The Most Beautiful Beaches in Tarifa, Spain

Playa Chica, Tarifa
Playa Chica, Tarifa | © Karan Jain / WikiCommons
Mark Nayler

Tarifa is known for having some of Spain’s finest beaches – and for good reason. Read on for our guide to the most beautiful playas in and around this popular surfing destination.

Whether you’re looking to top up your tan or catch some waves, you’ll find what you’re looking for on Tarifa‘s gorgeous beaches. Here’s our selection of the area’s most spectacular stretches of sand, from windswept dunescapes to cosy coves.

1. Playa de Los Lances

Natural Feature

© Andrew Nash / Flickr
Tarifa’s most famous beach starts in the town and stretches for 10 km (6.2 miles) northwards, backing onto the cork oak forests of the Alcornocales natural park. Though you’re never far from a cool chiringuito, the playa itself is wild and unspoilt – the perfect setting for surfing, swimming or sunbathing. The southern section of the beach (the part closest to Tarifa, referred to as Playa de Los Lances Sur) is reserved solely for bathers.

2. Playa de Valdevaqueros

Natural Feature

© El Ayudante / WikiCommons

Surfers from all over the world flock to Playa de Valdevaqueros, a windswept stretch of sand 10 km (6.2 miles) north of Tarifa that’s reached by a lovely coastal drive (you can leave your car in nearby carparks for €5 (USD$5.90) per day). There are clearly demarcated zones for kitesurfing, windsurfing and bathing and plenty of achingly-cool beach bars looking out over the golden sands. Valdevaqueros also boasts some striking dune formations.

3. Playa Chica

Natural Feature

© Andrew Nash / Flickr

Located just west of the port and less than a ten-minute walk from the old town is Playa Chica. Because this small curve of white sand is protected from Tarifa’s strong winds, it’s very popular with families and bathers and quickly fills up during high season, so arrive early to get a good spot. Chica offers some great views out to the north coast of Africa, as well as showers, toilets and a beachfront restaurant serving superb fish dishes.

4. Playa La Caleta

Natural Feature

© Isiwal / WikiCommons

Playa La Caleta is found on the eastern side of Tarifa’s port and, although only about a five-minute walk from the old town, is often overlooked by sunseekers. A small, rocky cove that’s sheltered from the easterly and westerly winds (the Levante and Poniente respectively), its crystal-clear waters make for wonderful bathing. La Caleta is reached by following Calle Armagura from Plaza de Santa Maria, the old quarter’s main square.

5. Playa Punta Paloma

Natural Feature

© Bini26 / WikiCommons
Beaches don’t come much more picture-perfect than Playa Punta Paloma. Located a 15-minute drive from Tarifa, just north of Valdevaqueros, this unspoilt stretch of sand is home to some of Andalusia’s most spectacular dunes. Rising to heights of over 100 m (328 feet) , they’re so big that the branches of buried trees can been poking up out of the grains. Punta Paloma’s other key draw is its beautifully-clear waters – perfect for snorkelling and diving.

6. Playa de Bolonia

Natural Feature

Bolonia Beach, Bolonia, Cadiz Province, Costa de la Luz, Andalusia, Spain
© Visions from Earth / Alamy Stock Photo

Some 25 km (15.5 miles) north of Tarifa is the Playa de Bolonia, a gorgeous beach that’s still relatively unknown amongst foreign visitors to Andalusia. As well as separate spaces for kitesurfing, windsurfing and bathing, you’ll also find some super-cool chiringuitos popular with surfers. Don’t leave without checking out the impressively-preserved ruins of Baelo Claudia, once a prosperous Roman fishing town.

7. Playa Hurricane

Natural Feature

© dimitrisvetsikas1969 / Pixabay

Located just beneath a legendary hotel of the same name, Playa Hurricane is a must-visit for kitesurfers. Constantly swept by strong winds, its compact size makes manoeuvring, taking off and landing a challenge that more experienced enthusiasts won’t be able to resist. Afterwards, you can relax in Hotel Hurricane’s chic beach bar and admire views of the coast of Morocco, clearly visible over the Strait of Gibraltar.

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