Make every day your adventure!

Tarifa Spain: the coolest place in southern Europe!

I’ve got a new favorite place: Tarifa by Cadiz in Spain! It might be small, but it surprisingly has a lot to offer! The super beautiful beaches will absolutely blow your mind. The sweet old town has many cozy shops and cafés. Tarifa has the most chilled out atmosphere ever. Seriously. But this is no wonder as Tarifa is the biggest hot spot for kite surfing in all of Europe, and if the wind is good you can rent your own kite and plunge in to the sea! The nightlife here is also bumping with a ton of bars and delicious tapas.

What can you get up to in Tarifa Cadiz? There’s so much!

Awesome food.

Cool drinks at swanky bars.

Adrenaline filled kite surfing.

Cozy accommodations where you can get the best night sleep you’ve ever had.

I’ll let you know about everything that’s possible right here!

A word of warning first: keep your credit card handy! After reading this post you’ll want to book the next flight out of here to check out this fantastic city in Southern Spain for a few days!

My new home!

Traveling Spain: top tips and adventures

Tarifa Spain

Why Tarifa is simply amazing!

I don’t think it’s just me and Line: In Tarifa, most people fall in love with the town immediately! Once you’ve been here it’ll keep you coming back time and time again. Insiders call it the “Tarifa Virus”. I must admit, I am also infected with this virus. I crave this place!

I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is exactly that makes Tarifa so welcoming and addictive. The same thing happens with Canggu in Bali and Cape Town in South Africa. For me, it’s the location. The cool vibes prevail here. But let me show you what it’s all about!

The incredibly gorgeous beach

First of all: the beach! This unbelievably mad, genius, long, wide, huge, white sand beach! Tarifa is situated directly on the sea. To be more precise, it sits at the Strait of Gibraltar where the Atlantic and Mediterranean meet. This makes it an ideal place to see different types of sea life. You can catch glimpses of dolphins, and even whales like the Giant Sperm Whale if you’re lucky. One of my favorite animals is frequently seen here: Orcas!

Tarifa Spain Beach

Cool surfer vibes

Due to the location, strong winds blow through Tarifa all year and create the perfect conditions for kite and windsurfing. From June to August, Tarifa is full of kite surfers that bring the cool surfer lifestyle. They’ve made Tarifa what it is today: a really chill town! Everywhere you’ll meet cool people, visit stylish surfer stores, and drink coffee at cool hipster cafés.

Tarifa Spain Cafés

Tasty tapas and cheap wine

In the restaurants, there are super tasty tapas and house wine that tastes almost as good as the super expensive stuff. It’s usually no more than two or three euros a glass. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better–you’re in heaven after all–out comes the tuna. It’s caught fresh off the coast of Tarifa every day and it tastes insanely good. Absolute bliss!

Tarifa Spain Tapas

 

Brilliant views and relaxing nature

Behind Tarifa is the Parque Natural Los Alcornocales, while right on the other side of the sea Morocco is located, with a mountainous landscape as well. All of this comes together in a beautiful image: sea, beach, mountains all packaged together in a single incredible view!

The Parque Natural del Estrecho stretches northeast behind Tarifa. After a few minutes of being in the park you’ll find yourself right in the middle of the countryside with nothing else around. Depending on the season you’ll be running through flowery meadows and past gorgeous trees–almost like in the Alps…..minus a few thousand meters of upward hiking!

A beach further north, Dunes Valdevaqueros, awaits you. Here you’ll find yourself in a wacky bizarre landscape. It’s similar to a small desert, but it’s on the seafront! The same atmosphere exists further in the beaches of Bolonia–just awesome!

Tarifa Spain Views Morocco Valdevaqueros

The beautiful old town

Finally: Old Town Tarifa! The narrow streets, beautiful houses in white, and typical Andalusian courtyards–with bright blue doors and window frames–is just incredible! Even though the old town is not very big, you’ll get lost quickly in the small streets and suddenly be standing in a beautiful square. Calle Sancho IV el Bravo leads to the old beautiful church Iglesia de San Mateo, the Plaza de Santa Maria, and Plaza Miramar.

Tarifa Spain Old Town

The best way to get to Tarifa

Tarifa is actually the southern most point of continental Europe, and belongs to the province of Cadiz, Andalusia on the Costa de la Luz. To get here from Germany or the rest of the world, it makes the most sense to fly directly. Alternatively, you could create a cool road trip experience through southern Europe and make a multi-day stop in Tarifa! I would suggest taking the train but the journey is really complicated.

