Strait of Gibraltar – Tarifa
Take the A:7 from Fuengirola towards Gibraltar and continue in the direction of Cadiz and after about 120 kilometers you will reach Tarifa, the southernmost city on the Iberian Peninsula and the closest point to the African continent.
The Strait of Gibraltar is a mythical place, a crossroads of borders and cultures, where history is palpable in every place. The city has a boat connection to Africa, a trip that takes an hour, tickets are bought at the port. Tarifa is a nice city to walk in with cozy alleys, shops and restaurants. Bird watchers also gather here as over 400 different bird species fly over the Strait of Gibraltar to spend the winter, including rare seabirds. Not least, Tarifa is an eldorado for windsurfers with its fantastic beaches and constant winds.
Tarifa – old town
Tarifa is a small town with a lot to offer. The atmosphere is relaxed with a traditional southern Spanish small town feel mixed with international attitude.
The whitewashed streets are surrounded by walls and in the old town there are many nice little shops, cafes and restaurants where everything from tapas to fine menus are served at reasonable prices.
Sights in the old town
The Puerta de Jerez is the only remaining entrance of four to the old Moorish city wall. This was the gate where you got to the road that went north. Next to the gate are two towers and above the gate is a plaque as a sign of when King Sancho IV took the city back from the Moors.
Miramar Gardens is located on Calle Amargura next to the Town Hall in Plaza de la Ranita. High up on the city wall are the gardens and the square. Because they are located high up, you get a nice view over the sea to Morocco
La Alameda La Alameda is an avenue where you will find restaurants and bars with outdoor terraces. The restaurants are built into the old city wall and have two entrances, one on each side of the wall.
San Mateo is the main church of Tarifa located in the central part of the old town. The church is built in a Gothic style from the 16th century and was built over an old mosque.
The Castle of Guzman el Bueno was built as a Moorish fortress (alcazar) in 960 AD by order of Caliph Abderraman III as a protection against invaders from Africa. The castle has recently been renovated and in the summer concerts are usually organized inside the castle.
Go by boat to Morocco
From Tarifa, it is 14 kilometers across the Strait of Gibraltar to Morocco and Tangier, boats run with frequent trips and the crossing takes about an hour. You can book excursions with a guide, both shorter and longer tours, if you are keen to experience a part of Africa. See below link.
Paradise for windsurfers
Thanks to Tarifa’s location on the Strait of Gibraltar where the Atlantic and Mediterranean meet with constant winds, Tarifa is known as the windsurfing capital of Europe. The golden beaches north of the city, Playa de los Lances and Playa Valdevaqueros are ideal for windsurfing of all forms. The sun shines almost all year round and even more important are the winds, the Levant which is the warm strong wind from the east that blows from land to sea and the Ponient which is the cooler, lighter westerly wind from the Atlantic that blows from sea to land.
The best time to visit the windsurfer’s paradise of Tarifa is May to November and there are loads of surf schools and equipment hire companies along the coast.
Along the N340 road a few kilometers outside Tarifa, there are many nice campsites, hotels and hostels aimed at windsurfers.
Camping & Glamping in Tarifa
Glamping is short for ‘glamorous camping’ and the windsurfing paradise of Tarifa has many fine campsites, hotels and hostels located along the N340 road a few miles outside the town. There are fantastic beaches for both surfers and “regular” swimmers.
Tarifa is the place to visit if you enjoy bird watching. Here, over 400 different species fly across the Strait of Gibraltar and to Africa to spend the winter. The area between Tarifa and Punta Paloma is a good place to see rare seabirds.
The road to Tarifa
After Algeciras it’s a fantastic mountain road and don’t miss the viewpoint on the way back which is about a mile from Tarifa with a fantastic view of the Rock of Gibraltar. (You may not turn into the viewpoint from the other side).