Tarifa, in Spain, is the most southern point of the european continent. Tarifa is the place of the famous Pillars of Hercules. It is the wind that constantly blows on the beaches, Tarifa is having breakfast at noon. Tarifa is life and it is young people who pour into its streets every day and every night animating this beautiful Andalusian city.
Memories of an old trip to Tarifa
I remember when I arrived for the first time in Tarifa in October 2008 during a road trip in Andalusia. The weather was bad, the wind hadn’t brought the clouds aways this time and the rain was much more than a simple threat. But I remember that the first impression was positive and I promised myself to come back to this beautfiul place of Spain.
In 2017, Tarifa wasn’t a stop of a tour in Andalusia but a continuation of a trip to Morocco in August.
In this month Tarifa is very crowded, you have to book your stay some months before otherwise you’ll find only expensive accomodations.
Why is Tarifa in Spain so appreciated?
A strong east wind often blows in Tarifa. That’s why it is nicknamed as the city of the wind and it is considered a paradise for those who practice windsurf and kitesurf. The wind here is always present and constant. You just go to any beach to see how many people have fun kitesurfing on the cold Atlantic Ocean.
The center of Tarifa is little and has one main street called Calle Sancho IV el Bravo. It starts from the church and continues towards the sea. On the left and right side of this street there are some narrow alleys that lead to some small internal squares like Plaza San Hiscio.
During the evening, Tarifa comes alive. Around 10-11pm people start pouring into the streets and tapas bar. The times are very staggered compared to the Italian ones and to the spanish ones as well.
Culturally, besides the Castillo de Guzman el Bueno, Tarifa hasn’t much to visit, but it isn’t for a cultural reason that people visit Tarifa during the summer.
Where to stay in Tarifa?
More than telling you where to stay in Tarifa, it should be better advising you when to book. If you’ll go there in July or August, the answer is: as soon as possible.
If you’ll go there in different times of the year, you’ll have better chanche to book, but it is always better to book in advance to find acceptable prices.
I loved Pension Correo (click to se the accomodation). It is 1 min walking from the city center. The owner is very polite and he gave me a lot of advices about where to eat about the best tapas bar. He gave me great tips. I can only suggest you to stay in his hotel. Ask for the rooms at on higher floors as to avoid being to close to the nightlife that is very active until 2-3 a.m.
If you want to have a look at other hotels in Tarifa, CLICK HERE.
6 Things to do in Tarifa Spain
In Tarifa you have to have fun, enjoy the sea and the wind! Yes, because the wind is a part of Tarifa as well and during the days you’ll spent in city it will always be a love and hate feeling.
1 – Visit Bolonia’s beaches, Valdevaqueros and Los Lances
In this part of Andalusia there are some of the most beautiful beaches of Spain.
The beaches are wide and long, sandy and windy.
The most popular ones are the beach of Bolonia, Valdevaqueros and Playa de Los Lances, the nearest one to Tarifa. From the city center, it is only 10 min walking.
Moving to the Tarifa’s beaches
If you have a car, it will be very easy to change beach every day. You only have to follow the main road coming out of Tarifa and turn left near every access to the beach.
If you don’t have a car, during the summer there is a paid shuttle to the beaches. There are several rides every day. They start from the bus station of Tarifa, located in the North, some hundred meters outside the city center.
The ticket costs 2€ per person indipendendtly on where you have to stop. The route traveled is from Tarifa to the Camping de Las Dunas. This is the last access to the Valdevaqueros beach.
Pay attention: there is also a stop called “Valdevaqueros”, it is simply a different point of access to the beach which is very long.
The bus doesn’t bring you to Bolonia, or rather, on sundays it brings you to the Camping de Las Dunas. During working days it brings you to Bolonia.
What is the problem? Bolonia beach is 5 km away from the main road. So, or the bus brings you near to the beach or you have to walk 5 km to reach the seaside. For Bolonia, it is better that you inform yourself with your hotelier in Tarifa.
