The autonomous state of Andalusia packs an area so diverse, so historic, so beautiful that there are even travel guidebooks of the region for the Spanish. From peninsular Cadiz, to coastal Malaga, to the mountainous Sierra Nevada, Andalusia seems to have more than some European countries have to offer. Seville, Andalusia’s capital, is a dazzling city in not just Andalusia but all of Spain as it prides itself as Spain’s flamenco capital. What makes the region historically fascinating is the Islamic reign from the 8th to 15th centuries, as evident in Cordoba’s famous mosque and Spain’s most grand monument, the Alhambra de Granada.

But despite the sought-after beaches of Malaga and the shining cities of Seville and Cordoba, we opted to pass them up. Spaniards might gasp upon hearing my decision, but we were tired of cities and fancy restaurants, tired of the crowds and noise, and preferred to indulge in the greener parts of Andalusia instead. Although now I wonder whether I should have dropped into Seville and Cordoba, even if it meant a quick trip, I have no regrets taking a refreshing break in Ronda.

First, we made a stopover in El Bosque en route from Cadiz to Ronda to spend a night. Like in Segovia, we parked beside a bullfighting ring.IMG_0722

Once in Ronda, we easily found parking southwest of the Puerta de Almocabar right by the Cepsa gas station. From there we quickly made our way to the trails at the bottom of the gorge. Hiking along the gorge provided the best views of Ronda’s amazing Puente Nuevo.IMG_0736

I thought I spent an excessive amount of time gawking at the towering bridge from beneath the gorge, but once I made it to the top, I probably spent an equal amount of time gaping at the white village of Ronda perched atop the dramatic cliffs.

In addition to the spectacular Puente Nuevo and its waterfall, and the breathtaking white town above the gorge, the entire town was surrounded by outdoor-enthusiast heaven—cascading hills, lush forests, and hiking trails. On one side of the bridge one can see views of the white town on the gorge, and on the other side one can see views of the natural surroundings.IMG_20160423_145621

To top off the day of gorgeous greenery, we ventured into town to savior some Spanish delights: the Plaza de Toros, considered the national home of bullfighting, crispy churros with velvety chocolate, Iberian ham and olive oil, and finally, refreshing Sangria. Viva España!

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