Tarifa is a small provincial town in the most Southern part of Spain and is a home to 24,000 people. It is considered to be the most Southern point of the European continent and is the mecca of kitesurfing and windsurfing. Due to its unique geographical location it has some of the most stable wind statistics!
The beach is filled with clean fine white sand. Fascinating green massifs form a colorful appearance of the coastal strip washed by the waters of the Strait of Gibraltar.
The wind has 2 primary directions: East (called Levante) and West (called Poniente). Both winds are quite stable but vary in strength in different hours of the day. Levante is very strong and is often gusty. It can blow with constant power all day and night and can last from one to several days and even weeks. Poniente is more constant and can vary in strength. It is much milder than Levante and most often begins in the afternoon and ends at sunset.
Tarifa, by right, carries the unofficial title of “Capital of the Winds” due to the almost complete absence of windless days. You can ride year-round. The winter air temperature does not drop below +9C (50F) degrees (in the mornings). Daytime sun can warm it up to 18-20 (68F) degrees. In the Summer, the temperature exceeds +28C (82F), but oceanic winds bring freshness and light coolness. The water temperature does not fall below +18C (65F) degrees.
Tarifa has many interesting historical sites, monuments and fragments of ancient buildings, symbolizing its glorious past.
How to get here. The closest international airports are in the city of Malaga and in the town of Jerez de la Frontera. From there you can arrive by:
– bus (2-3 hours depending on location)
– blablacar.es – popular ride sharing service via app on your smartphone. It’s usually cheaper and faster than taking a bus but it’s availability can be limited. Routes to Tarifa are fairly popular but try to reserve in advance as cancellations are easy as well.
– car rental (very affordable outside of summer month especially when rented with any VISA credit card which usually automatically include rental car insurance). Having a car will make your journey much easier and flexible due to low local traffic and good road quality.
A little bit of history. In the ancient era, the city was called the colony of Julius Transdukt, and in the Arab conquest was named Tarif ibn Mulluk, in honor of the first person representing ISLAAM set foot on the Spanish lands.
In 1292, Tarifa was captured by the army of the Castilian King Sancho IV, after which the Arabs have never been able to conquer these lands again. Tarifa history was written with blood of many battles which left their scars on the fragments of the survived city walls.
The first traces of people living in these lands date back to the era of the Early Paleolithic, as evidenced by several dozen of caves in the surrounding forests. Their walls still have unique drawings of animals and human figures. Organized tours to some of these caves are very popular with the guests of the city.
The center of the old city has managed to preserve the motives of the Arabian style in old and recent construction. Summer months fill the city with tourists and wind fans from all over the world.
Street performances, numerous cafes and chiringitos (beach restaurants) please with a variety of dishes however the most popular, of course remain the traditional Spanish tapas (appetizers).
Attractions and entertainment. Among the most interesting historical and architectural attractions of Tarifa stands out the Medieval Castle Castillo de Guzmán. It offers magnificent views of the Strait of Gibraltar and the peaks of the Moroccan mountains. The wonderful Gardens of Miramar, the medieval Gate of Jerez, the city museum at Piazza Santa Maria and the church of San Mateo, dating back to the 16th century. Those who wish can have the opportunity to make an unforgettable sea trip to Morocco or to the Isla de las Palomas island, which divides the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.
Romantic walk lovers will enjoy La Alameda Park abundant with dense vegetation, evergreen palms and walk paths.
Morocco (Africa) is only 16km away and its a short 30 min ride via FRS ferry (https://www.frs.es) from the local port. Please see the above website for exact dates and pricing. You will want to be at the port 30 min prior to the departure time to pass the passport control.
Cuisine. Numerous local restaurants offer a wide variety of culinary options including exotic middle eastern and Indian vegan dishes. Traditional Spanish and North African cuisine dominate the area with abundance of spices and predominant dishes based on animal products. As in all Spanish resorts, visitors are offered a huge assortment of seafood, drinks, fruits and confectionery.
Shopping also fails to disappoint. The widest choice of souvenir products is presented in the Old District of the city, there you can buy almost anything: from frozen fish and dried fruit, to ceramics and jewelry. Gear for surfing and other related disciplines is sold in the Barrio Nuevo complex, in Bataya del Salado.
Tarifa is considered a special city and stands out not only for its unique geographical location but also for a number of other characteristics: rich historical heritage, luxurious wind for water related sports, interesting excursion routes as well as pronounced national flavor, combining the culture and traditions of the two continents: Europe and North Africa.