When we arrived to Ronda, it was like a little oasis, especially after having made the long journey from Morocco that day.
I remember being so hot that evening. Our room was hot as the fan wasn’t working properly and it was a very warm evening. It was like I could not shake the heat from Rif mountains of Morocco from earlier in the day. So, what’s a girl to do when there’s no AC anywhere and she’s having a major hot flash? I’m so embarrassed to say that we went to McDonald’s just so I could sit and cool off for a few minutes. Ridiculous, I know!
Our hotel, Alavera de los Baños, was at the bottom of the gorge and and had a beautiful countryside location.
After we got settled in, I took a shower to cool off and then we went and just lounged by the pool. Just to breathe and relax.
The hotel is surrounded by horse pastures, so as we lay there, we could hear the sounds of the horses whinnying occasionally and hear the sounds of running water from a fountain. The view of the horses roaming the surrounding rolling hills was so beautiful and peaceful.
While I loved the location, you do have to walk up the long steps to the town. I kind of found myself wishing we has stayed on the upper side of town, but then when I thought of view of the rolling hills, the horses and the tranquility, I thought better of it and decided we had picked wisely. It just depends on what you’re looking for.
We stayed in a regular room the first night because a terrace room wasn’t available and our fan had only one speed – barely moving. Not so good for temps in the 90s and beyond. But we didn’t make a big deal of it as we knew we were already planning to move to a different room the second night. We loved the upgraded room! Even with no air conditioning, it was plenty cool with the properly functioning ceiling fan. I would definitely recommend the terrace rooms.
The terrace opens up to the gardens and it is just beautiful (and not that much more expensive).
Breakfast is included here and was a highlight for me as it’s my favorite meal of the day anyway. So, to be served breakfast on a garden terrace, as you gaze out at the countryside and the grazing horses, was heavenly to me. They served a plate of meats and cheeses, a plate of fruit, a bread basket with assorted jams, fresh-squeezed orange juice and coffee. Such a great way to start the day!
Ronda is one of the so-called white villages of southern Spain. It is in a mountainous area and it’s distinguishing feature is that there is a deep gorge that runs through the town. The town is cut in half by the Guadalevín River that carves out the steep (over 100 meters deep) El Tajo canyon. It is quite beautiful and makes for some stunning views, especially with the idyllic rolling hills beyond. We really enjoyed the smaller feel of this place as compared to the bigger cities in Spain. It had history, charm, culture, things to do and the feel of being in the country.
Did you know that Ronda was one of Ernest Hemingway’s old haunts? He used to spend summers here. In fact, he is said to have based executions in his book For Whom the Bell Tolls on killings that took place in Ronda on the cliffs of the canyon.
We enjoyed just wandering around the town, stopping at some of the lookout points and just exploring.
Casa Don Bosco
We accidentally stumbled upon this great place, called Casa Don Bosco. At first we peeked in, and looked like an old house with a beautiful tiled entry room. The lady wanted €2 and I remember thinking for this? But, then, we realized that there were terraced gardens and a spectacular view. So worth the small entrance fee! We stayed here a while taking pictures and enjoying the scenery. I never once ran across this place mentioned by other travelers or on travel websites, but it is a must see if you go to Ronda. It is a modernist palace that was built at the beginning of the 20th century.
The Arab Baths
These 11th century Arab baths are considered to be one of the most preserved in Europe. They had these public baths because according to Muslim customs of the time, one had to be purified before entering the city. They are constructed of 3 different chambers and in old times consisted of hot, warm and cold rooms.
I loved the small, star-shaped cutouts in the ceiling that were to let the light in. I would venture to say that these might have been the first ever skylights.
Sunset in Ronda
We made sure to be in town at sunset time to catch the views. It was stunning.