Our First Overseas Wine Tasting in Ronda, Spain

We have had the opportunity to enjoy wine tastings in several countries, but our very first experience was in the wonderful town of Ronda in Spain.  We took a tour from Estaponia, which is located in the Costa Del Sol, to take us from the beach to the mountain town with it’s historic bridge.  It was an amazing time travelling throughout the region and exploring the many sites that the area has to offer.  We rented a car while we were there, but when we visited Ronda, we hired a guide to drive us and take us to an organic wine vineyard as well as one of the many olive vineyards that dominate the hillsides.  It was probably a wise decision not to drive that day as the wine tasting was rather generous.

Wine Tasting
Wine Tasting
Gorgeous View of Ronda, Spain

We traveled to Spain in November, so it was the off-season as far as tourists goes, so we ended up with a private tour and tasting at the Joaquin Fernandez Vineyard.  The wine was amazing and the views from the vineyard were spectacular.  The vineyard was completely organic and at the ends of each row of vines were a variety of plants that attracted bees and insects that were natural predators to insects that could harm the grapes.  After the tour was the tasting.  For each wine, we were poured a full glass and the owner explained which grapes were used and why.  In addition to the wine, we had a meat and cheese tray as well as bread sticks to help cleanse our palate.  The owner would not continue on to the next wine until we finished our glass, so we were feeling quite good by the time we finished several glasses of wine.

Wine Tour
Wine Tour
Joaquin Fernandez Vineyard
Joaquin Fernandez Vineyard

From there we were off to visit an olive vineyard where they still hand press the olive oil.  It is a slow process where they continuously add pads to the press as they slowly crush all of the oil out of the olives.  Tasting freshly pressed olive oil was amazing, there is truly nothing like it.  It is truly a labor of love, but at the same time, it is definitely labor intensive.  In addition to pressing their own olives, the surrounding vineyards would sell their olives to them to be pressed and sold by them.  Everywhere you go in southern Spain, you are surrounded by olive trees and we were tempted several times to just pull our car over and grab some fresh from the branches.  After being spoiled by having such fresh olives, we have found ourselves to be very picky about the olives that we eat here in the States.

Olive Presses
Olive Presses
Dona at Olive Vineyard
Dona at Olive Vineyard

Ronda, itself, is a beautiful town with an incredible bridge that connects the old and new parts of the city.  It is home to the oldest bull fighting ring in Spain, although it is much smaller than ones that you can find in Seville or Madrid.  Sitting high upon the cliffs, the views from Ronda of the surrounding area is unbeatable.  It is certainly worth making Ronda a destination to visit if you’re in southern Spain.  It has all of the charm one would expect of a village, but has the amenities of a small city.  We sat and had coffee in one of the hotels and simply soaked in the atmosphere.

Bridge at Rhonda
Bridge at Ronda
Bullfighting Ring in Rhonda
Bullfighting Ring in Ronda

There were many things about our trip to Spain that were remarkable, but visiting Ronda and doing the wine tasting was definitely one of the best experiences of the trip.  Living in Colorado with all our mountains, it was surprising to us how similar the terrain of Spain was to much of the southwest.  The drive to Ronda, through the rugged mountains, was an adventure itself, but well worth the effort.  The wine tasting in Ronda was a perfect introduction to tasting wines during our travels and we look forward to our next opportunity to sample wine and tour a vineyard in another exotic location, it is an experience that can’t be beaten.

Lake Near Rhonda
Lake Near Ronda
View from Vineyard
View from Vineyard

The Perfect Itinerary for a Trip to Southern Spain

There are so many wonderful places to see in Southern Spain, so we have put together what we considered to be an ideal itinerary for visiting the region. We rented a car for the 2 weeks that we spent there, which is ideal as it is easy to get around and the highways are not very busy. Although we stayed at one central location so that we didn’t have to continuously pack and unpack, it could easily be done by going to each place individually.

Alhambra in Granada


  1. Granada – You will want at least 2 days in Granada with the highlight of city being the Alhambra Palace. There are wonderful restaurants and plenty of quaint hotels to choose from. Situated near the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains, the city has breathtaking views. Although we only spent a couple of days in Granada, it is certainly worthy of more time if you have it available.

