Kitesurfing in Tarifa: If you’re looking for a place to practice kiteboarding, then look no further. Tarifa is the perfect spot for you.
Kitesurfing in Tarifa, truly, will feel like kitesurfing in Paradise!
“And the boy sat there by the well for a long time, remembering that one day in Tarifa the levanter had brought to him the perfume of that woman, and realizing that he had loved her before he even knew she existed. He knew that his love for her would enable him to discover every treasure in the world” *
Even Paulo Coelho couldn’t resist Tarifa siren song, and cited its appeal all throughout his most famous book, “The Alchemist”.
Tarifa is located on the southern coast of Spain, just 1 hour and 40 minutes drive from Malaga airport. It is widely renowned as the “European Kitesurfing Mecca”, due to the two main winds that blow all year round.
Between two winds, two continents, two seas, you’ll discover a place with undeniable charm. A lively town with a rich culinary panorama and cultural heritage.
A unique kitesurfing spot to reconnect with nature, yourself and others.
The Best Time To Visit Is Between April and November.
Tarifa is a popular destination for kitesurfers who come here to enjoy the warm climate and beautiful beaches. Kitesurfers come from all over the world to experience Tarifa conditions, together with an amazing lifestyle.
Although you can kite in Tarifa all year round, the best season to visit is between April and November, when the weather is milder. If you like more extreme conditions, you can venture to Tarifa in winter months too, when you’ll find bigger waves and stronger stormy conditions (not ideal for beginners!).
Caressed by two winds, Tarifa is never too warm like other Andalusian cities over the summer months, which are the best in terms of temperature. This is also the time when accommodations are the most expensive, though.
Top tip: Our favourite months here are May, June, September and October. Fantastic weather and fewer crowds.
The Wind in Tarifa
Before stepping foot in the water, a good kiter should always do a S.E.A. assessment: “Spot Environment Activity”. We cover this during the first kite lesson on the beach. You should always inform yourself on wind conditions, tides, and spot rules. This applies to all the spots you go, not only to kitesurfing in Tarifa. You can ask local riders, or schools, like us! We’re always available to help!
Tarifa has mainly two winds: Poniente and Levante.
Poniente (from Ponere, latin, where the Sun sets) is a West wind, blowing side-onshore in Tarifa. This fresh, constant wind is the best to practice kitesurfing in total safety, as it will always bring you back to shore. Coming from the sea, it is normally associated with choppier water and waves. In summer months, though, the waves are harmless. When November arrives, Poniente starts to bring stormy conditions, with bigger waves and stronger winds. Rainy conditions normally happen with SW wind. As locals, we live for these conditions!
Poniente wind in Tarifa can range from 12-25 kts in summer and from 15-30+ in winter stormy conditions.
Levante (from Levare latin, where the Sun rises) is the exact opposite of Poniente, coming from the East. The most famous wind in Tarifa, it can blow for weeks, and it can get very strong. Sometimes gustier than Poniente, it comes with very flat water, a dream if you want to start learning new tricks. It is the wind pros use to go massive! It can range from 15 to 35+ kts.
It is a side-off shore wind, so normally it would be a no-go for kitesurfing. In Tarifa, though, we work with several rescue boats services, so you can enjoy in total safety. In order to kite in Los Lances area with Levante, you need to purchase a rescue card ticket. You can buy it directly with us, or in one of the many selling points. If you kite in a different spot, though, you don’t necessarily need the ticket, although is always highly recommended, especially if you’re just starting out. Read more below.
Bottom line: bring all the kite sizes you have, buy a rescue card, and speak with locals!
Kitesurfing in Tarifa: many spots to choose from, in just one location!
If you’re wondering where you can go kitesurfing in Tarifa, here’s a brief list of the top spots. In summer, it’s not allowed to kite in the city centre, so in order to better enjoy the area, we always recommend renting a car.
Los Lances Norte
Los Lances beach is a 7 km-long, sandy beach that goes from town all the way down to La Peña. Excluding summer months (when kiting in the town centre is not allowed), you can kite anywhere on this beach, but some places are more accessible than others.
