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article imagePhoto essay: A stroll around old town Tarifa in southern Spain Special

By Anne Sewell     Nov 12, 2013 in Travel
Tarifa - A charming town in the Andalucían white village tradition, Tarifa's narrow streets wind around on a hillside overlooking the Straits of Gibraltar all the way to the exotic Moroccan port city of Tangier.
Driving to Tarifa along the Costa del Sol from Fuengirola, the road eventually passes Gibraltar and turns to the Costa de la Luz (or coast of light) and eventually reaches Tarifa, on the Straits of Gibraltar, facing north Africa.
While the town of Tarifa is surrounded by smaller charming villages - Tahivilla, Facinas, Bolonia and Zahara de los Atunes - this article concentrates on the older part of the town, right down to the port and white sandy beaches.
A windy city, Tarifa is mainly famous for kite surfing and wind surfing, with many schools and shops selling equipment available throughout the town.
A stroll around old town Tarifa on the Costa de la Luz in southern Spain - one of many kite schools.
A stroll around old town Tarifa on the Costa de la Luz in southern Spain - one of many kite schools.
However, for those not keen to get out on the waves, there are plenty of other attractions too.
The old town is entered through the Puerto de Jerez, a city gate dating back to the 13th century.
A stroll around old town Tarifa on the Costa de la Luz in southern Spain - Puerta de Jerez  the gate...
A stroll around old town Tarifa on the Costa de la Luz in southern Spain - Puerta de Jerez, the gateway to the old town.
From there on, a series of winding, narrow streets take you around the town. Along the way many small shops, cafes and restaurants are to be found.
A stroll around old town Tarifa on the Costa de la Luz in southern Spain.
A stroll around old town Tarifa on the Costa de la Luz in southern Spain.
Digital Journal recently reviewed a small vegetarian restaurant in the old town called Chilimosa. This restaurant is an example of the rather Bohemian and charming offerings in the area.
Chilimosa Tarifa - vegetarian restaurant and takeaway in Tarifa  Spain.
Chilimosa Tarifa - vegetarian restaurant and takeaway in Tarifa, Spain.
Many gift shops abound offering quaint ornaments, usually with a marine theme:
A stroll around old town Tarifa on the Costa de la Luz in southern Spain.
A stroll around old town Tarifa on the Costa de la Luz in southern Spain.
Strolling along, you sometimes get surprised by glimpses through doorways of elegant and attractive courtyards, which only add to the attraction of the area:
A stroll around old town Tarifa on the Costa de la Luz in southern Spain - a peek through a doorway.
A stroll around old town Tarifa on the Costa de la Luz in southern Spain - a peek through a doorway.
A stroll around old town Tarifa on the Costa de la Luz in southern Spain - a peek through a doorway.
A stroll around old town Tarifa on the Costa de la Luz in southern Spain - a peek through a doorway.
From sprays of bougainvillea, to geraniums blooming on balconies, the streets are quaint and attractive to view.
A stroll around old town Tarifa on the Costa de la Luz in southern Spain.
A stroll around old town Tarifa on the Costa de la Luz in southern Spain.
An old water fountain hides in a corner, in excellent condition, but apparently no water:
A stroll around old town Tarifa on the Costa de la Luz in southern Spain - water fountain.
A stroll around old town Tarifa on the Costa de la Luz in southern Spain - water fountain.
Around a corner, a pleasant little plaza is to be found, with shady trees and an attractive water feature, surrounded by frog statues:
A stroll around old town Tarifa on the Costa de la Luz in southern Spain - quaint water feature in a...
A stroll around old town Tarifa on the Costa de la Luz in southern Spain - quaint water feature in a plaza.
On the way down to the beach, we come across a the charming Hotel Misiana. Recently remodelled and renovated, the hotel offers beautiful and spacious accommodations, close to all the attractions.
A stroll around old town Tarifa on the Costa de la Luz in southern Spain - charming hotel in the cen...
A stroll around old town Tarifa on the Costa de la Luz in southern Spain - charming hotel in the center of town.
Close by we can see the Church of St Matthew, which was built on the site of an old mosque:
A stroll around old town Tarifa on the Costa de la Luz in southern Spain - Church of St Matthew.
A stroll around old town Tarifa on the Costa de la Luz in southern Spain - Church of St Matthew.
Down at the waterfront, we can stroll on the beach and look across at the Isla de las Palomas (island of the pigeons), which is seated roughly where the Mediterranean and Atlantic oceans join.
A stroll around old town Tarifa on the Costa de la Luz in southern Spain - looking across to Isla de...
A stroll around old town Tarifa on the Costa de la Luz in southern Spain - looking across to Isla de las Palomas, situated between 2 oceans, Mediterranean and Atlantic.
Close by at the port, it is possible to catch a ferry across to Tangier, or further down the beach, try your hand at kite surfing:
A stroll around old town Tarifa on the Costa de la Luz in southern Spain - view across the Straits o...
A stroll around old town Tarifa on the Costa de la Luz in southern Spain - view across the Straits of Gibraltar to Tangier in Morocco.
A stroll around old town Tarifa on the Costa de la Luz in southern Spain - Kite surfing at the beach...
A stroll around old town Tarifa on the Costa de la Luz in southern Spain - Kite surfing at the beach.
At the waterfront, the old walls of the city are still in a remarkable condition and lead up to the Guzman Castle:
A stroll around old town Tarifa on the Costa de la Luz in southern Spain - looking past the old city...
A stroll around old town Tarifa on the Costa de la Luz in southern Spain - looking past the old city walls to the castle.
As a matter of interest, the wind doesn't just draw the kite surfers. Dotted around the area surrounding Tarifa one can see hundreds of wind turbines, taking advantage of the constant breeze:
Wind generators in Facinas (Tarifa  Cádiz  Spain).
Wind generators in Facinas (Tarifa, Cádiz, Spain).
Dennis Murczak
The town is also an excellent location to watch migrating birds, particularly storks, that cross the Straits of Gibraltar in spring and autumn. The storks are evident around town, as they make nests at the very top of electricity pylons.
Also of note, whale and dolphin watching is available on the 14 kilometer wide Straits.
A point of interest is that on leaving Tarifa it was dusk, and as we drove we first watched the lights come on across the sea in Morocco and then saw the harbor in Gibraltar lit up and reflected on the sea. Beautiful scenes indeed, with the close proximity of Morocco, Spain and the tiny British territory of Gibraltar.
More images of the town and beach can be viewed in the video above.
Related articles:
Sunday travel — Tarifa, Spain — Chill out with cows on the beach
Baelo Claudia: 2nd century Roman city in southern Spain
Review: Chilimosa — A little vegetarian in Tarifa on the Costa de la Luz
More about Spain, tarifa, costa de la luz, Cadiz, Andalucia
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