Tarifa is a small town virtually in the middle of nowhere. It takes a while to get there from the main towns of the coast and is a good drive from Gibraltar. A Tarifa last minute holiday is one to savour if you love the wind, the sea, history, and golf.
The historical town of Tarifa can be found at the southern most tip of mainland Spain in the province of Cadiz. Because of its location, it has been used over the centuries as a major fortress and look-out point. The whole area is mentioned in archaeological finds dating back to the Phoenicians, the Romans colonised the area all around and excavations can still be seen and discoveries are still being made to this day.
The town of Tarifa itself takes its name from Tarif Ibn Malluk, a Berber chief who defeated Don Rodrigo in the Battle of la Jada in 711. The Christian Conquest of 1292 saw the town re-captured and it has held its place as a fortress and lookout point during many battles and wars since.
In the mid 80s Tarifa was like any other coastal town on the Costa de la Luz, quiet and traditional; however, with the advent of windsurfing and kite surfing, Tarifa has transformed itself into a popular and prosperous town taking full advantage of the high winds that are very common on this southern most tip of Spain.
From a distance you could still be very much mistaken into thinking Tarifa is a sleepy Spanish town, it is only once you enter the streets that it becomes obvious what a cool and very hip resort it has now become. It is now regarded as the premier wind and kite-surfing spot in Europe and many international competitions are held here throughout the year.
The main street comprises of shops selling state of the art equipment and the trendiest fashions as well as many rental facilities for those first timers to extreme sports. Even though the development of the town is booming, it has maintained its very Moorish feel and heritage.
The most inspiring image of Tarifa is the vast sweeping white sandy beach covering 226 hectares with the sand dunes dominating the far end. During competition times the sea is full of colour from the sails and kites, quite a spectacular image.
The strong wind which seems to always blow is a welcome relief during the hot summer months, but you’ll need to wrap up out of season!!
As well as the sporting connection, this area is of massive ecological value, with thousands of migrating birds using this point for their journey south to Africa.
There are many sporting opportunities available for novices all the way through to professionals here but aside from that Tarifa offers the holiday maker a whole host of different experiences.
Keeping on the ecological theme there is whale and dolphin spotting available from two non-profit making organisations. Trips from either company need to be booked in advance with Whale Watch contactable on 956 684 776, or FIRMM (Foundation for Information and Research on Marine Mammals) on 956 627 008.
There is also the opportunity of horse-riding, trekking and fishing from the many fincas in the area. This whole district is part of a national park with many underdeveloped beaches to explore, and trails to go walking and hiking on.
Tarifa is world famous for the ‘Chacarra’. A fandango danced by two women and one man and many restaurants have this display as part of their evening entertainment. There are many bars and pubs throughout town catering for the young and hip, and quite a few late night clubs too. One work of advice…taxis are pretty thin on the ground in Tarifa and are best booked on 956 684 241.
There are some beautiful hotels just out of town ranging from 2 star hostels up to 5 star resorts. There are also numerous camp sites to cater for the huge numbers of people who travel down here in the summer months. It’s also good to note, that in the month of August the beaches are zoned off for windsurfers, kite-surfers and swimmers.
Tarifa has its fair share of religious holidays, but aside from these it celebrates its own carnival in February with the usual partying into the wee small hours!! It also plays host to a folk music festival for 2 weeks in August which is quite renowned in Europe. September is the main Feria celebrating la Virgin de Luz with the whole town celebrating in force.
Tourist Information: 956 680 993
Taxi: 956 684 241
Windsurf Rescue: 900 202 202