When embarking on your Spanish vacation, it is definitely worthwhile to take a trip down the tantalizing Costa de la Luz (coast of light) to visit the charming and traditional town of Tarifa in southern Spain.
Tarifa is a town which reflects the best of the Andalucían traditions, with narrow, picturesque cobbled streets winding amid attractive white houses, cafes, bars and shops. Many quaint gift shops are in evidence where you can buy anything from a T-shirt to gifts and ornaments with a nautical feel.
Geraniums are always evident on the balconies and the twittering of caged song birds adds a pleasant trill to the air. Little plazas, or squares, are dotted around with restful benches under sheltering trees for the hotter weather.
The town of Tarifa is located on a hillside which overlooks the Straits of Gibraltar, all the way to the Moroccan port city of Tangier. In fact, it is possible to take a day trip on a ferry across the straits to visit those exotic climes.
Close by is the iconic Rock of Gibraltar with its air of a military English town.
There is evidence of the town’s historic past, as on entering Tarifa you will pass through the Puerta de Jerez, a city gate which dates right back to the 13th century. There is a castle to visit and the ruins of the city walls are to be seen in various areas, close to the beach.
Tarifa tends to be a windy town, and is popular for the kite surfing and wind surfing crowd. In town there are several surf schools as well as shops selling the appropriate equipment. The beach, with its clean white sand, is a pleasant place to stroll or have a dip in the slightly chilly Atlantic Ocean where it meets the warmer Mediterranean.
The video below gives a slideshow of images of the town and its surroundings:
Close by are some small villages, with beaches of their own, perfect for a short drive and a picnic in the fresh air.
One village, Bolonia, is of particular interest, as cows and sheep are allowed to roam freely and are often found right on the beach.
If history is your thing, close to Bolonia is the ruins of an entire Roman city, named Baelo Claudia, which dates back to the 2nd century BC.
Well worth a visit, the city is well laid out and clearly marked with information about the various sections of the city and a very informative museum is on site for more.
Well worth a visit on a Tarifa trip during your Spanish vacation, the Roman city takes a tantalizing look at the historic past of southern Spain.
Located right on the beach, close to the village of Bolonia, it is immediately evident that Baelo Claudia was originally a Roman fishing village but it was also a North African trade link, and many ships used to visit from across the straits.
The town also apparently supplied salted tuna fish and other fish products to various other Roman cities close by on what is now the Spanish mainland. The fish factory on the beach front (pictured right) is particularly interesting with its many bins, used for salting and storing the fish products.
Walking around the city you can see the remains of the amphitheater, shops, homes, temples, the Roman baths as well as the main forum and public town square. On the outskirts, the remains of aqueducts can be seen. These were used to bring water into the town, and to remove sewage waste.
While the city was a bustling place for many years, due to the damage from several earthquakes and some problems with Celtic and Barbary pirates (who also enjoyed a “Spanish” vacation it seems), the town was eventually abandoned by its residents in the 6th century.
The video below takes you on a photo tour through the Roman city:
If planning a Spanish vacation in the spring, take a trip to tantalizing Tarifa and its surrounds and enjoy all that is Spanish, with warm sunshine and endless attractions. You won’t regret it.
Opinion, photos and videos by Anne Sewell