Ronda Romantica

Historical recreation full of color and tradition: visit the Romantic Ronda 2017

A trip back in time to the Romantic Ronda will take place this year from May 25th to May 28th. Four days in which Ronda locals and numerous visitors will travel back to those historical moments during which the first editions of the Real Feria de Mayo (Royal May Fair) took place, back in the sixteenth century.

In order to announce the fifth edition of this festival, the City Hall has chosen as its official poster the painting titled “Contrabandistas en la Serranía de Ronda” (Smugglers in the Ronda Mountain Range). A painting by Manuel Barrón y Carrillo, who is considered Andalusia’s best representative regarding Romantic landscape painting. This painting can be found at the Museo Nacional de Romanticismo (National Museum of Romanticism).

The announcement of the beginning of Ronda Romántica 2017 will be held on May 25th, at 21:00, in the Convento Santo Domingo (Santo Domingo Convent). The announcer will be Malaga´s famous actor, Manuel Banderas.

This year “Ronda Romantica” festival official program includes:

  • V Festival de Recreaciones Históricas y Romanceros. (Historical recreattion)
  • II Festival de Arte Culinario de la Serranía de Ronda. (Festival of culinary art)
  • V Festival folclórico popular de la Serranía. (Flamenco Festival)
  • V Encuentro Flamenco de los Cantes de Ronda. (Flamenco singers meet-up)
  • II Convención de la Ruta de los Viajeros Románticos. (Romantic Traveler Route )
  • Ronda Romántica Infantil. (“Romantic Ronda” for children)
  • V Mercado de época romántica y Paseo de Caballos y Carruajes. ( Romantic period market and Horse and Carriage Ride)
  • V Pregón Romántico y Pasacalles Romántico. ( Official speech and parade of “Romantic Ronda”)
  • VII Concurso Hípico de Alta Escuela. (Equestrian Competition)
  • II Exhibición ecuestre de paso a dos y Carrusel de la Escuela de Equitación de la Real Maestranza. (Equestrian exhibition of the Real Maestranza Riding School)


1. The ‘Romantic’ setting

Romantic Ronda

The setting recreated by the Romantic Ronda is simply amazing. Locals truly express themselves by decorating their streets and shop windows. The garlands and oleanders in the streets mix with pennants and banners hanging from the lampposts, exhibiting the heraldry symbols of Ronda’s mountain region. A tour to the most genuine history of the city. Stores dress up in the fashion of the Romantic times, paying attention to every detail. So, there you can find etchings that recreate the most typical moments of the time, which are very successful with visitors. Bulls and horses next to men and women dressed as “majas and majos” is another typical image that many painters have reproduced in their canvas.

But the fair is not only about these artistic expressions displayed by art galleries. Emphasis is put on the setting,  through the typical agricultural tools of the time. Wheelbarrows, rakes and tools for animals are just a few examples of what we can find. All of this is also accompanied by clay objects, flowerpots, heaters, bowls, vases, barrels, chests, trunks, vessels, nickel silver, antique furniture and tables .

As for restaurants, cooking will be made in stone ledges, and food can be prepared only in stoves or portable cookers. There will be no electric light, and light will be obtained from oil lamps, kerosene lamps or candles. Chairs and tables are made from rustic wood, boards or cattail.

This effort turns Ronda into the center of attention during one of its most traditional celebrations. For this reason, contests are also held, giving prizes to the best decoration, the best typical dish, or the best costume, and others.


2. Men and Women of the Time

Romantic Ronda

One of the most prominent features of Romantic Ronda is the typical dress of the time worn by local people, disguised as the “majas and majos” from this remembered time . Both in men and women, attires are eye-catching and significant, a mixture of elements of different origins, and some of them can date way back to the past.

Women wear a traditional dress in lively colors that goes down to their ankles, with socks and buckled shoes. They wear a very tight doublet with lapels and narrow sleeves, adorned with embroidery in the shoulder area, oftentimes with many silver buttons. The main color of this garment used to be black, inherited from the Austrias monarchy, as it was worn by the court. In the colored area they used to put some kind of adornment, this is, friezes and velvet straps adorned with tassels. The hair, always pinned up inside a bonnet was another particular feature of these Ronda “majas”, and many times it was also adorned with tassels.

For their part, men wore a coat with elbow guards, also called Marseille coat because it looks like the garment used by French soldiers in Marseille. They wear a “calzón”, that is, trousers which are tight in the upper and lower part, but looser in the middle, ending up with buckled shoes that left the socks uncovered. They wear a belt around the waist, and their hair with long side whiskers.

With these main details, current Ronda locals make their costumes for the occasion, and many of them take the opportunity to dress up as bandits, the main assaulters of the 19th Century , who hid in the Ronda Mountains. An unbeatable show to commemorate this historical recreation based on clothes.


3. Gastronomy of the Past

Romantic Ronda - Rabo de Toro

If you are coming to Ronda, prepare your palate to discover the most delicious flavors, especially at this time of celebration, when tables are filled with typical recipes of the time. Without a doubt, Ronda has always been famous for its cold meats like the chorizo (spicy sausage), Spanish sausage, bondiola, pork loin, ham, foreleg and morcon (blood sausage). The oxtail, the stuffed head of loin, and the Ronda-style kid are some of the most typical recipes of the region.

