At the southernmost end of the Iberian Peninsula, Tarifa is a Spanish municipality often overlooked for its more famous counterparts. Here at Fravel, we think that this Andalusian destination should be on every traveler’s bucket list. Need some convincing? From beautiful beaches to Roman ruins, here are the reasons why you should visit Tarifa Spain.
1. World class windsurfing and kitesurfing
Tarifa Spain has unique wind conditions that prevail over 300 days most years. The exceptionally strong and consistent winds throughout the year has made Tarifa the windsurfing and kitesurfing capital of Europe. If you’re keen to pick up a new sport, you can find many schools on the beaches at Playa de Los Lances, Valdevaqueros and Punta Paloma.
2. Whale watching experiences
The water surrounding Tarifa Spain is where the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea meet. The Strait of Gibraltar is home to several species of whales, such as the fin whale, pilot whale, sperm whale and orca. Whale watching is not only a tourist activity, but also an educational experience. Many operators will take you out to sea for two to three hours, and if your group doesn’t spot any whales, your next booking will be free.
3. Laze on the beautiful beaches
There’s no better place on earth to just lay and do nothing. Some of the best beaches for this include Playa de Los Lances, a seven-kilometer stretch of sand free of kitesurfers during the summer months. A little further up north, Playa de Valdevaqueros is where you’ll find some beautiful sand dunes. There are also clearly marked zones for kitesurfing, windsurfing and bathing. It also boasts of plenty of cool beach bars looking out over the beach!
4. Explore the old town
The Puerta de Jerez is the only one of four medieval entrances remaining that will take you into Tarifa’s old town. The area is not very big, but you’ll be charmed by the beautiful houses and narrow streets. Before long you’ll come into the central square – the Plaza de Santa Maria. Its unofficial name is Plaza de la Ranita, or Little Frog Square, thanks to the unusual star-shaped fountain with eight ceramic frogs.
5. See Roman ruins
About 22 kilometres outside of Tarifa, Baelo Claudia was an ancient Roman town of Hispania. It was originally a fishing village and prosperous during the time of Emperor Claudius, but due to a series of earthquakes and pirate activity it was abandoned by the 6th century. Many elements of the Roman town have been preserved, including the theater, columns of a basilica, thermal baths, aqueduct and fish-salting workshops.
6. Take a day trip to Africa
There aren’t many places in Europe from which you can take a day trip to another continent. But thanks to its location on the southernmost point of Continental Europe, Tarifa Spain is just a 35-minute ferry ride away from Tangier, Morocco. Morocco is so different from Spain but after the initial culture shock you’ll see Tangier for the fascinating city it is. Most things you’ll want to see are within a 30-minute stroll, but the city is worth spending a day or two.
7. Eat to your heart’s content
Food is generally good in Tarifa, especially fish. Try going to the places filled with locals – this is where you’ll most likely get the best quality for the best price! Make sure to try the local tuna, swordfish and the Tortillas de camarón (shrimp fritters). Ortigas (sea nettles) are another local specialty to try!
8. Go horse riding
When exploring Tarifa, you’ll come across many horses, a lot of them freely grazing around. Experiencing Tarifa Spain on horseback is a truly unique experience. Many schools and hotels in and around the town offer classes and guides for all levels. Two natural parks near Tarifa provide ample opportunity for horse riding and you can also ride along the coast or in the mountains!