For my 33rd birthday, my husband and I drove an hour and a half from Rota, Spain to the quiet beach town of Bolonia. I had heard so much about the beautiful beaches and the ancient Roman ruins, and wanted to see it for myself. Located right along the shores of the Straight of Gibraltar, Bolonia was the perfect relaxing weekend getaway.
The first thing we did after arriving at our Airbnb and settling in was to try to find something to eat. Of course it was a little early for dinner; most restaurants observe siesta between the hours of 2 and 8, so since we didn’t get settled into our Airbnb until around 6, we had a couple of hours to kill. Siesta doesn’t necessarily mean all restaurants are closed, though. Generally they are still serving drinks and small tapas like olives or Jamón Ibérico. So, we sat and had a couple of drinks at chiringuito El Tucán. Its a cute little beach bar on Playa de Bolonia, with excellent views of the beach.
Playa de Bolonia, by the way, is a beautiful beach, with clear blue water, and beautiful wildflowers growing along the shoreline. I think I may be super allergic to them though. My eyes started watering and I began sneezing immediately as soon as I set foot on the beach, but that did not stop me from enjoying it!
We sat down for dinner at Restaurante Las Reyas. It was a little pricey, compared to other restaurants in the area, but the seafood was amazing. The owners and the staff were all very friendly and gave us lots of recommendations for food to eat at the restaurant, as well as things to do in the area. For dinner, we had octopus salad, and a HUGE spider crab. The spider crab was my favorite dish that I had the whole weekend, and we even returned for dinner the night we headed back home.
Baelo Claudia is an ancient Roman town, located right outside of the town of Bolonia. The town was originally a fishing village and trade link when it was settled 2,000 years ago. Although prosperous at the time of Emperor Claudius, it went into a decline hastened by earthquakes and was abandoned by the 6th century. If you find yourself in the Bolonia/Tarifa area, this is definitely a must see! The entrance fee for foreigners is about €1.30, and includes entry into the ancient town and the museum. The ruins right along the beautiful blue water makes for a nice afternoon and beautiful photos!
On our last day in town, we drove out to Tarifa to spend the day, since it was only about 20 minutes away. Tarifa is definitely a town for hippies and beach bums, with there being a beach bar and surf and kiteboarding shops every 2 feet. Fresh seafood and fruit smoothies were being offered at every turn. It is definitely a good change of pace from the quiet town of Bolonia, when you want a little more action.
The beaches are quite windy, so kite boarding and surfing are very popular activities in the area. Or, if you just want to enjoy a drink and a beach, there are plenty of beach bars along the shore for that too. We had lunch at Café del Mar, which was a cute beach bar with good music and an awesome view of the beach, but there are tons of other restaurants and bars along the main strip.