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Fitness
Hiking trail

El Tajo Gorge Loop

Hiking trail · Ronda
Responsible for this content
Macs Adventure Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • View to Puente Nuevo
    / View to Puente Nuevo
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / Sunrise from Puente Nuevo with views to El Tajo Gorge
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / Church in the Moorish Quarter
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
  • / View to the Ronda Escarpment
    Photo: Josiah Skeats, Macs Adventure
m 800 700 600 500 6 5 4 3 2 1 km Puente Viejo Arab Baths El Tajo Gorge

A loop walk which explores Ronda and the surrounding countryside from both the top and bottom of the escarpment.

easy
6.3 km
1:45 h
220 m
219 m

You may like to enjoy your final day exploring Ronda at your own pace – there is certainly plenty to see and do! - but to really capture the best of the town it is important to see it from both the top and bottom of the cliffs. This loop walk clambers along their tops before descending to the foot of them, revealing an endless array of viewpoints along the way.

From the clifftops, you gaze out (perhaps nostalgically?) at the mountains you have spent the last week traversing. You’ll cross Puente Nueve (New Bridge), peering into the gorge below, to enter the historic quarter which retains much of its charm; take some time to deviate from the trail and get lost in the maze of cobbled streets here.

From the bottom of the escarpment, you can gaze up at the buildings perched precariously on the edge and admire the Guadalevín River which erupts from the Tajo Gorge in an impressive series of cascading waterfalls and rapids. From here, the Puente Nueve bridge is revealed as an astonishing piece of architecture – particularly when you learn it’s actually not so new and was built in the 18th century.

Author’s recommendation

This walk captures much of Ronda’s charm. Another recommendation is to stroll the length of the pedestrianised ‘Calle Malaga’ – locals from the villages you’ve visited over the last week will come here to do their shopping and socialise with friends!

outdooractive.com User
Author
Macs Adventure
Updated: March 05, 2020

Difficulty
easy
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
747 m
Lowest point
528 m

Rest Stop

Tropicana Ronda

Safety information

There are some exposed and unfenced edges throughout the walk; be careful and remain on the path.

There are several stretches where you must walk on the road as there is no pavement. Walk on the left side facing the oncoming traffic unless there is a sharp left bend, in which case you should cross to the outside edge to allow drivers the maximum time to see you.

Some of the path is along rocky steps; be careful as these may be slippery, especially when wet.

Equipment

Sturdy hiking boots and a waterproof/wind-break layer are required. Walking poles will be a big advantage on some of the steep ascents and descents.

Ensure your phone is fully charged; if you doubt the battery will last throughout the hike, it might be beneficial to bring a power bank.

Make sure you bring enough water. It is recommended to drink 0.75 litres per 1 hour of hiking in hot weather.

Be sure to bring plenty of sun-cream and a healthy respect for the sun.

Tips, hints and links

Points of Interest

Ronda Bullring and Museum

Irrespective of whether you support bullfighting, it is hard to deny the cultural impact it has had on Ronda. The Ronda Bullring was the first in Spain and continues to be the largest; constructed entirely from stone in 1784 with two levels and 136 columns, it is an architectural work of art. Bullfighting is inextricably tangled with the Real Maestranza de Caballería de Ronda, Spain’s oldest and most noble school of horsemanship, and the birthplace of modern equestrianism.

(Don’t feel anxious about visiting; it isn’t bloodthirsty or gory!)

More information available here: https://www.rondatoday.com/plaza-de-toros-bullring/

 

Puente Nuevo

There is an irony in the name, Puente Nuevo ‘New Bridge’ when you consider that it is over 220 years old (built-in 1793)! But after all, it is the newest of the three bridges that span the El Tajo gorge in Ronda. The striking design of the bridge has made it one of Spain’s most photographed destinations.

 

El Tajo Gorge

The El Tajo Gorge, 68 metres at its narrowest and 120 metres at its deepest, is an unavoidable feature of Ronda as it separates different areas of the city. It has been carved out by the Guadalevín River.

