Bolonia Beach Houses

near Tarifa, Costa de la Luz, Spain Book from

A pair of ocean-facing hideaways with shared garden, set high above one of the Atlantic Coast’s most pristine beaches (sleeping 2-6, self-catering)
The tiny hamlet of Bolonia has escaped the developers unscathed thanks to the existence, right at the ocean’s edge, of one of southern Spain’s best-preserved Roman settlements: even in summer you can stake a claim on its gorgeous arc of white sand. Above the beach, sheltered from the levante wind by the highest dune in Spain and a forest of umbrella pines, you’ll find no better seaside bolthole than one of these remarkable casitas. The smallest is perfect for a couple, while the larger Stone House sleeps up to 8 - ideal for families and friends.

The houses fan out beneath a sandstone bluff: from here you see and hear the Atlantic breakers rolling in, whilst at night the twinkling lights of Tangier remind you that Africa is tantalisingly close. Lounge on your private terrace, discover hidden gardens with mysterious sandstone monoliths and spring-fed pools, then follow sandy paths down to a hidden beach. In other words, prepare yourself for a magical journey to one of Andalucia’s most seductive retreats.

Highs

  • The views out over the dunes and the strait towards North Africa are heart-achingly beautiful
  • The beautiful casitas, sleeping 2-8; each one unique and all perfectly spoiling
  • Hidden corners and double daybeds sprinkled amongst the rocks and garden: it's made for honeymooners
  • Good kitchens for self-catering, plus barbecues on your private terrace. Stock up on fresh seafood at Tarifa's market
  • The little hamlet of Bolonia, where you’ll find great oceanside restaurants and beach bars

Lows

  • The access track is bumpy, but it transports you into another world
  • Unless you’re a keen walker you’ll need to hop into a car to eat out (10 mins' drive to Bolonia, 20 to Tarifa)
  • This bit of coast is often very windy
  • You have to pay the balance of your stay on arrival in cash, plus a sizeable security deposit (which is returned to you, less the final cleaning bill and any damages, on departure)

Best time to go

The houses are open all year. The area fills up with holidaying Spaniards in July and August, but it's pretty peaceful in other months, and thanks to wood-burners (Stone House only) you'll be cosy in winter. Be prepared for close encounters of the windy kind all year round: when the levante (a strong easterly wind) is blowing, you'll know about it.

Our top tips

  • Camino leaves you pretty much to your own devices, whilst providing little in the way of guest information. So do some homework before you stay on the best bars and restaurants in the area, and drop by early in your stay at Tarifa's tourist office - it's close to the covered market - to check out what's happening and where
  • We advise requesting a hire car with good road clearance, such as a Fiat Panda or Citroen Berlingo - though almost all cars (except perhaps a low sports car) can reach the houses fine if driven carefully
  • Tarifa has a fantastic late-night bar and club scene, which rocks on until dawn during the warmer months
  • Great for...

    Great Outdoors
    Honeymoon
    Beach
    Eco
    Family
    • = Recommended
    • = Best in region
    • = World favourite
    • Boutique Villas
    • 2 villas sleeping 2-6
    • Self-catering (restaurants a drive away)
    • All ages welcome
    • Open all year
    • Outdoor Pool
    • Spa Treatments
    • WiFi
    • Pet Friendly
    • Disabled Access
    • Beach Nearby
    • Off-street Parking
    • Restaurants Nearby
    • Air Conditioning
    • Guest Lounge
    • Terrace
    • Garden
    • Gym
    • Daily Maid Service
    • Towels & Bedlinen
    Room:

    Rooms

    Though each house varies in size, decoration and design, their shared ethos is outdoor living, drawing focus on that vista across sand, sea and forest to the hazy outline of Morocco’s coastline: gazing and lazing are what come easiest here.

    The Casita (sleeping 2-3)
    The smallest house is best suited to couples, but the sofabed downstairs can serve as a third bed. A big sweep of south-facing terrace, where you’ll find an outside shower and barbecue, leads to an all-in-one living room with a wood-burner, small kitchenette and a corner shower room. The open-sided stairs that lead up to the bedroom increase the sense of space, as do walls of light-coloured stucco, off-white floor tiles and the lack of decorative clutter. Up in the bedroom a huge window, coupled with a mirror backing the double bed, brings in light and the glittering waves of El Cañuelo beach.

