- Things to do in Bolonia in the province of Cadiz, Spain
- How to get to Bolonia in the province of Cadiz, Spain?
- Restaurants, accommodations, and map
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Somewhere in the southern Iberian Peninsula, on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, there’s a tiny village that can make a huge impression, and leave you speechless… It is Bolonia in Spain and it has a spectacular beach, dune, and ruins of the Roman city Baelo Claudia.
Bolonia in Spain (don’t confuse it with the famous Italian Bologna) thanks to its location and beautiful sandy beaches is a perfect place for both watersport and sunbathing lovers.
Bolonia is located on Costa de la Luz, in the municipality of Tarifa in the province of Cadiz. It’s only 23km away from the famous Tarifa, the capital of the wind and one of the world’s most popular destinations for water sports.
Bolonia is most famous for the ruins of the Roman town Baelo Claudia, the unspoiled Playa de Bolonia, and the spectacular Bolonia Dune. The area is also perfect for practicing water sports like kitesurfing, windsurfing, or paddleboarding.
So if you’re spending time in Tarifa, or its surroundings, you simply can’t miss visiting Bolonia. Read on and learn more about all the best things to do in Bolonia, Cadiz.
Things to do in Bolonia in the province of Cadiz, Spain
Ruins of the Roman city Baelo Claudia in the province of Cadiz, Spain
One of the best things to do in Bolonia is to visit the Archaeological Site Baelo Claudia (es. Conjunto Arqueológico Baelo Claudia). Baelo Claudia is one of the most important and well-preserved Roman archaeological sites in Andalusia as well as the most complete Roman town ruins discovered in Spain. Ruins were declared a National Historical Monument in 1925, as well as an Archaeological Site by the Andalusian government in 1989.
Rise, glory, and fall of Baelo Claudia
Baelo Claudia dates back to the 2nd century BC. Close proximity to Africa which favored trade between two continents, and the tuna migrations through the Strait of Gibraltar were the two main factors why this city flourished. The richness of fish and salt led to the building of the salting factory garum. Garum, fermented fish sauce, was expensive and eaten mostly by the upper classes, and loved by Romans.
So tuna fishing, salting, and the production of garum were the primary sources of wealth for Baelo Claudia. Thanks to this the town reached its greatest splendor between the 1st century BC and the 2nd century AD. In the middle of the 2nd century, probably as a result of a major earthquake, the town declined. In addition to that, during the 3rd century, the town had been constantly attacked by pirates. By the 6th century, the town had been completely abandoned. Ruins of the Roman city of Baelo Claudia had been excavated in the early 20th century, between 1917 and 1921.
Nowadays, Baelo Claudia ruins in Spain are one of the best examples of Roman urban development in the entire world. Ruins include the remains of buildings like a theater, baths, market, forum, aqueduct, fish-salting factory, or basilica.
Opening hours, tickets and parking in Baelo Claudia
The Spain Archaeological Site Baelo Claudia opening hours depend on the time of the year. You can check them out on museosdeandalucia.es website. The Archaeological Site is always closed on Mondays.
The entrance to Baelo Claudia Ruins is free for EU citizens. However, citizens from other countries need to pay €1.50 (June 2022). There’s a parking lot available on site.
Fun fact: you can also admire part of the Baelo Claudia ruins from the beach boardwalk. So if you don’t have time to visit, you can still get a glimpse of the ruins from the outside.
Bolonia Beach Spain
Bolonia Beach (es. Playa de Bolonia) is a must-see if you’re around Tarifa. It’s one of the last, almost unspoiled, and wild beaches in Spain. And for sure it’s without a doubt one of the most beautiful in the whole of Andalusia. Playa de Bolonia is about 4km long with an average width of 70m. There are no hotels along the beach, and only a small number of facilities like beach bars, restaurants, and places where you can rent equipment for water sports like windsurfing, kitesurfing, or paddleboarding. Those facilities are mainly located on the southeast part of Bolonia Beach, away from the Bolonia Dune.