    Fountain in Alhambra
  2. Malaga – We flew into this city and then immediately drove to our home-base in Estepona, but we made sure to come back and spend a day in the city later. You can also catch a high-speed train to Madrid if you want to see something other than Southern Spain. Sitting on the coast of the Mediterranean with a history that stretches back almost 3,000 years, it is certainly worth at least a couple of days during your time in the region. There are also several museums that are worth visiting in addition to the many sights around the city.

    Organ in the Malaga Cathedral
  3. Marbella and Estepona – Basically the Spanish Riviera on the Costa Del Sol, you could easily spend two weeks just enjoying the beach, water activities, shopping, resorts, and award-winning restaurants. We stayed in Estepona, so after every day trip, we would return back to watch the sun set over the Mediterranean. Not a bad way to end a busy day of sightseeing. Even if you can’t spend a couple of weeks in these resort towns, you should at least plan on a couple of days to enjoy the beautiful beaches and eat some fresh seafood.

    Beach on the Mediterranean
  4. Benahavís – With only a single road that leads to this town in the mountains, it is a food lovers paradise. Even if you don’t spend a full day in the town, it is certainly worth visiting if you are in the Marbella area. It is quintessential Spain with a truly relaxed atmosphere and some of the best restaurants and wine that we had during our time in Spain.

    Streets of Estepona
  5. Ronda – The bridge that spans the canyon is worth seeing from both above as well as below. There is also the oldest bullfighting ring in Spain within the city and there is a unique and historical bullfight that takes place in Ronda once a year. While in the area, it is certainly worthwhile to visit one of the many vineyards and olive farms for a tasting. We spent a day in Ronda and felt that we were able to get a true sense of the city, but you could certainly spend more time if you have it available.

    Hiking to the Bridge
  6. Tangiers, Morocco – Although not in Spain, we would highly recommend taking a ferry across the Strait of Gibraltar to see this historic city. Being at the crossroads from Africa into Europe, Tangiers is a fascinating city with a cultural blend that is unique to Northern Africa. We hired a private tour guide so that we had transportation to get outside of the city, but it certainly isn’t necessary. Although we only spent a single day in Morocco, we would recommend getting a hotel and at least spending 2 days if your travels allow.

  7. Gibraltar – Just seeing the Rock of Gibraltar and the fortress is worth making this part of your travel plans. Given that it is part of the United Kingdom, walking the streets of Gibraltar will make you feel like you are walking a street somewhere in England with all of the pubs, British flags, and fish and chips vendors. A day in the city is enough to take the tram up to the top of the Rock of Gibraltar to see the amazing views as well as to walk through the city itself.

    The Rock of Gibraltar
  8. Seville – As the capital of Andalusia, it is certainly a highlight of any trip to Southern Spain. To truly get a sense of everything that this historic city has to offer, you will want to spend at least 3 days in Seville. With its historic cathedral, old town, Jewish quarter, and museums, there is much to see in the city. If you do drive to Seville, the narrow streets can be difficult to navigate. Be sure to enjoy some Iberico ham while you are in the city as it is truly delicious.

    Seville Cathedral

We certainly enjoyed our full two week adventure in Southern Spain and would highly recommend it to anyone traveling there. We visiting during November, which turned out to be ideal as far as temperatures go, but if you want to spend more time on the beach, then you should consider summer. If you do go during summer, expect the coast to be packed with visitors as many people from across Europe head to the beaches and resorts in the area.

View of Gibraltar

Cliffs of Ronda

Coast of Morocco



Daily Post Photo Challenge – Edge

There are a lot of photos that we have taken while looking over steep edges. Considering that we have a fear of heights, looking through the lens and zooming at objects in the distance can often be disorienting. For this week’s challenge, we decided to share this photo taken in Ronda, Spain, of the houses built on the edge of the large crevasse that separates the old and new sides of the city.

Gorgeous View of Ronda, Spain
Gorgeous View of Ronda, Spain

Sitting on the Edge
Sitting on the Edge