Why you should visit Tarifa
Tarifa is Spain’s southernmost city (you can catch a 45 minute ferry from Tarifa to Tangier, Morocco) and it’s located right where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. Tarifa is the perfect setting for a weekend getaway during Spring and Summer with a great night life scene, beautiful beaches, adorable shops, and it’s pet friendly!
Where to stay in Tarifa
When we arrived to town we parked in the second parking lot of the port (free parking all weekend!), and picked up the keys to our apartment. We’d rented the piso from a friend of a friend; it was smack dab in the center located next to the castle. It was well priced, cutely decorated, and we were able to bring Pumba too (our 80+ lbs chocolate lab) – if you want the contact details for the apartment just let me know (it’s perfect for a couple, there’s also a pullout bed in the living room so 4 people could stay there comfortably – and obviously they allow pets too!). I would recommend trying to find a place in the Casco Antiguo (“Old Town”) or near the castle.
Ruta del Atún – good eats!
The first weekend of June was the second annual Ruta del Atun; the ruta consists of restaurants all over town creating special tapas featuring tuna. You get a map with all the restaurants participating in the event with photos of each tapa they’re serving. Both nights we were in Tarfia we made our way around town tasting tapas at each spot. We also stopped at one restaurant which is worth a visit even if the Ruta del Atún isn’t going on– El Otro Melli – DEFINITELY get the tuna meatballs (albondigas de atún). Everything that comes out of that kitchen is amazing. You’ll need to try to get there right around 9pm otherwise you wont be able to grab a seat – a lot people order a drink and chill out while they wait for a table to open up.
Tarifa is completely packed on the weekends during Spring and Summer – there are tons of surfers (kite & wind) from all over the world, locals, Spanish tourists, etc. It’s a pretty cool mix of people and the streets are full of young adults to mingle with 😉
There’s one part of town in the center with 2 or 3 streets full of bars, this is where you need to go at night – near Calle San Francisco; you can just wander around Casco Antiguo (“Old Town”) until you hear/see the crowds. If you try to ask locals for directions you’ll probably end up getting lost anyways because the streets are so tiny and random; it’s like a labyrinth! 🙂
We decided to go to Tarfia because we knew we’d be able to find a dog-friendly beach (now that it’s warm here in Spain we can’t bring Pumba to the beach – too many people and dogs aren’t allowed). We took a car up to Punto Paloma (10 – 15 min drive from Tarifa center), crossed the giant dune, and went all the way up the mountain. There’s a chirignuito (beach bar) called El Mirlo at the top where you can park your car (its 5 euros to park but if you eat at the chiringuito parking is free). We grabbed our beach chairs and made our way down to the chiringuito then followed the dirt paths down to the beach. It’s a decent hike to the beach so we figured it wouldn’t be too crowded and the people who made it there (probably other young adults) wouldn’t mind a crazy Labrador running around and splashing in the water (plus there’s never any beach patrol there).
When we reached the bottom it was easy to see the 10 minute hike was worth it – the beach was gorgeous and almost completely empty. We set ourselves up and enjoyed a beautiful afternoon there – the day was so clear we could see the mountains of Morocco in the distance…it was a perfect day!
There are also beaches located in the town of Tarifa that you can walk to from the center. There are several chiringuitos lined up along the beach too (perfect for afternoon drinking) – if you don’t have a car the beaches of Tarifa are another great option!
We all had an amazing weekend in “the windy city” of Spain! I will definitely be back again before summer ends!