For kidsurfers and food lovers, Tarifa got it all

Tarifa is a bucket list destination for an active beachfront vacation teeming with wild and exciting outdoor adventures. From beautiful sandy beaches, deep blue waters, sunny weather, and rich historical heritage, Tarifa is a town that keeps giving.

Tarifa's proximity to Marbella makes it a perfect getaway for a day trip or an overnight stay. A trip to Tarifa from Marbella only takes 1.5 hours and takes you on a scenic drive across the beautiful Andalusian countryside. You'll enjoy the drive to Tarifa if you take your car or hire one. Termed the windiest town in Europe, Tarifa is a kitesurfing haven that turns every day into a rewarding experience.

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About Tarifa and Culture

Tarifa is a historic Spanish town that attests to Spanish rich culture and history. With a long history and a multitude of old buildings, it is the ideal place to combine good food, white beaches and culture. Moreover, it is dirt cheap (especially for Marbella standards).

Beautiful Tarifa

Old Town

Strolling through Puerta de Jerez—the last standing of the four medieval entrances—transports you back to the old world. It immerses you into narrow, cobbled streets meandering through traditional whitewashed houses with bright blue doors and window frames.

Tarifa's old town is a charming medieval carryover with old Roman and Moorish era influence and was originally built as a military fortress.

Wander along the medieval streets leading to beautiful squares, including Plaza San Hiscio and Plaza de Santa Maria. The streets are lined with bohemian boutiques that stock everything from trinkets to designer fashion.

Drop into the tapas bars and funky cafés that give the medieval town its bohemian ambiance for an authentic Spanish culinary experience.

Visit the Castillo de Guzman el Bueno

Majestic and solidly built, the castle of Guzman El Bueno is a Moorish fortress built in 960 AD. It features towering walls and helped defend the town from Viking and Berber invaders.

It's named after Alonso Perez de Guzman, the fortress who helped recapture the town from Moorish siege in 1294 by sacrificing his son. The castle is open to the public so you can appreciate beautiful architectural influences from different periods.

Visit the Castillo de Santa Catalina

Despite the medieval design, the Castillo Santa Catalina is a modern observation tower built in 1931. It resembles a 16th-century castle down to a large observation tower with corner balconies and Mudejar arches.

It overlooks the Mediterranean and its beautiful beaches. The castle sustained extensive damage during the Spanish Civil war but was restored in 1972. It's currently closed to the public, but you can admire its beauty from the outside.


Tarifa offers beautiful pristine beaches with golden and white sands and sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.

Playa de Los Lances

Los Lances beach is a wild and unspoiled beach offering miles of fine golden sands and crystal clear waters. The gigantic size and alternating west and east winds make the beach popular with the kitesurfing crowd.

The beach is set against the backdrop of the Los Alcornocales Natural Park lush forest. Sunbathe on the pristine sands and grab cold drinks and sumptuous food from the trendy bars and restaurants dotting the beach.

Beautiful Tarifa

Playa de Valdevaqueros

Relentlessly cool with well-demarcated kitesurfing, windsurfing, and swimming zones, Playa de Valdevaqueros is Tarifa's most bustling beach. The deep blue waters, white sands, and the backdrop of dunes of the Punta Paloma give this beach a chilled, relaxed vibe.

It's home to Taifa's popular windsurfing and kitesurfing competitions, and the canopy of kites in the sky is a regular site. Enjoy a buffet lunch at the Valdevaqueros Beach bar or grab a tropical cocktail at the Tumbao while sunbathing at the grassy banks listening to a booming playlist.

Zahara de los Atunes

Also known as Playa el Carmen, this sandy beach stretches more than six kilometers and features a dune-like landscape with coastal flora, low cliffs, and hidden villas.
The crystal clear waters have earned the beach a Blue Flag award, making it the perfect spot for a beach outing with the kids. Swim or snorkel on the glassy water or stick to the sand by signing up for sailing or windsurfing.

The bars, restaurants, and public facilities lining the beach make Zahara de Los Atunes the perfect chill spot by the Mediterranean. Parking can be tricky, so you're better off taking a taxi.

What to Do in Tarifa

Besides the sea and the beaches, Tarifa is a treasure trove of tourist attractions that will turn your beach holiday into a spellbinding adventure. The seaside town is the personification of an active and rewarding beach holiday.

Outdoor activities

Since Tarifa is a small seaside town, its sumptuous offerings keep you outdoors, where you can enjoy the glorious weather, stunning sea views, and its rich history.
Popular outdoor activities in Tarifa include taking a 35-minute ferry ride to Tangier or a spectacular hike to the Parque Natural de Alcornocales and Parque Natural del Estrecho.

You can visit one of the finest remaining Roman villages in Andalusia, dating back to the 6th century. Hire a fat bike and explore the undulating countryside at a safe and comfortable speed.

