The beaches of Tarifa

Nature
The wow factor for nature - does it show nature at its best? Doesn't need to be the wilder-beast migration or diving with hundreds of hammerheads. Rather make you pause as you realise just how awesome the natural world can be
7
Culture
How much does this experience showcase some of the better and finer things that us humans can offer? Sure, it can be ancient ruins and renaissance churches, but it can also be festivals or soaking up some of the great modern cities of the world
7
Fun factor/activity
Very simple - was it fun? This is usually linked in with doing some kind of activity - i mean, walking along some cliffs is nice, but paragliding from them, now that is fun. Its a vastly underrated factor in a truly great experience
7
Avoid the crowds
Big tour groups and being surrounded by loud fellow tourists can sap the life out of even the greatest of travel experiences. This score is to reflect just how much you can avoid this. But. . . The score also takes into account if the crowds actually add to the experience, such as with a party town or a bustling food market
6
World famous
How world famous is the experience?
2
unique
How hard is it to have a similar experience in other places round the world?
5
Overall Score
The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
62 *What the scores mean and where do they come from
continent
Europe
country
Spain
Length of time
1 day or less
Rough cost
Obviously people have different tastes, so this will depend on those tastes, but this is a rough idea of price of the whole experience based on 2 people able to split the accommodation costs and excluding travel there and back
$ 30
Time of year visited
September
Primary Tags
Click on any of the tags to see all travel experiences with the same tag
RANKING
How this travel experience ranks compared to all the other experiences on this site
195th/359 This travel experience's ranking compared to all the other experiences on this site
Top 60% SUMMARY RATING: Great experience

Summary

Tarifa’s beaches are some of Spain’s finest.  Stretching all the way from Tarifa town, the most southern point of Continental Europe, westwards to Cadiz are long, wide, fine-sand beaches that are enhanced with the dramatic backdrops of mountains behind.  Whilst they can get crowded in the weekends, the sheer number and size of the beaches means that there will always be room to find a spot away from the crowds

 

Three top tips:

  1. Top beach to visit is Playa de Bolonia.  The beach itself is super pretty, with its huge Bolonia Sand Dune to the west and various water inlets all along the beach that give that exotic feel.  But it also has the added benefit of having the dramatic views of the mountains nearby, and, for those ancient history fans, the has the former Roman town of Baelo Claudia right on the beach, complete with its surprisingly well maintained old forum and amphitheater, plus a visitor centre that does a good job of setting the context.  Extra tip – if eating in Playa de Bolonia, there are some great restaurants right on the beach, but be sure to book ahead at the weekends
  2. Visit Zahara de los Atunes beach for the drive through the wind farm.  I know it sounds a bit dull, but the huge wind farms in this part of Andalucia have been designed to fit in superbly well to the local geography and offer a really dramatic drive as you make your way from the highway to Zahara.  Zahara also offers a lot more food options than some of the other beaches and, of course, has the huge beach
  3. Tarifa town itself is worth a visit. It’s nowhere near as pretty or dramatic as the likes of Vejer de la Fontera or the various towns dotted throughout Parque Natural Sierra de Grazalema, but it does have a nice narrow-street old town centre to walk through, with the castle to explore and surprisingly close views of Morocco across the Straight.  It also has its own long beach stretching from the town to around 5km / 3miles to the west, which is a good option is you don’t have your own car to make it to the other beaches

highlights

#1 The long, wide, fine-sand beaches stretched all the way from Tarifa to Cadiz

#2 The former Roman town of Baelo Claudia, complete with its surprisingly well maintained old forum and amphitheater, plus a visitor centre that does a good job of setting the context

#3 The narrow-street old town centre of Tarifa itself

#4 The dramatic setting of where the Roman ruins of Baelo Claudia meet the beach of Bolonia

#5 The dramatic drive through some of the vast wind farms that have been superbly designed to fit in with the surrounding landscape

#6 The Old Fort to the south of Tarifa, representing the southernmost point of Continental Europe and with views across the Straight of Gibraltar to Morocco

Experiences nearby

The below map shows experiences nearby with a colour that reflect the Overall Score of those experiences

Score Detail

Background - how many times have you asked someone what a travel experience was like and the response was "amazing" or "awesome"?  That response is nice to know, but it makes it hard to differentiate that experience compared to others.  That is exactly what these scores are trying to do - differentiate the experience by giving a score out of 10 based on 6 categories and then giving an overall experience score

This overall experience score is calculated by:  take the highest of the "Culture" or "Nature" score (1-10) + "Fun factor" (1-10) + "Avoiding the crowds" (1-10) + highest of the "Unique" or "World Famous score" (1-10).  Then convert into a score out of 100

Extra detail - the logic being that I find all of the 6 individual scores important, but I don't want to mark an experience down just because it doesn't cover both "Culture" and "Nature", or because it isn't both "World Famous" and "Unique".  Take the examples of Safari in The Serengeti and walking through Rome - they both appeal at opposite ends of the nature / culture spectrum, and you can have a fantastic time without needing to appeal to both sides.  So, their overall scores aren't penalized for their lack of one or the other, and I've done the same for "World Famous" vs "Unique".  But . . . I do think that the "Fun factor" of an experience is important, irrelevant of other factors, and so is "Avoiding the Crowds" (or where there are crowds that add to the experience).  So, both of these scores are standalone