Why come to Tarifa? Wind, wind, wind! And they do! This is the busiest kitesurfing destination in the world. Luckily the huge beaches can cope with the hundreds of kites that descend on Tarifa. A cheap, quick flight from anywhere in Europe, the spiritual home of European kitesurfing grew in massive popularity for many other reasons.
Just 14 kilometres across the water from Africa, this vibrant venue in Andulucia lies at the meeting point of the Mediterranean and Atlantic seas. Strong, reliable year-round winds blow here and the beaches, such as Los Lances (2 km out of town) are wide, open, made of soft sand and are obstacle free. Well over 20 kite shops and 40 industry related businesses operate along the busy high street and many top PKRA riders actually live in Tarifa, so the standard of riding is very high, but there's very little attitude. July and August can see a thousand kiters on the water in the several kilometres of beach around Tarifa, so its important to observe the rules and respect each rider. If the wind gets too strong or offshore, then take a drive to another beach. There are many options from bump 'n' jump to classic cross-off down-the-line wave conditions.
WIND, WEATHER & WATER
Two wind patterns operate in the area. The Poniente wind comes from the west, right to left cross-onshore. It's super-consistent, usually the summer wind and brings good weather. It doesn't usually get too strong apart from during a winter storm. The Levante wind comes from the east and is cross-off from the main beach, gusty and can get very, very strong. Poniente comes in for three to four day periods whereas the Levante will often blow day and night for more than 7 days. One of the reasons that Tarifa can cope with all this is because there are a lot of different beach options, so it's a very good idea to hire a car. If the wind gets too strong or offshore, then drive to another beach. And with so many different beach options comes a huge variety in conditions. Choose from onshore wave riding to classic cross-off down-the-line conditions. In Winter a huge lagoon forms in the dunes of the main beach and is perfect for flat water fun, although it does get very busy as it's so popular. Due to the large variation in wind strengths - take all your kites.
Air temperatures can remain pleasant all year, but can dip to 14°C in January and get above 30°C in July. The water gets warm in the summer, requiring only boardies or a shortie wetsuit but can feel much cooler in the colder winds in the winter, when you will need a spring suit.
There are many options for cheap flights to Malaga especially but also Gibraltar and Jerez. Malaga (AGP) is between a 90 minute and two hour drive from Tarifa. Jerez (XRY) is a much smaller airport but is only about a 60 minute drive from Tarifa. Gibraltar (GIB) is the closest airport to Tarifa, only 30 minutes drive. Make sure you collect your car from the Spanish side of the border.
Car hire is advisable as there are so many spots to choose from. If there's no wind you'll make the most of this activity-rich area with a car.
FOOD & DRINK
Losing none of its old Spanish charm and white washed walls, Tarifa really comes to life at night. From incredible authentic tapas to high class cuisine to cheap and cheerful pizzas. Choose from rammed dance clubs to laid back bars. There are also a few options on the way to the beaches if you dont want to venture into town. At least once during your trip you must try the Hurricane Hotel. Booking may be necessary at weekends and in Summer.
Tarifa has more shops than anywhere else in the world click here or the tab above
There is also lots to see and do outside Tarifa, from mountain biking in the hills to visiting ancient and picturesque towns along the coast. How about learning to speak Spanish? Tarifa offers a great opportunity to learn some Spanish. The wind doesn't usually kick in until the afternoon, so the mornings give a chance for other activities.