Tarifa, Atlantic and Mediterranean
At the meeting of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, Tarifa is a small port city of 17 000 inhabitants on the Strait of Gibraltar.
On a strategic site of first order and formerly occupied by the Romans, Tarifa was founded at the beginning of the 8th century by Tarif Ibn El Malik who built a fortress and gave it its name. First under the influence of the Umayyad caliphate, then under the influence of the Taifa of Algeciras, it was reconquered by the Castilians in 1292.
It is from this Muslim period that Tarifa kept an urban architecture of narrow winding alleys, low houses with flat roofs and terraces resembling Maghreb cities.
Among the monuments or buildings of the city, the Mudéjar Gothic Chapel of Santiago, the Church of San Mateo or the Convent of San Francisco concentrate the architectural visits of Tarifa.
Overlooking the bay and the city, El Castillo de Guzmán el Bueno is a medieval Muslim fortress built by Abd Ar-Rahman in 930. Located in the Andalusian quarter of the city, classified as a cultural property since 1931, it was restored in the 17th century to protect the city from attacks by barbarian pirates. Its ramparts offer a vast panorama of the old town and its surroundings.
Tarifa has 38 kilometres of fine sandy beaches, most of which are classified as “natural sites”.
This position at the gates of the Columns of Hercules makes it one of the windiest regions in Europe. Its predominant winds, the Atlantic Poniente and the Mediterranean Levante, huge white sandy beaches and unique marine currents, have made Tarifa the paradise of many European and international surfers and kite surfers. This, given the favourable weather conditions throughout the year. It is no coincidence that Tarifa hosts events at the world windsurfing championships.
At the southern end of the city, the Pointe de Tarifa, also called Punta Marroquí, the island of Tarifa or the island of Palombes, is connected to the city by a “tombolo”, a coastline reinforced by a tens of meters long roadway. Dominating this complex, a fortress, watching over the coasts, faces the Moroccan city of Ksar Sghir, some twenty kilometres away. Military land, the island cannot be visited.
To the east of the city “El Parque Natural del Estrecho”, the Detroit Natural Park borders the Mediterranean coastline “del estrecho” to Algeciras, hosting both unique ecosystems and great historical and cultural riches.
Access: from Algeciras, located a few kilometres to the northeast, Tarifa is accessible by the N-340 road, coming from Cadiz via the E-5 and then the N-340.
Embarkation to Morocco
For a trip to Morocco, FRS IBERIA provides four to eight daily connections to Tanger-Ville depending on the season. Thirty-five minutes, good hydrofoils, that’s the fastest crossing in the strait.
Rates: adults: 37 €, children between 3 and 12 years old: 20 €. Car from 98 €.
Tarifa Tourist Office. Paseo de la Alameda. In the historic old quarter.
Open Monday to Friday from 10 am to 1:30 pm and 4 pm to 6 pm. Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 1:30 pm.
DO DIVE AT TARIFA
Tarifa in video: