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NanBug Jun 9th, 2009 02:48 PM

Ronda or White Villages Tour?
Hello, all ~

We're traveling to Andalucia this winter but we won't be renting a car, and I need help choosing between the following options:

1. We're thinking about stopping in Ronda for a day / night, en route from Seville to Granada.


2. Skip Ronda, and stay in Seville another night and take Paul McGrath's White Villages day-long bus tour of the following places: Aguzaderas castle, Zahara de la Sierra, Grazalema, Setenil and Olvera. Then, we'd just travel straight from Seville to Granada.

Our main interests are Moorish architecture and photography.

What would you do if you couldn't do both?

Thanks in advance!

milliebest Jun 9th, 2009 03:26 PM

How much is McGrath's tour? s there a website?

Maribel Jun 9th, 2009 03:46 PM

Here you go-

josele Jun 10th, 2009 04:35 AM

If you are not renting the car, better take the tour.

NanBug Jun 10th, 2009 05:40 AM

Thanks Josele ~

So, you think it's worth it to sacrifice Ronda to see these smaller towns?

We've only got one day and I don't want to run around like a maniac.


yorkshire Jun 10th, 2009 07:18 AM

I am really partial to Ronda, but it's a pity you'd only get one day there. That would be enough time to walk around the town, see a couple museums, see the sunset at the park, and have a good meal.
On the other hand, if you are itching to get what you would get out of a tour, then you'd definitely see a lot--I have only skirted those towns, but I can tell you that even the van ride would be nice. It is all a matter of what you want to get out of it--you can't lose either way! I would try to find reviews of the tour to see that you have time to really savor what you are seeing, etc.

NanBug Jun 10th, 2009 07:43 AM

Thanks, Yorkshire.

We'd actually have almost 2 days in Ronda, with an overnight... it's a stopover between Seville and Granada.

We'll see some of the landscape on the bus ride from Seville to Ronda, too.

But if we did the tour we'd have to stay in Seville because the tour starts/ends there.

Oh, decisions, decisions...

yorkshire Jun 10th, 2009 09:12 AM

Tell me about it--the hardest part about traveling is making these decisions. But you'll be back. I just took my second trip and will return one day. I could spend the rest of my life visiting Andalucia and still not see it all.
Ronda is a great base because you can do hikes in the area even without a car, and it is so scenic. But with the tour, you'll see five places...I'm not helping.

NanBug Jun 10th, 2009 09:46 AM

You are helping. Really!

I know we'll be back. I already have a second completely different itinerary planned for Andalucia, there's just too much lighting my fire to see during this trip. And to think, this trip started as both Andalucia and Morocco! Yikes.

We're usually more of the slow travel types, so the idea of staying overnight in Ronda (wish I could stay longer) is more appealing than whizzing through a few villages in a mini-bus, which makes me cringe.

I have a feeling Ronda will win this time. :) Thanks again for your help.

yorkshire Jun 10th, 2009 11:35 AM

Well, in that case, if you want to get out in nature (not that there isn't plenty to see in Ronda) and have time, you can take a morning train or afternoon bus to Benojaon estacion, walk for 2.5 hours to Jimera de Libar, and then train back to Ronda. It is one of the few things easy to do with public transport from Ronda. A lovely walk.
You can also get to Sentenil and back from Ronda on the bus.
have fun!

NanBug Jun 10th, 2009 11:48 AM

That walk sounds perfect, thank you. We love to walk.

I also found the Grazalema - Ronda bus schedule, too, so that may work, as well.

Now, I just need to extend my trip by about 6 months....

josele Jun 10th, 2009 11:56 PM

I know it is a difficult decission to make. If you have a limited time, I'd take the tour; it is the best way to see many things on a scheduled time. If you had more time, you'd base in Ronda, rent a car and travel the towns at leisure. But there's no point in staying a day in Ronda and taking the bus to Grazalema, there's enough to see in Ronda.
BTW, I'm driving to Ronda in a few hours, for two days ;-)

Green_Dragon Jun 11th, 2009 04:46 AM

I have been negotiating with Paul McGrath for a two day trip with a night in Ronda: Day one, Seville-Aguzaderas Castle-Zahara de la Sierra (including olive oil mill)- Grazalema(lunch)- Drop off in Ronda and overnight there.

