The most famous of the 'pueblos blancos' - 9th Century BC Ronda

The most famous of the 'pueblos blancos' - 9th Century BC Ronda

One of Spain’s most stunningly situated towns, the geography of Ronda is defined by the plunging El Tajo Gorge that divides the town in two, and the soaring 18th century Puente Nuevo bridge that spans the fissure. It’s no surprise the town inspired the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles. As romantic, and bloodthirsty a history as you could hope for is on display here: the graceful bullring is home of modern matadoring, a museum devoted to banditry celebrates the region’s shadier past; and the whitewashed Muslim old town begs for a stroll through its plazas and alleys. A walk down into the gorge below highlights not only the majesty of the towering bridge, but also the civil war’s bloody legacy – the bridge’s column interiors were used as a prison during the conflict. The annual Feria Goyesca is spectacular, with bullfights taking place in 18th century dress – this is a town that above all revels in the theatre of honour, rebellion and religion. Hemingway wrote in 1932 that Ronda was the place to go in Spain if you’re honeymooning. It still is.

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