 

Arab Baths

The Arab Baths or Baños Arabes was the main hammam for Ronda during Moorish times and is the best-preserved example in Spain today. You can wander through this marvellous architecture and see the cold, warm and hot rooms where, 700 years ago, locals would have come to sweat out toxins, purify their body before prayer in the mosque, and generally enjoy the social occasion.

More information available here: http://www.rondatoday.com/rondas-arab-baths/

 

Food and Drink

There are no opportunities to buy food or drink throughout the walk so be sure to bring sufficient provisions with you.

Start

Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Merced (Church of Our Lady of Mercy), Ronda (727 m)
Coordinates:
Geographic
36.744089, -5.167302
UTM
30S 306504 4068673

Destination

Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Merced (Church of Our Lady of Mercy), Ronda

Turn-by-turn directions

0.00km – Start with your back to the entrance of the Church of Our Lady of Mercy (Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Merced) Walk forwards and then after 20 metres, TURN RIGHT to enter and walk through the park.

0.20km – As you reach the precipitous viewpoint on the edge of the park, TURN LEFT to continue through the park with the viewpoint on your right.

0.40km – As you emerge into a cobbled plaza with the bullring on your left, BEAR LEFT to pass the Oficina de Turismo on your right. After 50 metres, directly opposite ‘Puerta 2’ (Door 2) TURN RIGHT to walk down a narrow lane with outdoor seating for restaurants.

0.50km – As you emerge into a wide square with a roundabout on your left, CONTINUE STRAIGHT ON to cross over the bridge directly ahead, and then pass into the historic Moorish quarter. Having crossed the bridge, TURN RIGHT after 50 metres, onto the first right turn – a cobbled road beside a restaurant.

0.88km – BEAR RIGHT to walk through the park enjoying the viewpoints on your right. Once past the park after 100 metres, TURN RIGHT onto the downhill steps signposted to ‘Puerta de los Molinos’ and Benaoján. There is a detour to a viewpoint of Puente Nuevo (New Bridge) after 100 metres. Be careful as there is an exposed edge at the viewpoint.

1.30km – The path splits just after passing under some overhead lines. BEAR LEFT to continue heading away from Ronda and the Puente Neuvo, passing through a stone arch and a section of old wall. You can detour to another viewpoint by turning right here.

1.40km – TURN RIGHT to head downhill as you reach a cobbled road. You will immediately pass a wooden post with white, red, yellow and green markings, and an information board for nearby hikes.

2.10km – As the road forks beside derelict buildings on your right, BEAR LEFT to walk along the paved road, signposted to Benaoján. Ignore the right fork which heads downhill towards a bridge over the stream.

2.30km – The road now bends right to cross a different bridge over the stream. Remain on this paved road for 1.7 kilometres, ignoring all side roads. You are walking generally parallel to the edge of the escarpment on your right, and there is occasional waymarking to confirm you are still on the correct path.

4.00km – As the paved road becomes gravel shortly after passing above a stables on your left, TURN RIGHT onto the rocky path heading uphill. This path passes an electricity pylon and walks on the edge of woodland.

4.50km – BEAR RIGHT to continue heading uphill and onto a paved road beside the stone wall. Ignore the downhill left turn. After 100 metres BEAR RIGHT to keep ascending on the paved road beside the wall, ignoring a narrow lane that disappears into woodland on your left.

5.00km – As the road becomes gravel and immediately forks, BEAR LEFT. After 100 metres, just after passing an electricity pylon on your left, BEAR RIGHT to continue uphill. After 100 metres, this will lead onto a paved road and continue climbing, with a precipitous drop (behind the wall) and wonderful views on your right, and houses on your left.

5.60km – BEAR RIGHT at the roundabout to continue enjoying the views on your right. Remain on this road, ignoring all side paths. After 200 metres it will wind past houses on your left, before entering a busier section of town.

6.30km – Finish at the Church of Our Lady of Mercy. Why not celebrate with a glass of local wine? There are 24 vineyards around Ronda!

Note


all notes on protected areas

Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


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Difficulty
easy
Distance
6.3 km
Duration
1:45h
Ascent
220 m
Descent
219 m

Statistics

: h
 km
 m
 m
Highest point
 m
Lowest point
 m
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