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Holidays & Excursions In Tarifa [3].

Tarifa [4] is a holiday destination in the south of Spain. The strait of Gibraltar that separates the continents of Europe and Africa is just 14 km across.


The walled Old Town town has only been mildly spoiled by the mass tourist developments that have ravaged the coasts of most of Spain. Much of the surrounding coastline is still protected by law and a few kilometres to the west of the town are two of Spain's most beautiful beaches.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

The nearest airports are, Malaga 1,5 hour drive, Gibraltar, at 35 minutes, Jerez de la Frontera at 1 hour drive and the airport of Tangier, Morocco 1 hour (includes crossing time with ferry).

By bus[edit]

Take Calle Batallo del Salado in the direction away from old town to find the bus station behind the petrol station. There are several buses a day to Cadiz (10 euro), Sevilla (20 euro, 32 round-trip), Algeciras and other cities.

By boat[edit]

From the port a fast FRS ferry leaves several times a day for the port of Tangier, Morocco. Cruise time - 35 minutes.

Ferry tickets, port information and Tangier accommodation [5].

See[edit][add listing]

  • The views to Africa.

Looking across the Strait of Gibraltar from Tarifa you see the Rif Mountains of Morocco rising out of the sea. On a clear day they feel close enough to swim to. At night the lights of Tangier and the coastal towns of Morocco glow and flicker over the water, seemingly far too close to be in another continent. Many houses and flats to rent in Tarifa have a roof garden with a view across the Strait to Africa. It's a beautiful backdrop to your breakfast.

  • The famous surf beach Los Lances.

An expanse of white sand nearly 8km long and 120m wide, the immense beach at Los Lances is world-famous for being the best kite and windsurf beach in Europe. The main kitesurf teaching area is near the Rio Jara, which drains into the ocean across the beach, forming a semi permanent lagoon when tides are high. Past the river, at the far end from town, Los Lances morphs into Valdevaqueros then turns a corner and becomes Punta Paloma, making a near-unbroken 10km beach of white sand and dunes.

  • Puerta de Jerez.

Main entrance to the old town of Tarifa, part of the medieval wall, is the only gate that survived of the three existing gates to the old town. When you stand under the gate, have a look up... interesting architecture. Above the entrance is written: Very Noble, Very Loyal and Heroic city of Tarifa, Won from the moors Reigning Sancho IV el Bravo 21 September 1292.

  • Castle Guzmán el Bueno.

Probably one of the best maintain medieval building in Spain, build in 960 by Abd ar-Rahman. From the tower you have beautiful 360 degrees views over Tarifa and the fascinating strait of Gibraltar. Can you imagine that your son is at the bottom of the tower captured and in the hands of the Moors who speak the following requirements; Andalucia or we kill your son! Without thinking Guzman takes his knife and throws it right in the heart of his son. The end of 800 year occupation. Whether it is true ... No one will ever know. Opening times: 10.30 - 14.00 / 17.00 - 20.00 (paid visits)info: [6] Phone: +34 956 684 689

  • Church San Mateo.

Right in the center. The Gothic church was built in the 16th century. The facade is rebuild in 1774 by La vega and stands in good relation with the original style. The door of the church is always open. Address: Calle Sancho IV el Bravo, 8 Phone: +34 956 68 44 03

Plaza de los Ocho Ranitas (eight frogs) Also called Plaza de Santa Maria. The main buildings are the La Alcazaba, neoclasic style.,the city hall of Tarifa and the local Library.

  • El camino de la isla de las Palomas.

The road that leads to the island dividing the Mediterranea sea and the Atlantic ocean. Beautiful and inspirating views over the strait and to Africa (16.4 km), watch the surfers or fill the lungs with fresh sea air. The little castle is called Castillo Santa Catalina, build in 1929.

  • Baelo Claudia in Bolonia (17 km from the old town)

Baelo Claudia is a complex of Roman ruins including temples, baths, houses and a Roman theatre. It's right on the beach in Bolonia, a fishing vliiage located on a small bay framed by mountains, just a few minutes drive from Tarifa. Baelo Claudia derived its wealth from the fishing industry, supplying the popular Roman delicacy garum (fish paste) to the whole Roman Empire. It was thriving at the time of Emperor Claudius (41-45 AD), who gave the town his name. It's a great place to take in some culture while enjoying magnificent views over the beach, the Atlantic ocean and the African continent.

