How to plan the perfect Malaga to Ronda day trip

Wondering how to spend one day in Ronda, Spain? Here’s how to plan the perfect Malaga to Ronda day trip.

Ronda, Southern Spain itinerary

Andalusia is a place of wonder. You’ve got Seville (with Game of Thrones and Star Wars locations), Granada (with the impressive Alhambra), Cordoba and of course Costa del Sol with all its lovely beaches.

But honestly, the place that impressed me the most – like really took my breath away – was Ronda.

Ronda is like a time warp. A photogenic time warp with a spectacular location atop a gorge. Modern bullfighting was practically invented here in the 18th century and it’s the largest of Andalusia’s white towns (pueblos blancos).

Visit Ronda on a day trip from Malaga or stay for a few days. I promise, Ronda will not disappoint.

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Getting there

How to plan a Malaga to Ronda day trip

You can do a Malaga to Ronda day trip in several ways. With a rental car, public transportation or on an organised day tour. Let’s take a look at your options:

By car

It is an easy 1½ hour drive from Malaga to Ronda, mostly on great motorways. Head out of Malaga on the E-15 along the coast and then take the A-376 from San Pedro de Alcántara for 44 km before taking the A-369 to Ronda. Rent your car here.

By bus

At around €11 you can go directly to Ronda with Autobuses Los Amarillos. The bus runs several times a day between Malaga and Ronda every day of the week.

By train

Your best option by train is taking the direct train, which costs €14.50 one-way or €24 round-trip in advance. This train departs daily from Malaga at 10:05 a.m. and arrives in Ronda about two hours later.

By tour

The easiest way to visit Ronda from Malaga is with an organised day tour. This great tour takes you to Ronda and Setenil de las Bodegas (a 5000-year old cave-like town).

What is Ronda famous for

Introduction to Ronda, Spain

Ronda is a magical city built across the deep El Tajo gorge. From quaint tapas bars and cobbled streets, to Spain’s first bullfighting arena, the world-famous bridge and sweeping landscapes, it’s easily one of the most photogenic cities in Spain.

The best thing about Ronda – aside from its mind-blowing views – is that everything is located within 5 minutes walk from the bridge (which is the main attraction in Ronda).

Like, you literally don’t have to walk very far, which makes it the perfect place for a stop-over or a Malaga day trip.

Read next: How to rent a car in Malaga

Malaga to Ronda day trip
What to do in Ronda for a day

8 best things to do in Ronda

1. Ronda Bridge (Puente Nuevo)

The world-famous Puento Nuevo bridge in Ronda Spain is without doubt the biggest draw. Both the views from the bridge and of the bridge from each side and below.

Puente Nuevo means New Bridge, but it isn’t exactly new. The 120 m high bridge was built in the 18th century and connects the old Moorish town and the newer parts of the city.

There’s a walkway on both sides so you can see the El Tajo Gorge and bridge from all angles. Make sure to cross both sides of the bridge because the scenery is different depending on where you stand.

Ronda, Southern Spain itinerary
Ronda, Southern Spain itinerary

2. Plaza del Toros de Ronda – The oldest bullring in Spain

Aside from the Puente Nuevo, Ronda’s highlight is Plaza de Toros de Ronda – the oldest bullring in Spain. It was built in 1785 by the architect Jose Martin Aldehuela – the same architect who built the Puente Nuevo bridge.

I personally don’t like the idea of bullfighting and would never watch a bullfight, but it’s still an important part of Spanish culture and history and considered a national treasure by many.

Ronda, Spain
Where the intellect of mankind challenges the strength of the brave bull
Ronda, Spain
Ronda, Spain
This is where the bulls are kept
Ronda, Southern Spain itinerary
Traditional Matador suits
Ronda, Spain

3. Banos Arabes (Arabic baths)

Just outside the old city walls, you can visit one of the best preserved traditional hammams (Arabic bath). Built in the 11th or 12th century, there are three main rooms – hot, medium, and cold. They were fed with water from the two nearby streams.

