart of Ronda’s old Moorish city center. If you’re like me, it’ll be one of your favorite spots in the city.

Situated around the orange trees and the square’s greenery, you’ll find historic buildings like the Iglesia de Santa Maria la Mayor, built upon a former Mosque, and Ronda’s town hall, which served as a military barracks in the 1700s and a market during Moorish times.

The square also has a couple of cafes where you can sit and have a drink or snack, making it a perfect spot to admire the architecture and beauty of this square.

See the View from Iglesia de Santa Maria la Mayor.

Plaza Duquesa de Parcent Iglesia San Mayor Ronda Spain

This historic Church was built from a former Mosque starting in the 1500s when the Christians gained control of Andalucia. The Renaissance and Baroque architecture includes porticoed balconies and a tower that still shows characteristics of the minaret that once stood atop the Mosque.

Take a moment to go inside to admire the church’s artwork and to climb to the viewing deck where you can glimpse a pretty panorama over Ronda and the surrounding countryside.

Discover a Hidden Gem at Casa del Rey Moro (which was never actually the king’s home!)

This interesting complex consists of 3 parts, the 18th-century neo-Mudejar house, the hanging gardens complete with roaming peacocks, and the 14th-century water mine. While the house is under restoration and not yet open to visitors, the gardens and the water mine can be visited.

In particular, the water mine is a unique sight that is worth visiting! Cut through stone, slaves and captives of the Moorish King forged a staircase and several rooms along the way to bring water up from the river below and to create an escape path for Moorish royals in the event of an attack.

Download the app before heading to the mine to follow the historical events connected to this “secret” water source in Ronda.

Be forewarned, though, reaching the water mine doesn’t come without some physical effort. There are hundreds of steps to descend (and climb back up!) leading down to the bottom of the river gorge.

Tour Mondragon Palace.

Mondragon Palace, Ronda Spain

This 14th-century Moorish house was built for the Moorish King Abomelic I and was later reshaped by the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, and other nobles. Still, the house with its gardens, courtyard, water elements, and tile mosaics is one of the best examples of Moorish design in Ronda.

Today, the house also contains the Museo de Ronda, a small museum about the city’s rich history. If you go, don’t miss the views of the El Tajo gorge from the gardens!

Go Back in Time at Casa Museo Don Bosco.

This classic Andalucian house dates back to 1850 and has decor that has been preserved since the early 1900s. It’s like walking into a time capsule that gives you a vivid look at the styles and designs of southern Spain more than 100 years ago.

The house is just a few minutes from the Puente Nuevo and has gardens that offer a stunning vista of the valley. There’s also a terrace on the upper level where you can admire the views accompanied by some local food and wine.

If you’re in Ronda in the evening, get tickets to attend one of the museum’s flamenco guitar concerts.

Discover Ronda’s Iglesia del Espiritu Santo.

Old city wall with gate in Ronda, Spain

This Church was built equally as a religious symbol and to represent the power regained by Catholic Ferdinand II when he conquered the Moors in Ronda in 1485. It sits along the old walls of the city and has a very fortress-like exterior. Inside, take note of the Baroque altar and then climb to the top of the bell tower for a view over what’s left of Ronda’s fortifications.

The church is about a 10-minute walk from the city center, the Puente Nuevo, and the Arab Baths. If you visit, take an extra few moments to see the Puerta de Almocabar. The 13th-century fortified gate was part of Ronda’s historic defense system and is in beautiful condition given its age.

Go Tapas-Hopping.

Eggplant Tapas Spain

There’s nothing as Spanish as sitting at a loud bar surrounded by passionate locals enjoying a beer and a plate of tapas. While tapas were once free across every province in Andalucia, they’re sadly now only free in Granada. Since Ronda is in the northwest of the province of Malaga I’m afraid you’re out of luck on the free tapas front, but don’t let that put you off!

There’s an array of traditional tapas worth trying from the region, like a platter of jamón serrano with bread, regional olive oil, manchego cheese, and olives.

Other popular options are croquetas (croquettes) that are usually filled with ham, cheese, and potato, though you sometimes come across some delicious veggie options like spinach and mushroom, tortilla de patata (Spanish tortilla), known for having chunky bits of potato and onion in it, and berenjenas con caña de miel- battered and deep fried eggplant served with honey. Delicious!

As Ronda isn’t far from Malaga, which is a coastal city, you can also get your hands on some pretty fresh fish. It’s worth trying typical seafood tapas from Malaga while you’re in Ronda like the Malaga-style prawns pil pil and boquerones, lightly battered and fried anchovies that are served whole and have a crunchy texture. (Incidentally, a day trip from Malaga to Ronda is also a great way to include Ronda in your Andalucian itinerary.)

Another local favorite is albóndigas en salsa de almendras (meatballs in almond sauce!) which is very unique.

Spanish bars are like books – you really can’t judge them by the cover. Some of my best tapas experiences have been in the most run-down bars in sleepy villages, so I’d suggest doing a tapas hopping in the evening and trying a few bars outside of the more touristy parts of town.

But if you don´t have a lot of time and you want a list of guaranteed to be good places, here’s a little list:

  • El Lechuguita
  • Bar Siempre Igual
  • Vinoteca Entrevinos
  • Carmen de la Ronda
  • Bodega San Francisco

Don’t forget that every plate of tapas needs to be accompanied by a cold caña! People are often confused as to why locals choose to drink in such small glasses for their beer rather than getting a larger size.

It’s quite simple, though. Spain is very hot – and if you’ve ever drank a hot beer you’ll know that small and cold glasses of beer are more appealing than a tank of warm beer.

Ronda Hotels

Ronda Spain patio with a table under an orange tree

Thinking of staying a bit longer in Ronda? Or perhaps your Seville to Ronda day trip is actually the start of your southern Spain road trip after picking up a car in Seville?

There are several very beautiful properties in Ronda, as well as in the countryside just a short distance from town.

The Hotel Catalonia Ronda is just across from Ronda’s bullring. It offers upscale rooms and a rooftop infinity pool and sundeck. Stay here and you’ll be in the heart of Ronda’s historic center, so all of the town’s sights, shops, and restaurants will be accessible on foot. If you have a car, paid private parking is available nearby.

In the countryside outside of Ronda, there are agritourism properties set in restored homes and among gorgeous gardens and olive groves. Hotel Molino del Arco is less than 20 minutes from Ronda. It’s the perfect place at the end of a day of sightseeing in Ronda to sit on the patio under the orange and lemon trees or to take a dip in the pool.

Conclusion: Day Trip to Ronda from Seville

Ronda Spain houses on the edge of the gorge

A Ronda day trip is one of the best day trips you can make in southern Spain! And if you’re driving to Ronda from Seville as part of your southern Spain road trip, it’ll inevitably be the most beautiful and romantic of all the white villages you visit.

When you visit Ronda, you get to experience the very best of Andalucian history, culture, and its spectacular countryside!

So, what questions do you have about planning a Seville day trip to Ronda?

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