Nearby airports

Although Tarifa itself has no airport, you can still come out relatively quickly and easily. As for flying, you have several options: the nearest airport is Gibraltar, and then comes Jerez, Malaga, and Sevilla. Best way to get the cheapest flight is through Skyscanner. It’ll find the best airport for you!

Gibraltar

One important thing to know first: Gibraltar doesn’t belong to Spain but actually to the UK! Sometimes you have to wait at the border, because the countries are not always good to go to. Gibraltar Airport is only 45 minutes from Tarifa and is mainly served by British Airways. You might be able to come out here with a stopover in London’s Heathrow Airport!

Jerez

Jerez is a small town 130 kilometers northwest of Tarifa and has its own airport. It’s not served by many airlines which is why there are very few direct flights here. Condor, for example, flies directly from Frankfurt to Jerez. To get from Jerez Airport to Tarifa will take you about half an hour.

Malaga

The Malaga Airport is 150 kilometers–approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes–drive from Tarifa. Flights from major airlines and many low-cost carriers come through here. Airlines such as Air Berlin, Euro Wings, Iberostar, Norwegian Airlines, Ryanair, and Easyjet offer daily flights from all over Germany to Malaga.

In addition, most car rental companies have an office here and can offer cheap fares for renting vehicles. The only downside: if you’re driving on the highway, you need to pay toll fees. Overall, the fees are about 15 euros one way to Tarifa – which makes 30 euros on a round trip!

Seville

Seville Airport is 215 kilometers from Tarifa. You’ll need two and a half hours to make the journey by car. Depending on the route, you’ll also need to pay toll fees along the highway! To get to this airport you can take Ryanair from Berlin, Lufthansa and Transavia from Munich, and also Lufthansa from Frankfurt.

Rental car

Once you arrive at the airport, your best bet is to get a rental car because they’re really cheap in Spain! You can rent a car fully insured for 10 euros a day. Alternatively, you could come to Tarifa through public transportation but it’s not very quick to get from A to B!

Look for Sixt or EuropCar for the best deal. We managed to rent a Fiat Cinquecento for a whole month. It only cost us 316 euros and included fully comprehensive insurance!

Tarifa Spain rental car

 

The best season to visit

Tarifa can get really crowded in the busy season! This usually happens in the summer months from June to August. Many people come for the kite surfing seen from all around the world! The normal population of Tarifa is 18,000 people but in summer the number can skyrocket to 90,000 people! Because of the steep increase of people, we avoid the busy season as best we can.

The best months to visit are in Spring–April and May–as well as the early fall–September and early October. At those times of the year, it’s still nice and warm and there are way fewer people. The best thing is that the prices for lodging are significantly cheaper.

The adventure you’ll experience in and around Tarifa by Cadiz

Thanks to the ingenious location between the sea and mountains, you can really experience a lot in Tarifa! Of course, kite surfing is especially popular but if you’re not a big water sports fan there’s still a lot of adventure awaiting you.

Kite and wind surfing

Line and I have already taken a two-day kite surfing course in South Tryol. We also took a few more hours during a road trip through Northern Germany in Laboe near Kiel. We loved it so much, it was clear for us: kite surfing at the hot spot of Tarifa is a must!

If you, like we were, are a beginner you will be overwhelmed by choices in Tarifa. There are around 60 kite surfing schools there! Our choice was pretty easy since our flatmate leads the school Wave Bandits. On our second day the weather was incredible and we luckily got up on our boards a few times!

Though it’s incredibly fun, learning to kite surf in Tarifa is pretty difficult for beginners. The wind is often very strong and you have to fight the waves. If you are a complete newbie to this sport, better head to places like Dakhla in southern Morocco or to Brazil. In any case, you should take a two- or three-day course to get some kite surfing experience.

Besides kite surfing you can also learn how to windsurf in Tarifa! Again, there are a ton of good schools to learn from, but there are definitely more kite surfing schools.

Tarifa Spain Kitesurfing

Surfing and SUP

Another reason I love Tarifa is you can surf here! If the waves are good, it’s only five minutes from the city center to surf on the best beaches. It’s awesome! You can grab your board and within minutes you’re out paddling and playing in the surf. Yes please! Tarifa has some awesome surf spots outside of the town as well. These include El Palmar and Conil de la Frontera which are both about an hour from Tarifa.

You can also visit some surf schools, rent an SUP board, and paddle the small peninsula around Tarifa. Stay in the nice chill bay next to the port, or even go surfing on your SUP! For example, there’s a small beach cottage next to the beach bar El Chiringuito that have both surfboards and SUP wetsuits. They come in really handy in the colder water temperatures!

