The best kitesurfing spots in Tarifa

October 8, 2021 | Kiteboarding
Tarifa: the wind and kitesurfing capital of Europe | Photo: Red Bull

Tarifa is a huge bay that features six miles (ten kilometers) of long sandy beaches. Discover the best kitesurfing spots in Europe's capital of wind.

You will rarely meet a wind sports enthusiast that has never heard of Tarifa, the coastal community located near Cádiz, in the southernmost tip of Spain.

Tarifa owes its name to Tarif ibn Malik, the 8th-century Muslim/Berber commander responsible for exploring the southernmost shores of the Iberian Peninsula.

In 710, Tarif and his Moor troops crossed the Strait of Gibraltar and were warmly greeted by local Christian residents.

Today, it's a dream place for kiteboarders and windsurfers, who can ride the entire length of the bay, depending on wind direction and the time of year.

Tarifa has a lovely old walled town with cobbled streets, great restaurants, and many bars. If you go down the alleyways, you'll find wall-to-wall parties.

It's not easy to find your way around the maze of streets. The excellent restaurant you found on your first night will be hard to find again.

The newer area of town lies 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 stunning stretch of sand.

Tarifa was once a 100 percent windsurfing resort but has since been dominated by kitesurfers.

Tarifa: if you're into wave sailing, the Spanish town is the go-to destination | Photo: Van der Heide/GKA

Unique Wind Conditions

The Levante is one of the world's most famous winds. It blows across the shore and offshore from the east or northeast. 

Although it can be pretty mild at first, it can quickly reach speeds of 40-50 knots.

Levante can blow day and night for several weeks or just come in for a few hours. It can get tricky and challenging and be quite gusty if the direction is more from the north.

The Poniente is a cooling cross-onshore wind from the west.

It's generally light to moderate in strength, fairly constant, and can generate a lot of wind swell.

The Poniente is everyone's favorite wind and can be found in most Tarifa kitesurfing spots.

Generally speaking, the wind is generally more consistent between May and October.

It can blow all day, so you can kite until late in the evening - it doesn't get dark until 9-10 pm in summer.

However, you may also experience rainy days or colder weather.

Tarifa houses were designed to keep you cool during hot summers, so make sure you bring warm clothes even during the high season.

There are several areas where you can launch your kite. Here are the most popular kite spots in the Tarifa region:

Tarifa: there's plenty of windy and flat water areas for kitesurfing enthusiasts | Photo: Juricek/Creative Commons

The Lagoon

The Lagoon beach is super flat, yet it can only hold a handful of kiters at once.

It is important to know when you can kitesurf in the Lagoon. Otherwise, it can get too gusty.

Expect to dodge all the pro riders who will be doing tricks after tricks in front of you.

Los Lances

The Los Lances beach features the longest beach section and a small café/bar in the middle.

The stretch of sand runs for about 1.2 miles (two kilometers), and it connects to Rio Jara and Los Pinos.

Keep in mind that the wind can blow slightly offshore in a Levante wind.

You can purchase a "Sea Angels" pass from any main kite store to ensure you're safe all the time. It will provide coverage for the patrolling rescue boat in case you need it.

Valdevaqueros

Valdevaqueros is a smaller bay, but people often refer to it as the first stretch with the Tumbao bar.

When the Levante kicks in, this is where you can kite cross-shore.

There are a few great bars and restaurants nearby, so you can enjoy a drink with your friends or family while kiting.

Nevertheless, you might not see a grain of sand in the middle of summer.

In other words, there's plenty of people sunbathing and other sun worshippers 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 town beach area mainly offers Poniente winds.

It won't be as crowded as beaches further down the bay, and kiting during the summer months is prohibited.

A few riders may be seen heading out in the Levante at a distance from the causeway.

The wind is cross-offshore and can be gusty, so it's the best pick for advanced riders.

Kiteboarding Spots Near Tarifa

If you are ready to travel 15-45 minutes away from tourism, you can find some gems west and east of Tarifa.

Take a look at the finest riding spots near the European kitesurfing Mecca.

Tarifa, Spain: the most popular kitesurfing destination in Europe | Photo: Shutterstock

Los Canos de Meca

Los Canos de Meca is a spot located an approximately 45-minute drive from the coast to the northwest.

Although the wind is generally strong, it can also get small to medium waves. The wind can also blow more onshore.

Palmones

It doesn't matter if the wind blows 50 knots in Tarifa.

If you drive east, there is often much less or no wind. That is true also for Palmones, which is a 25-minute drive southeast after Algeciras.

The wind is usually 15-20 knots cross-shore near the river mouth.

This provides Palmones with the perfect sailing arena for those who seek really flat water.

The river's east side will be your landing spot.

You can launch from a smaller beach, but you can also kite off from there or downwind to a larger sandy beach.

Palmones: a great kitesurfing spot near Tarifa | Photo: Creative Commons

Getares

You will find Getares 10-15 minutes east of Algeciras.

The wind will blow onshore and be lighter than it usually is in Tarifa or during the Levante.

It is worth a visit if you get tired of the strong gusty Levante.

Kitesurfing Lessons in Tarifa

There are many kitesurfing schools operating in Tarifa.

In fact, if you walk around in the area, you might find over 60 schools offering lessons during summer.

In other words, it's safe to say that Tarifa is home to the largest number of kitesurfing schools per square mile of beach.

So, you can walk down the high street and find shops offering lessons. Then, you can head down the beach to see people learning all around.

Tarifa is one of the few places in the world where you'll encounter miles of sandy beaches and steady winds for learning and improving your kiteboarding skills.

Yes, sometimes it can get windy, but kite schools have learned how to get students out and teach them to ride in stronger winds.

Are you ready to explore the Tarifa and ride its magical winds?


Stefan Lo | Founder of KitesurfingSchool.org

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