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Tarifa

On top of the sand dunes of Bolonia in Tarifa © Michelle Chaplow
On top of the sand dunes of Bolonia in Tarifa

Overview of Tarifa

Tarifa sits at the southern-most point of mainland Europe, where the Med meets the Atlantic. Just 14km across the Straits of Gibraltar at its narrowest point, the town enjoys spectacular views of the Rif mountains of North Africa, just across the water. But ´Tarifa´ encompasses much more than the small medieval fishing town; ten kilometres of white sandy beaches, the unspoilt countryside of the El Estrecho Natural Park, and some of the best kite & windsurfing conditions in Europe have established Tarifa as a true surfers´ paradise.

The coastline is as popular with nature-lovers as with its infamous surfing crowd, and between birdwatching, horse-riding, kite-surfing, wind-surfing, whale-watching, rock-climbing and scuba diving, there are ample ways of engaging with the beautiful rolling countryside or blue waters.

While the historic port town of Tarifa offers hotels and apartments to rent, its narrow medieval streets don't hide any villas. However in the surrounding countryside you will find some of the… More →

A wonderful opportunity to get close to whales, dolphins and other sea mammals, in their natural habitat in the Straits of Gibraltar. This is the area of sea where where the Atlantic Ocean and… More →

There are a number options for types of hotels in Tarifa, to suit all budgets and tastes. For those in search of a hotel, there's everything from affordable, friendly hostels to hip boutique… More →

Wing Foiling is the latest-born board sport : it consists in managing a wing not attached to the board and carried with two hands while standing on a hydrofoil mounted on a short stand up paddle… More →

This contemporary restaurant at Valdevaqueros beach by three-Michelin-starred chef Dani Garcia, who is based in Marbella, opened on eve of San Juan; 23rd  June 2019. The relaxed dining room has… More →

This super cool, laid back coastal resort boasts fascinating Moorish ruins, crystal clear waters, ample sporting opportunities and spectacular views across to Africa. Strong winds, coupled with… More →

Tarifa is a great place for birdwatching, being situated on the edge of Los Alcornocales National Park, and also on the migration route for more than 400 species of birds which fly in flocks… More →

Thanks to its ideal situation on the Straits of Gibraltar opposite Africa, where the Atlantic and Mediterranean meet, with constant winds, Tarifa is already known as the European capital of… More →

Thanks to its ideal situation on the Straits of Gibraltar opposite Africa, where the Atlantic and Mediterranean meet, with constant winds, Tarifa is already known as the European capital of… More →

This impressive, solidly-built Moorish fortification, which played an important part in early Spanish history, has been recently… More →

Tarifa is located at the southern-most point of Spain and is a popular destination for surfers, families and couples alike, with plenty of activities, from the high-octane to the more sedate.… More →

Tarifa isn’t only a Mecca for fanatical wind and kite surfers. There are so many other aspects that make Tarifa the beautiful place it is; whale watching on the straits, horse riding, land sailing… More →

Tarifa´s shopping scene is as varied as the crowd who frequent the town. Classics like the indoor fish market and touristic souvenir shops are balanced with the wave of boutiques that have begun… More →

Discover the Tarifa beach scene - the fine golden sands, those surf-loving winds, and that very special light of the Costa de la Luz, together make an unbeatable combination. The 10 km of white… More →

Famous for being the European capital of kite-surfing and located at the southernmost tip of Spain, Tarifa has a laid-back atmosphere all of its own. With its reliable breezes, kilometres of sandy… More →

'Stand up Paddleboarding', popularly called SUP, or surf a remo in Spanish, is an alternative to surfing which sees users stand on their board and propel themselves through the water using a… More →

Tarifa is a small but historic town with a relaxed vibe. Its most famous monument is the castle . Other attractions are Alhameda Gardens, Plaza de la Ranita, Church of San Mateo, Jerez Gate,… More →

As in most popular Andalucian tourist towns, parking in the centre of Tarifa is difficult. Here are some tips to help.

The port in Tarifa is the departure point of the fast ferry to Tangier and excursions including whale and dolphin-watching trips.

Many people dream of riding a horse along the beach, with their hair flying in the wind and the waves crashing around them, feeling a great sense of freedom. Tarifa´s extensive chain of white… More →

The town's bus station is at the end of the main shopping street, Calle Batalla del Salado, and next to the petrol station. The bus station is located 1.2km from Tarifa port, for the ferry to… More →

There are plenty of eateries to choose from in Tarifa, which serve the variety of tourists and locals in the area. Anyone from a seasoned gourmet fanatic to a surfer seeking nourishment after… More →

Having managed to retain its rural quality, Tarifa is amazingly undeveloped for such a coastal hotspot. It is a bustling, vibrant place, but each of its out-of-town attractions and excellent hotels are sparsely dotted along the coast. This is part of the appeal – driving south along the coastal N340, you ´feel the map´ as the mountains clear and Tarifa´s town and beaches appear below. Navigation is easy, almost always a short drive along the same road between activities.

CAR HIRE

It is for this reason that hiring a car is the best way to travel around Tarifa, to enjoy the views and make the most of everything the area has to offer. Consult our general Car Hire page for the best deals within Andalucia.

 

Tarifa Town

This little fishing town was the first point of the Moorish invasion of Southern Spain in AD711, when the Berber chief, Tarif Ibn Maelik, landed with four boats sailing from Ceuta carrying 400 foot soldiers and 100 horsemen. It is suspected that the town got its name from this same ´Tarif´, which in turn may be the origin of the word ´tariff´, as Tarifa was the first port in history to charge merchants for the use of its docks.

In 1292 Sancho El Bravo reconquered this corner of Iberia, then in 1295 Guzman El Bueno defended the town against the re-invading Moors. According to the local legend, the Moors captured his son and threatened to kill him if Guzman didn't surrender the town. He refused and threw down his sword from the castle tower, with which they killed his son. The narrow cobbled streets, tumbling jasmine and beautiful wrought-iron rejas make Tarifa old town a charming place for a stroll. The original castellated city walls of this ancient town are tightly woven into the fabric of the whitewashed houses. Although much of what we see today was actually constructed in the C18th, the Moorish influence on the town´s architecture and labyrinthine layout is still apparent. This is best displayed by the vaulted Jerez Gate, the main entrance point to the old town. Read more about Tarifa's main sights.

Local fishermen still use the Almadraba method of fishing, using a circle of boats and nets, a practice which has not changed since Phoenician times, over 2000 years ago. The bluefin tuna fishing season generally starts at the end of March and runs for about three months. Dishes using this Tarifa specialty can be sampled in many local restaurants.

But even in this sleepy, historic town, the new crowd brought in since the 1990s by the kitesurfing industry is apparent everywhere; boutique home and fashion shops can be found on every corner of the old town, and at night the walled area transforms into a network of buzzing bars and clubs. The old and the new are blended with effortless taste in what is increasingly becoming one of Andalucia´s hippest destinations.

 

 

Hover the cursor over Tafifa to see bigger map and click to go to the maps page.