The star-shaped vents in the domed ceilings is a common touch in Arab architecture. I think it’s what sets this place apart and makes it worth visiting.

The Alhambra

4. Explore the best viewpoints in Ronda

From bullfighting to cliffside amazement, if there’s one (more) thing you cannot miss in Ronda it’s the best viewpoints. I’d say there are three main viewpoints (in no specific order):

  1. Both sides of the bridge (new + old town)
  2. Paseo de Ernest Hemingway + the Coño Balconies (in the ‘new’ part of town)
  3. Below – from the El Tajo Gorge

From both sides of the bridge

It seems that no matter where you look, the view is unquestionably beautiful. I found though that the views are a little more stunning when you stand by the bridge on the new part of town.

Ronda, Southern Spain itinerary

Paseo de Ernest Hemingway

If you follow the pathway (also on the new part of town), you’ll reach Paseo de Ernest Hemingway. It’s named after the one and only Hemingway, a lover of bullfighting, who helped put Ronda on the map.

If you look straight ahead, you’ll get this view. It’s so stunning even when the sun isn’t shining.

Ronda, Southern Spain itinerary

View from below – El Tajo Gorge

If you have the time, walk down into the gorge along the Camino de los Molinos. The views are the best to be had. If you don’t feel like walking (it takes at least a couple of hours), you have two other options:

  • Drive to the bottom of the bridge. That’s what we did. The gravel road is steep and narrow but SO worth it. It takes about 10 minutes from the bridge.
  • Or you can book a panoramic tour by minibus at the tourist office. The name is “Tajotur” and costs 12€/person and it takes 75min. Babies are free. The bus stops at main sights like the Plaza Duquesa de Parcent, below the bridge, at the Almocabar Gate, at the Arab Baths to see the old bridge and the Arab bridge and then it goes back to the Plaza de Toros.
Ronda, Southern Spain itinerary

5. Alameda del Tajo

You should also visit the Alameda del Tajo park, which has amazing views of the countryside.

To get there, simply follow the tiled boulevard from the bullring to the cliff edge. Along the way, don’t miss the Mirador de Aldehuela and El Balcón del Coño viewpoints.

Ronda, Southern Spain itinerary

6. Puerta de Almocábar

Puerta de Almocábar is an impressive 13th-century stone gateway on the south side of Ronda, once a part of the Moorish defense system. On the other side of the gate is a quiet courtyard where you can relax and enjoy the view while savouring tapas at the café.

It’s also a great spot for Instagram-worthy photos.

7. The Old and New town

Ronda is divided into the old town and the new town. The old town is the original Moorish part, but the heart of modern-day Ronda has also kept all of the charm of Andalusia’s gorgeous white villages, even though its home to a McDonalds.

Ronda, Southern Spain itinerary
Ronda, Southern Spain itinerary

8. Taste the best tapas in Ronda

After sightseeing you deserve a glass of wine. Or three. With tapas.

Lucky for you, both can be had aplenty. Some of the local specialties include cured meat, local hard cheese (queso curado) and of course wine from the Serranía de Ronda wine route.

  • Bodega Bar Restaurante is a great place to eat in Ronda. It’s outside the main tourist area so you’ll have to walk a bit or take the car. Their tapas cost around a Euro each and they’re worth the trip.
  • Toro Tapas is another great tapas bar, right in the centre. It’s like 200 m from the bridge and serves modern Spanish tapas.
Ronda, Southern Spain itinerary
Malaga to Ronda day trip

Where to stay in Ronda

If you can’t resist the temptation to stay the night (or two), you have some great options on your hand. These are the best places to stay in Ronda:

Apartamentos Turísticos Espinel (⭐ 9.5) is an apartment in the centre of Ronda, surrounded by restaurants and shops, 150 m from the Puente Nuevo. It has a private terrace with city views and free parking. You’ll find Ronda Train Station just 10 minutes’ walk away. Click here to see the latest prices.

