If your passion is kitesurfing, you will love Tarifa. It is one of the best kitespots in Europe and it is known worldwide for its constant winds. That’s why it is also called the European mecca of kiteboarding and windsurfing.
Tarifa is located in the province of Andalusia, Spain, just below Gibraltar. It is the most southern point of Europe. You may see the northern coast of Africa on a clear day, because it is only 14 km away. Nowhere else in Europe it is closer to the African continent.
Tourism in Tarifa can be very diverse. There are those people who seek peace and tranquility of the sun and the sea or those looking after crazy nightlife.
A highlight are the unique and colorful streets of the old town. You can get easily lost in its labyrinths, but you will find lots of craft shops and a variety of restaurants with tasty food. There are also lots of hotels and monuments. Not forgetting of course, the 35 kilometers of coastline with wide, sandy beaches and clear blue water. All that makes this town a delight to visit.
Additionally it offers you a huge variety of activities. Starting with sports on land, like horse riding, through sports in the air such as paragliding, to the most popular ones, water sports like kitesurfing and windsurfing.
When the wind blows in Tarifa, the picture presented is amazing. The whole sky is filled with different colors and hundreds of kites are dancing in the air. There are no words to describe this concert, you have to witness yourself.
Although there are different types of winds in Tarifa, predominate two: Poniente and Levante which are going to bring you a lot of fun.
Poniente is a wind blowing from the west, direction on shore. Often it comes between 14 to 25 knots. It blows more frequent than all the other wind directions. This wind is colder, usually brings a choppy sea, almost always with unruly and messy waves. With Poniente you are safe and free to choose any of the beaches of Tarifa for kitesurfing because it’s on shore wind. Therefore, it is the most favorable direction for beginners to enjoy this sport.
Levante is blowing from the east, direction side-off shore and reaches its highest speed while crossing the Straits of Gibraltar. It is a warm wind, brings fog and the sea is usually more calm. When there are waves coming in, usually they are perfect for riding. Normally this wind is very gusty and powerful (30+ knots), so it requires some skills to go kitesurfing.
There is another kind of wind that we can only enjoy in the warmer months, which is thermal wind. This one is produced by the heat of the ground and cold air masses of the atlantic provided by Poniente. The movement of air masses leads to the formation of thermal air current. It will make your sundowner session a great joy with its speed of about 15-22 knots. But of course without any waves.
The small town of Tarifa offers you 35 km of wide and sandy beaches. You will find several spots to practice your favorite sport, each of them is unique and they have their advantages and disadvantages. Depending on the wind or riding style, one or the other will be your best choice. Each of them will be covered soon in a separate post.
Here you can find a complete list of the kitespots in Tarifa:
- Playa Chica – With Levante, if you are experienced
- Balneario – With Poniente for all levels, with Levante only experienced riders
- Los Lances south or Campo Futbol – For all levels with Poniente, with Levante it can be very gusty
- La Charca or the Lagoon – Perfect for beginners and those who want to practice their tricks on flat water (Kitesurfing is prohibited because it is a natural reserve)
- Rio Jara – With Poniente for all levels, not so crowded spot
- Agua and Waves – For all levels with Poniente or Levante with rescue boats
- Dos Mares – Hotel with access to the beach and kitesurf school
- Los Lances north or Arte Vida – Known for its nice waves
- Valdevaqueros – Safest beach with Levante, good thermal wind, lots of events like world championship
- Punta Paloma and Los Porros – Safe spot with Levante, good thermal wind
- Bolonia – There is less wind in days of heavy Levante in Tarifa
- Caños de Meca – Known for its waves, 45 mins outside of Tarifa
- Conil de la Frontera – Wind blows almost always off shore, much better if you have some skills
- Getares – When Levante blows heavily in Tarifa, in Getares you will have perfect on shore wind
- Palmones – With heavy Levante in Tarifa, you can ride your 12 m² Kite in Palmones with on shore wind
- El Palmar – Well known for its waves
Pros and cons in Tarifa
High probability of wind (around 250 windy days per year)
The town of Tarifa has 35 kilometers of coastline with wide beaches
Different spots for kite- and windsurfing all year
Relaxed atmosphere and very active nightlife
Lots of other activities on no wind days
The wind can be very gusty
The quality of the waves is rarely good
In the high season (July – August), the beaches are overcrowded
There are more than plenty of kitesurf schools, many of them are along the main street Batalla del Salado. You can also find them on the beaches. Many schools rent equipment for kitesurfing as well.
Here you find most of the kiteboarding schools.
