Due to its perfect location on the very tip of southern Spain on the edge of Europe, the small town of Tarifa is a Mecca for summer water sports enthusiasts.
Pristine beaches, a fantastic climate, optimum wind and wave conditions and a cool local scene – Tarifa attracts adrenaline junkies from all around the world. This also creates a great vibe in the town itself and the nightlife will blow your socks off! Due to its proximity to Africa you get awesome views here, so be sure to pack a camera!
Here is the low-down on the water sports that you will want to get stuck into:
Unsurprisingly, surfing is all the rage in Tarifa and it has a laid-back surfer vibe throughout. One of the great things about this place is that the beaches are only 5 minutes from the city centre, so it is easy to get about and catch the curl each day.
I highly suggest that you take the short trip to El Palmar just outside the town – this is deemed the best surfing beach in southern Spain so well worth checking out! El Palmar is also a top spot if you want to take some lessons and hone your skills. Alternatively, you can go solo and conquer the Atlantic swells from low pressures out to sea.
The best months are between September and May, but due to Tarifa’s geographical position, good weather is not an issue here!
You are in for a treat if you have not tried kitesurfing yet. Riding a modified surfboard which is propelled by a kite, you’ll be able to feel the brute forces of nature pull you forward and even set you flying! It’s no surprise that this is the fastest growing extreme sport of the last 10 years…
Tarifa is an amazing place for kitesurfing due to the strong winds and constant sunshine. Los Lances and Valdavaqueros are both zoned for kitesurfing and here you will be able to take some classes, hire the necessary equipment, and get to grips with it.
Windsurfing is another awesome activity that will certainly get your heart racing. Unlike surfing where you rely on the force of the waves, windsurfing will see you utilise the wind by holding onto a sail to conquer the waters. Again, the winds here make Tarifa one of the premier spots in the entire world (it is often called the “European Capital of Windsurfing”).
Los Lances and Valdavaqueros are great spots for this activity, but make sure to also check out La Duna, Punta Paloma as they have a windsurfing centre here.
You can’t call yourself a water sports enthusiast until you’ve tried a bit of jetsurfing! As the name implies, jetsurfing involves hopping on a motorised surfboard where you can reach top speeds of around 50km/h. Acceleration is easy with the hand trigger, but it is a real challenge to steer with your bodyweight – it’s a great core workout! What I particularly like about this extreme sport is the fact that you don’t have to spend a lot of time paddling and waiting to catch the wave. Instead, you simply jump on and tear up the ocean (you are also not reliant on wind or waves).
Head to Balneario Beach for lessons on how to tame these boards!
I find that wakeboarding is the most adrenaline-inducing water sport and people love it in Tarifa. It is also one that is really easy to learn and you do not have to rely on certain conditions to give it a go. Towed by a motorboat going as fast as 40 km/h, you will certainly get quite the thrill and will be mastering all kinds of impressive tricks by the end of your trip.
Boats head out from the port and the local wakeboarding companies will provide you with all you need. Typically, a boat will take up to 5 people for around an hour – you are sure to make a few new friends in this time and share a few laughs when you (inevitably) wipe out at some point.
How to Get to Tarifa
There are dozens of flights made to various airports in sunny southern Spain from the UK, but I recommend flying into Gibraltar (GIB). This is under three hours and BA, Monarch and easyJet all make the flight throughout the week.
It would be tricky to reach Tarifa by public transportation and you won’t want to pay the hefty sum for a cab (especially if you are bringing your own gear with you). Instead, pre-book a Shuttle Direct transfer and a friendly local driver will pick you (and your gear!) up from the airport. The journey will take around 45 minutes and they will drop you straight at your hotel. Speaking of hotels…
Where to Stay
The 8 Rooms House – The 8 Rooms House is great for water sports fanatics as you’ll only be a 10-minute walk from the beach. The property itself is welcoming, clean and modern and each room comes with a television and private bathroom. The Wi-Fi is free and has been rated as excellent by previous guests. The main selling point is the terrific location as you will want to be out and about as much as possible in Tarifa.
Hospedaja Villanueva – Conveniently located 4 minutes from the beach and many of the water sports schools, this property is also surrounded by dozens of cool bars, restaurants and shops for the times spent away from the beach. Each room has a TV, private bathroom and some have impressive ocean views. There is also a communal sun terrace where you can hang out with a few cold ones and share your stories from the day with the other guests.
Hostal Banti – Nature lover? Hostal Santi is located within the Estrecho Nature Reserve and has a cool chill out garden, so it has a laid-back vibe despite the fact that you are only a short walk from the town and beach. The rooms are spacious, modern and air-conditioned and each has its own private bathroom. The property has an onsite restaurant, plus the cheerful bar hosts live music during the summer. Many previous guests rate the staff, location and food as excellent.
About Shuttle Direct:
Extreme sports holidays can be particularly difficult to organise as you will have plenty of gear to bring along. Shuttle Direct can eliminate the stress involved and get you and your gear from the airport to your hotel with minimal fuss.