Tarifa, internationally known as the wind capital of Europe, is a world apart from the rest of Andalusia. This small town, with its super laid-back atmosphere, the multitude of cosy restaurant and the infinite sandy beaches, attracts people from all over the world. Some of them stay in town just for a few days, some others decide to make their home in Tarifa for a few months. Most people love this town so much that keep coming back year after year, infected by the “Tarifa virus”. This town has very special vibes which can conquer everybody! Additionally, Tarifa has a fascinating history thanks to its strategic position. It is indeed located in the most southern point of continental Europe and it is just 15km away from Africa. Discover here what are the things to do in Tarifa!
- Relax on the beach
- Outdoor activities
- Exploring the town
- Discovering the history of the town
Tarifa is located right where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Mediterranean Sea, on top of one of the Pillars of Hercules. Thanks to its privileged position, this town is blessed with strong wind and huge waves. This makes Tarifa one of Europe’s best spot to practice water sports. For sure this place is a paradise for experienced kiters, but Tarifa is probably not the best spot to learn, according to my experience. Quite often indeed very strong wind creates very high waves, which can make beginner progression very slow. The kiteble wind range for beginners is very narrow, and most days you will find yourself watching other kiters having fun between the waves, wishing you were already that good.
In the progression.me website, you can find a very useful guide for kitesurfing in Tarifa.
Other water sports to do in Tarifa are SUP, windsurfing and surfing.
Relaxing on the beach
The amazing sandy beaches in Tarifa are also the perfect place to relax. The most famous beach is Playa de Los Lances. This beach, which stretches for 10 km, is a protected natural area and it is also one of the favourite spots for kitesurfers. On the beach, there is a nice bar called Chiringuito Agua, the perfect place to chill out drinking a beer. However, some days wind can be annoying in this white sandy paradise. On these days, Playa Chica can be a good alternative. This small beach is right next to the city centre, and it is the only one sheltered from the strong winds.
Just a few minutes driving from Tarifa (approximately 20km north of Tarifa) there is one of the best beaches in Spain, Playa de Bolonia. The beach is known for its dunes that you can easily cross thanks to a wooden walking path. One particular dune, which is over 30m high and 200m wide, has been declared an Andalusian natural monument. This place is breathtaking during sunsets, when the sun disappears behind the dune and the sand glows in the golden light.
Right next to the beach there are the Roman ruins of Baelo Claudia, which is considered one of Andalucia most significant and well-preserved Roman archaeological sites. You can see them walking on the wooden walking path on the beach.
Outdoor activities to do in Tarifa are not limited to watersports. Several hiking trails start from the town and go through the Parque Natural del Estrecho. One of the best is the one which ends at the Mirador del Estrecho, a fantastic viewpoint with a stunning view over Gibraltar straight. This viewpoint can also be reached by car. Driving can be a good alternative if you don’t want to hike but you still fancy a beer with an amazing view over Africa.
Exploring the town
The old town is super cute and it is a perfect place for a nice stroll. Although the town is pretty small it is quite easy to get lost between the multitude of narrow streets and the beautiful white houses typical of Andalusian towns. What I love the most about the town is the contrast between the old buildings and the new hipster cafes and small stylish clothes shops that you can find in every corner.
The old town is also the centre of nightlife in Tarifa! People usually stay at the beach until the sun goes down, and then hit the old town for dinner around 8pm. The town only fires up around midnight, when people spill out onto the streets and bars.
Discovering the history of the town
I know, a cultural day is not exactly at the top of the list of things you may think to do in Tarifa, but this town was an important strategic entry point into Spain and the rest of Europe, so it has an interesting history. If you want to know more about it, the Castle of Guzman El Bueno is worth a visit. Additionally, the view of the city from the castle is breathtaking! The entrance to the castle is next to the harbour and the entrance fee is 4€ for adults, 2.50€ for children (between 12 and 18 years old) and 1.50€ for students.
For an additional euro, you can also visit Tarifa walls, which still separates the old town from the countryside. This visit brings you on top of the old buildings which are attached to the wall and offer fantastic views over the countryside.
The wall ends with a tower located by the sea. It almost looks like you can walk to Marocco.
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