Tarifa

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Tarifa is a holiday destination in the south of Spain. The Strait of Gibraltar, separating the continents of Europe and Africa is just 14 km away.

Understand[edit]

The charming town has only been mildly spoiled by the mass developments which have ravaged the Spanish coastline. 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 a 1.5 hour drive, Gibraltar, 35 minutes, Jerez de la Frontera a 1 hour drive and the airport of Tangier, Morocco). Tangier is a 1 hour ferry journey from Tarifa.

By bus[edit]

Bus station Algeciras, from where you can take the bus to Tarifa direction Cadiz or a taxi. Direct buses run to La Linea (the town directly across the border from Gibraltar), putting this station on the Gibraltar - Tangier route.

By boat[edit]

From the port a fast ferry by FRS leaves every other hour to the port of Tangier, Morocco. Cruise time is 1 hour. One-way, €36. Round-trip, €65.

On the official Port of Tarifa website, you can book ferry tickets and find further information.

See[edit]

  • Baelo Claudia (In Bolonia, 20 km from the old town). Roman ruins right on the beach. Remains of temples, baths, houses, and a Roman theatre.
  • El Camino de la Isla de las Palomas. The road that leads to the island dividing the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. Beautiful views over the strait and to Africa (16.4 km). The little castle is called Castillo Santa Catalina, built in 1929.
  • Castle El Guzman el Bueno. Daily, 10:30-14:00, 17:00-20:00. Probably one of the best maintained medieval buildings in Spain, built in 960 by Abd ar-Rahman. From the tower you have a 360-degree view over Tarifa and the Strait of Gibraltar. The legend of Guzman the Good is that the Moors held his son captive at the bottom of the rampart. "Give us Andalucia or we kill your son!" they cried out. Without hesitation, Guzman threw his knife into the heart of his son. Thus ended the 800-year occupation of Spain.
  • Church San Mateo (Town centre). The Gothic church was built in the 16th century. The facade was rebuilt in 1774 by La Vega faithful to the original. The door of the church is always open.
  • Los Lances Beach. The famous surf beach. Wide and white sand. The immense beach Los Lances is recognised as the best kite and windsurf beach in Europe.
  • Plaza de Los Ocho Ranitas (Eight Frogs Plaza). Also called Plaza de Santa Maria. The main buildings are the La Alcazaba in neoclassical style, Tarifa city hall, and the local library.
  • Puerta de Jerez (Jerez Gate). Main entrance to the old town of Tarifa, part of the medieval wall, is the only gate of the original three that has survived. 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.

Do[edit]

  • Windsurfing. Tarifa owes its fame to 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 best spots are Valdevaqueros, Los Lances, Balneario, Playa Chica, and Bolonia. Windsurfing schools are open all year around and offer the best and latest equipment.

Eat[edit]

  • Fasinas Restaurant (A few kilometres to the north from Tarifa. Follow the road to Cadiz and in about 10-12 km there will be a right turn to Fasinas with a hardly noticeable sign. This restaurant is just before the village, i.e., a kilometre or two away from the main road). There is a restaurant near a village Facinas. It is a meat restaurant with extremely delicious dishes, especially meat ones, and very friendly staff. 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 conversing. One of the best restaurants in this region. Nobody speaks English there, so be prepared.
  • Mandragora (On Independencia, a small alleyway between the city wall and the Church of San Mateo). A nice restaurant in the old city. It is not cheap, but the food is the best.

Drink[edit]

  • Mirador el Balneario. Probably the best spot in Tarifa to enjoy the impressive famous views over the strait and sunset.
  • La Plaza de Los Lances (At the Paseo Marítimo in Tarifa West). Some nice bars and restaurants serving all kinds of food and cocktails. Every afternoon, sunset celebration with live music. From the terraces great views over the beach and Atlantic Ocean.

Sleep[edit]

  • Dos Mares Apartment. A stylish two bedroom apartment with balcony views, swimming pool, storage for equipment, close to town and windsurfing and kitesurfing beaches. English-owned and managed.
  • Hotel Arte VidaCN340 km 79.3 (Los Lances Beach),  +34 956684652. Great views over the Strait of Gibraltar. The restaurant is well known for fresh fish and ambiance. Don't miss the sunset celebration parties at the beach club. Great mojitos.
  • Hotel La MiradaCalle San Sebastian 41. Nice English-speaking staff, decent location. Good en suite bath and flat-screen TV. €40.
  • Pension Facundo. Great hostel accommodating backpackers and travellers on a budget. The hostel cares for hygiene and maintains cooking facilities and free Internet. Staff has problems speaking English. €20/night for a bed in the dorm or more for a nice private room.

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