Tarifa is a huge bay that includes ten kilometers of long sandy beaches. Discover the best kitesurfing spots in the European wind capital.
Rarely will you meet a wind sports enthusiast who has never heard of Tarifa, the coastal community located near Cadiz at the southern tip of Spain.
Tarifa is named after Tarif ibn Malik, the 8th century Muslim / Berber commander tasked with exploring the southernmost shores of the Iberian Peninsula.
In 710, Tarif and his Moorish troops crossed the Strait of Gibraltar and were greeted warmly by local Christian residents.
Today it is a dream location for kitesurfers and windsurfers, who can travel the entire length of the bay, depending on the wind direction and the time of year.
Tarifa has a charming walled old town with cobbled streets, excellent restaurants and plenty of bars. If you walk down the alleys, you will find wall to wall parties.
It is not easy to find your way around the maze of streets. The excellent restaurant you found on the first night will be hard to find.
The newer part of town is to the west of the old village, and this is where the majority of the apartments are located.
There are also several large hotels and campsites along the beautiful stretch of sand.
Tarifa was once a 100% windsurfing resort, but has since been dominated by kitesurfers.
Unique wind conditions
The Levante is one of the the most famous winds in the world. It blows across the shore and off to the east or northeast.
Although it can be quite gentle at first, it can quickly reach speeds of 40 to 50 knots.
Levante can blow day and night for several weeks or just come in for a few hours. It can get tricky and difficult and be quite windy if the direction is further north.
The Poniente is a cold wind crossing the shore coming from the west.
It is generally of light to moderate force, fairly constant, and can generate a lot of wind swells.
The Poniente is everyone’s favorite wind and can be found in most kitesurfing spots in Tarifa.
Generally speaking, the wind is generally more constant between May and October.
It can blow all day long, so you can kite until late in the evening – it doesn’t get dark until 9-10pm in the summer.
However, you may also experience rainy days or colder weather.
The houses in Tarifa have been designed to keep you cool during hot summers, so be sure to bring warm clothes even during peak season.
There are several areas where you can launch your kite. Here are the most popular kite spots in the Tarifa region:
Lagoon beach is super flat, but it can only hold a handful of kiters at a time.
It is important to know when you can go kitesurfing in the lagoon. Otherwise, there may be too many gusts.
Expect to dodge all the pro riders who will be doing tricks after tricks in front of you.
Los Lances Beach has the longest section of beach and a small cafe / bar in the middle.
The strip of sand stretches for approximately 1.2 miles (two kilometers) and connects to Rio Jara and Los Pinos.
Keep in mind that the wind may blow slightly offshore in a Levante wind.
You can purchase a “Sea Angels” pass at any major kite store to ensure you are safe at all times. It will cover the patrolling rescue boat in case you need it.
Valdevaqueros is a smaller bay, but people often call it the first stretch along with the Tumbao bar.
When the Levante comes into play, this is where you can cross-shore kite.
There are a few great bars and restaurants nearby, so you can have a drink with your friends or family while kitting.
However, you might not see a grain of sand in the middle of summer.
In other words, there are a lot of sunbathing people and other sun worshipers in July and August.
The reason is that people who don’t kite often flock to Tarifa from all over the world to party and enjoy the summer sun.
Tarifa town beach
The main seaside area of ââthe city offers mainly Poniente winds.
It won’t be as crowded as the beaches further out in the bay, and kiting is prohibited during the summer months.
A few runners can be seen heading towards the Levante some distance from the causeway.
The wind is cross-offshore and can blow in gusts, so this is the best choice for advanced riders.
Kitesurf spots near Tarifa
If you are willing to travel 15-45 minutes from sightseeing, you can find some gems to the west and east of Tarifa.
Check out the best riding spots near the European kitesurfing mecca.
Los Canos de Meca
Los Canos de Meca is a spot located about 45 minutes drive from the coast in the northwest.
Although the wind is generally strong, it can also have small to medium waves. The wind can also blow more on land.
It doesn’t matter if the wind is blowing at 50 knots in Tarifa.
If you drive east, there is often much less or no wind. This is also true for Palmones, which is a 25-minute drive southeast after Algeciras.
The wind is generally 15 to 20 knots cross near the mouth of the river.
This provides Palmones with the perfect sailing arena for those looking for really flat water.
The east side of the river will be your landing point.
You can take off from a smaller beach, but you can also kite from there or downwind to a larger sandy beach.
You will find Getares 10-15 minutes east of Algeciras.
The wind will blow on land and will be lighter than it usually is in Tarifa or during the Levante.
Worth a visit if you are fed up with the strong gusts of Levante.
Kitesurfing lessons in Tarifa
There are many kitesurfing schools in Tarifa.
In fact, if you walk around the area, you might find over 60 schools offering classes during the summer.
In other words, it’s safe to say that Tarifa is home to the highest number of kitesurfing schools per square mile of beach.
So, you can walk down the main street and find shops offering courses. Then you can head to the beach to see people learning all around.
Tarifa is one of the few places in the world where you will encounter miles of sandy beaches and constant winds to learn and improve your kitesurfing skills.
Yes, sometimes it can be windy, but kite schools have learned to take students out and teach them to ride in stronger winds.
Are you ready to explore Tarifa and ride its magical winds?
Stefan Lo | Founder of KitesurfingSchool.org