With this post, Tarifa is declared Independent Republic of Pure Life. Its headquarter is located in a place somewhere in Independencia street. Here we give you some reasons to visit this paradise, located in the Province of Cadiz. Keep reading!
Location: “Tarifa and the number 2”
The southernmost city of the Iberian Peninsula is curiously related to the number 2. Its waters come from two water bodies (Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean), it is part of two natural parks (Los Alcornocales and El Estrecho), it belongs to two different districts (Costa de la Luz and Campo de Gibraltar), and it is the nearest place between two continents (Africa and Europe).
It is also the gateway to Morocco, from which it is only 14 km apart. Its vast municipality holds, in our humble opinion, the best beaches of the coast of Cadiz. The ones that stand out the most are the Alemanes, Bolonia and los Lances beaches. But we could highlight all of them.
Its history: from the Paleolithic to the present day.
Tarifa is a true paradise for those who love history. In the municipality we can find several rock art archeological sites, such as Cueva del Moro. These sites allow us to confirm the occupation of the area since the Paleolithic. There have also been signs of two Punic settlements: one in Isla de Las Palomas and the other located in Baelo Claudia. From the latter, ruins of the Roman city found in the second century BC have been preserved.
The area was also occupied by Visigoths and Byzantines. They left their mark, some found in the subsoil of the castle of Guzmán el Bueno.
The town played a key role in the Muslim conquest of the Iberian Peninsula. Tarif Abu Zara arrived in 710 with a small expedition to discover the defensive units in the area. Doesn’t his name ring a bell? That’s right – Tarifa was named after Tarif Abu Zara. A year later, 9,000 men would land on the Rock of Gibraltar, marking the beginning of an occupation that would last almost eight centuries. Different dynasties controlled the city during that period: the Umayyads, who built the defensive structures and fortresses of the city, Almoravides, Almohades, and Benimerines. Until 1292, when Sancho IV de Castilla conquered it.
The defense of the city by Alonso Pérez de Guzmán, who had to choose between the life of his son and handing Tarifa over to his captors, is one of the most epic episodes in the history of Tarifa. Following the British seizure of Gibraltar in 1704, Tarifa again acquired great strategic importance. During the Peninsular war, its inhabitants repelled the attacks of the French army in its own particular way. The heavy rains overflowed a stream, close to the attack area chosen by the invaders. Thus, they were forced to leave the city.
Its architecture: some unique buildings
As you can imagine, the historical events that we have mentioned in the previous section have influenced the architecture and urban development of Tarifa. Strongly fortified, the center is a set of small streets and squares reminiscent of an Arab bazaar. It is worth mentioning the castle of Guzmán el Bueno, the set of defensive structures of the city and the access doors to the old town, such as the one in Jerez. The splendid manor houses around the current town hall and the church of San Mateo, from the sixteenth century, built on an old mosque.
Still, we appreciated more the neighboring houses that you can find in the center, with their small patios full of flowers.
Gastronomy: what we like to eat in Tarifa
A great variety of world cuisines are represented in the menus of the bars and restaurants of the city. Get lost around the tapas bars and terraces set up in the squares, some streets and the avenue where you will be able to taste a great variety of foods: from the most exquisite to the fastest food.
Retinto meat dishes, a wide variety of fish, Moroccan cuisine, vegetarians, signature burgers… and do not forget to finish your eating tour with a sweet from La Tarifeña!
A mental break
Tarifa is one of our favourite places to disconnect and leave our problems behind. Watching the sunset on any of its beaches by a beach bar, walking through its streets or having fun with any of the activities you can find. This retreat should be prescribed by all doctors as mandatory a few times a year.
Its charming accommodations
Few cities have such a diverse and quality offer as the one offered by Tarifa and its accommodations.
Imagine being able to sleep in one of the millenary towers of the city, in tourist apartments or small boutique hotels where they will take care of every last detail of your stay. Some of the best hostels and youth hostels of the country, the bed and breakfast of your dreams, campsites at the beachfront…
Its expressions and colorful people
Without a doubt, one of the strengths of Tarifa is having managed to “take on” a diverse collection of “characters” from almost all parts of the world. Poets who distribute leaflets in the bars and restaurants of the city or hippie sellers of crafts and jewelry. Street singers and guiris who mingle with the people from Tarifa. Although we are increasingly sure that everyone who comes to this city becomes a Tarifian instantly.
It is the capital of active tourism
It is impossible to find a boring activity in Tarifa. This city is, without a doubt, the capital of nautical active tourism and nature tourism.
Here you can enjoy the best schools of kitesurf, windsurf or diving. You will also find the best boat rental companies, multi-adventure, whale watching, golf, hiking, routes by bicycle or horse riding, excursions to Morocco and campo de Gibraltar…
Get to know Tarifa, the city between two oceans. We hope you liked this blog post. If so, do not keep it to yourself. Share it! In TUDESTINO we enjoy talking about our land, and we love helping you discover this wonder of the southern south.