Ronda’s dramatic position, split in two by the dizzying ‘Tajo’ gorge is the spectacle that draws most tourists. But it’s a crime to leave without exploring the landscapes which make Ronda so photogenic.
If lockdowns left you desperate to reconnect with nature, Ronda’s awe-inspiring mountain ranges and Mediterranean forests offer all the fresh air and freedom you could desire. It’s also the ideal setting to try out new sports and be more active. If relaxation is what you seek, disconnect from modern pressures by discovering Ronda’s vineyards and white villages (pueblos blancos)
We selected three local companies offering unique ways to experience this beautiful region. Whether you want to discover a mixture of town and country, explore its forests or scale its mountains, these experiences will immerse you in the magic of the authentic Andalusia.
Reconnect with nature
Actividades Sierra de las Nieves sits in the heart of this National Park and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Clara and her family have owned the cortijo here for four generations. Their knowledge and passion for the area, its landscapes and legends, make their activities unforgettable and the wild beauty of this landscape accessible to all.
One truly unique and magical experience is La Ronca del Gamo (17 September to 3 October). Following a farmhouse dinner, you’ll be led on a moonlit walk through the private forest, listening to the beautiful and haunting mating calls of deer. You’ll also have the privilege to witness the spectacular jumps and clashes between male deer competing for females. Afterwards, you can rest in hammocks beneath the stars, soaking up the soothing sounds of nature. Finally, this unforgettable experience can be shared at dawn over a hearty mountain breakfast.
To reach every corner of this mountain range, try their circular 4×4 route (6 hours, 30 km). This offers the chance to see the less accessible parts of the stunning Sierra de las Nieves. Travel through Fuenfria to the hideout of Flores Arotcha, one of the last of the famous bandits of this serrania. From the source of the Rio Verde to the Puerto del Robledal, enjoy the stunning views right down to the Mediterranean.
To learn about the endangered Pinsapo pine tree plus other local fauna, book a two hour Nature Walk (available in English). You may also spot native species such as Ibex, deer and wild boar. Upcoming walks are 7 & 14 Sept from 10.30h – 13.30h.
Get active and explore authentic Andalusia
Whilst cooped up during the pandemic many of us pledged to get out into the countryside and try a new activity. However, the preparation of hiring equipment and map reading can make getting started off-putting.
This is where great breaks like those provided by Hike + Bike the Sierras come in. They take care of everything including local guides, equipment and accommodation, so that you can focus on enjoying the experience.
‘Adventurous yet relaxing, with comfort at its heart’ – their two-day Taste of Ronda break is perfectly balanced between discovering Ronda town and its gastronomic pleasures and exploring the countryside by bike. A little indulgence is also thrown in with an afternoon spent at a local bodega, where you can sample organic wines accompanied by traditional, local tapas.
A perfect way for budding cyclists to experience the famed beauty of Ronda’s pueblos blancos is to take their four night Mini Tour via five delightfully different white villages – Setenil de las Bodegas, Alcala del Valle, Torre Alhaquime, Montejaque and Benaojan – staying overnight in two of them. The tour includes a visit to the remains of the Roman amphitheatre at Acinipo and a stop at the beautiful waterfall at the Cueva del Gato. Designed for leisure cyclists rather than experts, daily distances are kept manageable, plus its self-guided nature means you can take things at your own pace, enjoy the views and stop regularly to try local tapas!
Find other tempting Hike + Bike the Sierras trips such as their Walking, Cycling and Spa Tour plus daily activities for all levels, from beginners to more experienced mountain bikers and walkers on their website.
Relax, replenish, renew
If pandemic life has left you tired and stressed, the award-winning Suryalila Retreat Centre offers a range of activities for guests, plus exceptional retreats, guaranteed to replenish mind, body and soul.
Their English-speaking staff will have you feeling at home within minutes of arriving. Whether you visit with a partner or friend, the activities make it easy to make new connections.
Nominated as one of the Best Yoga Retreats in the world, enthusiasts or complete beginners can learn from on-site, world-class teachers in the most magnificent Yoga Hall in Europe, with views of beautiful rolling hills and a ruined convent.
Suryalia also offers a variety of guided walks and horse-riding excursions in its stunning surroundings of the Sierra de Grazelema Natural Park. Those seeking intense rest and relaxation can enjoy the peaceful meditation garden, salt-water swimming pool, or the divine massages from Suryalila’s excellent therapists.
Choose from beautiful boutique hotel accommodation furnished with handpicked pieces from Bali, Morocco and India, or to really immerse yourself in nature try ‘glamping’ in one of the yurts. These offer the chance to spend a night under the stars without forgoing home comforts.
Suryalila’s retreats offer something for everyone and anyone looking to return in better form than when they arrived! Upcoming examples are their Six Day Hiking & Yoga Retreat (4-9 September) with a local eco-tourism guide who leads you on some magical hikes through the hills and mountains of this stunning region, plus access to Suryalila’s pool, yoga classes, massages and delicious food.
To explore both your inner and outer worlds, join their popular Yoga, Nature and White Villages Retreat. Over six days, you will unearth the natural beauty and hidden cultural gems of the Cadiz province whilst reconnecting with yourself and the land at Suryalila. Awe-inspiring activities include visits to pueblo blancos, kayaking, horse riding, permaculture tour and river swimming. Discover more upcoming retreats by visiting the Suryalila website.