Bolonia Beach Houses

near Tarifa, Costa de la Luz, Spain Book from Book from £133 per night

A pair of ocean-facing hideaways with shared garden, set high above one of the Atlantic Coast’s most pristine beaches (sleeping 2-8, 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, are 2 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 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 filled with frogs, then follow sandy paths through the trees 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 forested dunes and the strait towards North Africa are heart-achingly beautiful
  • The beautiful casitas, sleeping 2-8, are unique in style and both 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 very 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 mins to Tarifa)
  • This bit of coast is often very windy and the nearest beach (15 mins' walk) is clothing optional
  • The Casita isn’t as high spec as the Stone House and has patchy WiFi (management assure us this has improved), but the lovely outdoor terrace makes up for it
  • You have to pay the balance of your stay on arrival in cash, plus a sizeable security deposit

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

  • The owner 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
    • Boutique Villas
    • 2 villas sleeping 2-8
    • 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 small kitchenette and a 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 is the terrace for 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. A hidey-hole double in the barrel-vaulted attic has a futon bed, best suited to kids, and a private terrace overlooking the garden. The third bedroom, just off the living area, has a double bed and sea views. These latter 2 bedrooms share a huge bathroom with a Philippe Starck bathtub and rain shower.

    Features include:

    • Barbecue
    • Bathrobes
    • CD player
    • Coffee / tea making
    • Coffee maker
    • Cots Available
    • Dishwasher
    • DVD player
    • Fridge
    • Full kitchen
    • Hairdryer
    • Hob or stove
    • Internet access
    • Iron
    • Microwave
    • Mosquito net
    • Oven
    • Radio
    • Satellite TV
    • Terrace
    • Toaster
    • Toiletries
    • Washing machine

    Eating

    Both houses are well-equipped for self-catering and have indoor and outdoor dining tables and barbecues. Stock up on plenty of bottled water as you can't drink from the taps here. In Tarifa there some great little shops, 2-3 supermarkets and a wonderful covered market selling fresh fish. Down in Bolonia, 10 minutes away by car, there are a couple of sell-everything shops with tasty 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 - 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. We particularly enjoyed our supper-with-a-view at El Tesoro, close to the tiny hamlet of Betis.

    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, with plenty of veggie options.

    Features include:

    • Barbecue
    • Coffee / tea making
    • Coffee maker
    • Dishwasher
    • Fridge
    • Full kitchen
    • Hob or stove
    • Microwave
    • Oven
    • Toaster
    Eating: The Casita (sleeps 2-3)
    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 (make sure you note where the path starts/ends for your walk back)
    • 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 the houses and the shared gardens. Baby cots and a high chair are available, but there's nothing 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 + small single sofabed or space for a baby cot. It would be best suited to a couple with a baby (there’s plenty of space for a travel cot in the bedroom) or an older child who is happy to sleep alone on the downstairs sofabed.

    The 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.

    The stairs in the Casita are open-sided (adventurous toddlers will need to be supervised), and there is no bath. The huge floor-to-ceiling window in the bedroom opens up onto the sloped roof (there’s no barrier/railing)

    Kid Friendly:

    Location

    Bolonia Beach Houses are set near the hamlet of Bolonia in Andalucia, southern Spain. They are a 20-minute drive from the centre of Tarifa.

    By Air
    Fly into Gibraltar (70km), Jerez (120km), Málaga (170km) or Seville (200km). Click on the links below for a list of airlines.

    By Car
    You will definitely need a car to get here. For hire cars see our car rental recommendations.

    Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.

    More on getting to Andalucia and getting around

    Airports:

    • Gibraltar North Front 70.0 km GIL
    • Málaga 170.0 km AGP

    Other:

    • Beach 3.0 km
    • Shops 24.0 km
    • Restaurant 3.0 km

    Our guests' ratings...

    Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

    7/10
    Room
    8/10
    Service
    7/10
    Value
    7/10
    Overall

    You are a 15-minute walk to the beach and it is a nudist beach at certain times of year. House needs decoration and instructions for how to use appliances. I think it's far too expensive and over priced for its current property condition. However, gardens and setting was beautiful.

    7/10,

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