  • Beautiful nature to enjoy all kind of outdoor sports activities.
  • Go for a whale-watching tour from the port of Tarifa.

The strait of Gibraltar to observe dolphins and enjoy the beautiful impressive views to both continents from the boat. Resident species can be seen all year include the Common dolphin, Striped dolphin, Bottlenose dolphin and Pilot Whale. Semi-resident species presence related to feed periods include the Killer whale - Orca (between July and September), Sperm whale (mostly between March and July). Migratory species cross the strait in their migratory routes include the Fin whale (mostly between May and July).

  • Abandoned Military buildings

The Strait of Gibraltar was this time guarded by large, heavy guns from various military batteries here on the coast of Tarifa. In those days the soldiers on duty had a lot of fun in Tarifa and their green uniforms were a nice contrast to the vibrant colors of the first windsurfers. Today these military batteries are overgrown with plants and trees, the walls decorated with graffiti, broken windows, roofs far from waterproof, sun playing with the shadow and a lot of mystery. The work noises have been replaced by silence (except the wind) but if you listen carefully they will tell you their story.

Do[edit][add listing]

The main activities are:

  • Windsurf - High Wind Area

Tarifa owes its fame to the windsurfing, the bay is ideal with fresh winds from the Atlantic, the so-called Poniente wind and the warm strong Levante wind from the Mediterranean. The wind in Tarifa is consistently stronger than in surrounding areas due to the Venturi effect created by the Strait of Gibraltar and localised thermal winds. The place is fascinating to sail, the views are incredible and the conditions great. The most famous spots are, Valdevaqueros, Los Lances, Balneario, Playa chica and Bolonia. The windsurf schools are open all year around and offer the best and latest equipment. If you come with your own windsurf equipment, the hotels offer storage room and most of the villas have enough space. There are a few campsites right on the beach with all amenities.

  • Kitesurf

For sure the best spot in Europe to practice kitesurfing, the mix of good winds, kilometres of perfect white sandy beaches and a full service of professional schools, instructors, night life and rental centers makes Tarifa special. Ideal for all kind of level sailors. There are restricted kite areas along the coast during the summer months. There are a few official IKO (International Kiteboarding Organization) centers, where all level courses are offered from kids and beginners lessons and professional kite instructors' training sessions are available every year.

  • Graykite Tarifa, Ctra Comarcal 9210 KM 2, Zona Pedro Valiente (The meeting place for lessons is at Chiringuito Agua, a beach bar at the main teaching area on Playa de Los Lances, not at the business address.), +34 600 76 62 33, [1]. 08:00 - 20:00. Graykite is a kite surfing school in Tarifa offering lessons for beginners, advanced riders and children. All instructors are IKO qualified and have between 4 and 14 years of teaching experience. Most beginners can kitesurf independently after a 3 day course. Help with travel arrangements and accommodation can be provided if required. €70 - €160 per day.  edit
  • Stand up paddle board

The bay of Tarifa is safe and challenging for those who like to make a nice tour in the strait of Gibraltar. Most of the windsurf and kite schools rent SUP boards and give classes. Stand up paddle surf is easy to learn in one go. When wind does not blow, this innovative and relaxing sport becomes the perfect option for those who want to experience water sports in a different way.

  • Mountainbike

An absolute mountain bike paradise hidden in the inland of Tarifa with many trails for all kind of levels where you can ride all year. Long up hills, challenging down hills, easy and rough trails, beautiful nature and incredible views over the Atlantic ocean and the strait of Gibraltar. Within easy reach of Tarifa there are many more trails to explore in the extensive nature reserve of Los Alcornocales. Guided mountain bike tours is possible

  • Horseback riding

This is freedom, feeling the light breeze in the face and riding on the beautiful Andalusian horse on to the white sandy beaches with great views. The hills and paths...Discover.

  • Surfski

A new sport in Tarifa. Paddling between two continents “The Strait of Gibraltar”. Like Oscar Chalupsky (11 x time winner of the Molakai)said . Tarifa is probably the best downwind spot in the world.

  • Surf

Hotspot Balneario near the town, also many surf schools in town.

  • Scuba Diving

Learn to dive in the clear waters around the isla de las palomas under professional supervision.

  • Swim

In both the Atlantic and Mediterranean.

  • Windsurfing classes

Along the coast you will find many windsurfing schools.

  • Spanish Lesson and sports

With other travellers New in Tarifa the Special youth bilingual summer camps.

