Regarded as one of the world's most popular destinations for wind and kite surfing and around 50 minutes drive from Gibraltar, the small town of Tarifa is a superb place to visit on a day out. A combination of two factors give Tarifa the unique conditions for excellent wind sports; the funnel effect created by the Strait of Gibraltar bring two steady winds, the westerly Poniente, and Levante that blows from the east, combined with Tarifa being the southernmost point of Continental Europe therefore not being protected by any landmass, and Voila, perfect wind conditions. The two winds combined prevail in the area for more than 300 days a year, making it an ideal spot for wind sports throughout summer and winter.
Although the conditions are favourable for wind sports all year round, the town council understand it can be dangerous to have surf boards in the water when there are large amounts of bathers and therefore reserve the town's main beach for swimming and sunbathing during high season. This beach is called Playa de los Lances and is a fantastic stretch of wide golden sand backed by a selection of beach bars and restaurants as well as wind and kite surfing schools for visitors who fancy a few lessons or surfers looking to hire equipment.
Another very popular beach is Playa Valdevaqueros, also boasting some lovely little beach bars, water sports centres, hotels and an equestrian centre. Near the town centre and harbour are two small and relatively sheltered beaches, Playa Chica and Playa Tarifa which are ideal for parents with small children. Near Playa Chica is a tiny island called Isla de Las Palomas that is surrounded by an abundance of small rocky coves perfect for snorkelling. About 10 kilometres west of the town is Punta Paloma, a headland with a series of secluded coves dedicated to nude bathing and sunbathing, although bearing all when the wind is up can be rather painful 🙂
The wide flat beaches and beautiful countryside around Tarifa offer excellent terrain for horse riding, and visitors will find a number of riding schools and equestrian centres that offer treks and lessons for riders of all ages and abilities. The same can be said for keen walkers and nature enthusiasts with an abundance of hiking trails through the two Natural Parks that surround the town. Many hiking trails meander through cork oak forests which provide welcoming shade when walking or riding during the hot summer days and both parks have visitors centres where walkers can pick up handy maps of the parks hiking trails.
The Strait of Gibraltar is a favoured breeding and hunting ground for a variety of whales and dolphins and there are a number of tour excursions to view these beautiful creatures, especially during early summer to see sperm whales and peak summer to see killer whales. There are a number of historical monuments and buildings to visit in and around Tarifa and walking the ramparts of Guzmán el Bueno Castle offers spectacular views of the north African coastline. Visitors who fancy a day exploring the souks of Tangier can take a ferry across the Strait which costs around 60€ for a return journey and operates every two hours.