Tarifa - Travel Report

Once again Tarifa, like if the international flightplans wouldn´t leave us a choice, our way to the Canary Islands leads us straight to Tarifa, the most southern and maybe one of the windiest points of continental Europe, for a Stoppover with some weeks duration. Not only the best chance for wind, ideal for all who just love strong winds with Levante, this superstrong current of air, coming from the mediterenean Sea to the atlantic Ocean and the Poniente coming exactly the opposite way from the atlantic Ocean through the Street of Gibraltar to the mediterenean Sea and perfect for Kitesurfers, also the amazing, almost magic ambience, the still idyllic Town, which has been founded in year 710 by Tarif Ben Malik, and the beautiful Sunsets are causes to return again and again. But something should change this year. After the Levante expected us already at the Airport of Malaga and our drive heading south, making it more and more difficult to keep the car stabil on the Road crossing the last Mountains before arriving in Tarifa in the previous years, bright Sunshine and not the slightest Breeze was expecting us and our car, which once again was packed with Boardbags.

Since the weatherforecasts made us expect this no wind weather already,  we started our transfer to Tarifa a bit more relaxed and for the first time enjoyed passing the City of Pablo Picasso and second largest City of Andalusia, Malaga, before we drove through Marbella with his huge Harbour, packed with nicest Yachts and Boats to than enjoy the great view between Algeciras and Tarifa onto the Mountain Djebel Musa, the column of Hercules, at the opposite african Coast.

With strong Levante this view is covered in clowds, so the clear view this time made us realize even more that there would be no wind at our arrival in Tarifa and the weatherforecasts should have been right and that it would not be the last time we would be able enjoying the view in the upcoming days. The Tarifeños would be pretty happy about that fact, that was for sure. While Windsurfers begin cheering with the first sights of Levante with clowdy weather, clattering doors and windows and flying dust and sand, the inhabitants of Tarifa, the Tarifeños are not too happy about the wind, which makes their lifes harder over and over again while the Poniente with cooler and clearer weather makes life a little bit easier and takes responability for great and almost mystic sunsets. 


We would prefer to exchange with the Tuna Fishers, which catch tons and tons of their prefered fish in front of  Tarifa´s Coast and hopefully with our smallest Sails. After the Levante pleased us in the months may and june in the previous years with more than enough highwind, this time it came like it had to come one day also in Tarifa. The european macro weather situation worked continously against the southern european wind system and did not want the Levant develop to full strength. Would winddances or sacrifices  help to get at least some wind for our 2007 Improve your skills Windsurf Clinic at the Planet Windsurf Center in Bolonia ? After all the 2006 PWA Freestyle worldchampion Gollito Estredo had come just for the Clinic and even before having sailed one time caused a Hype in Spain. Fortunately we could keep the dancing shoes  in our boardbags and spared possible sacrify victims something. Already at the first day of our Clinic the Levante started to blow, perfectly for a first day warm up to prove in the following days why the Tarifeños do not like it at all. Gollito, of course, couldn´t share this feeling and after his daily Shows in Bolonia and the Beach in front of the Valdevaqueros Windsurf Centers he was announced as the Ronaldinho of windsurfing  in various spanish websites.


Already after five days the Levante slowed down and than died but at least left a nice swell behind. 

El Palmar, the small village right next to windsurf wave top spot Caneos de Meca, expected us with superlong and clean Waves for even longer sessions on the water. Luckily the swell also arrived at the spot Balneario, city beach of Tarifa, in front of the military zone and peninsula „Las Palomas“, where unbelievable night sessions in great atmosphere are possible and so we could safe the one hour drive to El Palmar as well.

With the swell going down, it was about time to search for alternatives. As huge help we had swiss ex windsurf worldcup sailor Dr. Beat Stefan, who spent some months at his second home Tarifa for the kick off of his new refreshment „Dwarf8“. Without him we would have left Tarifa most possibly without having visited Tanger in Morocco.

Tanger or Tangier, also called the gate to Morocco and so the gate to Africa, only fourty kilometres and 35 minutes with the Super Fast Ferry FPS away from Tarifa. 35 minutes which seem like a journey in time, or better into the past, and not only because of the two hours time difference between Africa and southern Europe.

Just arriving in Tanger we could feel the slower and relaxed style of living and working, once you got rid of all offering guided Tours through Tanger in the harbour area and you entered the oldtown, the „Medina“. There are only a few steps from the harbour to the Medina, but it´s a big step out of the modern world and into the world of thousand and one nights. Already at our very relaxed breakfast in the Cafe Tingis, one of hundreds  of nice cafes, short after sunrise, we could watch and feel the Medina awakening, when the first Berbers appeared, the first bazaars and carpet traders opened, slowly. 

Fortunately we were travelling with Dr. Beat and so got to know his friend, arab Mohammed Alaoui, who already expected us with great hospitality, like we´ve never expected before. Not only that we learned things and facts about the history of Morocco and Europe which we´ve never heard before, Mohammed showed us the nice and not so nice corners of Tanger and the Medina, oriental markets and the modern Tanger with hotels and bistros, before he invited us for a rich meal at his home. Without people like Mohammed most likely a Tanger trip could end in frustration, walking through the Medina from one bazaar to the next and sure will not finish as a great experience. Best get informed about friends or maybe family in tanger before leaving Tarifa so that the trip does not end in disaster and you can really enjoy the life of thousand and one night. 