Our school is located in Playa de Los Lances Norte, next to the beach bar Agua. With an ample parking, it’s easily accessible by car.
The school area is a dream for beginners, wide on average 120 metres. The area on the right of the beach bar Agua is dedicated to kitesurf schools, so if you’re an independent rider, please avoid kiting there.
With the westerly wind Poniente, you can comfortably kite in the free zone, on the left of the wooden boardwalk.
Sometimes, if the wind comes from the East, this might be difficult, as the dunes create a wind shadow area, which leads to unpredictable, gusty wind at the shore. If you’re confident on your upwind riding, then you can launch directly from there and ride all the way upwind to Rio Jara, to find better wind.
If you’re just starting to be independent, we recommend you walking upwind, so you can launch and enter the water already from up there, where the wind is more constant.
If it’s your first time in Tarifa, and you’d like us to keep an eye on you, you can book a supervision session with the Tarifa Max team. We’ll recommend you the best area for the day, help you to choose the right kite size, and assist you with launching and landing. If you’d like, we’ll give you some tips to improve your riding style, too.
Other people prefer to park their car next to the restaurant Pachamama. If you do so, you’ll have to cross a highly trafficked road with your gear, jump over a fence and walk several hundreds meters to get to the spot.
We definitely prefer to park next to the beach bar Agua and ride upwind to find our own piece of heaven!
Top Tip: Stick around for sunset at the beach bar, awesome vibes and good music to end a great kite day!
Loved by many, Valdevaqueros is a bay where Levante transforms in a side-onshore wind. Even though there are rescue boats available, here you can feel more relaxed.
If you have troubles, the wind will push you back to the end of the dunes. The after kite vibe is great here too, with many beach bars to choose from. If you start from the beach bars Tangana or Volare, you won’t necessarily need a rescue card ticket, although it is highly recommendable.
The only downturn of the spot is that Valdevaqueros can get really busy, especially in summer months. Difficult to find parking and the beach for launching is definitely not as wide as Los Lances.
Arte y Vida
The spot takes its name from the hotel Arte y Vida, and it’s an absolute gem for Poniente days. Fewer chops, relatively wide to launch and land, and easy access through the parking. Forbidden to kite here from June to September.
The most famous spot between kitesurfing competitions aficionados is probably Balneario. The spot recently became insta-famous from pros flying next to the rocky bridge. Yes, I’m hoping to discourage you to go just with the last two words, “rocky” and “bridge”.
Balneario only works with Levante wind, which is the side-off shore wind. It’s a small area, and with 10 kites will already feel crowded. Rescue boats don’t cover this spot, so if you have a problem with your gear, you might have to let it go for good and lose it.
In case they have to come and rescue you, it might get really expensive. Avoid this spot unless you’re a highly advanced rider. If you have excellent level and decide to go, please respect your turn and ask other riders the unwritten rules of the spot.
Not only Kitesurfing in Tarifa
We know nobody wants to hear this when planning a kitesurfing trip, but… What happens if there’s no wind?
In the rare occasions where wind won’t cooperate, you’ll have plenty of activities to choose from. Hiking, sightseeing, whale watching, mountain biking, horse riding and climbing, just to mention some.
If you like city sightseeing, you can drive 40 mins to Vejer de la Frontera, a beautiful romantic white gem which will leave you speechless.
Top tip: try Moroccan food at El Jardin del Califa. It’s getting popular, so better book in advance.
Tarifa is also a Paradise for hiking, with a huge variety of natural parks, it offers fantastic hikes ranging from easy to challenging that will require a certain fitness base.
Top tip: Try the Buddha walk, with 360 degrees view over the Gibraltar strait. Medium difficulty, it can be done in less than 2 hours. You can find some recommendations at this link, too.
We hope to see you soon in this wonderful Paradise. Don’t hesitate to email us at email@example.com or a WhatsApp message at +34 696 55 82 27, if you have any questions!
See you soon for a great kitesurfing session in Tarifa!
*Coelho, Paulo. The Alchemist (p. 96). HarperOne. Kindle Edition.