Tarifa’s tip-of-Spain location has given it a different climate and a different personality to the rest of Andalucía. Stiff Atlantic winds draw in surfers, windsurfers and kiteboarders who, in turn, lend this ancient, yet deceptively small settlement a laid-back internationalist image that is noticeably (some would say, refreshingly) at odds with the commercialism of the nearby Costa del Sol. While the town acts as the last stop in Spain before Morocco, it also serves as a taste of things to come. Moroccan fusion food is par for the course here, and the walled old town with its narrow whitewashed streets and ceaseless winds could pass for Chefchaouen or Essaouira on a film set.
Tarifa may be as old as Phoenician Cádiz and was definitely a Roman settlement, but it takes its name from Tarif ibn Malik, who led a Muslim raid in AD 710, the year before the main Moorish invasion of the peninsula.