Things to do on the Playa de Bolonia
Let’s start with the most obvious one: you can just relax and sunbathe on Bolonia Beach. If you’ll get enough of it you can choose to take a walk on the Bolonia boardwalk, which is only 1km long, and runs from the parking lot towards the Bolonia Dune, passing Baelo Claudia ruins. The boardwalk ends at the viewpoint of the sand dune. Unfortunately, it’s not suitable for wheelchair users because there are parts often covered in sand and parts where it takes you to the beach before it continues again. Your other option, longer and more time-consuming, is to take a pleasant walk along Bolonia Beach, which is 4km long.
One more thing. Before you go to Bolonia Beach, or any other beach in the area, check out the wind forecast. This region is famous for its strong winds and, believe us, it’s no fun to be on a beach when it’s too windy.
Bolonia Dune in the province of Cadiz, Spain
Walking to the top of the Bolonia Dune is the thing you can’t miss while in the area. Bolonia Dune (es. Duna de Bolonia) is located at the west end of the Bolonia Beach, in El Estrecho Natural Park. This sand formation is 30m high and 200m wide and is the main natural attraction in Bolonia. It was declared a Natural Monument in 2001, which doesn’t surprise us at all because it’s really magnificent.
The peculiar thing about Duna de Bolonia is that it’s very mobile and thanks to the frequent and strong Levante wind (east wind) it constantly advances inland, into the pine tree forests.
Walking to the top of Bolonia Sand Dune is quite short, and only a little bit tiring (mostly because walking on sand uphill is not the most pleasant thing). But fortunately, spectacular views from the top make up for all difficulties. From there you’ll be able to admire a nice panorama of Playa de Bolonia, and the views over the African coast, which is at your fingertips. Not that bad for a dune that is only 30m high!
Natural pools of Bolonia
On the eastern side of Bolonia Beach you can find a hidden treasure – the natural pools of Bolonia (es. Piscinas naturales de Bolonia). It’s a set of natural pools formed by the water that is trapped between the rocks when the water level falls.
To reach Piscinas naturales de Bolonia you need to leave your car in the Bolonia parking lot and then take about a 40-minute walk along Bolonia Beach. The second option is to park a car near Restaurante El Mirlo in Paloma Baja and take a walk from there (supposedly about 20min).
Practise Watersports in Bolonia, Spain
Waters in Bolonia in the province of Cadiz are perfect for practicing various watersports. Like Tarifa, Bolonia is famous for constant and often strong winds which favor sports such as kitesurfing and windsurfing. Also, when the ocean is calm it’s perfect for practicing paddleboarding.
On the southeast side of Playa de Bolonia, you’ll find Bolonia Windsurf Center where you can rent various equipment and sign up for classes if you’re not yet a windsurfing/kitesurfing master.
How to get to Bolonia in the province of Cadiz, Spain?
Where to park in Bolonia, Spain?
There are few parking areas in Bolonia. We can imagine that in high season they fill up quickly so it’s best to come quite early in the morning. We recommend leaving a car in this parking lot. In February it was free, but you can sometimes spot in reviews that it costs €1.50 for a whole day (probably in high season). There’s also a parking lot right next to the entrance to the Archaeological Site Baelo, so if you’re visiting the ruins you can take advantage of that.
Also, if you are a van lifer, this is a great place to stay for a night or two.
Bolonia, Spain by bus
You can also get to Bolonia by bus. Buses from Tarifa only drive to Bolonia in the summer months three times a day, and a journey takes 25 minutes. The journey from Cadiz will take about 1.5h and will cost €26-38.
Restaurants, accommodations, and map
Check out various recommended places below.
Where to stay near Bolonia, Spain?
The best place to stay near Bolonia is Tarifa. Check out our Booking / Airbnb recommendation in the “What To Do In Tarifa, Spain? Complete Travel Guide” post.
Where to eat in Bolonia?
Here are your best, high-rated options in Bolonia: