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Tarifa

 
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Tarifa is the southernmost -su-interior-pueblos-blancos, town in Europe. It's right at the very tip of southern Spain. Is has a fascinating location. Just 14 kms from Africa, it divides both the Mediterranean and Atlantic oceans. From here, there are some fantastic views over to Africa.
 
 
 
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It's here that you'll find the notorious Levante wind; a very strong inland wind that creates excellent windsurfing) and kitesurfing conditions. Tarifa is widely regarded as the "wind capital of Europe". Many important competitions are held here.
But there's more to it than that. It's not just surfing anymore. Nowadays, visitors come for the nightlife, food, culture and stunning beaches. Tarifa also has a hippie culture that thrives all year round. It has to be the "camper van capital of Europe" too - they're everywhere!!
Although the winds can be relentless, Tarifa is attracting more and more visitors each year. Property prices have boomed and it is quickly becoming a number one tourist spot.
Ten kilometres of white sandy beaches, unspoilt countryside and some of the best windsurfing conditions in Europe have established Tarifa as a true surfers paradise. Just 11 km across the Straits of Gibraltar at its narrowest point, this southern-most tip of Europe where the Med meets the Atlantic Ocean, enjoys spectacular views of the Rif mountains of Africa across the water.
Tarifa's wild coastline attracts surfers and nature-lovers alike. Just as famous for its birdwatching as its surfing, there are endless opportunities to explore the rolling countryside. Horse-riding, hang-gliding, kite-surfing, rock-climbing and diving to name but a few.
Tarifa has some excellent hotels, mainly located to the north of the town, so if you just want to relax, there's plenty of choice.
TARIFA TOWN
This little fishing town was the first point of the Moorish invasion of Southern Spain in AD711. In 1295 Guzman El Bueno defended the town against the invading Moors. According to the local legend, the Moors captured his son and threatened to kill him if Guzman didn't surrender the town. He refused and threw down his sword with which they killed his son.
Local fishermen still use the Almadraba method of fishing using a circle of boats and nets, a practice which has not changed since 13th Century. The Tuna fishing season generally starts at the end of March and runs for about three months.
The narrow cobbled streets, tumbling jasmine and beautiful wrought-iron rejas make Tarifa old town a charming place for a stroll. The original castellated city walls of this ancient town are tightly woven into the fabric of the whitewashed houses. However, much of what we see today was constructed in the 18th Century.
Jerez Gate
The 8th Century Jerez Gate has been recently restored.
Church of San Mateo
There is a magnificent church of San Mateo in the centre and nearby in Calle de los Azogues the buildings date back to the 16th and 17th century.
Castle of Guzman the Bueno
The Arab Castle of Guzman the Bueno is open to visitors. It was built in 960 AD on the orders of Caliph Abderraman III. The irregular oblong architecture has Roman influence giving rise to the theory that it was built on the remains of a Roman fort. To the east two high towers protect the entrance from the Arab town.
The Municipal Museum
The municipal museum is also well worth a visit. It is located near the town hall in the square officially named Plaza de Santa Maria but locally known as the square of the little frog.
Miramar Gardens
There is an impressive view of the shores of Morocco from the Miramar Gardens next to the Town Hall (the Ayuntamiento) at the top of the town.
Calle de la Fuente
Calle de la Fuente (where else?) is where you can find a pretty and unusual little fountain.
La Alameda
Typical Andalucian paved gardens where the old folk sit on wrought iron benches in the shade of the vast palm trees. Just across the road, at the entrance of the castle is a magnificent statue of local hero Guzman el Bueno, savior of the town.
Next to the Alameda is the old fishing port. It has never been developed but is interesting for a stroll. To the west walk or drive (take care the wind blown sand is sometimes deep) down the causeway called Muelle de Rivera towards the island, Isla de las Palomas. You are now at the south west tip of Spain and only a few feet separate the sea and ocean. The modern castle here is now a military base.
There are plenty of little tapas bars in the old town just to the east of the Alameda. Outside the Jerez Gate on the main street called Batalla del Salado (leading north out of the town) you'll find the surf shops and trendy clothes shops.
On the hills behind Tarifa are hundreds of wind turbines generating enough power for a small town. It is one of the largest wind farms in Europe.

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