Let me share with you this special Tarifa beach getaway, back when I celebrated my 30th birthday surrounded by serene landscapes and people I love.
There are lots of things I can tell you about Tarifa since it´s one of my favorite travel destinations in Spain.
Tarifa is a popular beach town of Andalusia, as well as one of the top winter-sun destinations in Spain full of the most unique and adventurous travel experiences on the Iberian Peninsula. Tarifa could be an easy day trip from Cadiz, one of the most underrated cities in Spain.
Nothing soothes the soul as a day by the ocean. The good news is that in Spain you have countless places to live by this statement – Northern Spain, The Canary Islands, Andalusia… But Tarifa has something particularly special about it. I feel like my pictures will speak for themselves.
How to get to Tarifa
Although the best way to get to Tarifa is to travel by car, this small beach town has a bus connection with Cadiz, Malaga, and Marbella.
Tarifa Beach Getaway
My Love Story with Tarifa
This Tarifa beach getaway was already my third time in the area. When I visited this small Spanish beach town for the first time I was only 16, learning Spanish in one of the Marbella language schools. The trip was organized, so I couldn´t really explore Tarifa independently. But it had definitely left a mark on me, so I was secretly dreaming to return one day. Nevertheless, my second visit to Tarifa happened only a few years ago, while on the road to Algarve/Portugal.
Actually, the reason it took me so long to return is Tarifa´s remote location (from the Castellon Province, where I currently live). My husband used to have a 9 to 5 job, so our travel plans were mostly weekend getaways in Spain and Europe.
But with my 30th birthday around the corner, there were no more excuses to postpone this trip. Especially since my parents were coming to visit me in Spain, and they found budget plane tickets to Malaga. Last time we were united in Cambrils/Catalonia and Benicassim/Valencia, so I thought we could plan a new Andalusia road trip to make some travel memories together. Of course, Tarifa was one of the first places I wanted to include on our itinerary.
Here, I should admit that my initial plans with Tarifa turned out way too ambitious for someone exploring Spain with kids.
Besides enjoying the small town and Tarifa beaches, I wanted to make a day trip from Tarifa to Tangier/Morocco, as well as visit Gibraltar. But unfortunately, one of my kids got sick, so we decided to dedicate only one day to a beautiful Tarifa beach getaway so that I could spend my Birthday in my very own place of power.
Here, you might be asking about what I mean by the place of power. In one of my older posts about Mexican Riviera Maya, I shared how I was reading Carlos Castaneda´s “The Teachings of Don Juan” on the plane, where the author talked about these places of power, e.g. locations where one feels naturally happy and strong. Back then I realized for the first time that Tarifa and the Spanish Pyrenees were those special places in Spain that somehow energized me.
Why visit Tarifa
Despite being known for some of the most beautiful beaches in Spain, Tarifa has an absolutely unique geographical location, while sitting at the Strait of Gibraltar, where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic. There are only 14 km separating Tarifa from Morocco, so you can enjoy the captivating views of the African continent.
Additionally, the tiny town of Tarifa houses lots of picturesque buildings, hipster cafes, and surfer shops. Aside from the active water sports and hiking in Parque Natural Los Alcornocales, in the summer months, Tarifa turns into an ultimate whale-watching destination.
When to visit Tarifa
Tarifa in summer is bursting with life, and in the off-season, this small town is perfect to slow down and reconnect with your inner self. While most of the cafes and shops are open only in summer, the beautiful natural setting is there all year round. Since the last time I visited Tarifa in summer, on this Tarifa beach getaway I was particularly looking for the off-season charm.
Things To See and Do in Tarifa
Wander around Tarifa´s old Town
We started our day in Tarifa from its city center. You can drop by Tarifa Tourist Office at Paseo de la Alameda to get a free map.
Tarifa´s fortified walls, cobblestone streets, and picturesque buildings altogether create a relaxing atmosphere that gets under your skin. It´s like a unique and peculiar mixture of Europe and Africa.
If visiting Tarifa in the summer months, you have lots of hidden hipster cafes and surfer shops, while in the off-season it´s quiet and charming.
Don´t miss Castle of Guzman el Bueno. Originally the Moorish fortress from 960 AD, but later on conquered by the Christians.
After a walk, we had lunch in one of the local restaurants La Pescaderia, where I tried probably the best tuna I´ve had in my entire life. Even though locals assure the best tuna-tasting season is between May and June. Usually in Mid-June, there´s a local celebration of Tuna Route, where local bars and restaurants compete to make the best tuna-based tapas. Hopefully, next time I could make my travel dates overlap with this local celebration, so that I could share with you my impressions.
Explore Tarifa Beaches
Tarifa´s wide white sand beaches are some of the most otherworldly beautiful landscapes in Spain. I simply can´t get enough.
Its white sand dunes reminded me of Formentera (which I visited during my week in Lanzarote) and its cristal waters can easily rival those of Ibiza, Formentera, and Mallorca. Well, the water of Tarifa´s beaches is definitely refreshing even in the summer months (around 18C), but I did enjoy a few revitalizing dips during my first visit.
Top Tarifa beaches you can´t miss:
- Las Lances
- Bolonia (here you´ll also find Baelo Claudia, one of the top Roman Ruins in Spain)
- Zahara de los Atunes
Since this Tarifa beach getaway took place in winter, we almost had local beaches completely to ourselves. Plus, the views of Africa on the backdrop have always given Tarifa an unmatched charm( especially since there is only 14 km separating this small beach town from Morocco). Here, I´d dare to say that I enjoyed the landscape in winter even more. The endless lonesome white-sand beaches of Tarifa felt surreal.
Nature & hiking
Since this time our travel plans were agreed to last minute and in the end, we only had a day for this Tarifa beach getaway, we mostly enjoyed a nice walk at Los Lances and Duna de Bolonia. But next time I´ll definitely plan to enjoy some oceanside hikes as well.
If you want to combine beaches, views, and nature during this Tarifa beach getaway there are plenty of trails you´ll love: Faro Camarinal, Duna de Bolonia, Colada de la Reginosa, La Peña, Los Lances, Colada de la Costa. If you don´t mind leaving Tarifa beaches for a while there are even more options at the nearest Los Alcornocales National Park.
If you´re into active sports – Tarifa also has lots to offer here. Top sporty things to do in Tarifa: mountain biking, climbing, scuba diving, Wingfoil, kite surfing, SUP, and windsurfing.
After leaving the small town of Tarifa, we made a final stop at a spectacular lookout Mirador del Estrecho. But you can find more jaw-dropping lookouts near Tarifa – Betijuelo, Pulido, and Cabo de Gracia.
I hope the pictures from my brief Tarifa beach getaway have inspired you to visit this small Spanish town. Especially since I hope to return soon and stay much longer in the area in order to explore Tarifa´s surroundings.
I loved spending my 30th birthday in such a beautiful and unique natural setting. This Tarifa beach getaway made turning 30 really special…