Last Updated on 02/05/2022
With the current restriction limiting travel to the province, I have been trying to take advantage and see as much of Cádiz as possible. Tarifa is just over an hour by car from the city of Cádiz, making it an easy day trip or weekend getaway. For other visitors from abroad, the southernmost point in continental Europe is also the perfect stop on any itinerary in Andalusia, Spain.
Tarifa’s eclectic, beach town vibe remind me of somewhere like Santa Cruz, California. With Moorish influences and a white washed old town, you could say I was sold on Tarifa pretty much from the moment we checked into our hotel. Not to mention all of the things to do, the city’s history, and endless outdoor activities like swimming, wind sports and whale watching.
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Where to Stay in Tarifa
Hotel Hurricane is truly a hidden gem. It was such a treat to stay at this special property after travel has been on hold for so long. I had forgotten the feeling of charging a beer to your room at the pool bar, as simple as it is.
The present day bar and reception area was formerly part of an old family home until it was converted to a hotel in the 1980s. Today, choose from over 30 rooms (preferably sea facing to see the sunset) and have a memorable dinner at their onsite restaurant below the archways. Check for the best rates and availability here.
For a stay in the old city center, choose Posada La Sacristía for a boutique hotel with exposed beams, sunny rooms and nice lounge spaces. Also pet friendly! Check for the best rates and availability here.
Things to do in Tarifa
Tarifa is known for being the windiest town in Europe and therefore, ideal for wind sports like kitesurfing. You’ll have your choice of schools and supply rentals.
I am not near athletic or adventurous enough to try kitesurfing, so you will find me on the beach instead. In southern Spain in general, there is no shortage of sandy beaches. Tarifa has miles of coastline starting in Playa Valdevaqueros. Go even further north and you’ll find the beaches and dune of Bolonia.
In Bolonia, you can’t miss the ancient roman town of Baelo Claudia about 20 minutes north of Tarifa city center. The archeological site displays a 2nd century BC city including a basilica, aqueduct, forum, four temples and fish factory. Admission: free for EU citizens, 1,50 euro for other. Check the informational page for opening hours.
Walk along the Calle Segismundo Moret, the narrow road built in the early 1800s that connects Isla de Las Palomas to the mainland. From housing remains of 4th and 6th century BC Phoenician-punic funeral chambers to a military post, the tiny island has a very long history.
The gate to enter the perimeter walls was locked at the very end, so I don’t think it is open to the general public. However, it is still worth walking out just to be between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. You can also see Morocco on a clear day in the distance. I have a video of this saved in my Instagram highlights.
At the end of the restaurant lined main street, you’ll find the 16th century Iglesia de San Mateo (St. Matthew’s Church) that was built on top of an old mosque. Although not quite as grand, the small San Francisco de Asis Church tucked away one street behind Paseo de la Alameda is very charming.
The Castle of Tarifa was built in 960 as a Moorish fortress. It is also known as the Castle of Guzmán el Bueno, named after Alonso Perez de Guzman who defended Tarifa in the late 13th century. Admission: 4 euros.
Tarifa has so many cute shops with baskets, colorful dresses and boho finds. Bliss and Tarifa Soul are beautiful shops on the main street, but you’ll also find some in the maze of narrow streets one block back.
After sightseeing and shopping, have lunch at one of the cafes in town or a chiringuito on the beach. You’ll find a wide variety such as seafood, vegetarian dishes and regional specialties. I enjoyed the food at Waikiki Beach Club, not to mention its friendly employees and prime location on the sand.
When to visit
Temperatures are mild and consistent with a typical Mediterranean climate. Highs are in the upper 70s in August and lows in the winter don’t fall below 50 degrees.
Honestly, it is pretty windy all year round to your delight or annoyance (depending on if you are visiting for wind sports or not). The windiest months are from November through April. The windfinder website/app is helpful with its hourly wind speed information.
How to get to Tarifa, Spain
The most efficient way to get to Tarifa from any one of the three nearby airports is by car: Jerez (90 minutes), Malaga (1 hour and 45 minutes) and Seville (2 hours and 20 mins).
In Tarifa, I used the public parking lot located here (free during the off season). It is an easy walk from there to most of the things to do.
Tarifa doesn’t have a train station, but you can get there by bus. The nearest train station is in Algeciras and has regional buses running from there.