Wind & kitesurfing & Surf Lessons

Smooth winds, sunny weather, and miles of pristine sandy beaches make Tarifa the wind and kite surfing capital in Europe. The windiest town in Europe lets you turn your beach vacation into an exhilarating outdoor adventure.

Two powerful winds—Poniente (west wind) and Levante (east wind)— will have you skimming over the water at speeds of 7 to 35 knots. The wind speeds change across the day to accommodate surfers of varying experiences.

Los Lances beach works with east and west winds, making it an ideal kitesurf spot for all experience levels. Valdevaqueros beach can be crowded but is ideal for beginners because the east wind always takes you to the dunes. Balneario beach is a preserve for highly skilled surfers because of the strong winds and sea currents.

Looking to learn to kitesurf? Tarifa has the highest concentration of kite and windsurfing schools in Europe. Naturally, you'll find the best instructors here. Most schools have designated training areas to help you build your skills quickly in a relaxed environment.

You can sign up for a training course that suits your needs and preferences. The classes range from private, semi-private, small groups, and group lessons.

Whale Spotting

The waters around Tarifa are home to orcas, bottlenose dolphins, and various whale species, including pilot, sperm, and fin. Sign up for an exciting ocean tour and get a glimpse of these gentle and majestic giants in their natural settings.

April to October is the most rewarding time to sign up for a whale spotting tour to the Straits of Gibraltar. Orcas are especially fun to watch because they trail the migrating bluefin tuna—their favorite snack.

Beautiful Tarifa

Kite Surfing

The high winds in Tarifa let you supercharge your beach adventure with kitesurfing or kiteboarding. This vibrant water sport resembles windsurfing but with some crucial differences. The surfboard is attached to your fit, while the kite is attached to your body like a parachute. The strong East and West winds will send you skimming over the water surface at speed and even lift you several feet in the air.

Horse Riding

Tarifa's chain of exquisite white beaches is the perfect spot for horse riding. The massive beaches cover several kilometers and are ideal for long horse riding sessions. The wind in your hair and the sound of crashing waves make each ride an exhilarating experience. Away from the beaches, you can ride into the diverse landscapes in the nearby Estrecho and Alcornocales Natural parks. Aventura Escuestre and Hipica Center at Hurricane offer well-trained horses and riding lessons.

Wellness in Hotels

Hotels in Tarifa offer a boatload of spa and wellness programs to improve and revitalize your health and well-being. The creative services range from quality spas, yoga lessons, massages, saunas, and Hammams. Tarifa's hotels offer plenty of traditional beauty and wellness treatments due to the city's Arabic history and proximity to Morocco.

Be amazed as you watch these water giants work as pods to round up their favorite meals

Where Eat in Tarifa

A trip to Tarifa takes you on a culinary adventure with authentic Spanish cuisine. The eatery scene ranges from trendy cafés and bars serving delicious eggs, churros, and tostada for breakfast and mouth watering tapas with wine for lunch to chiringuitos and full-service restaurants.


Tarifa's vibrant restaurant scene never disappoints whether you're looking for a relaxed place to enjoy delicious tapas or a fine dining experience.

Silos 19 serves the best Mediterranean thoroughfare to give you the best fine dining experience in Tarifa. Indulge in the perfectly grilled scallops, tuna, and beef steaks cooked to perfection, and let the chef's creative twists send your taste buds into overdrive.

Enjoy sumptuous, reasonably priced courses at the Morilla on a terrace under Tarifa's oldest church. Be sure to try the grilled tuna, seafood soup, and top it up with a delicious, homemade almond flan.

Indulge your inner carnivore by treating yourself to an 800g steak at the Braseria Vaca Loca. The dinner-only restaurant only serves dinner and doesn't take reservations. Show up early to avoid waiting and savor their house specialty, including Iberico pork, Rentino beef, grilled lamb, and chicken.
Other restaurants in Tarifa that leave your taste buds tingling include El Frances and El Lola.

Lunch at the Beach

Tarifa's selection of beach restaurants ensures that you never stray too far from the sandy beaches whenever hunger pangs strike. The chiringuitos create a vibrant atmosphere where you can indulge in delicious foods, including freshly caught fish and seafood, perfectly chilled cocktails, and good music while enjoying the Mediterranean.

El Chiringuito Agua is perched on the Los Lances beach, providing welcome relief from the summer heat. Grab a mojito or your favorite cocktail while enjoying simple but authentic Spanish dishes.

Get your money's worth while dining like a star at Bibo Beach restaurant. The latest addition to Dani Garcia's stable offers a relaxed dining experience with pulsating music that ranges from chill to upbeat. Grab a lounger and chill by the hotel or sunbed and catch the beautiful rays on the beach while sipping a brownie Daiquiri.

