Routes through the Historical Ensemble of Tarifa

The city has been declared a Historic Complex. Our visitors will be able to find multiple corners and details that will attract them.

The wall has marked its limits until recently. The first neighborhoods that emerged outside the walls were demolished during the Napoleonic invasion to make their defense easier. With a few exceptions, the historic center has been preserved quite well. It has numerous traditional dwellings, always with an entrance hall and patio structure, around which the space is organized. Many of them are Baroque buildings, in which the courtyard arches rest on both stone columns and octagonal brick piers. Many others are built in the 19th century.

The blocks of houses are usually large, and internal distribution corridors run through them, which on some occasions have access to two streets. These are usually narrow and often with bends, so that the wind is avoided. There are several main arteries that run through the city. In the upper part, the main access is the Puerta de Jerez, and from it, parallel to the wall, runs the beautiful Calle Silos, named after the presence of the old Cilla Decimal, in which the tithes paid to the church of the crops in the area. Today it retains its beautiful barrel-vaulted naves, which house a restaurant. On its other side is Calle Cilla, which makes its way into the wall through the Boquete de la Cilla, cut down to the bedrock, from which the name Calle Peñita also comes.

The straightest way to go down to the city can be taken along Calle Nuestra Señora de la Luz, with several notable buildings, or along the almost parallel Calle Jerez, narrower and cozier. We will stop at Sancho IV el Bravo street, known by the people of Tarifa as La Calzada. Its shape, which is sometimes meandering, is due to the fact that it is built on the old bed of the stream that crossed the lowest part of the town. At the end of the 19th century it was diverted and covered as it was a source of unhealthiness and because of the danger of floods. In it we can find the church of San Mateo, and also some of the most traditional businesses in town. The whole environment has many details to discover, such as Azogues street, with some of the oldest civil buildings in Tarifa. From there we can continue through Coronel Moscardó Street – where we find the Municipal Exhibition Hall in the Royal Prison. We continue towards the Plaza del Mesón, with its fountain that was the first one built in Tarifa, in 1831. From there, we go towards Guzmán el Bueno and Aljaranda streets, whose houses are attached to the castle and the walls, and from there we arrive at the viewpoint Miramar, with fantastic views of the Strait of Gibraltar and África. A little further on we can find Plaza de Santa María or “de las ranitas”. In it we find the Town Hall, the Pósito, from the 18th century, and the old Miguel de Cervantes school group, today the Library, which is one of the three buildings built in the neo-Mudejar style around 1924, under the Dictatorship of Primo de Rivera.

Among the shops in Tarifa, the numerous shops selling items related to wind sports stand out, but also a casual style of dress, more than a fashion, that characterizes Tarifa. Many of the shops are located on Calle Batalla del Salado, in the so-called “outside neighborhood” by the people of Tarifa. This area is accessed from the Puerta de Jerez. But we cannot forget other shops that sell local products, such as canned fish, until not many years ago the basis of the Tarifa economy, the famous patisseries of the town or something as everyday as the “macho” bread, which is delicious here. In the beautiful central market, next to the Alameda, you can buy fresh products. There are also numerous tapas restaurants and bars, with a varied offer among which the protagonist is once again fish, such as tuna and voraz, but without forgetting the tasty retinto meat, local cattle raised in freedom in the spacious Tarifa countryside, snails or vegetarian dishes such as tagarninas or nettles. At night you can have a drink in the numerous bars, which sometimes occupy a monument, as is the case of the Puerta de la Almedina, as well as spend the night in an accommodation, some of which are very charming.