As the last unspoilt coastline in Spain, the Costa de la Luz boasts some of the country’s most beautiful beaches. Add a good beach bar and you’re close to paradise. This is the magic of Tarifa.
To imagine a Tarifeño beach bar, just think laid-back cool, funky chill-out tunes and chic décor mixed with fluffy white sand, rolling dunes and crystal green sea that stretches for as far as the eye can see. Doesn’t that sound like heaven?
Very few of Tarifa’s visitors hit the beach simply to relax and take in the scenery but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a valid way to spend an afternoon. Whether relaxing or watching the efforts of would-be kite-surfers, a good time is guaranteed.
Playa los Lances and Valdevaqueros are the busiest spots for wind and kite surfing and also home to the some of the coolest beach bars.
On Playa los Lances, the beach bar at Hotel Arte Vida is a funky and fun-filled spot. The large and lush garden at the back of the hotel sits right on the beach and strikes the perfect balance between busy and spacious. There are always enough people to create a cool vibe but there’s always space for you. Don’t worry if none of the oversized couches are free, just throw your towel down on the grass and lie back.
DJ’s hit the decks all day long here in summer playing a retro mix that adds just the right amount of disco to sun-lounging.
The hotel has an outdoor and indoor terrace where diners can indulge for lunch or dinner-time. The food is first-class and reasonably priced. If having lunch here, check out the house brochettes, which are served hanging - fun on a plate and great to taste.
Further down the beach at Valdevaqueros is Spin Out. There’s also a ample garden here but it’s split in two. On the beach side, it’s open at the front giving a bird’s eye view of the activity on the beach. Blue wooden picnic tables cut the garden in half and are always full at lunch-time. On the far side, tucked in behind the high hedges is another section, the secret garden. Sitting here is like relaxing in your own back garden except with better music and service. There’s also a cool ethnic clothes shop here selling swimwear, Thai pants and knitted beach wear.
Ordering food at Spin Out is a unique experience. After you make your selection from the healthy menu which includes bacon and brie salad, spinach quiche and burgers of many varieties, you give your order and name to the staff behind the bar. When your food is ready they will call your name out over the loudspeaker, which makes you feel like an old regular and right at home.
Back down the beach and tucked away in a cove is the chiringuito at Torre de la Pena campsite. The bar here sits on top of a pier and at high tide the water comes right up. The food here is traditional Spanish but they serve a mean fry in the morning, the best time to go here. After your hearty fry, you can jump straight into the water.
In town there are lots of places to choose from, each with their own vibe. Right on the beach, at the beginning of Playa los Lances is Bar Ahti. On a second floor with panoramic windows, it presents the best view out to sea. Ahti is best enjoyed at sunset.
Walk down along the beach from Ahti and there are a number of beach hangouts to choose from. All have sizzling atmospheres and serve their cocktails cold. Whether you are looking for somewhere to chill after a day of surfing, to eat, to drink or simply watch the sun go down in style, Tarifa’s beach bars are hard to beat.