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Bolonia

Bolonia is a village just past Tarifa on the beautiful Costa de la Luz. We don’t live there but my family and I visit so often that we feel like it is our second home! Bolonia is a short drive away from the more widely recognised Tarifa and for us it is the preferred destination. If you are looking for somewhere to spend a unique day then you should definitely give it a try.

So, what is it that makes Bolonia so unique?

Firstly, Bolonia has much more than just beaches to offer its visitors. On arriving in the village itself, if you follow the road to the right then you will come to the Baelo Claudia Roman ruins which make for some very interesting viewing. This site preserves some of the elements of a typical Roman city and it is well worth a look if you are wanting something other than just a day at the beach.

Alternatively, if you make a left turn as you arrive in the village this will take you along a road that is lined with cafes, small shops and holiday apartments on one side and a variety of chiringuitos and restaurants on the other. Whenever we go to Bolonia we drive all the way to the end of this road and park in the field at the end. There are other parking places along the road, each with various restaurants and chiringuitos nearby and which give access to different spots along the stretch of beach, so it’s worth exploring these as you go along. What makes the beach here so unusual Is that it is breathtakingly natural and wild, so much so that it is common to see cows and horses roaming along the beach or lying down in sleepy groups on the sand which is a particularly spectacular sight! Furthermore, at the far end of the beach, just past Baelo Claudia, there is a huge sand dune that it’s great fun to try and climb. It is much harder to reach the top than it looks and it is a great physical workout and in stark contrast to the usual laziness of a day spent lounging around on the beach!

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Another unusual aspect that we love about the beach in Bolonia is that on certain days at high tide the sea rushes up, over and down the beach where the settled sea water creates a large lagoon near the rocky grassland on the opposite side. This is great for adults and children alike, but especially for young children who can paddle and splash in the warm, shallow water without fear of getting out of their depth or being washed over by waves. My children love floating on body boards there and building dams across the lagoon using the plentiful supply of rocks nearby in an attempt to stem the flow of the water. One day we even dug a channel linking the sea to the lagoon and then watched the water rushing from one side to the other. Many people even stopped and took photos of it! It was great fun and a unique attraction of the beach at Bolonia.

Due to the frequent very windy conditions there are several things you might possibly see at Bolonia and I’m not just referring to rogue parasols that have been swept up and launched at speed by the wind being blown along the length of the beach! These are usually swiftly followed by beach goers trying to retrieve their parasol as well as other helpful strangers who will always help you in your quest! Wind surfers and paragliders can frequently be seen taking advantage of the wind and they provide a distraction as they range from accomplished experts to first time novices, both offering their own brand of entertainment! It is common to see divers too, who trudge through the surf in their wetsuits, armed with air tanks and harpoons and then emerge some time later with a bountiful supply of fish.

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After a day on the sand it is always a treat to retire to the nearest chiringuito for a restorative drink or something to eat. La Cabaña is the one nearest to our usual beach spot but there are several to choose from. I can’t think of a better way to end to a beach day than sitting outside a chiringuito, feeling the warm breeze on your skin, the sand under your feet and looking out to sea, watching the sun set.

Bolonia has a very friendly, relaxed atmosphere and you can meet some uniquely interesting people there. I once saw a lady walking along the beach who every now and then would stop to write something in the sand, then take a photo and before moving on. As I watched her I became curious to know what she was doing so I went over to ask. It turned out that she was writing some quotes in the sand for her mother who wasn’t able to get to the beach anymore because she was ill and so she was writing things like ‘te quiero mama’ and ‘siempre pensado a ti’ and then take a photograph of this to send to her. What a wonderful thing to do!

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There is another unique local landmark that makes for an unusual experience and this can be found at Punta Paloma. which is signposted on the road that runs between Tarifa and Bolonia. As you turn off the main thoroughfare and head off down the smaller side street, you don’t have to go far before the road rapidly becomes covered in sand, so much so that you have to be careful that your car doesn’t get stuck! Park your car at the side of the road and then climb up one of the very steep hills of sand. Once you reach the top you are rewarded by the sight of the endless, yellow sandy dunes spread out below you, reaching down to the sparkling sea. It is a lovely and energetic walk down to the water and then back up again and it’s especially great for children who can run around and play in the sand. It can also be fun to try and find your way back to the point where you originally climbed up. We usually manage to surface quite a distance away from where we parked! Or maybe we just have a bad sense of direction!

For those of you who have been to Bolonia I’m probably preaching to the converted, but if you haven’t been then I would encourage you to visit. It is a fantastic place to spend a day or, even better, make a holiday of it and stay in one of the holiday apartments there. It has no shortage of unique attractions that make for an invigorating visit full of exciting adventures!
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© Marianne Hill www.mariannehill.com

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