  • Golf. Tarifa is situated between the best golf courses of Europe, at the Atlantic side you find Dehesa Montenmedio and Benalup golf & country club. Both courses are set in a beautiful natural envoirement.

At the Mediterranea side you find the only links course here in the south of Spain, Alcaidesa Golf club at San Roque and nearby the world famous Valderrama Golf course in Sotogrande.

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Food is generally good in Tarifa - especially fish. Try going for the places filled with locals. They are generally easy to pick out from tourists (both Spanish and foreign). Some of the best places in Tarifa also happen to be the cheapest. Don't forget to try the local Tuna, swordfish and, especially, the "Tortillas de camarón", typical of the coast of Cadiz. "Ortigas" (sea nettles) are another local specialty.
  • A nice restaurant in the old city is called Mandragora, located on Independencia (a small alleyway between the city wall and the Church of San Mateo). It is not cheap, but the food was the best we had in Spain, and it is filled with locals.
  • There is a restaurant near a village Facinas, a few kilometres to the north from Tarifa. Just follow the road to Cadiz and in about 10-12 km there will be a right turn to Fasinas (which is in turn a beautiful one spread on a foothills in the form of a cross) with a hardly noticeable sign. This restaurant is located just before the village i.e. a kilometre or two away from the main road. It is a meat restaurant with extremely delicious dishes, especially meat ones, and very friendly waitstaff. The portions are rich and generous. Prices are about €25-30 with wine (35 tops to full you completely), for two persons. The place is sometimes (mainly at weekends) crowded with locals watching football matches on TV or having talks to each other. One of the best restaurant in this region. Nobody speaks English there, so be prepared.


  • La Plaza de Los Lances

Is situated at the Paseo Marítimo in Tarifa West. Some nice bars and restaurants serving all kind of food and cocktails. Every afternoon sunset celebrations with live music. From the terraces great views over the beach and Atlantic Ocean.

  • Mirador el Balneario

Probably the best spot in Tarifa to enjoy the impressive famous views over the strait and sunset.

  • Chiringuitos y terraces

The best place to be in Spain is on the beach. The chiringuitos of Tarifa are well known for their lively ambience. Surfers and girls run up and down showing off; this is Tarifa. Some of the best known beach clubs are Tangana Beach at Casas de Porros, Punta Paloma and Waves at Los Lances Norte.

  • Tapas in the old town

They taste good and are served at many little, family-owned bars, serving typical Spanish dishes as well as fried fish.

  • Mojitos

The world's #1 summer drink. The best Mojitos you'll find are at the Beach Club of Hotel Arte Vida.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Hotels, Hostals, Pension, Apartments, Villas with sea view and campsites right on the beach.

  • Camping

The campsites are outside the town along the coast. During the summer months the city halls offers a free of use shuttle service.

  • Hostal Alameda [7], situated in the centre, this comfortable cosy hostal offers all services you expect from an hostal.
  • Hotel La Mirada [8] Nice English-speaking staff, new construction, decent location. €40 a night for a single room with a good en suite bathroom and flat-screen TV. Calle San Sebastian 41.
  • Dos Mares Apartment [9] A stylish two bedroom apartment with balcony views, swimming pool, storage for equipment, close to town and windsurf/ kitesurf beaches. English owned and managed.
  • Hotel Arte Vida, CN 340 km 79.3, 956684652, [2]. Situated at the beach Los Lances. Great views over the Strait of Gibraltar. The restaurant of Arte Vida is well known for the fresh fish and the ambient. Don`t mis the sunset celebration parties at the beach club.  edit
  • Pension Facundo. Great hostel to accommodate backpackers and travellers on a budget. €20/night for a bed in the dorm or more for a nice private room (14/07/10). The hostel cares for hygiene and maintains cooking facilities and free internet for travellers. Staff has problems speaking English.  edit

Get out[edit]

  • Jerez. A nice day trip to this warm and luminous city, home of Sherry (denomination of origin legally protected) wines, cradle of Flamenco and home of the Andalusian/Carthusian horses (pure Spanish Horse). Just one hour and a half by car (direct buses from Algeciras). Visit some wine cellar to know their long and distinguished history and process and later, visit some popular “tabanco” to taste wonderful tapas and unique wines sorrounded by local people. You can also enjoy or even learn some Flamenco (don’t miss Flamenco Festival in February or their popular Zambomba celebration along December weekends) or attending some horses show in The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art Foundation.
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