Tarifa

Tarifa sits at the southernmost point of mainland Spain. That makes it the southernmost point on the European continent. Joined to Morocco in prehistoric times, this small town maintains more Arab character than any other town in the Andalusia region and is a popular jump-off point for Morocco visits. Tarifa is also a gateway to Spain’s rapidly developing Costa de la Luz region and serves as a fine place to bask in the Mediterranean sun.

Beaches

Tarifa Beaches
Tarifa Beaches

Tarifa serves as the far eastern extension of Spain’s Coast of Light, or the Costa de la Luz, as it is known in Spanish. This coastal region is characterized by long sandy beaches, pine trees, scrub brush, fishing huts, and whitewashed buildings. For travelers, the Costa de la Luz offers an excellent alternative to Spain’s busier and more famous Costa del Sol (Sun Coast). The main differences between the two coasts relate to development and the number of international visitors. The Costa de la Luz is less developed, and due to the fact that it gets less international visitors, it arguably offers more Spanish flavor than the Costa del Sol. As for enjoying some time on the beach, Tarifa visitors have plenty of options to choose from. Good places to start include the town’s three-mile-long Playa de Lances and nearby Playa Punta Paloma. From there, it is possible to branch out along the coasts that extend both west and east of Tarifa. A car can come in handy for coastal drives, especially if you want to visit beaches in spontaneous fashion and to take things at your own pace.

Tarifa Surfing and Windsurfing

Tarifa Windsurfing
Tarifa Windsurfing

Tarifa and the villages that flank the small town combine to form what is sometimes referred to as the Windsurfing Capital of Andalusia. The aforementioned Playa de Lances and Playa Punta Paloma certainly get their fair share of visiting windsurfers on breezy days. Windsurfing enthusiasts will also want to consider Playa Zahara. You can find this noteworthy windsurfing beach near the small hamlet of Zahara de los Atunes. If you prefer regular surfing to windsurfing, you’re also in luck. Tarifa and the general region offer plenty of good surfing spots, the most renowned of which is Playa El Palmar. This beach near Conil gets consistent Atlantic swells, and don’t worry if you’re a struggling beginner. You can take surfing lessons at Playa El Palmar. September to May is the best time to go surfing in the Tarifa area, as this is when the swells are most consistent.

Tarifa Spain Ferry to Morocco

Tarifa Ferry
Tarifa Ferry

When Tarifa visitors aren’t spending time on the area beaches, booking whale-watching tours, or enjoying such in-town attractions as the Iglesia de San Mateo (Church of St. Matthew) and the Castillo de Guzman (Castle Of Guzman el Bueno), they can venture across the Straight of Gibraltar to Morocco. Right across the straight is the coastal Moroccan city of Tangier, and linking Tarifa to Tangier are modern catamarans. These huge ferries can accommodate vehicles and depart from Tarifa every two hours on a daily basis between 9 AM and 11 PM. Typical trip time from one side to another is between 35 and 45 minutes. Once you arrive at the Tangier port, you can book a guided tour or choose to go it alone. Tangier has shed its image as the “Tijuana of Africa” and is enjoying a period of positive growth. If you wish to stay overnight, an increasing amount of five star hotels are springing up along the bay in Tangier. You can also find cheaper Tangier accommodations if that’s what you’re after.

Tarifa Spain Hotels

Tarifa Hotels
Tarifa Hotels  Image: Rock Hotel

The Tarifa area offers an array of inexpensive places to sleep. As such, it can be a tempting destination for budget-minded backpackers and other travelers who embrace cheap Spanish lodging. Many windsurfers and regular surfers opt to stay at the government-rated one-star hostels that are found along the coastal stretch between Tarifa and Conil. Affordable lodging is also found in town if that’s where you prefer to base yourself. Nature enthusiasts can always consider the area campgrounds. Many of the area campgrounds are on the waterfront and are served by inexpensive buses during the months of July and August. While many of the Tarifa hotels are well-priced, this doesn’t mean that you have to settle for uncomfortable accommodations. Some of the cheaper hotels actually offer quite a lot in the way of comfort. Travelers who have comfort in mind can also choose to pay more for a pricier hotel with extra amenities. Another Tarifa Spain lodging option is to go the rental route. Found in the area are apartments, houses, and villas.

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