    Stone House (sleeps 2-8)
    This house is aptly named, with huge sandstone boulders serving as the back wall. In the open-plan living area you'll find a swish kitchen: to one side is the dining table, to the other a door to the terrace and your alfresco meals. We loved the floor-to-ceiling tapestry from Burma, and phrases made from painted wooden letters reflect the owner's pacifist/Buddhist take on life. A wood-burner and central heating keeps things warm in winter, and there's a private pool for summer. Our favourite bedroom is the rooftop double, which has a huge, sea-facing terrace and an ensuite shower room. Two walls of glass, one facing the sea, the other the rock garden, meet in one corner. The second double is in a barrel-vaulted attic: it's much smaller with a futon bed. This hidey-hole room is best suited to kids but it has a private terrace overlooking the garden. The third bedroom is to one side of the open-plan living area with a double bed and views down to the sea. These latter 2 bedrooms share a huge bathroom with a Philippe Starck bathtub and rain shower.

    Features include:

    • Barbeque
    • Bathrobes
    • Cd player
    • Coffee maker
    • Coffee tea making
    • Cots Available
    • Dishwasher
    • Dvd player
    • Fridge
    • Full kitchen
    • Hairdryer
    • Hob stove
    • Internet access
    • Internet access
    • Iron
    • Microwave
    • Mosquito net
    • Oven
    • Radio
    • Satellite tv
    • Terrace
    • Terrace
    • Toaster
    • Toiletries
    • Washing machine

    Eating

    The houses have all the kit for preparing your own food, as well as indoor and outdoor dining tables and barbecues. You'll find a small selection of spices, but will need to shop for everything else yourself - be sure to buy bottled water as you can't drink from the taps here. In Tarifa there are masses of great little shops, 2 or 3 supermarkets and a wonderful covered market - this is the place for fish fresh from the sea. Down in Bolonia, 10 minutes away by car, there are a couple of sell-everything shops as well as excellent locally baked bread.

    In summertime there's a big choice of places to eat in Bolonia. This is when the chiringuitos (beach bars) open up - Los Troncos, the nearest to the sea, is our favourite. Further along the beach a friendly welcome and excellent seafood await at Las Rejas and El Albero, whilst a little further out of town there's a great roadside pizzeria, El Tropezón. Close to the tiny hamlet of Betis, El Tesoro is the place for a memorable supper-with-a-view.

    Tarifa also has numerous restaurants. Our favourite place for fine dining is Casa Lola, whilst El Picoteo is great for tapas. The Hurricane Hotel does a good lunchtime buffet in its beach-bar restaurant, which includes plenty of interesting veggie options.

    Features include:

    • Coffee maker
    • Coffee tea making
    • Fridge
    • Full kitchen
    • Hob stove
    • Microwave
    • Oven
    • Toaster
    Eating:
    Activity:

    Activities

    • Walk through the pine forest for 15 minutes to discover the hidden beach of El Cañuelo, inaccessible to traffic, where nude bathing is the norm
    • Laze with your book in a hidden corner of the gardens: it's dangerously soporific
    • Visit the Roman ruins of Baelo Claudio and its state-of-the-art museum
    • Try windsurfing or kitesurfing. Courses are on offer throughout summer on the beach in Bolonia
    • Saddle up for an unforgettable horseback ride along the beach to Valdevaqueros
    • Head inland and discover the pristine beauty of Los Alcornocales Park: the hiking possibilities here are endless
    • Take a whale- and dolphin-watching trip out from Tarifa
    • Take a fast ferry to Tangier, wander the souks, drink mint tea, buy a rug - and be back in Bolonia in time for a late supper

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Boat trips
    • Fishing
    • Hiking
    • Historical sites
    • Horse-riding
    • Kitesurfing
    • Shopping / markets
    • Swimming
    • Wildlife
    • Windsurfing

    Kids

    The rocks, the garden, the forest, dunes and beach: this is the stuff of adventurous kids' dreams. Children of all ages are welcome but it's probably not ideal for toddlers, given the number of steps and the distance between houses and gardens. Baby cots and a high chair are available, but there's little else in the way of kiddie equipment.

    Best for:

    Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

    Family friendly accommodation:

    The Casita sleeps up to 3, with a double bed + single sofabed or space for a baby cot; Stone House has 3 kingsize beds, 2 single futons in a loft (ladder access not suitable for young children) and space for a baby cot - plus it has a private swimming pool.

    Families Should Know:

    The water here isn't drinkable, be sure to stock up on bottled water when you go out.

    Kid Friendly:

    Our guests' ratings...

    9/
    Rooms
    8/
    Service
    9/
    Value
    8/
    Overall

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