surinenglish

A pathway for the British, along the edge of a gorge

Local people gave the Paseo de los Ingleses its name.
Local people gave the Paseo de los Ingleses its name. / SUR
  • After building the railway line from Algeciras and the Reina Victoria hotel, a way had to be found for the guests to access the town on foot

There are two places in Ronda which are dedicated to the English and have become famous: the Camino Inglés and Paseo de los Ingleses, the first of which led to the creation of the second.

The Camino Inglés was a railway line, built to enable people from Gibraltar to come into inland Spain. "For most British people, the first time they set foot in rural Spain was when they were staying in Gibraltar and caught the train from Algeciras and through the Serranía," explains Faustino Peralta, the official chronicler of Ronda. It became very popular and many writers of the time referred to it in their works.

"The original idea was for the railway to start at Gibraltar, not Algeciras," says Peralta, but this was not to be the case and a second proposal to create a connection with San Roque was also unsuccessful.

As well as this railway line, which was built in 1892, the British constructed two hotels: first, the Reina Cristina in Algeciras, and then the Reina Victoria in Ronda, which was very popular because of its romantic location. The Ronda hotel was built just outside the town, on the Cornisa del Tajo, overlooking the precipice and mountains. It was a view that entranced the poet Rilke, who lived there for a while.

Before the hotel, with its typically English architecture, was inaugurated, which is believed to have been in 1909, the British company asked Ronda council to improve the access to it, because it was in very bad condition.

"At that time, Ronda ended at the Merced Convent. The hotel was in a very poor area of the town, where there was no road, just a dirt track, no pavements, there were pigsties and it was very muddy," says Peralta.

Some important people were due to attend the inauguration and the town hall had no money so asked local people to make donations towards the cost. However, the British had a plan B. They didn't trust the council and decided to create a path between the hotel and the town, bordering the precipice. It became known locally as the Paseo de los Ingleses, because of the number of well-dressed hotel guests who were seen strolling along its 350-metre length between the Reina Victoria and the Alameda del Tajo park. The Camino Inglés and the Paseo de los Ingleses are still popular today.