Tarifa

< Tarifa >

How low can you go? A good bucket list item might be visiting all the southernmost points in the world. So far for me, 2 down (Spain and the U.S.), hundreds more to go!

< Spain's Southernmost Point >
Looking out to the southernmost point of Europe, now a civil guard base

Where Exactly is Tarifa?

< Map of Tarifa >

Tarifa is a small town on the southeast tip of the Iberian peninsula. It’s the closest to Africa you can get while still being on dry land. Not only is it the southernmost point in Spain, at 36 degrees latitude it’s the furthest south you can go in Europe. It’s also famous for its beautiful beaches and great windsurfing.

< As far south as you can go >
Looking back at Tarifa from the southernmost point – or as south as you can go without getting arrested.

What is There to Do in Tarifa?

Tarifa is well-known for its beaches and beach activities. Known as the windiest city in Spain, it attracts visitors from all over the world for surfing, windsurfing, kite surfing, hang-gliding, diving, and other activities. It is usually colder than the rest of Spain due to the strong winds so it’s popular in the hot summer months, but avid athletes can be found any time of year if the wind conditions are right.

< A windsurfer on Tarifa's beaches >
Windsurfer in Tarifa in February, 16 degrees C (61 degrees F) with strong winds.

Since it is so far south (compare the latitude to about Nashville, TN), temperatures can be mild in winter without the windchill; with that said, if you can find a dune or rock to block the wind, it’s possible to lay on the beach and sunbathe in the winter months!
< Tarifa's beach >

What to Eat

Obviously, Tarifa is on the point of Spain separating the Mediterranean Sea from the Atlantic Ocean. Tarifa is well-known for its seafood as it has a variety of options from both the warmer Mediterranean and the colder Atlantic. You can find excellent typical seafood paella, fried cod, and many other types of fish.

The Port

Besides the beach and wind activities, up the east coast a little ways is the Tarifa port. There are 2 ferry services, FRS and Inter Shipping, that will take you for a day trip (or longer) to Tangier, Morocco. This is the fastest route, only 35 minutes on the high-speed ferry (although this is a low estimate since the winds sometimes will make for rough seas, sometimes doubling that time). The ferry from Tangier also goes directly into Tangier as opposed to ferries from Algeciras and Gibraltar, which go into Tanger Med, about 40 km from the capital city.

Prices for the ferries are firm and no discounts are offered, and it can be a little expensive for last-minute booking or during the high season. Remember to get there about an hour early to look for parking; the small parking lot fills up and you may have to park far away. The ferry shuts its doors 10 minutes before takeoff.

Special Event

Andalucía Day (February 28) is a great day to visit Tarifa. The city is very animated and everyone dresses in costume to celebrate Andalucía becoming an autonomous community of Spain. There is a carnival-type atmosphere (both carnival with rides and cotton candy, and carnival as in the costumed festival before lent); there are small rides and bouncy houses for children, food vendors set up booths, and restaurant workers wear silly accessories. It’s a popular place to be and parking is extra hard this day.

< Andalucia Day in Tarifa >

< Tarifa Day in Andalucia >

If you’re looking for something different or off-the-beaten-path in Spain, Tarifa is a great option! Visit the local castle that overlooks the ocean, take a seaside stroll, take a quick trip to Morocco, or try some exciting new beach activities! Tarifa has something for everyone.

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