Tarifa Spain Surfing

Mountain biking

Thanks to the mountains and hills in the background, you can go mountain biking and choose between tons of different routes around Tarifa! An awesome easy route is the “smuggling route” from Tarifa to Guadalmesi where you ride along the coast and catch brilliant views of the Strait of Gibraltar and Morocco. The bike route is 25 kilometers long and takes about two and a half hours.

More information about routes can be found here!

Horse riding

The Andalusia area is highly known for its horses, so of course you can go riding in Tarifa. There are several stables that offer horseback rides on the beach or in the mountains from one hour to a full day ride. Some recommended places to go that are only a 10-minute drive away from the Tarifa city center are Hurricane Hipica and Aventura Ecuestre.

Hiking

Since Tarifa is such a small community, you are just a few minutes from being out in the open countryside. For this reason, Tarifa also offers amazing hiking spots! A really nice track goes northeast of the old town right on the coast next to the Strait of Gibraltar. The route takes you on a hike through the Parque Natural del Estrecho. You can either go for a walk along a few kilometers of the route, or take a whole day to go on a massive hike!

Another nice walk goes along the coast from Tarifa to Bolonia. Here you walk about 9 kilometers along the beach, through pine forests and over sand dunes! You should plan to take around 4 hours for this route.

Here‘s a good overview of hiking trails around Tarifa!

The right clothes from Tatonka

I must admit, I had never really thought about what to wear when I go hiking or on other crazy adventures. Today, though, I know the right clothes can really make a difference so I’m always sure to pack a few functional clothing items.

In Tarifa we had a few things from Tatonka here, which was great! I found a really cool lightweight shirt that I still use today. It’s made of a very breathable fabric, so I don’t sweat as fast as I normally do.

We also added cozy hooded sweatshirts and a jacket, both of which are highly useful. If you plan to go hiking in Tarifa you should always pack a few functional clothes. The weather can change often in the spring and fall, and it’s really helpful to have some functional clothes like the ones of Tatonka.

Tarifa Spain Hiking Valdevaqueros

Trip to Tangier

Since Tarifa is directly opposite Morocco, you can also take a trip to Africa! The ferry to Tangier departs several times a day every two hours. It starts at 9 am from the Tarifa port, leaves every couple of hours and costs 66.60 euros for a round trip! Once you get there, though, you’re in a completely different world! The city has almost one million people and offers many beautiful sights and sounds, especially the beautiful old town right on the harbor!

The best cafes and restaurants in Tarifa Cadiz

I don’t know of any other place – that’s as small as Tarifa – that offers so many good restaurants and cafes! Here you can go almost anywhere and get really tasty and fresh food. The choice of cafes is amazing even if it doesn’t always have the best third wave coffee and Flat White. An important tip to take note of is that most shops open in the morning at 10 am, but restaurants don’t always serve food until the evening!

Best cafes

Café 10

Café 10 is located in Tarifa’s old town. Here you sit either in a cozy atmosphere indoors or you can watch the bustle on the streets while you sit outside in the sun. One of the best things on the menu is the hot sandwich with ham, cheese, and tomato. The juice selection and Cortado are also very tasty!

Coco Rock Café

This is where I go to buy my smoothies! I always ask for the Chocolate Smoothie, which isn’t always on the menu, but it is absolutely delicious. A smoothie costs around 5 euros and can also make you really full! David, the owner, is a really cool and nice guy and gives awesome service. The Coco Rock Café is also known for its delicious and fresh coconuts! Just the right place to fill you up with vitamins and other healthy stuff!

Café Surla

This café is located just outside the city center not far from the beach. It has a great breakfast selection where you can get tasty toasts, cereals, smoothies, fresh juice, and an array of coffee creations. The atmosphere in the place is down to earth and really cozy, and as a bonus you get free WiFi!

Café Azul

Café Azul is quite popular on the weekends and usually fills up a lot! It’s located at Calla Batalla del Salado, not far from Puerto de Jerez. Here you can feast on a huge breakfast selection. I recommend the crepe with yogurt and fruit. It’s to die for!

Stoked

In Stoked they serve one of the best Café con Leches in Tarifa. It’s nice, thick, and creamy, and really sets a high standard! Even though the breakfast menu here isn’t too extensive, the salads and burgers at lunch are delicious! Stoked also offers free WiFi, which is why you’ll often find yourself surrounded by people on their laptops! The décor is really tailored to the surfing culture. You can find surfboards hanging on the walls and cool surfer-style furniture!

