El Cabo, Isla or Punta de Tarifa, borders on the Mediterranean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean that are entwined in the same coast of our town.
The town has an area of 419 km², it is the more extensive of the Campo de Gibraltar. It has more or less 15.000 inhabitants in the census.
In its municipal district we can find the towns of Tahivilla and Facinas.
Tarifa is the most European southern town. It was founded by the Romans in the I century.
In its municipal district there were found important archaeological sites like the necropolis of Los Algarbes, the funerary monument from the Brass age most important of the province.
The Phoenicians, Greeks and Carthaginians were settled in the Isla de las Palomas. But with the Romans starts to acquire its true importance with the settlements of Julia Traducta –the present Tarifa-, Mellaria and Baelo Claudia –in the beaches of Bolonia-. It is named by Tarif Ibn Malluk, Berber chief who accompanied Tarik ben Zeyad, Arab leader who defeated Rodrigo in the battle of La Janda (711). The centuries of Muslim control will leave its mark in the town.
The area was taken to the Muslims in 1292 by Sancho IV de Castilla, called the Bravo. Alonso Pérez de Guzmán was in charge of the area, lord of Niebla and Nebrija. In 1294, the infant Juan, the king Sancho’s brother, will offered to the king Mohamed II de Granada to, betraying the Castilian crown, recover Tarifa. Being impassable the attack to the castle, the infant threatened Guzmán, if this does not surrender the area, with killing his son, who previously has been kidnapped; making famous Guzmán’s answer in view of this threat: “if you have not a dagger to kill him, take the mine “. For the defence of the town Alonso Pérez de Guzmán would receive the name of “el Bueno”.
After the Christian conquest, it would be for a long time a frontier area, first with the Kingdom of Granada and then, after the fall of the Nasrid Kingdom, like strong square in the defence of the coasts in view of the Berber pirates and, in the XVIII century, like military enclave opposite the English possession of Gibraltar.
Castle of Guzmán El Bueno
Church of San Mateo
Church of Santa María
Castle and Walls
Church of San Francisco
Sanctuary of Ntra. Señora de La Luz
Cabo de Gracia Watchtower
Cabo de la Plata Watchtower
The characteristic in Tarifa is the runnings of the Strait that exploit the quality of the flesh of three peculiar fishes: the bream, the porgy and the dentón (dental, a small shellfish), known like urta. The characteristic of those fishes has its origin in the permanent battle against the runnings and a specific diet of seafood. The three, and above all the urta, are characteristic due to their tremendous teeth, more suitable of a horse than a fish.
We do not have to forget the influence of the species in the Marshes of the Guadalquivir (Sevilla) and of the Coto de Doñana (Huelva), where the prawns have the most outstanding place. The omelettes of prawns, made with flour, water, onion and parsley, together with the prawns. The resulting dough is fried with abundant hot oil.
We cannot forget a shark that we can find in the Strait and that is a star in any bar of the area, the dogfish, it is cooked with tomato, but the most typical is marinated. The fish is marinaded with a mixture of vinegar, paprika, garlic, oil, oregano, parsley and salt, and later it is fried after being coated in flour. Another typical dish is the sea-nettles, which are fried in floured balls.
La Mojama del Atún, very expensive, is the central part of the tuna, salty and cured, and in brown colours. This food comes from time immemorial and it is prepared in slices similar to the cured ham.
With respect to the seafood, as well as the prawns and king prawns, very common in the coast of Cádiz, we have to mention the scallops and sea urchins. The scallops are molluscs similar to the oysters, although bigger and rougher, while the urchin leaves a heavy sea taste, together with its not much attractive appearance, made them a favourite snack for the minority.
How to get there
By air, by plane, the nearer airport is located in Gibraltar, to 40 Kilometres from Tarifa. There are other airports in Málaga, Jerez de la Fontera and Sevilla.
By Ferry, in Tarifa we have a high-speed passenger ship, like a catamaran that takes 35 minutes from Tánger to Tarifa.
By car from Cádiz: You have to exit Cádiz and continue in: CA-33. Pass near San Fernando and continue in: E-5 / A-48. Then near Chiclana de la Frontera. Take the E-5 / N-340 and pass near Taivilla and follow the signs until you get Tarifa.
Sevilla 210 km
Cádiz 105 km
Málaga 161 km
Gibraltar 47 km
Jerez de la Frontera 116 km