Hi everyone! My name is Justin Lang (@langer_danger). Welcome to my article on the Spanish city of Ronda. I’m originally from Chicago and spent four years living in the city while running on the corporate hamster wheel.
I had been leading a small group trip for guys out to Colorado once a year and would make amateur GoPro videos for the group on these trips. However, it wasn’t until The Yacht Week of Croatia in 2017 that I decided to buy some better gear and see what I could do with it. I bought a DJI Mavic Pro drone and a small stabilizer for the GoPro, and did my best with iMovie.
A friend who works in travel saw my videos, told me I needed to be doing this full time and referred me to shoot a video for an epic week in Thailand with Now or Never Trips. I started focusing exclusively on my new business, SAVAGE Media Group, started traveling indefinitely and never looked back. To this day I will say it to anyone: Southeast Asia will change your life!
Visiting Spain on my Euro Trip
I had only ever been to Europe once before – The Yacht Week, Croatia – and having just spent six months in Central and South America, I was really keen on continuing to actually try to learn Spanish. Also, I hardly heard anything about Portugal, and the more I looked into it, the more it looked like an awesome place to go explore for my first time solo traveling.
So I figured what better way to take on Europe than to just start at one end and see how far I could make it in three months. My journey from one end to the other led me as far as Barcelona (lol). There were too many awesome overlooked places. I still have hundreds of saved map pins for future trips.
Then I went to Porto and planned to go inland but someone told me of Feria de Abril in Seville. The number one reason to travel with no plans: do random things people tell you about. Needless to say, Seville was great.
I spent several weeks meandering around central Spain and Basque Country – hitting Madrid, Santander, Bilbao, Zumaia and San Sebastian before swinging back south by train to Granada, Malaga and Ronda.
Ronda is a day trip that you can do from Malaga, Seville or Granada. Not a lot of people choose to spend the night here but I’m sure there are options. I paid a few bucks to throw our bags in a closet at the train station and had about four hours to look around before I had to catch a bus to Seville.
Why Ronda should be on your Bucket List
Ronda is a small city in a remarkable location. It has incredible old-world architecture, including the famous Puente Nuevo bridge. The bridge gets all the attention, but the city itself spans a gorge that separates it into two parts with buildings built up to the edges of the cliffs. Andalucia has a distinct rural charm and this place seems to capture it all.
There are viewpoints further down the gorge where you can fully grasp the size of the bridge by being a bit further away. The fact that a waterfall passes through the lower arch and washes out into the valley is a bonus.
Best Things To Do in Ronda, Spain
Most people visit Ronda for the Puente Nuevo bridge and to walk around and take in the peaceful town. There is also a bullfighting ring (Plaza de Toros de Ronda) that is not very active, except for on holiday times.
I know this is unpopular but I went to a bullfight in Seville during Feria de Abril. I’m sure many readers have opinions (and want me to hear them). However, in life I do my best to see different cultures through their eyes.
This is very much not the same as indulging in touristy activities that are detrimental to local life or unsustainable. We do plenty of weird things that other cultures don’t understand or don’t agree with in our home countries.
Millions of cows are killed and eaten daily in our culture. I found it interesting that the Latin world honors the animal by giving it a chance to fight for its freedom. It’s possible in Spain that the bull receives a pardon.
Overall it’s not my thing, and I don’t personally need to do it again, but at least now I am speaking from experience rather than nay-saying someone else’s traditions and culture out of blind ignorance. That is just too easy.
Favorite Memory from Ronda
Ronda was a short stop on a long trip but I distinctly remember standing on a wall at the bottom of the gorge overlooking the plains and recalling movies and scenes I had seen filmed in places like this. Gladiator, anyone?
Actually standing there, feeling the pace of life, seeing the houses people wake up in every day, and embracing the sounds and smells created such an obvious impression that there is no substitute for making the journey to discover a new place for yourself in person. You simply have to visit Ronda!
Need to Know Before you Go
Unless you are a photographer trying to give yourself several chances at the perfect hazy morning, plan your visit to Ronda as a day trip and give yourself at least four hours. There are a few cafes overlooking the bridge with simple food and not much of an upcharge for the views.
Don’t just go to the bridge and turn around. I suggest crossing the bridge and looping back around from the other side of the gorge – there are other bridges by which you can cross lower down. There is also a hike to the lower viewpoint which looks up at the waterfall and bridge that I didn’t make it to because I was too busy flying the drone and trying not to get in trouble!
P.S. don’t fly drones here unless you are a professional drone pilot. Thanks for reading everyone and I hope you get the chance to visit Ronda one day.