Tarifa, which lies only 14 kilometers from the African coast, is located in the most southernly region of the Iberian Peninsula and the European continent. It is where the mighty Atlantic ocean meets the calm Mediterranean sea.
We were at first adamant of visiting this town because of unpleasant stories we have heard about it like theft on motorhomes and safety issues. Nonetheless, we still decided to go here for a short visit, though we were cautious during our stay here. We were able to park our D’Traveller in a vacant lot located just at the beginning of the village, less than a kilometer walk from the Playa delos Lances. Two big supermarkets are located in the area (Mercadona and Dia); the city center is about 20 minutes walk; and services for the motorhomes is at the tankstation Tarifuel, where for 3 euros, you can tank up to 140 liters of clean drinking water, empty your chemical toilet and empty your waste watertank. There is also a laundry service, The Lavomatic.
Campsite : Camino dela Playa (Playa delos Lances)
Paseo Maritimo 11380 Tarifa
Coordinates : N: 36.02511 W: 5.61426
THE OLD TOWN OF TARIFA
It took us at least 2 hours to explore the old center of Tarifa. Our stroll began at the Tourist office, which was luckily open on Sundays. Then we walked up to Puerto de Tarifa, where boats depart to Morocco. We walked all the way up to the top until we reached the Miramar, or viewpoint, where we had excellent views of the Mediterranean sea and the whole Puerto on the left side, and the old center on the right side. In so doing, we have walked past the Castillo Guzman El Buena which we did not visit (entrance fee is 4 euro pp). After that, we just let ourselves got lost in the old town’s small inner streets, lined up with white-washed buildings, most of which are restaurants and small shops. We walked past the churches of St. Francis and St. Matthew, two of the big churches in town. They were unfortunately closed during the time that we were there. Going out via Puerta De Jerez, the old main entrance to the city, we walked following the way to the sea, and walked to the southernmost part of European continent, the Isla delas Palomas. Here is where the Atlantic ocean romantically meets the Mediterranean sea. The wind was so wild and sand particles were flying everywhere that we decided not to stay here for long.
PLAYA DELOS LANCES
Playa delos Lances is a long wide sandy beach in the town of Tarifa. It is windy out here and the waves are wild, which make the beach popular for kite and wind surfers. In fact, the shore is decorated with kites especially during the afternoon. There is an easy walking trail of at least 1.5 kilometer that goes parallel the shoreline. It starts from the football stadium, at the edge of the beach and ends in El Pozuelo. The trail passes thru the marshlands of Los Lances and the path is mainly wooden. There are a couple of wooden benches along the way to sit and enjoy the views.
THE VILLAGE OF BOLONIA
The remote village of Bolonia is situated 20 kilometers south of Tarifa. After staying two uneventful days in Tarifa, we drove up to this village. The way to Bolonia was pleasurable, driving 7 kilometers off the main road and through the mountains. The village is small and quiet. There are a couple of small shops where you can buy some basic items. Also small restaurants and apartments which were not busy when we were there. What makes the village more worth -visiting are the Roman ruins of Baulo Claudia, the Dunes of Bolonia and of course, its spectacular beach.
Campsite : Playa de Bolonia
11380 Bolonia (Tarifa)
Coordinates : N: 36.08687 W: 5.76882
Our decision to drive to Bolonia proved to be a very good one. We have found here the most beautiful spot where we could park our motorhome. It was so quiet (being off season); aside from 4 other motorhomes which were parked elsewhere, we had the place literally only for us! We enjoyed long walks along its spectacular almost 4-kilometer long sandy beach, the Playa de Bolonia. We walked along the shore and felt the almost icy cold water under our feet; we hiked on the mountains and saw the magnificent blue-torquise waters of the Atlantic ocean; on a clear day, we were able to see Tarifa and even the mountains of Africa!
The Dunes of Bolonia,which is 30 meters high and 200 meters wide, is located inside the Parque Natural de Estrecho. From where we camped, there is a good trail in going up to the dunes, passing thru the Roman ruines, and walking on a wooden footpath, having the full view of the dunes. Upon reaching the end of the footpath, you have to go down to the sand and walk your way up to the top of the dunes, where a magnificent view of the beach awaits you! Really spectacular and rewarding!
We had two relaxed days here in Bolonia. It was only a little unfortunate that the weather was not that good, otherwise we have stayed a bit longer. Mayber next time, when and if we are in this part of Spain again….Hasta La Vista….