Wet-Café

Wet-Café is five minutes by car from Tarifa on the N-340. Here you sit properly chilled between palm trees and other plants. The furniture is simple but really cool–for example, the pillows are made from old coffee sacks! Again, you can get healthy smoothies and a tasty breakfast, but the prices here can be a little higher than others!

My favorite restaurants and bars

No. 6 Cocina Sencilla

My absolute favorite restaurant is tucked away in a small lane in the middle of Tarifa’s old town. Its name is No. 6 Cocina Sencilla, and is actually under the same ownership as Café 10! The tapas and main dishes are traditional Spanish items with a modern touch. They’re all delicious, especially the grilled Octopus! Equally delicious are the patatas bravas, the vegetarian lasagna, the tapas burgers, and grilled tuna!

Tarifa Spain Restaurants

Lola

Lola serves delicious and affordable tapas. My favorites are the tortilla, fried prawns, and croquets with ham! Here you can sit in good weather outside on their cozy patio. It’s also located in the middle of Tarifa’s old town but in a quieter space.

Bar el Frances

This bar is one of the few restaurants where you can get at six o’clock dinner. Here you have the choice to sit inside at the tapas bar, or out on their lovely patio. A particularly awesome dish here is the octopus salad and the baked eggplant with goat cheese. If you decide to eat here you should definitely grab a glass of their house wine!

El Chiringuito

This pretty chic beach bar is the perfect place for a Sundowner! You can sit outside in deck chairs, dig your feet in to the sand, and drink a delicious gin and tonic while you watch the sun disappear over the horizon. Come back on time though, because this place fills up very fast on weekends!

Café del Mar

In the Café del Mar, people meet in the evening to watch the sunset with a drink in hand. The atmosphere here is super relaxed and you get to sit incredibly close to the beach. Again, it fills up very fast on the weekends when the weather is good!

Cool accommodations in Tarifa

Just as there are some cool restaurants and cafes in Tarifa, you can also find a lot of wicked accommodation! Be forewarned though, the coolest places fill up really quickly in the summer and can be much more expensive than in the off-season.

Koala Tarifa

This hotel has several cool furnished apartments and is situated in Tarifa’s old town not far from the Church of San Mateo. Some of the apartments have access to a small garden and places to chill along the roofline. The cheapest apartments usually cost 90 euros a night for two people.

The 8 Rooms House

As the name The 8 Rooms House suggests, this place has 8 simple but modern rooms. It’s located just outside the old town and offers free wifi! The cost is around 60 euros a night for two people.

La Residencia Tarifa

This accommodation is a bit fancier and is located in a really nice old house. It even has a roof top area with a pool and a small sauna! It’s located in the northeastern corner of the city facing the Strait of Gibraltar and Morocco. You can choose between different apartments all of which are a little more classic in style but are really nicely decorated.

La Cocotera Boutique Hostel & Co-working

If you’re looking for a cheap and cool hostel–or like to work online like me and need access to fast WiFi–I can’t recommend this hostel enough! La Cocotera Boutique Hostel & Coworking located in a quiet side street in the old town and has cool furnished, bright rooms. It offers a shared kitchen, a chill place to hang out on the rooftop, and a co-working space on the ground floor. For about 25 euros a night, you can stay here in a 4-bed room.

Tarifa Cadiz – Our new home!

So are you ready? Do you want to plan your trip to Tarifa right now?

I promise you’ll love this small town in Southern Spain! Whether you’re looking to learn kite surfing, love hiking or mountain biking, or just want to spend a few days at a really cool place with tasty and healthy food at hip cafes, Tarifa is definitely the right place for you! I guarantee you’ll fall in love with this place and one trip will never be enough once you’re over here.

For Line and me Tarifa feels perfect! It’s so right for us that we’ve even considered pitching our tents to come back again and again between all our awesome travel adventures. It almost feels like home to us and sooner or later I’m sure it will be our new home! I never thought I’d want to come back to Spain so much, but this small town had me falling in love. It just goes to show life and travel doesn’t always go exactly as planned!

So what’s stopping you? Are you ready to fly away to this special place, Tarifa, for an unforgettable adventure?

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2 comments on “Tarifa Spain: the coolest place in southern Europe!

  1. Carlos on

    Tarifa is indeed a Fantastic spot. If anyone want to experience much more and get a little adventure i propose sailing across the Strait,dolphins,orcas,whales…everything coming in and out of the med,enjoy exotic Tánger,with ancient Medina,colours,spicy scents…only 350€ 4 days

    E Mail carlosultana@gmail.com

    Reply