In the south of the south, there’s a corner of infinite beaches which look across to Africa: the most southerly tip of Europe, where the land gives way to the Strait of Gibraltar. Well positioned as the paradise of kitesurfing, the Cadizian destination of Tarifa is the world leader of this fashionable sport.
They call Tarifa “the capital of the wind”, and with good reason. There are two predominant winds here: the strong, warm levant, which blows day and night; and another colder one, the poniente, which is stronger in the afternoons and suitable for kitesurfing.
Before kitesurfing existed it was windsurfing that drove the economy of the area for around 20 years and put Tarifa on the travel map. Now, as the climate is mild practically all year round and conditions are excellent for flying kites, Tarifa is also home to many permanent professional residents. Among them is Gisela Pulido, the young, nine-time world kitesurfing champion from Barcelona who also has her own school and shop here.
Of all the beaches, the one at Valdevaqueros, some 12 kilometres from the historic centre, is the most popular for kitesurfers with winds of up to 35-40 knots. Los Lances beach, nearer to the town and looking out onto the immense Atlantic, is another of the most spectacular beaches due to its size (10km long), although during the high season in summer it is forbidden to catch waves there as it is reserved solely for bathers.
Apart from all the schools and shops for kitesurfers, Tarifa has become full of bars, restaurants, hotels and all types of shops to satisfy the needs of the 100,000 visitors it receives every year. Many places can be reached on foot from the beach, such as Soul Beach for food and drinks (we highly recommend the red tuna taco washed down with a gin and tonic), Pacha Mama for pizza freshly made in their oven or char-grilled meat, or the charming Café Azul for an organic breakfast before an intense day on the waves.
How to get there:
Tarifa is 152 km from Malaga airport (2 hrs approx), 131 km from Jerez de la Frontera airport (1.5 hrs approx), 214 km from Seville airport (2.2 hrs. approx) and 46.2 km from Gibraltar airport (50 min approx). All have rental car offices, buses and taxis for transfers.
Where to sleep:
Hotel Misiana. Calle Sancho IV El Bravo, 16, 11380 Tarifa, Cádiz. Tel: +34 956 627 083. http://www.misiana.com/
Hotel La Sacristía. C/ San Donato, 8, 11380 Tarifa, Cádiz. Tel:+34 956 681 759. www.lasacristia.net
Hotel Restaurante Mesón de Sancho. Carretera N.340 Cadiz – Malaga, km 94 11380. Tarifa, Cádiz. Tel: +34 956 684 900. www.mesondesancho.com
Kitesurfing lessons and shops:
Gisela Pulido Pro Center Mar Adriático, 22. Tarifa. Tel.: +34 608 57 77 11. http://giselapulidoprocenter.
Kite Obsession Pol. Ind. La Vega, 201.1., Tarifa. Tel.: +34 656 678 815 / +34 956 680 940. www.kiteobsession.com
Tarifa Xtrem Calle de la Batalla del Salado, 46. Tarifa. Tel.: +34 956 68 18 14. www.tarifaxtrem.com
Surf Center Ctra N-340 km 79, 3, Tarifa, Cádiz. Tel.: +34 664 17 15 96. www.surfcentertarifa.com