I wrote about the beaches of Huelva and Cadiz in parts 1 and 2, but now to look at one of the most southerly points of Continental Europe and the most southerly point in Spain, Tarifa looks out towards the coast of North Africa, and occupies one of the top spots for wind sport destinations internationally. This draw for kite-boarders and the like is mostly to do with the gigantic open beaches, and consistent winds. Tarifa is also a hot spot for scuba divers, as well as those looking for a beautiful part of Spain to enjoy the sun on great beaches.
The best beaches...
Playa de los Lances is the most central beach, sitting right next to the city. From the Punta de la Pena to the Punta de Tarifa (the two corners of the beach), there is almost 8000 metres. This is probably the foremost windsurfing beach in the world because of the unique winds created by the Strait of Gibraltar. The northern part of the beach is very natural and a great spot to find space and quiet, and the northern side if more developed and a lot busier, so you can choose depending on what you're looking for.
Playa Chica is a great little family beach, much smaller than los Lances, and really more of a sunbathing and hang-out spot rather than an activity centre. In the summer months there is usually an inflatable water park in the waters off the beach as well! This is a great place to head to to avid the extreme sports and all the activity. Here you will find relaxation and peace.
Whales and Dolphins and Diving!
A real plus to a trip to Tarifa instead of Cadiz or Huelva is that from here, you can easily go on whale-watching and dolphin expeditions. There are lots of dolphins in the Strait of Gibraltar, but most surprising is the number of seriously big whales that also spend much of the year here. Pilot whales, Killer Whales and Sperm Whales can all be seen at various points in the year. Many people expect to have to spend a week off the freezing coast of Canada or Scotland, but in reality you can be comfortable and warm in Spain, and still have a fantastic opportunity to see these incredible large marine mammals.
Tarifa is also an incredible place to dive, and the wrecks and reefs around the Isla de las Palomas alone is enough to keep an experienced diver occupied for weeks. There are loads of great dive sites, and travelling to them is a fairly easy and pain-free experience. Unlike some dive areas, the dive sites are close together and will not mean a long boat trip (good for those who get sea-sick).
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