Roman ruins, natural parks, wild beaches with dunes or castles, Tarifa has so much to discover that making a list of the highlights is always a pain in the neck. So here are our suggestions for an unforgettable trip.
If you like archeology, there is a must stop here. In an exceptional setting, facing the beach with its beautiful Playa de Bologna and its beautiful dune declared Natural Monument, we found a spectacularly well preserved archaeological site, an ancient city from the 2nd century B.C. that grew around salting factories. We recommend a walk visiting the forum, the theater, aqueducts and palaces that will surely make your imagination fly.
A must visit in Tarifa is Castle Guzman el Bueno. Situated on the seafront in the old town of Tarifa, we found this wonderful Moorish castle built in 960 A.C. by Abderramán III. The legend says that Guzmán el Bueno was besieged by the Muslim army that had held his son hostage to blackmail him. From the top of the tower he pulled a dagger to kill him rather than give them control of the castle .
Plaza de Santa María is one of the most emblematic places of the city, surrounded by important buildings such as Iglesia de Santa María, Ayuntamiento, Museo de Tarifa and Casa del Pósito. Presiding over the square, there is a fountain with eight frogs which is a replica of another very important fountain of Seville.
An imperative visit you can’t miss. If you are in the old town of Tarifa, it is worth getting lost aimlessly without a map and stroll through its narrow streets adorned with colorful carnations. A leisurely stroll, enjoying the bohemian and quiet atmosphere in in its streets, full of bars, taverns and restaurants. You cannot skip visiting Puerta de Jerez, which is the old city gate, as well as Iglesia de Santa Maria, Plaza de la Alameda and Castillo.
In 2015, this beach was chosen the 10th best beach in Europe and the second in Spain by TripAdvisor Travelers Choice. It is a great beach 4 km long bathed by crystal clear waters that has a large dune 30 meters high at one end. Furthermore, in its central part are the Roman ruins of Baelo Claudia, archaeological remains of a very important city from the 2nd century BC built around salting factories.
Take your car and drive around 6 km from Tarifa to go to Mirador del Estrecho. From this vantage point of 300 meters high we can enjoy exceptional views of the Strait, looking at the tiny distance between the two continents, where only 14 km separate Africa from Spain.
You cannot leave without doing some whale and dolphin watching. Many people are unaware that Tarifa is one of the best places in Europe to spot these beautiful animals. Here, each year over seven species of cetaceans come, and if we’re lucky we can see dolphins, cachalots, orcas or whales. An experience that will be hard to forget.
In addition to the Castle, Tarifa has three walled enclosures constructed consecutively: Muralla de la Almedina (of which a spectacular door remains), Muralla de Aljaranda (whose remains can be seen at Sala de Exposiciones de la Cárcel) and Muralla Arrabal, the last and largest section, which includes Puerta de Jerez.
If you like to be surrounded with animals and nature, you cannot miss visiting the largest ecological reserve in Europe, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1994. There you will find amazing landscapes of marshes, dunes, hundreds of birds, protected animals and much more. You have the option of booking tours on foot, on horseback, on a 4 x 4, or as you like, but if you are a nature lover there is no doubt that this will be an unforgettable visit to Tarifa.
If you like the sea and like doing sports, you will find your paradise in Tarifa. Thousands of people show up here every year to practice these sports. You’ve never tried? Do not worry, on many of the beaches you can find schools to receive an intensive course and start feeling the wind and waves on your skin; you will surely enjoy it a lot.