The Serrania de Ronda
The magnificent Serrania de Ronda, in the west of the province of Malaga, centres around the historic town of Ronda It is an area of great beauty and natural diversity with two vast national parks, popular with walkers who love the multitude of quiet pristine trails and with birdwatchers who spot rare species during the twice yearly migration.
The two national parks are the Sierra de Grazalema and the Sierra de las Nieves, the latter famous for some of the deepest caves in Europe.
The eponymous town of Ronda perches dramatically on a high plateau and is the centre of the famous “pueblos blancos” or Andalucian mountain white villages, 23 of them, which are dotted around the surrounding countryside. Here are just a few:
- Setenil, where the houses are built into the mountain side.
- Grazalema, a beautiful example of a pueblo blanco and the subject of Julian Pitt-Rivers ground-breaking ethnography, The People of the Sierra
- Zahara, with its stunning setting and high Moorish tower. The road connecting Zahara and Grazalema should not be missed!
- Gaucín, called the balcony of Andalucia
Cartajima is an architypal pueblo blanco.
Although cars have replaced donkeys and the women wear colourful summer frocks instead of black mourning dresses, the spirit of old Spain lives on in this remote mountain village. Cartajima is one of the famed Andalucian pueblos blancos but you won’t find it on any of the routes published by tourist offices! Whilst nearby Ronda is one of the most visited towns in southern Spain, Cartajima is probably the least visited. Not because it lacks charm or magnificent mountainscapes or gentle villagers curious to meet strangers, but because it is off the tourist trail, hidden away in an untrampled valley, undiscovered even by Conde Nast.
Traditional fiestas and lifeways persist, processions winding through the beautifully kept narrow streets, pristine white-washed houses pressing together in typical Arabic high-density fashion reflecting the village’s ancient origins. The villagers practise an agrarian lifestyle based on the sweet chestnut harvest – the lush trees fill the valley keeping the ancient trails between Cartajima and other villages in the valley cool when the rest of southern Spain bakes in the summer heat. A sleepy place sometimes, at others vibrant and bursting with pure Andalucian joy, Cartajima is a microcosm of Spain, ancient and modern.
How to get here
Malaga is the best choice of airport but guests also arriva at Sevilla or Gibraltar.
Ronda is well connected by road and rail in all directions. It´s in the middle of everything! You can either get a taxi to Cartajima or we can collect you if you are not hiring a car – which is advisable to get the best out of the area unless you are just coming for hiking.
Previsión del tiempo en Cartajima
|Cartajima, España||17°C few clouds|
Wind 13 mph, SE
Pressure 762.82 mmHg
Points of Interest
A complete guide to walking in this area is available on this link
There is nothing better than a day out with Peter Jones or one of his associates from Spanish Nature.
There are plenty of caves in the surrounding mountains for exploring. Enthusiasts should bring their own gear and local guides are available for hire.
Site of a vast Roman town still being excavated. The theatre and baths are fantastic sights to visit.
Places not to miss in Ronda include the Arab Baths, restored beautifully, the Puente Nuevo and the Tajo (gorge), Calle la Bola for shopping (leather and ceramics)
Festivals and Events
Ronda Romantica 23-27 May 2018 is a recreation of the romantic period of Ronda travel in the 18th and 19th centuries.
There are no upcoming events at this time.