A city, a neighborhood, a road trip… From local bars to little cafes, from palaces to the latest hot spots, from historical monuments to private art galleries… In Tarifa, Tangier, or Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Fatym Layachi reveals her favorite discoveries during her wanderings.

Spanish cities are regularly portrayed as cool destinations in this magazine. I have chosen to take you to Tarifa, perhaps because this charming little town is only 13 kilometers from Morocco, and I like to be transported without having to travel too far. This is especially true because  you can go there easily and often!  Maybe it is also because Tarifa is at the tip of Europe, and being at the tip is always nice! Above all else, it is because it is often unfairly thought of as only a stopover city. It is seen as a transit hub, a port where you arrive just to leave. On the contrary, Tarifa is actually a very cool destination–  a charming place that deserves your time.

What we like to do there:

Wander through the alleys of the old town amidst whitewashed houses, bite into a churro, or stop for a caña (depending on the time). Stroll through the shops and discover charming craftsmanship. Buy colorful ceramics, pretty tunics, and fans. Eat tuna, bonito, and more tuna. Think about coming back and how next time you’ll try kitesurfing. Then, come back within the year and don’t try kitesurfing.

My must-dos:

Mirador Del Estrecho

Take a walk (or a run, depending…) all the way up to Mirador Del Estrecho to contemplate what is probably the most beautiful view of the Strait of Gibraltar.

N-340a, Km. 91, Tarifa.


Where to stay:

A charming hotel with super neat interiors. With its nice little rooftop with a pool to cool off, it’s a small island of calm in the midst of the bustling city. The rooms are cozy,  with a real attention to detail.

Calle Calderón De La Barca, 3, Tarifa
Starting from 770 DH per night.

La Sacristia

In a 17th-century building, La Sacristia is probably the most beautiful hotel in the old town of Tarifa. Colorful and bright, it is a beautiful tribute to the Andalusian way of life. There is also a holistic therapy and massage center to offer a moment of relaxation for our bodies and minds. You eat as well as you sleep here.

Calle San Donato, 8, Tarifa
Starting from 1390 DH per night.

El Hurricane

About ten kilometers north of the city center, El Hurricane is a perfect place for a relaxing stay. The site is beautiful, on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. The hotel is in the heart of a lush garden where you can stroll, daydreaming for hours while admiring nature.

N-340, km 78.8, N-340, Tarifa
Starting from 1200 DH per night.

Where to eat:

Andrea’s Brunch

Nice healthy spot to start the morning well and begin the day with a clear conscience (and possibly compensate for the excesses of the previous day). It offers a very nice menu of freshly squeezed juices and smoothies.

Calle Sancho IV el Bravo 22, Tarifa.

La Pescaderia:

One could walk past this restaurant and write it off, taking it  for just any restaurant that grabs tourists at the port exit, assume it has no charm and leave it aside. That would be a big mistake. A rookie mistake, in fact. I made this mistake every time I left the port of Tarifa for years — before an insider introduced me to it.

Order an arroz caldoso: literally translated, it means “boiling rice.” It’s a kind of paella version of risotto (I think any self-respecting food critic would scream scandal at this description), and it’s amazing. You had better be very hungry and not too ambitious for the afternoon. In fact, there will be no more afternoon; when you finish lunch here, it’s 6 p.m.

Paseo la Alameda, Tarifa
+34956627078 (remember to book!)

Siglo XIX:

Objectively, this is the best tapas bar in the city. Everything is good. You can order the entire menu, share everything, and even reorder those little plates that disappeared too quickly. It also welcomes you with a very cheerful atmosphere and smiling service.

Okay, I admit I’m not really objective, but I’m sincere: it’s my favorite tapas bar. It’s delicious.

Calle Sancho IV el Bravo, 9, Tarifa
+34856 393 454.

La Palmera:

A small typical café with its joyful regulars who smile, greet each other, and talk loudly. Even if you walked in with your eyes closed without knowing where you were, you would realize you were  in Andalusia! A generous and warm atmosphere, it is quaint and family-friendly. The churros are perfect and exactly how they should be: soft and firm.

Calle Sancho IV el Bravo, 32, Tarifa.

Where to party:

La Ruina:

For a last drink (or several).

After all these bars in a row where shots are drunk even faster than numbers are exchanged, make your way to the rampart of the old town and there, in the remains of the fortifications, you’ll find a nightclub that knows how to party. And here, the party is lived, drunk, sung, shared, and danced until the end of the night.

Calle Santísima Trinidad, 7, Tarifa.

Picture (c): Explored by Marta

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