Day two. Ronda- Setenil de las Bodegas-Antequera- Torcal de Antequera- Seville (there may be time to include some Roman Ruins in the country near Setenil although this requires a steep walk of half a kilometre

NanBug Jun 11th, 2009 05:15 AM

Josele ~ I'm envious! Have a great time.

Greendragon ~ That sounds like an excellent trip. I emailed Paul about dropping us in Ronda, but I never heard back from him. I'll try again. I know he charges extra, of course, but I'm curious to know how much.

If we did his day tour, we thought about skipping Olvera at the end and taking a taxi to Ronda from Setenil, which should be about 20E, according to their tourist office.

Thanks for all of your help.

yorkshire Jun 11th, 2009 07:12 AM

That's a great idea--getting dropped off in Ronda. Since you'll be so close anyway, no need to backtrack to Sevilla.

four_maccas Jun 11th, 2009 11:07 PM

Hi NanBug, sounds like a great idea if you can arrange to get Paul to drop you in Ronda. We originally planned to do that but the price was too high for us (family of 4) and we would have skipped a couple of towns we definitely wanted to see. Can't remember all the details (computer died after printing out the confirmation for his standard tour!).

So, we'll be with Paul on 4/1 then back to Seville. Two days later will be back on the bus for Ronda for 2 nights. A bonus for us will be the procession through Seville on the night before we leave to celebrate Three Kings Day. Paul says it's a great event.

Hope your plans work out. When are you travelling to Spain?

josele Jun 12th, 2009 01:05 AM

Hi from Ronda,
it is very hot, high temperatures came by surprise, so travellers beware, as it is hard to do anything outdoors in the afternoon (siesta time). NanBug, I see you are travelling in winter, so do not worry. The Ronda drop-off I consider a good idea. You can visit the city in the evening and take a train to Granada in the early morning.
Green _Dragon (funny, that's the name of the pub I'm a regular in the UK), your option is very good, you cannot miss Setenil, and Antequra is fantastic, especially if you are guided; the Torcal is an amazing geological place; and Olvera I have visited and has its charm but you can skip it.

marypat1 Jun 12th, 2009 02:03 AM

Is Cordoba in your trip? Well worth a visit. Weather wise,. in the winter it can be warm and sunny between 10a.m. and 4p.m. but otherwise very cold.

NanBug Jun 12th, 2009 05:52 AM

Thanks for all of your comments. We're either going in December or late Feb/early March, not sure yet.

We're doing the usual Andalucia circuit: Cordoba, Seville, Ronda/White Towns, Granada, Malaga. We have 12 or 13 days.

I finally heard back from Paul. He'd charge us 250E for a private tour to be dropped off in Ronda. Pretty pricey, I think.

So, I think we'll resort to my original plan from a few months ago: Take his tour, leave the tour at Setenil (so the only town we'd skip is Olvera), take a taxi from Setenil to Ronda (20E according to their tourist office), spend the night in Ronda, spend the next day in Ronda, then head to Granada that night.

It's more of a whirlwind than I'd normally like, but it will give us a chance to see many more places.

I appreciate all of your help.

milliebest Jun 23rd, 2009 08:26 AM

It's amazing. I have been struggling with the same delema.
I was going to spend three days in Sevilla but then added a day after I read about the tour but that leaves me with a day before going to Granada. I think I would rather spend three days in Sevilla and rent a car for two days before going into Granada. I am a little nervous about driving around the white villages. People say it is crazy. I would like to see Ronda and maybe Cadiz or Jerez de la Frontera. I know what you mean about decisions. Our trip is in Sept.

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