Tarifa Travel Guide
Kite-surfing in Tarifa © ardenswayoflife
The Spanish holiday destination of Tarifa is ideally located on the border of the Costa del Sol and Costa de la Luz, near the Strait of Gibraltar and a short ferry ride away from the exotic Moroccan city of Tangier. The popular beach resort town is famed for being the windsurfing capital of Europe: Atlantic winds create ideal conditions and kite surfing is also growing in popularity here, especially on the beaches of Playa Valdevaqueros and Playa Los Lances.
Those who feel safer on land can try horseback riding, hiking, dolphin and whale watching, cycling, rock climbing and some of the region's best bird watching. The Moorish heritage of the area is evident in the preserved Castillo de Guzman and holidaymakers should visit the old part of the town to wander the narrow streets, shop and enjoy one of the many great tapas restaurants. Don't expect the madness and mayhem of places like Torremolinos, nor the 'chips with everything' style resorts; Tarifa is a charming beach resort that offers a local Spanish flavour and plenty of sunshine.
When it's time for shopping in Tarifa there are a fair amount of many options to choose from, but many of the shops lack variety. The old town has a number of small boutiques and a multitude of surf shops selling all the latest name brands. The old town also has an indoor market where you can by fresh produce and other food including the catch, or catches, of the day in the outdoor area. The modern market on Tuesday mornings, it stocks tourist souvenirs, artwork, handicrafts and ceramics. You'll find many Tarifa souvenirs echo the region's Moorish heritage, with Moroccan lamps, pillows, shoes and linens all being popular gifts.
Eating out in Tarifa is an adventure of Andalusian food, as the city has a mix of traditional restaurants, tapas bars, and cafes in addition to more cosmopolitan options like Italian, Moroccan, and French eateries. For the most authentic experience, simply wander through the old town and enjoy the local tapas and jerez (sherry). Cafe Azul, Cafe Mogador, Casa Juan Luis and La Trattoria are a few of Tarifa's most recommended eateries for holiday visitors, or try the hidden gem of Quattro Esquinas.
Tarifa's nightlife is constantly buzzing. The city's bars are busy with the after-dinner crowd from 9am until 3am when they are forced to close by law. Popular options include Bar Almedina, which is set into the historic city wall, and the stylish Cafe del Mar Tarifa. The clubs take over where the bars leave off, carrying on until around 8am. These include the youth-oriented house venue Club New Rif, the historic La Ruina, and the stylish Carpe Diem. Tarifa attracts great live music as well, including Flamenco, samba, jazz, and its own particular brand of hip hop. Many of the hotel bars host live music performances.
Tarifa has ideal conditions for kite surfing, windsurfing, and sailing, and you can try your hand at other aquatic activities like surfing, scuba diving and whale watching. For those more comfortable on land, there are opportunities for horseback riding, bird watching, and visiting historic buildings and ruins. Tarifa also has cheap and convenient ferries to Tangier for those who want to experience the Moroccan souks.
Tarifa is a very windy holiday resort, perfect for kite surfing and windsurfing, but not ideal for those looking for relaxing days on the beach.