Overview of Tarifa:
The meeting point between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, Tarifa is the windsurfing capital of Europe and the biggest gathering of shark tooth pendants this side of Australia, but remember that windy beaches don't make for good sunbathing.
The nearest airport to Tarifa is in Jerez, though Malaga and Seville aren't far away.
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Number of Days:
You could spend a whole summer learning to windsurf, but if you just want to sample what Tarifa has to offer, you could do it in one action-packed day.
Hotels in Tarifa
For hotels in Tarifa, check out the following links:
If you're after a budget-priced bed in a dorm, try Hostelworld.
Three Things to Do in Tarifa:
There are three things to do in Tarifa - three excellent things to do in Tarifa, but only three things to in Tarifa. They are: windsurfing (and all the new-fangled variants like kitesurfing, etc), whale & dolphin watching and traveling to Morocco. See below for details on each of them.
Windsurfing in Tarifa:
It is windsurfing that turned this small coastal town into a magnet for watersport enthusiasts. Have no fear if you've never windsurfed before: there are plenty of beginners' courses. Take a stroll down c/Batalla de Salado, the main street in Tarifa, and check out the prices. Sail & Board rental for a day is about 50€, lessons are similar. The biggest school in Tarifa is Tarifa Spin Out
. Kitesurfing is also catching on very fast.
Whale & Dolphin Watching from Tarifa:
There are a number of tour companies that offer three hour boat trip to see whales & dolphins in their natural habitat. Walk around the old town (at the end of c/Batalla de Salado) and you'll find a number of schools. See my Whale Watching, Tarifa Pictures
Traveling to Morocco from Tarifa:
Just 14km of water separates Tarifa from Tangers. Some quick tips if you plan on traveling to Morocco: get out of Tangers as fast as you can (there's nothing there of worth), be prepared to be lied to and tricked by anyone that approaches you in the street, expect a lot of attention if you are a woman (especially if blonde) and if you're buying souvenirs, barter like crazy
. Don't let that put you off - Morocco is great, but women are advised to travel with a man. More: Morocco Travel Advice
What NOT to Do in Tarifa:
Many people associate watersports with beach holidays and imagine that where there is windsurfing there will be good beaches. But where there is windsurfing there is wind, which is not good when you want to sunbathe without coming home with sand everywhere.
How to Get to Tarifa (& Where to Go Next):
Tarifa is the perfect stop off between Cadiz
. Tarifa has no train station, so you'll need to travel by bus or hire a car. There is a direct bus from Cadiz which takes 1h30 to 2h (travel is with TG Comes
. To get to Ronda, take a bus to Algeciras and then a train. Travel to and from Seville
is also possible, but the route is tortuous - you're better off breaking up the journey by going to Cadiz (the travel time is the same but you see an extra city.
Car Hire in Tarifa:
Tarifa is probably not the best place to rent a car from. You're more likely to want to drive to Tarifa than from it. Regardless, you can compare prices on car hire from various cities in Spain here: Kayak
The bus 'station' (a carpark with a small shelter and a rarely-manned ticket office) is on c/Batalla de Salado, Tarifa's main street, and just a few minutes walk from the glut of surf shops that 'greet' you when you arrive in the town. At the end of the street is a big arch and beyond that the old town. The old town is a pleasant collection of windy medina-esque streets, it's just a shame that the commercialism of the windsurfing community has sucked the town dry of most of its' charm. Heading down from the archway, you'll reach Plaza San Martin. Veer to the right to reach the beach (for the windsurfing) and port (for trips to Morocco).