Let me give you an advice: If you’ll have a car and it will be to windy, you can change beach. But, yer, there’s a but…if you will use the bus, as I did, it will be better to check the wind weather forecast. I always checked this website that is always updated https://www.windfinder.com/forecast/tarifa.
I visited Los Lances and Valdevaqueros where it was impossible to stay due to the strong wind. Whereas, in the beach of Los Lances, since it is near the city I went there much more.
2 – Drink a beer in a “chiringuito” with view on the Ocean
After 12 days in Marocco, the beers was like a mirage.
I’m not drink often, but a cold beer after a day over the sun is the best choice you can do.
When you’ll on the first beach of Tarifa, I suggest you to stop in the first beach bar (chiringuito). You can’t go wrong, it is the closest to the bridge that leads to Isla de las Palomas. Here, you’ll spend only 4 euros and they’ll give you 5 bottles of beer in a basket filled with ice. Sit down with your beer looking the amazing sun setting on the horizon over the ocean! You will appreciate this advice.
3 – Go for tapas bar: ir de tapas
Nowadays tapas are something very popular in Italy as well. The idea of tapas has been exported everywhere. The tapas are Andalusian and are different from the pinchos that you can find in the North of Spain.
They are like mini-appetizers that go with a glass of wine.
In Spain it is usual to go for tapas, in spanish “ir de tapas”. It means go to more bars and practice the same ritual of drinkind a glass of wine and eating a tapa and then off to another bar.
The tradition has been, how can i say…commercialized. Now the tapas bars have menù with also a half ration or a full ration of the chosen food. Therefore, going for tapas can also turn into “I stay only in one bar and have more consistent courses”.
Both things are great because eating tapas in Spain it’s the best idea. The quality of the tapas is always good not only in Tarifa but also in Seville and in all the other Andalusian areas. You can have a good dinner, paying little and tasting different dishes.
But if you have never gone for tapas, my special tip for you is to spend a night around the bars of Tarifa like real spanish people.
Some tapas bar and restaurants I suggest you
- Lola – delicious tuna
- Palmera – very good fish
- Caracola – classic tapas bar, very hearty tapas .
- Bar El Frances – tapas bar, there is always a queue.
- Arroceria Otaola – it’s specialty is the Paella and won various awards for this dish.
4 – Eat a lot of Bluefin tuna
It’s always about the food. You couldn’t do it any other way because in Tarifa the food is really good. One of the main dishes, served as tapas as well, is the bluefin tuna. Almost every bar / restaurant have this dish, it is always on the menu. I ate the one of the tapas bar “La Lola” and I loved it. A lot of reviews praised their bluefin tuna, and they were right!
5 – Swim in the Atlantic Ocean
I have to be honest, calling it “to swim” is a little too much. It would be better to call it “dip your feet in it” The ocean is cold. It’s quite cold and you can’t really stay in the water for a long time. However, the water in Playa Los Lances is beautiful and clear.
6 – Experience the Tarifa’s night
I believe that you have already understood it. Tarifa has to be lived on the beaches during the day and in the squares during the night. Its three small squares hidden among the alleys are always lived and crowded. The advice is: get lost in the alleys full of people, it’s the right thing to do in Tarifa.
How to get to Tarifa: the ferry from Tangier to Tarifa
Tarifa is 14 km away from the Moroccan coast. Many opt for a day trip by ferry to Tangier and then return to Tarifa in the evening. In my case it was a one-way trip because I arrived from a trip from Morocco. The ferries are modern fast ships that connect the two continents in just 35 minutes.
Whether you go to Morocco or from Tangier or you go to Europe, you can make the ticket at the ticket offices of the harbour. You don’t need to buy it first. In any case, even if there is no more place on the ship, you would find it on the next one.
Every hour a ferry leaves and there are several companies like FRS or Intershipping. The cost is about 35 / 40 euros, car excluded.
Pay attention: the ferry arrives in Tangier Ville and not in Tangier Med that is another harbour.
Other ways to get to Tarifa
You can reach Tarifa by flying to Seville or Malaga, taking then a bus that takes you to Tarifa. From Seville the price is 19 € and in 3 hours you will get there.