102km (63 miles) NE of Algeciras, 97km (60 miles) W of Málaga, 147km (91 miles) SE of Seville, 591km (367 miles) S of Madrid

This little town high in the Serranía de Ronda Mountains (698m/2,300 ft. above sea level) is one of the oldest and most aristocratic places in Spain. Ronda's near impregnable position kept the Catholic troops at bay until 1485. The main attraction is a deep gorge, spanned by three bridges over the Guadalevín River. On both sides of this hole in the earth are houses clinging to the cliff that look as though they might plunge into the chasm at the slightest push.

Ronda is an incredible sight. The town and the surrounding mountains were legendary hide-outs for bandits and smugglers, but today the Guardia Civil has just about put an end to that. The gorge divides the town into an older part, the Moorish and aristocratic quarter, and the newer section south of the gorge, built principally after the Reconquista.

The old quarter is by far the more fascinating; it contains narrow, rough streets and buildings with a marked Moorish influence (watch for the minaret). After the lazy resort living of the Costa del Sol, make a side excursion to Ronda; its unique beauty and refreshing mountain air are a tonic.

Note that local children may attach themselves to you as guides. For a few euros, it's not a bad idea to hire one since it's difficult to weave your way in and out of the narrow streets.