Tarifa may be as old as Phoenician Cádiz and was definitely a Roman settlement. It takes its name from Tarif ibn Malik, who led a Muslim raid in AD 710, the year before the main Islamic invasion of the peninsula.
Tarifa’s tip-of-Spain location, where the Mediterranean and the Atlantic meet, gives it a different climate and character to the rest of Andalucía. Stiff Atlantic winds draw in surfers, windsurfers and kitesurfers who, in turn, lend this ancient yet deceptively small settlement a refreshingly laid-back international vibe. Tarifa is the last stop in Spain before Morocco, and it’s also a taste of things to come. With its winding whitewashed streets and tangible North African feel, the walled windswept old town could easily pass for Chefchaouen or Essaouira. It’s no secret, however, and, in August especially, the town is packed – that’s half the fun.