The Ronda Fair is one of the most momentous celebrations for the town of the Tajo river. It takes place in September and the town is decorated for locals and visitors to enjoy. However, among its festivals, the Romantic Ronda (Ronda Romántica) fair, also known as the Royal May Fair (Real Feria de Mayo), is becoming increasingly prominent. It is becoming one of the town’s major tourist attractions.
Both celebrations are a tribute to the key moments of the town’s history and they fill the streets with activities and music to create an atmosphere that will amaze visitors. To discover these typical festivals of Ronda, tourists will be able to reach this town from any point on the map, with an excess-free car rental at Malaga airport for worry-free travel.
Ronda Fair and Pedro Romero Festival
The main celebration that takes place in this town in the province of Malaga is the Ronda Fair (Feria de Ronda), also known as the Pedro Romero Fair (Feria de Pedro Romero). It is held between the end of August and beginning of September and is one of the main festivals in the Malaga province. This fair is dedicated to Pedro Romero, a famous bullfighter from the town and the main event of this fair, the Goyesca Bullfight (Corrida Goyesca), is fought in his honour.
For one week, Ronda shows off its best galas, filling the streets with marquees with music and the most typical local gastronomy at affordable prices, where ham, rice, fried fish or Ronda’s tapas are an absolute must. The fair continues into the evening at the Fair Ground (Recinto Ferial) which is situated to the north of the town. It has excellent transport links to the centre, making it easy for those taking part to travel between both locations. There, visitors will be amazed with its lights and marquees with a celebratory atmosphere, with entertainment available for the little ones with fun attractions.
Ronda Fair Activities
Different activities take place throughout the day for the Ronda Fair programme, these include concerts, popular dances and activities for the whole family. In addition, before starting with the Fair’s activities, Ronda welcomes a series of well-known events in its calendar that have become tradition over the years:
Presentation and selection of the ‘Damas Goyescas’
In line with one of the traditions of the most popular Spanish festivals the ‘Damas Goyescas’ are young women chosen as female representatives of this celebration. They wear the typical Goyaesque clothing from the 18th century, so-named because of their prevalence in Goya’s paintings. These ladies or ‘damas’ take the leading role in some of the most relevant events of the Ronda Fair. Selecting the ‘Damas Goyescas’ takes place before the Fair and is followed closely by locals.
Cante Grande Festival
One of the oldest flamenco festivals in Andalusia. The Cante Grande Festival takes place in August and brings together some of the best flamenco voices in the world. It is held at the Alameda del Tajo park and its line-up has included huge artists of the likes of José Mercé, Fosforito or Chano Lobato. This event is free to attend, a tribute to the traditional Spanish art of flamenco.
International Folklore Gala
Before the start of the Ronda Fair, the International Folklore Gala also takes place, the event dedicated to folklore and the most popular customs of ancient Andalusia. Each year, groups of different nationalities take part, including the Choir and Dance group of Ronda (Grupo de Coros y Danzas de Ronda).
Goyesca Bullfight (Corrida Goyesca)
It is the star event of the Pedro Romero Fair and Festival where all of the bullfighters dress in Goyaesque costumes to create the most famous bullfighting display in the whole of Spain. This is the only bullfight held in Ronda’s historic Bull Ring (Plaza de Toros) and which dates back to 1954, with the aim of commemorating the bicentenary of the birth of Pedro Romero.
Carriage Exhibition Competition (Concurso Exhibición de Enganches)
To add the icing on the cake of the Ronda Fair, each year the traditional Carriage Exhibition Competition (Concurso de Exhibición de Enganches) is held in which different types of fully embellished carriages and coachmen are on show.
Information of interest about the Ronda Fair
- Date: the dates of the celebration usually vary between the last week of August and the first week of September, although there are activities like those mentioned above that serve as a prelude to the week of the Fair.
- Place: during the day, the Fair takes place in the town’s historic quarter, while at night it moves to the Fair Ground.
- Times: the festival starts at 12:00 in the town centre and continues at nightfall at the Fair Ground (Recinto Ferial), and goes on until the early hours.
- How to get to the Fair Ground (Recinto Ferial)?: the centre and the Fair Ground are linked by a small train that joins both places for a cost of one euro and a frequency of every 20 minutes. You can also arrive by bus, taxi or car.
- Where to eat?: visitors will be able to eat in the tents or any of the various restaurants in Ronda.
Royal May Fair
Another major event in Ronda’s calendar of celebrations is the Royal May Fair (Real Feria de Mayo), also known as Romantic Ronda (Ronda Romántica). This celebration started gaining importance in 2013 with the aim of revitalising the tradition of the Royal May Fair (Real Feria de Mayo), a livestock fair which has been held since 1509. It retains the aesthetic and tradition that defined this event in the 19th century, when it became a meeting point for travellers to which Washington Irving dedicated several lines in ‘Tales of the Alhambra’.
That’s why this Fair, unlike the Pedro Romero Fair and Festival (Feria y Fiestas de Pedro Romero), retains its traditional essence in a market, equestrian shows and horse parades with a historic recreation of the era of the bandits, one of the most famous historic figures in Andalusia. Hence, it has become one of the most popular dates in the region, attracting thousands of tourists each year that embark on a journey back in time in the town’s streets.
Romantic Ronda Activities
The Romantic Ronda festival is centred, as mentioned earlier, on the historic recreation of the romantic period, so the main activities will be theatrical and musical performances that will take place in Plaza de la Merced, flamenco shows at the Alameda del Tajo park or historic recreations.
However, the main attraction are the parades, where locals dress as ‘majas’ or ‘majos’ (the lower class women and men in Spanish society) from the post Habsburg era or time of the bandits, the thieves that hid in the Serranía de Ronda mountains. The historic recreations stand out, such as the battle of the bridge, the French invasion or the bandits of Grazalema.
In addition, Romantic Ronda is also home to the ‘Cinebandolero’ film exhibition or the Convention of Travellers and Banditry in the Serranía de Ronda mountains (Congreso de Viajeros y Bandolerismo en la Serranía de Ronda), known as ‘Expobandolero’. All of these activities take place with the backdrop of balconies decorated with Manila shawls, shops and restaurants decorated from the era and candle lighting to transport visitors on an authentic journey to the past.
Information of interest about Romantic Ronda
- Date: this fair takes place in the second half of May and lasts four days, coinciding with the weekend.
- Place: the town’s historic quarter, with most activities taking place at the Alameda del Tajo park.
- Times: the festival starts at 11:00 and celebrations end at midnight.
- Where to eat?: check out our post about places to eat in Ronda.
Map of the main points of interest for the celebrations in Ronda
Both the May Fair (Feria de Mayo) and the Pedro Romero Festival (Fiestas de Pedro Romero) take place in the town’s historic quarter, although the latter continues in the Fair Ground designed especially for it in the north of the town. On this map, you will be able to see the main points of interest that both activities take place in.