Waves is set in a beautiful setting surrounded by pine trees and sand dunes to offer much-needed protection from the strong winds. Rock to the best music by live DJs as you dig into their finest foods, juices, smoothies, cocktails, and paellas. Attend their lavish weekend parties and party with the hippest crowd in Tarifa.

Arte Vida lets you enjoy delicious thoroughfare against the calming backdrop of expansive green grounds. The beautiful sea view and calming ocean breeze pile on the restaurant's rare and unique appeal, while the chef's offering leaves you craving more.

Drinks and Nightlife

The Spanish drinking culture that starts early in the afternoon only fuels the party atmosphere. While wine is the staple drink, Tarifa offers a diverse range of drinks to suit even the most eclectic tastes.

The drinks range from freshly squeezed fruit juices to delicious coconut-flavored fruit punches and everything in between. Alcoholic drinks range from ice-cold beers to high-end liqueur brands and fancy cocktails.

Wine enthusiasts will delight their palates with local wine, popular red and white wines, and champagnes from leading global brands.

Beach Bars in Tarifa

Waikiki is a top pre-dinner drink destination that lets you groove while watching the sunset. Enjoy sweeping views of Morocco as you enjoy their diverse playlist that's updated monthly. Stay for dinner and enjoy gourmet meals that will tantalize your taste buds.

Coals 13 combines exclusive location and club design to enjoy incredible sunsets as you sip on your favorite drinks. It's your chance to enjoy sumptuous meals and fancy drinks in a beautiful ambiance while listening to music by top-rated DJs.
Other top beach clubs in Tarifa include Waves, Chiringuito Agua, and Tumbao.

Nightlife in Tarifa

Like most tourist towns by the Mediterranean, Tarifa is a pulsating party destination with a vibrant nightlife. The nightlife follows the same regime as all of Andalucía—the town bursts to life around midnight.

The night starts with pre-drinks in beach bars such as Taco Way, surf Bar, and La Onda during the early evening. The hip crowd prefers the Venice Cocktail bar for its famous gin and tonic with lots of creative goodness.

The crowd spills over to La Ruina, ranked as one of the best nightclubs in Spain, for deep house music until the wee hours of the morning. Mombassa offers good vibes and funky music and stays open until 7 am.

Other popular clubs in Tarifa include Café Del Mar, Kubbeck, La Santa, and Danzzu.

Where to stay in Tarifa

Tarifa offers a variety of hotel accommodations to help you feel at home during your luxurious beach holiday. The windsurfing paradise is home to chic boutique hotels and B&Bs that will cater to your every need.


Leave the world behind when you enter the air-conditioned and soundproofed rooms at the Aristoy. The charming boutique hotel caters to your every creature's comfort and offers additional activities, including horse riding, diving, and windsurfing.

Head to the Posada La Sacristia and travel back in time with all the modern amenities you need for a luxury hotel stay. The hotel is set in a charming old building dating back to the 19th century. Grab a drink at the bar, book a massage session, or have a refreshing detox in the sauna.

Wake up to Moroccan-style décor in a 17th-century building by booking a hotel at the Riad in Old Town Tarifa. The hotel features genuine architectural feats from bygone eras, including original fresco paintings and a baroque façade. Explore the traditional Moroccan treatment, including a hammam, and emerge revitalized after every session.

Check into the bungalow-style rooms at the Hotel Punta Sur and enjoy sweeping mountains and sea views. The luxury hotel is 10 minutes from Tarifa and 5 minutes from the beach. It is set in beautiful secluded gardens for a quiet chilled-out stay filled with delicious Mediterranean cuisine.

Check into the luxurious Hotel Tarifa Lances and enjoy a quiet night's rest in the bright, airy, air-conditioned rooms. Enjoy world-class amenities, including an onsite spa, a solarium, and a fitness center. Sip perfectly chilled drinks while chilling at the pool bar and enjoy a delicious feast at the a-la-carte restaurant.

Perched in the middle of Old Town Tarifa, Misiana Hotel is in a relative skyscraper towering over the rest of Tarifa. The spacious rooms feature stylish decorations, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Misiana has the best bar and restaurant in Tarifa and offers sumptuous food and drinks. The impressive cocktail list comprises the classics, from gin and tonic to the spritz.

Other popular hotels in Tarifa include Silos19 Suites and Wawa Tarifa.


Tarifa offers a choice of Bed & Breakfast hotels to help you customize your stay and get an authentic feel of the local culture.

Hospedería Diez Y Seis lets you stay in a stylish and comfortable room in the middle of the city. Start your day with an authentic Spanish breakfast and enjoy the rest of your meals in the nearby restaurants.

Avoid the tourist horde while staying in Tarifa while remaining close to the main attractions by checking into El Escondite Del Viento. The charming 8-room B&B is located in a restored historical building dating back 200 years. Enjoy delicious traditional dishes made with locally produced fresh ingredients.

Bart Eichhorn
Author: Bart Eichhorn

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