The fact that we missed one of the better wind days while walking through Tanger didn´t really matter, first because of our experience we have just made in Tanger and we would never forget and second because of the weatherforecast, which predicted more wind in the next days. Since the forecast should be right again, we were able to see a phemonemon like it rarely happens at other Spots in the world. Windspeeds with more than 65 knots made watersports impossible. The windspeed which came close and sometimes into Hurricane regions hammered over the atlantic ocean, lifted the water surface and just blew it away. A few knots more and we would have faced a true Hurricane. Also the search for spots with less wind became hard. Usually going west along the coast helps to get less wind, but this time even 50 kilometers westerly of Tarifa the wind blew with not a single knot less. Some locals tried their 2.7 meter sails, but had to capitulate after the first run. Caneos de Meca with wind and waves and almost nobody on the water, that hasn´t happened to often in history for sure. The Spot is not only known because of his caves, more as THE wavespot along the andalusian coast, the spot where Tarifa´s Windsurf gurus mostly hit the water.


After two days the wind slowed down again and we were able to move also our boards over the water again, during some nice sessions in the bay of Bolonia during daytime and at Valdevaqueros for some evening sessions and we didn´t need to worry about the wind in the next days. The Feria of Tarifa was coming closer and it´s already kind of tradition, that the Levante blows throughout the entire Feria week and doesn´t make life easier for the hundreds of horses and their riders, which are a big part of the traditional Feria.

Flying over the water with the 3,7 sail during the day and at night to the Feria for delicious dinners in one of the party and dinner tents. So the also traditional no wind days after the Feria come right for regeneration.

We decided to use the windless time to dive a little bit deeper into the andalusian culture and history and so we went first to the capital of the Sherry, to Jerez de la Frontera, followed by mountainbike tours around and through the natural parcs around Tarifa, which had some great views onto the coastline of Tarifa to offer. For those who like to duck even deeper into andalusian and spanish history and tradition and for those who like it, a Trip to the oldest and most traditional bullfight arena in Ronda has to be on the to go list. With a short trip not too far away from Tarifa, to Baelo Claudia in Bolonia we slided even further back in history. The roman ruines in pretty good condition, one of the best in Europe, beam you back a couple of centuries. The remaining walls and buildings, the old harbour and salt fish factories make you understand the roman life. The pretty wealthy town of Baelo Claudia, which was destroyed by an earthquake, became popular as harbour, where the trading ships left to Africa and because of the immense saltfish factories.

Endless windy days, new cultural impressions and journeys into history made our time pass by almost too fast and before we even realized we saw us on the Autovia del Mediterraneo, the mediterrenean highway, along the Costa del Sol heading Malaga airport to continue exploring Spain, going next to the Canary Islands. If the flightplans will make it possible or not, we will be back next year on our way to the Canary Islands again. There is still too much left to explore at the beautiful andalusian coast.




Spots Atlantic Side :


Balneario – Surfing spot close to the peninsula „Las Palomas“ at Tarifa´s city beach, for       windsurfing because of the offshore wind and strong current not perfect with Levante. With Poniente and southwind more onshore, partly big waves and not so strong currents.


Rio Jara – Secret tipp, between Tarifa´s mainbeach and Los Lances, right at the  Rio Jara you can get some nice swell while the other spots are still flat, works with Levante and Poniente


Los Lances – the endless, sandy beach, the extension of Tarifa´s mainbeach, with various kitezones, but also really nice for windsurfing, especially with Poniente, in wintertime with pretty impressive waves 


Hurricane – with some rocks in the water and a little bit hidden the spot is located right in front of the Hurricane hotel, close to Club Mistral, works with Levante and Poniente, sometimes waves. Beware of the rocks, better ask first in the Club Mistral Center


Valdevaqueros / Düne – the spot right in front of the two windsurfcenters Club Mistral and Spin Out with most probably the biggest amount of windy days per year, it works with Levante, Poniente and southwinds. Even on a windless day the termical wind can be enough at late afternoon. The spot can be really crowded in highseason with Windsurfers and Kitesurfers


Bolonia – In the natural parc 15 kilometres from Tarifa to Cadiz you find the huge bay of Bolonia. Windsurfing is permitted right in front of the Planet Windsurf Center at the eastend of the bay. Bolonia works perfect with Levante and in winter you can get the best and nicest waves along the coast


Caneos de Meca – ca. 50 kilometers from Tarifa heading west you find THE wavespot. At the reefbreak you can find the best waves between Tarifa and Cadiz, but be careful, the rocks are sharp and not always visible. Not the right place for unexperienced wavesailors. 


El Palmar – Even better waves you can find in the next bay of Caneos de Meca, in El Palmar, but it is the surfers beach


Spots Mediterrenean Sea Side :


Getares – from Tarifa towards Algeciras you pass the beach of Getares . with too strong Levante at the atlantic side sometimes you can still have fun in Getares with less wind and some waves, but the wind s´doesn´t always turn into the bay


Sotogrande – also a spot when the Levante blows again for the 3.0 in Tarifa. Sometimes you can get a pretty nice and long wave. Just when the Levante comes too onshore the shorebreak won´t let you out…



Palmones – The spot between Algeciras and Gibraltar. You share the spot with big ships and supertankers. Alternative when Levante is too strong in Tarifa




How to get there


From most international airports to Malaga or Jerez de la Frontera 

Transfer from  Malaga, ca. 2 hours to Tarifa along the  Costa del Sol, from Jerez de la Frontera ca. 80 minutes to Tarifa.




Great prices for good service : simple accomodations, houses, apartment sharing, incl. car rental or carsharing, windsurf and kite rental, classes and events at   www.dengs-funsport.de


For a bit more luxus : Hotel „Dos Mares“, but also much more expensive.  Windsurf and Kitecenter is located in the Hotel


Hotel Hurricane, also more expensive and connected with one oft he two Club Mistral Windsurf Centers




More Images in the Galery

Last Update :

Just uploaded new pics of the week to www.elyaquenews.com