The Puente Nuevo (New Bridge) is a major feat of 18th-century engineering uniting Ronda’s old and new towns over El Tajo Gorge, the sheer limestone ravine that descends 390 feet (120 meters) to the craggy bed of the Guadalevín River. Spanish architect José Martín de Aldehuela designed the bridge, constructed between 1759 and 1793.
To the south of the Puente Nuevo lies La Ciudad, Ronda’s Moorish old town, a pueblo blanco (white town) crammed with labyrinthine cobblestone streets, wrought-iron window grills and balconies, and painted shutters. Here is where most of Ronda’s historic sites lie, including Mondragón Palace and Casa del Rey Moro. Over the bridge to the north is the new(er) town of El Mercadillo, Ronda’s modern commercial heart, with stores, tapas bars, and one of the oldest bullrings in Spain.
As for the Puente Nuevo, the chamber built into the bridge’s central arch below the road was once used as a jail where political prisoners were reputedly thrown out the windows to their deaths on the rocks below. Today, it serves as a small museum detailing the history and construction of the bridge. All-day tours of Ronda from nearby cities are available.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The best photo opportunity and viewpoint across the gorge is in the middle of Puente Nuevo, but be careful of traffic.
- To catch another view of the bridge, descend to the bottom of the gorge, but be aware that the path is gravelly and steep.
- Ronda is small enough to explore on foot; good walking shoes are recommended.
How to Get There
Parking is plentiful around El Mercadillo (the new town) and outside the old town walls. If you’re traveling by car, it is about an hour and 45 minutes from Seville and about an hour and 30 minutes from Málaga. Bus service is available from both of those cities through Los Amarillos as well. Transportation is typically included with guided all-day tours.
When to Get There
Some visitors believe the best time to see the Puente Nuevo is at night, when it is illuminated by floodlights. And of course sunrise and sunset are popular times as well. If you plan to explore El Tajo Gorge, keep in mind that there is not much shade, so you might want to avoid peak daylight hours during the summer. Overall, though, Ronda does not get as hot as the coast since the town is surrounded by mountains.
Inaugurated in 1785, Plaza de Toros de Ronda is one of the oldest bullrings in Spain. It is open to visitors throughout the year except the first week in September, when the bullfighting Festival of Pedro Romero takes place. During the remainder of the year, it is used for concerts and shows and as a horse-riding school. A bullfighting museum, located under the seats, features historical bullfighting artifacts, including the royal harness collection.