By Irene Ortiz
IF you want to get away from the rat-race and you like spectacular scenery and unspoilt mountain towns, then Ronda could be for you.
Since moving here a few years ago, I have really got into the huge range of things to do, as well as the superb food.
On top of this, people are more friendly and welcoming than any other place I have visited in Spain.
Perched high on a ridge surrounded by some of the most spectacular scenery in Spain, Ronda has a magical charm and a rich and diverse history.
The city is 739m above sea level and has a population of approx. 40.000 inhabitants known as Rondeños.
It is a setting which has inspired poets and writers for years, notably Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles.
They both fell in love with the town as they immersed themselves in the art of bullfighting,
and Hemingway based part of his famous book For Whom the Bell Tolls here.
The city – and I call it a city, as that is what the local Spaniards call it – is perhaps most famous for its amazing bridge
El Puente Nuevo (the new Bridge). It is the soul of the city and spans the breathtaking 100m deep gorge and river.
The gorge divides the city into two parts; the older, Moorish quarter and the newer section of the town.
Wander the streets at your own pace and take in the magnificent architecture, sit for a while in one of the many delightful little squares and just breathe in the atmosphere.
You might take a horse-drawn carriage and clip clop around the main tourist sights or if you are feeling a little more energetic take a guided walking tour.
Nearby, there is a huge variety of activities available, including, bird-watching, ballooning, climbing, horse-riding, paragliding and a host of other country pursuits.
The lifestyle in Ronda is, what I would call, traditional, but with the cost of living and property prices much lower than on the Costas.
The city has all the amenities but is not so big as to lose its charm and personality.
Join the local Rondenos and visit historic Calle la Bola where everyone goes shopping. A pedestrianised street, here you will find everything from antiques to clothes.
While the weather is slightly cooler in winter and the nights can be cold, it still has a much better temperature than in northern Spain.
Average temperatures range from 13 degrees in December to 31 degrees in August.
Best of all, if you are thinking of making the move to Ronda, right now property prices are very competitive – it’s a buyers’ market!
There are many bargains to be had. Country houses and fincas have seen some huge reductions in price and scattered around the nearby Serrania are a number of ‘palacetes’ or ‘palaces’, which would make wonderful Bed and Breakfast-style hotels or great family homes.
Ronda has a diverse culture and foreign residents from many different parts of the world have made it their home.
You have to speak Spanish and enjoy a different sort of culture to the coast, but the rewards are many.
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