The small picturesque town of Tarifa, Spain is located on the southernmost point of Europe.
Believe it or not, it is actually located farther south than the African cities of Tunis and Algiers. Tarifa was once the site of the ancient city Mellaria, but was given its present name in honour of Tarif ibn Malik, a Berber Muslim military commander who attacked the city in 710 A.D.
Tarifa's close proximity to the Strait of Gibraltar is what makes this small town one of the meccas for wind sports in all the world. The levante (Spanish for east) winds are thought to originate in or around the Balearic Islands and blow west. As they approach the Strait, their intensity increases causing the winds that Tarifa and the rest of the area is well known for. The incoming winds are also responsible for the warmer climate and rainfall.
The months of May to October are why Tarifa is so right for Kitesurfing.
During those months, the wind is blowing the strongest, bringing the warm weather with it. It is also the dry season, so it's the perfect time for outdoor and extreme sports. Actually, you can expect wind and sun 300 days a year, but the months from May to October present the ideal kitesurfing conditions.
Temperatures vary in range from 25°C in the early season to 30°C during the hottest month of August. Wind also stays relatively consistent during this time, with speeds ranging from 12 to 24 knots. The average water temperature is about 20°C in the season.
Tarifa is situated at the beginning of Spain's Costa de la Luz which is regarded as Spain's least developed coastline. The town can be reached by flight from any city in Europe, and fairs run very cheap. You'll arrive in the city of Gibraltar, and then travel about 40 minutes to Tarifa by vehicle. Malaga is also an arrival option, but the drive from there is longer.
Because Tarifa is the busiest kitesurfing destination in the world, the town becomes home to thousands of kitesurfers and adventure/extreme sports enthusiasts during the season.
Luckily, the beaches are long and soft. White sand and sand dunes are easy on your feet and your kitesurfing equipement as there are no reefs, stones, or shells to cause damage. The coastline is also dotted with exceptional kite spots making it easy to surf the wind in different directions. Also, if you ever get into trouble, there are rescue boats that patrol Tarifa's coastline. These boats will charge a fee if you require their service, so it is wise to check each surf spot's conditions and weigh your level of kitesurfing experience.
There are a number of small and resort sized hotels in the area. The best choice is to stay close to the old town of Tarifa so that you are close to the beaches and close to the night life. Some travelers to the area also choose to camp on the beaches, but the camp sites are farther away from the town's bars and restaurants.
Whether you are an experienced kitesurfer, or a just looking to learn the sport, visit Aurelia Herpin Kiteschool of Tarifa. Aurelia is a former pro kitesurfer who was crowned Kitesurfing Speed World Champion in 2006, and has been instructing for over 12 years.
Aurelia Herpin makes learning to kitesurf fun and easy. Instructions are given at the learner's pace, and Aurelia promises that within a few day's lesson's you'll feel like a pro. Aurelia also speaks French, English, Spanish, and German which makes learning easier.