A day trip to Acinipo and Setenil de las Bodegas, Spain

Southern Spain is an absolutely beautiful area of the country. Drenched in sunshine, with tasty tapas and magnificent mountains all around, it makes for a great choice of a holiday destination. Marbella and Malaga are two of the best known cities in the area, but venturing a little further north brings you to the slightly less touristy and much less boozy Ronda. Whilst staying in Ronda, there are some lovely and interesting places to visit nearby, including a day trip to Acinipo and Setenil de las Bodegas.


Setenil de las Bodegas

A short 20 minute car journey out of Ronda and you’ll arrive at Setenil – a town known for its whitewashed houses built into the surrounding cliffs overhanging the Rio Guadalporcun. Some of the streets are even roofed with rock, with dwellings (some now converted to be restaurants, shops and bars) on either side. It’s such a unique place and definitely worth exploring.

Streets enclosed by rocks, and views out over the houses

In addition, the town’s hilltop castle was once an Arab fortress, and the TorreΓ³n del Homenaje tower offers views of the town and countryside. Also in the town is a museum which traces the cultural and natural history of Setenil. It’s the perfect place to spend a morning exploring, eat some delicious lunch in one of the lovely squares and then head on to the next stop.

White houses galore

Acinipo

A short car journey away from Setenil lies Acinipo. This incredible town is also known as ‘Roman Ronda’ and was founded over 2,000 years ago by retired Roman soldiers. It still houses the Roman theatre, which incredibly is used to this day.

The Roman Theatre

Some historians believe the Acinipo was created after the Battle of Munda, fought between Julius Caesar’s armies and the army of Pompey’s two sons – after the latter’s main forces were defeated in Greece. Tens of thousands of Romans were killed on both sides, and it is believed that Acinipo was created for retired veterans of Caesar’s legions. Some Spanish historians state that Munda is the Roman name for Ronda.

Views from the site

Visiting the site is interesting and informative and definitely worth a couple of hours of your time. If you still do have a bit of time left in your day, then finish off your day with a visit to an ancient cave.


La Pileta Cave

A few kilometres from Ronda lies one of the most spectacular cave systems in Spain, and in the mouth of one, several galleries of cave paintings that are 30,000 years old. 30,000 – that means they were created by paleolithic people of Ronda before the last great ice age.

Incredibly, they have survived, and best of all, the caves are open to the public with a local tour guide to explain the significance of the artwork. You aren’t allowed to take photos of the art for obvious reasons, but here are some from the guidebook so you can see how amazing they are.


Thank you for reading – I hope you’ve found this post interesting and a good option for something to do if you’re ever in southern Spain! Stay safe and happy travelling everyone.

30 Comments

  1. October 2019 was my first visit to Malaga and this part of Spain – really loved it and will definitely go back… we just managed a very quick trip to Ronda and it rained – story of my life!!! So delighted to learn of other places to visit in the region….

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  2. Looks and sounds like a marvelous day trip, dear Hannah ~ an area rich in historical sites, and those caves with art…30,000 years old!!! 😎 Thanks for sharing & have a nice day, my friend 😊🌹

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  3. The cave with Paleolithic art is an amazing discovery. I though that all such sites were closed to the public. I haven’t visited either Setenil or Acinipo in my wanderings throughout the region. Clearly an oversight on my part! Thanks for sharing, both places seem unique and worth a visit.

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  4. I’ve been reading lately about Ronda and Setenil but hadn’t heard of Acinipo or the cave. You’re giving me more reasons to visit this area. Live your shot of the stone roof over the sidewalk. Maggie

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  5. Interesting reading Hannah as although I took the train to Ronda whilst staying in Malaga I didn’t get as far as Acinipo and Setenil de las Bodegas. Hopefully next time! Thanks for sharing. Marion

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  6. I would’ve thought that Ronda would be a day trip from, say, Malaga, but it’s interesting that you can also do day trips from Ronda (a day trip within a day trip, perhaps??). Those white houses perched along the cliff are just like Ronda’s, and certainly jaw-dropping. La Pileta caves look stunning as well; I’d hoped to go to the similar Altamira Caves in northern Spain last time, but couldn’t, unfortunately. But it’d been an adventure exploring any of the ancient caves in Spain! Thanks for sharing, Han. πŸ™‚

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    1. Definitely a day trip within a day trip! Yes the houses on the cliff are really special and so unique and the cave is just amazing that something so old has survived. Thanks so much for reading and commenting, have a great day πŸ™‚

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  7. We love Spain and from your post, I can see there is so much more we need to discover. I can see why Setenil de las Bodegas is such a unique place – love those overhanging rocks.
    And that cave, definitely worth a visit – thanks for sharing these wonderful places, we’ll definitely add them to our list of places to visit whenever in Spain again 😊.

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    1. Spain is definitely a special country with so much variety – and yes Setenil is a real gem built in to the cliff. I can’t believe the cave has survived and is open to visit, it’s incredible really. Thanks so much for reading and commenting and have a nice evening πŸ™‚

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  8. I love AndalucΓ­a’s diverse landscapes, fantastic cuisine, historic cities, and laid-back culture and how each of its cities and towns has its own unique character. A few years ago we had a chance to visit one of the most beautiful cities in Spain that has a ton to offer tourists and it is one of the best cities to get to know the unique culture and history of AndalucΓ­a -Seville. I would love to return to see more of Southern Spain. Thanks for sharing and have a nice day. Aiva πŸ™‚

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    1. It is such a wonderful region isn’t it, with so much to see and do. I really hope to visit again too and explore more. Thanks so much for visiting and commenting Aiva, have a nice evening πŸ™‚

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  9. I love how the houses and streets in Setenil are built in and around the rocks. Acinipo seems like it has such an interesting history. How neat that you can explore through the cave system.

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  10. Wow, these towns look absolutely gorgeous (and so are your pictures)! 😍 The white house remind me of Granada, where I went a few years ago now! I have only been to Seville and Granada in that area but next time I go I will definitely check out these two as well! Thanks for sharing 😊

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  11. I went to Marbella like 30 years ago! I bet it has changed. We took a side trip to Ronda to see the bullring and got our car towed! My stepdad saw the rental on the tow truck, stopped the guy in the street and paid for it there. I would have never noticed my rental car on a tow truck! Thanks for the memories!! I’ll have to check out the other towns

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