Tarifa is situation right next to the Natural Park del Estrecho, making it really the destination for sports lovers on land or water. If you have a spare 4 to 5 hours, no fear of cows and good foot wear, I’d definitely recommend the hike starting at the edge of town.
Starting point is the end of the harbour, simple walk along the seafront, past the town center, the ferry arrival terminal and below the Plaza de Santa Maria. You can’t miss the entrance to the Natural Park, it’s all very well sign posted.
The first 10 minutes take you through meadows and across a few small streams, until you get to the path that takes you back down to the coast. I can highly recommend this hike during spring, it’s simply beautiful. Everything is bathed in fresh shades of green and colourful flowers as far as the eye can reach. If you love photography as much as I do you’ll be in your elements.
After having descended towards the coast, we hit our first obstacle – free-roaming cows. Now don’t get me wrong, we are not talking wild west bulls or torero-like beasts. Rather cow families, with their off-springs and the odd bull here and there. But still – terrifying, as they were way to interested in us! Hence, we decided to be very brave for the first hurdle but then very quickly went off-route and climbed down the cliffs to the beach where we continued the walk instead of on the signed path. It’s definitely doable and breath-taking scenery.
The path overall is very well sign-posted and you can easily add you own flavour by going off-route here and there, climb a few hills or descend down to the sandy beach line. We stopped in a perfect little cove for our picnic and instead of doing a u-turn, climbed up the hills to the highest point to re-join an agricultural road taking us back to Tarifa.
You’ll find a lot of evidence of Tarifa’s military importance on this hike, there are lots of trenched, bunkers as well as canon look-outs, which gives it quite an eery feel.
After 5 hours of solid walking, we happily returned with a bag full of stunning photos, 2,000 burned calories and a couple of achy legs. Highly recommend this way of exploring the natural beauty of south-west Spain!