I love the coast around Tarifa, continental Europe’s most southerly point. The beaches, despite pressures from developers and short sighted local politicians remain a very special place. It’s the start of the ‘Costa de la Luz’; the coast of light.
This morning the practically ever present wind made a walk on the beach quite bracing, but after a wonderful lunch in one
of my favourite places, Arte y Vida, the wind had gone and the warm sun made a dip in the crystal clear (and cold!) Atlantic Ocean really invigorating!
Normally we just come of the day or stay in a hotel on the beach like Dos Mares, but this time we’re staying in old town,
ready to enjoy a small town style New Year’s Eve. The town is poor, with little economic activit except seasonal tourism.
There are a handful of simple and boutique style hotels in old town, and a few bars and restaurants- but most come here
for the coast, the beaches and the surf and wind. The proximity of Africa to Europe makes the wind increase in speed and intensity as it squeezes between the two continents.
Standing on the tatty causeway that leads from the port to the old military base on Isla de las Palomas you can see the Mediterranean to your east and the Atlantic on the west, the ‘Dos Mares’.
The area dates back to Roman times, with fascinating ruins at Baelo Claudia (you can see my blog entries on those here)
and also the Muslim occupation of Southern Europe. – the Arab fort is still standing.
Understandably, based on Tarifa’s location this small fishing community has also been besieged various times from invaders.