A Road Trip through Andalusia Part 1 – Tarifa

We are off-season travelers and wanted to explore a bit more of the area we will soon be calling our new home. So far, we’ve seen a lot of inland Andalucia north and east of Malaga – it’s beautiful mountains, desert landscapes, rough rocky national parks and turquoise lakes. What is still missing in my travel diary is the west coast of southern Spain.

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We started off in Malga and drove along the coast, past Marbella and Estepona, leaving all the resort towns with their bunkers of hotels behind us. Soon we could see the Rock of Gibraltar at the horizon and the streets were lined with ads for the 1 hour ferry trip to Morocco, Tangier. Again, we passed swiftly – our final destination was Tarifa.

Edged right at the most southern part of Spain’s coast and one of the world’s most popular destinations for wind sports, Tarifa definitely has the surfer flair of Biarritz, the wide, white sandy beaches of any Caribbean Island and the roaring waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Off-season traveling is awesome as it means you have most places to yourself. In Tarifa it meant we got whacked by hurricane gusts and waterfalls from heaven. Or we just chose the completely wrong weekend.

Our first 24 hours were spend inside, desperately trying to dry our wet jeans, trainers and coats in the humid Spanish air after a failed attempt to venture out to find dinner. After the first storm passed, we got 3 hours of mercy the next day to explore the stunning beach of Playa de Los Lances, the number 1 kite surfing spot in Europe.

After burning around 600 calories just trying to not get blown over during our 30 minutes beach “stroll”, we headed away from the cost into the older part of town, through the historic Puerta de Jerez (the only entrance through the old Moorish city walls that remains today of the four original ones) down cobbled streets. We passed and couldn’t resist one of Tarifa’s most famous bakeries, Confiteria La Tarifena, where we bought our diabetic-unfriendly lunch of 4 Spanish donuts, Moroccan Truffles and a mourish apple clafoutis.  The sugar tax would have gone through the roof but it was worth it.

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Tarifa has just about the right mix of chilled surfer town, sleepy seaside village and Mediterranean outdoor living with a slight touch of Morocco. The main cobbled street leading towards the Iglesia de San Mateo is lined with orange trees, authentic tapas bars and small restaurants. Just locals and us with our monster of a cake parcel – the perk of the off-season traveler.

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