Tarifa’s famously windy climate has made it the kitesurfing capital of Europe, with adrenaline junkies flocking here between Febraury and October to enjoy the monster waves. This is our guide to the best spots to kitesurf in Tarifa, Andalusia.
Kitesurfing is allowed all year round on Tarifa’s most famous beach, but between June 15 and September 15 it’s restricted to clearly distinguished zones. Conditions tend to be dicier with the westerly Poniente wind blowing than with the easterly Levante, but this beautiful beach is still perfect for all levels of kitesurfer. When you’ve finished playing in the waves, head to one of Los Lances’ super-cool chiringuitos for a caña (small beer).
Just north of Los Lances, a 10-minute drive from Tarifa, is the town’s other major kitesurfing spot. An unspoilt stretch of sand featuring some spectacular dunes, Playa de Valdevaqueros is open to kitesurfers all year, although the same restrictions as Los Lances apply during high season. Facilities include showers and four beach bars, most of which have air pumps if your kite needs a top up. The best waves are usually found at the northern end of the beach.
More experienced kitesurfers will find a playground on Playa Hurricane, a northern section of Los Lances named after the fabulous Hotel Hurricane. Because there’s less space here, manoeuvring – especially taking off and landing – is trickier, providing a challenge that’s only heightened by the beach’s strong winds. When you’ve got your daily adrenaline fix, head to Hotel Hurricane’s incomparable bar for refreshments and amazing views.
Located 25 kilometres north of Tarifa, Playa de Bolonia is one of Spain’s most stunning beaches. It’s also ideal for kitesurfing, especially when a strong Levante whips up waves that are almost three metres high. There’s plenty to see and do here afterwards, too: you can visit the Roman ruins of Baelo Claudia, just behind the beach, explore the charming town of Bolonia itself, or simply relax on one of Spain’s most natural playas.
Situated north of Valdevaqueros is Playa Punta Paloma, a gorgeous beach that’s home to some of Andalusia’s most impressive sand dunes. Kitesurfing is permitted all year round here (although limited to zones between June 15 and September 15) and is at its best when the Poniente blows, resulting in waves between one and two metres high. Punta Paloma’s facilities comprise chiringuitos and showers.
Playa Balneario is situated just next to Tarifa’s port, where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. It’s ideal for advanced kitesurfers, who’ll relish the choppy conditions generated by the Levante and Poniente (during storms, these winds can create five-metre-high waves on Balneario). There are two rock formations that disappear during high tide, so be sure to locate them before taking to the water. Surfing is prohibited between June 15 and September 15.
No article on kitesurfing spots in Tarifa would be complete without a word on kitesurf schools. Tarifa, as you’d expect, has dozens of them, but 3Sixty Kitesurf School is consistently named as the best. Led by experienced instructors Marco and Andrea, 3Sixty’s multi-lingual team offer personalised classes at all levels (which can be organised around your schedule), and they’ll even sort your accommodation out, too. A great one-stop kitesurf shop.