“Cascada de Ronda” (or the Ronda Waterfall) was the name that I’m dubbing this attractive waterfall, where the Río Guadalevín (Deep River) that tumbled some 25m or so beneath the impressive Puente Nuevo (New Bridge) spanning the Tajo Gorge in the old town of Ronda. I’m not even sure if this waterfall has a formal name, which is strange considering that this could very well be the signature attraction of the Andalucían town of Ronda. In fact, the photo you see at the top of this page was merely my attempt at capturing the grandeur of the falls and the gorge while numerous people before managed to capture the same thing and produced and immortalized them in one form or another whether they were on post cards, calendars, photos on the web, etc.
The Puente Nuevo that towered over the waterfall linked the old town with the new town though it wasn’t the only bridge spanning the deep and narrow gorge as further to the east in the gorge were the 16th century Puente Viejo (Old Bridge) and the 11th century Puente Árabe (Arab Bridge). The New Bridge was said to have been built in the 18th century, and I noticed there were steps leading to a lower level on the New Town side of the bridge, which I’d imagine would have been the interpretive center. It was closed during our late afternoon and early morning visits.
In order to get the view that you see at the top of this page, we first had to be on the side of the Old Town side (south) of the New Bridge. We then had to get to the Plaza del Campillo (or Plaza de Maria Auxiliadora), where there was a panoramic lookout of the Tajo Gorge and the widening landscape further downstream of it. Also in the plaza was a square harboring some monuments, gardens, and benches, which was the ripe kind of environment for buskers adding a little more ambience to the scene for a propina (tip). On the far side of the plaza were steps that led us down into the gorge. After about 5-10 minutes of descending, we had our choice of spur trails and lookouts that provided the famous direct views of the “Cascada de Ronda”.
Continuing further down on the steps, I managed to get far enough to a point where I started to notice old walls. Apparently, these walls were known as the Murallas de la Albacara (Walls of Albacara), which were built to protect mills (molinos) within the gorge. Along these walls, there was a pair of archways (Puerta de los Molinos or the Door of the Mills and Puerta del Viento or Door of the Wind) where I took one of them (not sure which one) further down a rough and overgrown path leading closer to the ditches or water canals and possibly to the base of the waterfall itself. I only went as far down as the water canals as it started getting too overgrown to see the waterfall anymore. However, I didn’t explore much further so there could have been other hidden surprises down there, but given the number of spider webs that brushed my face, I’d imagine that not many people go down here.
A pleasant surprise for making the effort to go this far down into the Tajo Gorge from the Plaza del Campillo was that there was a natural arch across the gorge beneath the approximate location of the Paseo Blas Infante (an open area park and lookout behind the Ronda Bullring – said to be the oldest one in Spain). This tall jug handle arch didn’t seem to have any fanfare or attention devoted to it in the literature, but as you can see from the photos on this page, the natural arch was legitimate.
You can’t see the waterfall from anywhere else but this descending trail beneath the Plaza del Campillo. Once you’re back up in the town of Ronda, you’ll always be behind and above the drop of the Cascada de Ronda. And since this was a west-facing waterfall, that meant that the best light would be in the afternoon when the soft setting sun would illuminate the gorge and the New Bridge with its orangish hue on a sunny day.
We stayed in the Old Town of Ronda so we were able to walk to the Plaza del Campillo (or Plaza de Maria Auxiliadora) from the Plaza del Gigante by going west on one of the narrow streets. From the New Bridge, it was also possible to get to Plaza del Campillo on foot aong the Calle Tenorio. Once at the plaza, we were able to descend into the gorge as described above.
We drove to Ronda after picking up our rental car in Málaga. It was about a two-hour drive along a combination of the A-7 (or AP-7, which was a toll autovía paralleling the A-7) which we took for about 69km, then the A-397 (for another 44km). Since we were staying in the Old Town and we ultimately had to park near the Plaza Duquesa, we ultimately left the A-397 at the A-6300 headed west (there was a roundabout here), then we followed the A-6300 west for about 1.6 kilometers before leaving the many-sided roundabout at the Calle Cuesta de las Imágenes (the exit after the Gate and Walls of Almocabar). We then followed the Calle Cuesta de las Imágenes until we had to turn left to get into the Plaza de Duquesa. The parking was on the far southern side right behind some church next to the Ayuntamiento (town hall).
If you’re not staying in Old Town, then you’ll have to find other public parking spaces in the New Town area then walk. We can’t say anything more about that particular option since we didn’t do that.
For further context, Ronda was 128km (about 2 hours drive) southeast of Sevilla (or Seville), 101km (about 90 minutes drive) west of Málaga, 180km (over 2 hours drive) west of Granada, 164km (about 2.5 hours drive or about 2 hours by trains) south of Córdoba, and 551km (over 5.5 hours drive) south of Madrid.
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