Tarifa is a Spanish municipality in the province of Cadiz. Interestingly, it is the closest continental European city to Africa, lying just 14 km away from Morocco. If you want to know what to see in Tarifa and its surroundings, keep reading this article by Espacar.
What to see in Tarifa and surroundings
Considered the world capital of windsurfing and kitesurfing, Tarifa offers not only beautiful beaches but also a wide range of cultural, sporting, natural, and gastronomic activities. Tarifa has been inhabited for no less than 26 centuries, and as such, its historical and monumental legacy is quite extensive.
Don't waste your time and rent a car in Málaga to be able to visit all our recommendations. You'll thank us later.
Old Town of Tarifa
Its medieval walls still delimit a heritage that is considered a Monumental Complex and declared a Cultural Heritage Site. Its old town is beautiful, featuring Andalusian patios in Baroque buildings and a surprising cultural mix, boasting many Islamic elements.
The old town has numerous charming corners; some of the places to visit include:
- The Major Church of San Mateo, built on the remains of an ancient mosque.
- The medieval walls, where we can find La Puerta de Jerez. It's the only gate from the 13th century still standing in Tarifa, no longer serving as the city's entrance but preserved intact for appreciation.
- Its long port.
Ancient Church of Santa María
Until the construction of the Major Church of San Mateo, this was the city's church, which ceased to be so in 1546. It was built inside the Guzmán el Bueno Castle during the reign of King Alfonso X, on a Roman building from the 1st century.
One of the recommended tourist walks is along its walls, where Roman columns can be seen.
Guzmán el Bueno Castle
This castle is a National Historical Monument ordered to be built by the Caliph Abderramán III in the 10th century. Since then, it has been expanded and improved. Phoenicians, Romans, and Arabs have passed through here.
It offers excellent views of the Strait of Gibraltar and a lot of history, making it a place worth visiting.
Santa Catalina Castle
Very close to Guzmán el Bueno Castle, you will find Santa Catalina Castle. It has gone through so many uses that it's surprising it's abandoned. There was a hermitage (16th century), a lazaretto during the plague epidemic (17th century), a gunpowder warehouse (18th century), and a fort during the Spanish War of Independence (19th century), among others.
Isla de las Palomas (or Tarifa Island)
This destination is a must-see in Tarifa, and its lighthouse is the oldest in Cadiz, built using a surveillance tower dating back to 1588.
It has remains of several fortifications built over the centuries, and long before the military constructions, the island was used as a quarry where the stone was extracted to build the Guzmán el Bueno Castle. Phoenicians visited the island, and tombs dating back 2,500 years have been found.
Regarding what to see in Tarifa and its surroundings, its beaches make the city so renowned. Its singularity is special because, thanks to its geography, it has beaches from both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.
Tarifa is one of the coastal cities with the highest tourist projection, internationally recognized as the paradise of Windsurfing and Kitesurfing. Also, it is the perfect place for those who prefer to relax, sunbathe, and enjoy a refreshing swim. Here are some of the best beaches to see in Tarifa and its surroundings:
- Bolonia Beach, known for its dunes.
- Valdevaqueros Beach
- Los Lances Beach
- Río Jara Beach
Sunsets in Cadiz are spectacular, with wide beaches, clear sand, and turquoise waters.
That's all about what to see in Tarifa and its surroundings; I hope you liked it and that you visit the city. With Espacar, you can travel to all the mentioned places. Contact us!
In our blog, you can also find more plans to do, both by car and in van rental. We recommend you to read Alcazaba Lagoon: A unique place in Europe.