Tarifa, the yearlong Paradise

Tarifa, the yearlong Paradise

‘A place with lots of magnetism’. This could be the way you could use to define the most southern point in Europe within the province of Cadiz… a balcony overlooking the African continent. From two bodies of water converging, the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, there appears a natural setting which is simply spectacular and that comprises the Strait of Gibraltar. From the very same beach you can see the incredible coast of Africa as well as hundreds of ships constantly crossing the waters…

Only 14 kilometres separate Europe and Africa and this is where the air currents’ friction, when it is present in the Strait, gives Tarifa one of its greatest treasures, its strong winds, an object of cult to many lovers of the sea. Many years ago, this specialty made Tarifa a sports paradise for them and also for anyone who wishes to enjoy wild nature, both on the coast and inland.
Known on a worldwide basis, the waters in Tarifa have been the stage to many surf and kitesurf world championships, and together with the Canary Islands, it is one of the favorite international locations to practice these sports.
It is a real paradise for many reasons. Just as it happens on the Caribbean, there are not too many palm trees, nor hot waters, but there are more than 30 kilometres of incredible beaches boasting white sands of a very fine grain, turquoise waters, intermixed with deserted coves and winds that purify the idyllic scenery.
The wind’s singularity and the spectacular habitat that surrounds Tarifa, with its two Natural Parks, that of the Cork Oak (Los Alcornocales) and that of the Trait, prevent the big construction companies from burying such a wonderful habitat under.
These coastal natural settings are witness to the practice of numerous sports. Tarifa already has many windsurf, kitesurf and surf schools, the latter being more practiced during the wintertime, and it also has sport centres where you can rent all the necessary equipment. But sport and leisure activities do not stop there, in the sea and with the wind.
All year long, mountain bike lovers also have many lovely routes to follow, you can also dive near the Tarifa Island, being one of the most significant within the Iberian peninsula as regards subaquatic resources, you can walk and you can also horse ride on many of the trails on the hills or on the beach, you can try hang gliding, paragliding, whale and dolphin watching, bird watching, hiking, caving, and a long etcetera.
Tarifa’s charm attracts sport men and women, ornithologists and lovers of nature from all around the world, mostly during the summer season, when the beaches are covered with hundreds of sails and kites offering a spectacle of sublime colors. This beautiful coast is not really the place for Sunday beach parasols and the famous potato omelette…
Within the council limits of Tarifa we can also find other towns of villages such as Zahara de los Atunes, which year by year is becoming more fashionable; the spectacular Bolonia beach with its roman ruins at Baelo Claudia, and Facinas, a white house village with lots of charm and that serves as the entry to the Cork Oak Natural Park via the recreational area of Los Tornos.
Easter and the months of June, July, August and September are filled each year by tourists and the floating population multiplies by three, benefiting the local economy greatly. On the other hand, the city loses its deserted beach and clean air character, as this returns when the strong winds of the east come back, something which can only be enjoyed by people who live in the city throughout the year.
After having visited many islands in very different places in the world, such as the Canary Islands, Mauritius, Jamaica, Cuba and the Dominican Republic, amongst others, I have not yet encountered a place that can make you feel as much as Tarifa does.