Parador de Ronda (⭐ 8.5) – if you want to splurge, this is the place. The hotel has (and I’m not exaggerating) the best location with a private view of Ronda’s gorge and Puente Nuevo Bridge. It’s located right next to the bridge and there’s also a pool. Click here to see the latest prices.

Ronda, Southern Spain itinerary

When to visit Ronda

I kind of want to tell you that the weather doesn’t really matter when it comes to Ronda. Because it doesn’t.

We experienced sunshine, rain and cloudy skies, but the view stayed the same. When it rained, it just added mystique and ambience to the dramatic cliff scenery.

When that’s said, Ronda weather tends to be quite good during the summer months. July is the hottest month with an average temperature of 24°C (74°F) and the coldest is January at 10°C (50°F).

The wettest month is November, so I probably wouldn’t visit during this month.

🙋‍♀️ FAQ about Ronda

Is Ronda a day trip from Málaga?

Yes, Ronda is a popular day trip from Malaga. It takes about 2 hours to reach Ronda from Malaga.

Is one day enough for Ronda?

Yes, one day is usually enough to explore the major attractions of Ronda, especially if you’re taking a Ronda day trip from Malaga.

You can visit the stunning El Tajo gorge and the famous Puente Nuevo bridge, explore the historic old town with its cobbled streets and whitewashed buildings, and visit the bullfighting museum and arena.

If you have more time, you can also visit other notable sights around Ronda, such as the Arab baths, the Mondragon Palace, and the Casa del Rey Moro.

Is it worth visiting Ronda?

YES, Ronda is definitely worth visiting, especially if you are interested in history, culture, and natural beauty.

Ronda is one of the most beautiful and historic towns in Andalusia, Spain, with its stunning views of the El Tajo gorge, the famous Puente Nuevo bridge, and the surrounding mountains.

The town is steeped in history, with ancient ruins, impressive museums, and a charming old town with winding streets and whitewashed buildings.

How long is the train journey from Málaga to Ronda?

1 hour 51 minutes. The average train journey from Malaga-María Zambrano to Ronda takes approximately 1 hour and 51 minutes covering a distance of 65 km. However, the quickest route can take as little as 1 hour and 35 minutes. There are typically four trains operating daily along this popular route.

Is Ronda walkable?

Yes, Ronda is quite walkable, especially in the historic old town area. The old town is filled with charming cobbled streets, pedestrian-only areas, and historic plazas, which make it a perfect destination for a stroll.

You can easily reach the major attractions of Ronda, such as the Puente Nuevo bridge, the Parador hotel, and the Alameda del Tajo park, by foot.

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Ronda is like a time warp. A photogenic time warp with a spectacular location atop a gorge. Modern bullfighting was practically invented here in the 18th century and it's the largest of Andalusia’s white towns (pueblos blancos). Read this list of things to do in Ronda Spain.

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  1. This post is definitely what I was looking for! A client asked me for suggestions, we do day trips to Ronda and Mijas Pueblo and next time I definitely know where to send future clients to get ideas for Ronda! 😀 Thank you so much!

  2. Unfortunately when we visited in December it was pouring with rain and so we couldn’t see too much! But after reading this I feel like I need to give Ronda another try! We wouldn’t drive there again as some of the roads where horrible especially in the rain. Another option is to a get a taxi which is great if you are actually staying in Ronda. Some friends of ours used this company they agreed a price up front and they pick you up from the airport. We wished we had done the same! I think next time I might go earlier in the year when we have a better chance of good views and we will visit the Arabic baths as they look interesting. Seems like you had a great time, thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Oh no, I’m sorry to hear that. Driving in the rain is definitely not fun – especially when you’re in the mountains.

      Another way of getting there is by train or bus, which is cheaper than a taxi. Either way, I hope you’ll give Ronda a second chance. It’s breathtaking when it’s not pouring rain.

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