8 reasons to take a luxury break in Tarifa, Spain this summer
Located on the southern tip of Spain on the Costa de la Luz, Tarifa, in the province of Cádiz, should be on every luxury traveller’s bucket list. With a unique character and climate that sets it apart from the rest of Andalucía, its punchy Atlantic winds draw in water-sports enthusiasts in their droves. Windsurfers and kite-surfers can be seen fearlessly navigating the waves year-round, creating a refreshingly laid-back, international vibe that is one of the area’s greatest charms.
Just across the Strait of Gibraltar, where it faces Morocco, the North African influences at play here don’t go unnoticed. Its winding, white-washed streets and vibrant atmosphere are reminiscent of times gone by, and a nod to the fusing of cultures that makes Tarifa so unique.
From action-packed days on the beach to atmospheric evenings dining out on high-end cuisine, there’s a lot to love about Tarifa, and with a range of high-end hotels to choose from, there’s no shortage of opulence here, either.
Here are eight reasons you should add Tarifa to your travel plans for the year ahead.
The climate here in the province of Cadiz is shaped by the Levante winds from the east and the Poniente winds from the west, and as a result it has become a kite-surfing hotspot that attracts dare-devil enthusiasts from around the world. Even if you’re a novice, Tarifa is a great place to get started, and with numerous schools dotted along the beaches where you can take lessons and rent gear, plus some of the best summer camps in Spain for teens, you’ll find everything you need here to get your first set of kite-surfer’s wings, whatever your age. So steady those nerves, and get ready for an adrenaline-fuelled week of action you’re unlikely to ever forget.
Go whale watching
An area renowned for its large population of orcas as well as fin, pilot and sperm whales, wildlife lovers will delight in booking themselves onto a whale watching trip. You’ll also have the chance to see three different types of dolphins that inhabit the recently established Natural Park of the Strait of Gibraltar – including common, striped and bottle-nosed. It’s an unforgettable way to spend the day, and an experience you’re unlikely to find in many other places.
Explore the old town
There’s nothing more enjoyable than getting lost amongst the narrow, winding streets of a new place, and often, it’s when the best discoveries are made. From charming restaurants to shops packed with unusual artisan goods, there’s always something new to uncover, and in Tarifa, things are no different. The old town is a densely packed maze of whitewashed houses and quaint little squares, all centred around the main Plaza de la Ranita (Little Frog Square).
Take a hike
Outdoorsy types will be in their element in Tarifa, with wonderful hiking trails right on the doorstep which can be enjoyed throughout the year. Its close proximity to Parque Natural Alcornocales and Parque Natural del Estrecho means that it is surrounded by natural beauty, with breath-taking views of the north African coast from the Colada de la Costa a definite highlight.
Soak up the bohemian vibe
If laid-back cool is your kind of vibe, then you’ve come to the right place – thanks to Tarifa’s reputation as one of the top kite-surfing and windsurfing destinations in Europe, there are few places quite as bohemian as this. The chilled atmosphere makes Tarifa the perfect place for a relaxing break, while the edginess afforded to it by its trendy bars and rustic charm give it a unique appeal that’s reminiscent of popular suffer haunts across Mexico and Bali.
Lounge on the beach
Despite the numerous water-sports enthusiasts that flock to Tarifa, there’s no shortage of quieter beaches, and the pristine sands of Playa de Los Lances and Playa de Valdevaqueros are largely unspoilt and free of the crowds. Playa de los Lances is the town’s most famous beach, stretching 10km northwards and backing onto the cork oak forests of the Alcornocales natural park. Wild, rustic and with a distinctly relaxed vibe, it’s the perfect place to while away a lazy afternoon in the sun.
Visit Guzman Castle
The historic Castillo de Guzman dates all the way back to the 10th century, when it was built to protect the town from invaders on the orders of the Caliph of Córdoba. Named after Alonso Perez de Guzman, the commander who defended Tarifa from a Moorish siege in 1294, this beautiful building tells a powerful story, and is well worth a visit to get a better understanding of the history that shaped the Tarifa you see today.
Go to the annual festival
Those visiting later in the year will be pleasantly surprised to find that September is actually one of the liveliest months, with an annual ‘feria’ running from 2nd-9th September as the high-season draws to a close. Although the neighbouring cities of Seville and Cádiz may be more renowned for their wild parties during this time, the festival atmosphere in Tarifa is lively, vibrant and packed with locals enjoying the fun. Prepare to eat, drink and dance in the street for several days straight – it’s an unforgettable experience that will stay with you for years to come.