Like kiteschools, you will find so many kiteshops by walking along the main street, Batalla del Salado. There is also a huge variety of kitesurf shops in the narrow streets of the old town or basically all around Tarifa.
Most of the shops rent out kitesurfing equipment and do repairs.
Here you can find a list of kiteshops around Tarifa.
Although Tarifa is the worldwide known town for kitesurfing, it is the perfect place to do many other outdoor activities. For example, you can go hiking, do paintball, golf, kayak, diving, sup, tours and so much more.
Find here more activities to do.
Tarifa is for all kinds of tastes and budgets, for families, groups or backpackers. You can choose from so many possibilities. You can stay in an apartment or cheap hostal in town. A little bit outside are some big hotels, bungalows and campings.
Remember to book your accommodation early. Tarifa is very busy in summertime (June – September) and you might not find a free room.
Look here for hotels or accommodations.
Would you like typical Spanish tapas or do you prefer Arab cuisine? Tarifa got you covered. But it also offers many other cuisines like Italian, Asian, vegetarian or more. You can enjoy great breakfast with fresh fruits and all kinds of smoothies.
Find the best restaurants, cafés and chiringuitos here.
Although Tarifa is a small town, there are lots of bars, pubs and some nightclubs. In the old town there are bars on every corner. Some of them are calm for having a good chat, others are more like warm up for partying after.
Here you can find your favorite bar or nightclub.
Good to know
- Always take care of your belongings, no matter if you are in town or on the beach.
- “Siesta time” is one thing that might catch you out. From 2 to 5 pm almost all shops will be closed. And when I say all, I mean almost all restaurants or cafes, all bars and all kiteshops.
The only exception is the big supermarkets which open all day during the summer.
- You can find reliable internet in almost all hotels, restaurants and cafes. When you are staying long term, make sure that your apartment or bungalow provides internet. As a foreigner, it can be quite frustrating to get a contract for an internet connection at home. Mobile plans are limited and expensive.
- To rent a car is recommended even though it is a very small town and you can reach generally all sites walking. Most of the campings and popular hotels with access to the beach are just a couple of kilometers outside of Tarifa.
There are other close beaches, natural parks and dunes within reach by car and worth to see. Also you should try some of the alternative kitespots around Tarifa. Especially when the heavy off shore Levante blows you away.
In July and August there is a special bus service for some beaches and campings:
B Camping Rio Jara
C Hotel Dos Mares
D Camping Tarifa
E Hotel Hurricane
F Camping Torre de la Peña
H Camping Valdevaqueros
I Camping Paloma
J Camping Jardin de las Dunas
Tarifa – Camping J. de las Dunas: 07:50; 09:30; 10:45; 12:15, 14:00, 15:15, 17:00, 18:30, 20:00, 22:00, 23:00. Fridays and Saturdays as well: 00:30, 1:30, 2:30.
Camping J. de las Dunas – Tarifa: 08:45; 10:15, 11:45, 12:45, 14:45, 16:15, 17:45, 19:15, 21:00, 22:30, 23:45. Fridays and Saturdays as well: 01:00, 2:00, 3:00
Information collected using different sources.
It is recommended to confirm times and prices before departure.
How to get to Tarifa?
To get to Tarifa, you have several transport alternatives: by bus, car or taxi.
If you don’t have a car and want to rent one, there are different car rentals at the airports. In low season, you can get very cheap offers starting from 3 euros a day.
- Seville airport, distance 207 km – approx. 2h 20 min
- Malaga airport, distance 151 km – approx. 1h 55 min
- Jerez airport, distance 130 km – approx. 1h 35 min
- Gibraltar airport (GB), distance 45 km – approx. 55 min
The ride by bus is not the fastest or most confortable, but it’s the cheapest option. One of the advantage of travelling by bus is also to see the wonderful scenery.
Here you can find the most important bus stations to get to Tarifa:
- In Tarifa – Next to the gas station
- Seville – You have to take a bus, train or taxi to get to the connecting bus station
- Algeciras – It is opposite to the railway station, near the popular market of the city
- Jerez – You have to take a bus, train or taxi to get to the connecting bus station. There is a train that goes direct from the airport to the connecting bus station
- Malaga – You have to take a bus, train or taxi to get to the connecting bus station. There is a bus that goes direct from the airport to the main bus station every 20 min
- Gibraltar (GB) – Just 50 m from the border is the bus station which offers departures every 30 minutes towards Algeciras or if you prefer ask times with direct destination to Tarifa
|Red Cross||956 68 48 96|
|Municipal Police||956 68 21 74|
|Taxis Tarifa||956 68 42 41|
|Ayuntamiento||956 68 41 86|
|Tourism Tarifa||956 68 09 93|