During the Romantic Ronda fair, stores compete with each other to get first prize to the best typical dish, and so you can embark on a genuine gastronomic tour and taste the specialty of each place, all prepared in the traditional style, using stoves or portable cookers.

Desserts are another delicacy that stands out, and they are prepared with products from Valle del Genal like chestnuts or almonds. One more reason to come to Ronda in late May.

4. Horses and History

Visit the Romantic Ronda, horses

Horses and History

The importance of livestock in this region dates back to the Muslim Times, when Ronda was the top producer of sheep and goats within the Kingdom of Granada, and it was then known as “The Mountains of Wool”.  In some way it remained so after the Castilian conquest, without neglecting cows and horses. It is precisely horses that continue to stand out in this region. Always popular, but particularly in the 19th Century, these animals have been side by side with Ronda’s local people.

During this festival, the attire worn by horses is also recreated, together with the rider’s outfit. So, the horse wears a packsaddle, a typical country item. The saddle is adorned with brakes and breast-straps. The head stall was usually made from leather, and overall the attire was very colorful.

The rider wears a calañes hat with a silk handkerchief below, pinning up the hair in a knot close to his left year, and leaving the rest of the hair loose. In the torso, a white tight shirt and a vest in sober colors. The sash, in this case also dark, was worn around the tight trousers. Finally, on their feet they wore ankle boots covered by gaiters.

If you like horses, this is a great moment to see the best specimens, while you enjoy seeing the clothes of that time. It is a must-see spot for those who love Romanticism.

5. Pasacalles

Romantic Ronda

Ronda is filled with parades, street vendors and artisans during these days that evoke the city’s romantic past, complete with recreations of the guilds, taverns and historic parts of the town. Ancient salesmen selling coal, ice and water can be found guiding their donkeys and carts through traditional markets.

The region’s traditional period dress will also be on display as residents wear costumes from ages long since passed, recreating the roles of their ancestors.

Further, the neighborhoods will take a special effort to decorate each corner of the town behind campaigns like “No Balcony Without a Shawl”, in which every balcony in Ronda will become an exhibition of embroidered silk shawls and damask fabrics.


6. Historical Re-enactment


The town’s re-enactments should not to be missed, providing a chance for visitors to watch a historically accurate performance of ‘The Battle of the Bridge’, ‘The French invasion, 1810’, ‘Moors and Christians’,’ Ronda Contribution to Parliament of 1812 ‘Bandoleros de Grazalema ‘and a song and dance to “Dancing Round The Mountain”.

But that’s not all, because “Romantic Ronda” offers many more activities, including the First Congress of Travelers and Banditry in the Serrania de Ronda, ‘Expobandolero’ and the film exhibition, ‘Cinebandolero‘. In addition, the streets will host horse shows, horse riding, burro rides, fixed and street theater performances, street music and endless romantic activities that take us in the Serrania de Ronda.


7. Sierra de Grazalema

Visit the Romantic Ronda - Sierra de Grazalema

The majestic city of Ronda is only 40 minutes from Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park. If you want to take a quick trip by late May and early June, you can disconnect from all problems at Grazalema and, on the day of the festival, come to the most romantic city in Malaga: Ronda. There is no better option to clean one’s lungs with pure air while enjoying the most deeply-rooted traditions at the same time.

If you come here you can enjoy the thick Mediterranean forest of holm oaks, cork oaks and gall oaks, as well as its most typical species: the Spanish fir. Mainly concentrated in Sierra del Pinar, as it is the rainiest place in the Peninsula, this species descends from the Central European firs, which formed large forests here during the Ice Ages. Today, these firs live only here, at the Sierra de las Nieves and Sierra Bermeja Natural Parks (both in the province of Malaga), hence their uniqueness. Visit dream-like places to practice any kind of outdoor sports for all tastes. Mountaineers can ascend to peaks like El Torreón or El Reloj, or climb rocky grounds and walls in Peñón Grande, Aguja de las Palomas and Peñaloja, in Grazalema. A perfect plan to combine both interests: nature and culture.

If you have read these 5 features of the Romantic Ronda, we are certain that this plan will not leave you indifferent. Enjoy the South of Spain in its greenest landscapes, while taking part in the most well-known and picturesque celebrations.



Fuerte Grazalema

Fuerte Grazalema

If you want to experience this Romantic Ronda firsthand and also fill your lungs with pure air, the best place to stay, without a doubt, is Fuerte Grazalema.

The hotel has 77 rooms equipped with private balcony, breathtaking views to the Guadalete Valley and the town of Grazalema, air conditioning, satellite TV, mini-bar, free Wifi, bathroom with amenities and hairdryer.

It has an outdoor swimming-pool and a jacuzzi with views to the Sierra de Grazalema. Besides, this is one of the few hotels in the area with a game room. It also houses an animal farm and an organic garden, with visits every day organized by the hotel. Other activities in the program for guests to enjoy include courses of Andalusian cuisine, tasting of regional dishes, flamenco classes, and workshops on how to prepare sangria and gazpacho.



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