Even though Costa del Sol is world-famous for its sea and beaches, the mountains above them hold as many gems to build a serious reputation as the coastline does. Beautiful historical white-washed villages, fincas with olive-trees orchards, wine estates and an incredible landscape, all good reasons why one might consider getting to know the upper part of the Costa del Sol area, and maybe choose to become a resident here instead.

Ronda is by far the most famous town in the area, due to its dramatic setup above a deep gorge. This gorge (El Tajo) separates the city’s circa-15th-century new town from its old town, dating to Moorish rule. Puente Nuevo, a stone bridge spanning the gorge, offers sweeping views. New town’s Plaza de Toros, a legendary 18th-century bullring, is one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks. Both Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles were residents in Ronda’s old town – La Ciudad, and wrote about Ronda’s beauty and famous bullfighting traditions. Another famous writer – poet Rainer Maria Rilke – wrote the famous quote “I have sought everywhere the city of my dreams, and I have finally found it in Ronda”, in his permanent room at Hotel Reina Victoria.

Many enchanting small villages are situated in proximity to Ronda, so there are many housing options to choose from, as soon as you take a pleasurable tour of the area to get to know it in detail. More close to the sea – if that’s the preference – Ojen and Monda, two white truly Spanish pueblos, are practically part of Marbella extended residential area, since only 15 km of scenic mountain road is separating them from it.

Another popular option for permanent or second residence is Istán, a village in the region of Sierra de Las Nieves, which shares part of its territory with Sierra de Las Nieves Nature Park a Biosphere Reserve. It is crossed by the river Verde before reaching La Concepción reservoir in the midst of stunning landscapes. Set in this Garden of Eden, the village is full of fountains, viewpoints, and interesting nooks and crannies. The Church of San Miguel and the Escalante Tower are the main tourist attractions in this village known as ‘The Water Spring of Costa del Sol’.

Photo credit: Spainguides.com http://spainguides.com/top-destinations/ronda-holidays/