Ronda is the most famous of Andalusia's pueblos blancos ("white villages"), but it's not the easiest city to get to in Spain. Situated overlooking the Tajo Gorge, this city has several historic bridges that afford excellent views of the Andalusian landscape, and due to its proximity to Malaga, Ronda is accessible by bus, car, or train, making it the perfect stop on your trip from Malaga to Seville.
Adding in Ronda in this way does add quite a bit to your travel time from Malaga to Seville, but with so many things to do in Ronda, it certainly warrants an overnight stay—plus you could stay in one of these great Andulacia hotels!
Ronda can be visited as a day trip from Malaga. However, due to the logistical issues with getting to and from Ronda (the roads are windy and rail connections are patchy), a guided tour is perhaps the best way to experience Ronda in a day.
Bear in mind that, logistically speaking, it's quite a big task to include all the transport, sightseeing, and figuring out what to do with your bags; however, there is a guided tour of Ronda from Malaga which would solve these problems.
Travel by Train
Although there is only one direct train from Malaga to Ronda—which takes two hours—there are a number of other transfers and connections that run through this Andalusian city where you can get off and explore before continuing on your trip through Spain.
The best option is the direct train offered by Spain's national trains service, Renfe, which costs €14.50 one-way—or, as a special price, you can book a round-trip ticket in advance for €24. This train departs daily from Malaga's María Zambrano station at 10:05 a.m. and arrives in Ronda a little under two hours later at 11:56 a.m.
Alternatively, you can make Ronda a stop on your train adventure through Spain by booking direct services to this city from Madrid (three hours, 45 minutes), Granada (two hours, 39 minutes), Cordoba (one hour, 45 minutes), or Antequera (one hour, 17 minutes).
Travel by Bus
Slightly cheaper than the train at around €11, but still providing direct service to Ronda, Autobuses Los Amarillos runs several buses a day between Malaga and Ronda every day of the week.
The bus route between these cities is almost identical to that of the train, but the bus follows the winding roads through mountains along the A-367 to the A-357 before heading down the valley past Ardales and Cartama.
If you have a little more time to explore Spain, you can catch the bus from Malaga to Fuengirola, then another from Fuengirola to Ronda, which takes you through two multi-colored mountain ranges. Although this takes about 40 minutes longer, it's worth it if you're a big fan of awe-inspiring natural landscapes. Plus, Fuengirola is another great city to visit along the way!
Travel by Car
If you want to rent a car and drive yourself from Malaga to Ronda, make sure that you have all the proper paperwork in order including an international driver's permit, if necessary.
Once you're ready to depart, the best way to go is by taking E-15 along the coast, past Fuengirola and Marbella to San Pedro de Alcántara; then, take the A-376 from San Pedro de Alcántara for 44 kilometers before taking the A-369 to Ronda. All of this should take about one hour and 45 minutes.
Since renting a car provides you more flexibility in your trip itinerary, you could consider continuing your adventure with a trip to Seville. Although not easily accessible by train, this popular city is just a short drive away and close to a lot of great day trips. Plus, you'll have a much easier time returning your rental car in Seville.
Guided Tours From Malaga
If you've got a little extra money to spend and want to be treated to a fully curated adventure by some local experts on Malaga, Ronda, and Seville, consider purchasing a ticket on a guided tour of the region.
Featuring wine tasting, visiting a bullfighting ring, and a tour of the Pueblos Blancos, this guided tour of Ronda from Seville is one great option. If you're traveling from Seville to Malaga, though, you might consider this Seville to Malaga transfer with a tour of Ronda instead.
If you're more of a foodie or have an interest in wine, you might prefer the Organic Olive Oil and Wine Tour from Malaga, which stops at a number of local farms and wineries to allow visitors a chance to express the farm-to-table culture of the region.