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Beaches & Windsurfing

If you're traveling between Cádiz and Tarifa along the coast and are a beach buff, you may want to stop several times. Expect grand vistas of the coast of Africa and a rolling, treeless, and scrub-covered savage landscape. The terrain is determined by the constant drying winds blowing northward from the Moroccan Sahara.

Tarifa and the villages flanking it form the windsurfing capital of Andalusia. Especially noteworthy is Playa Zahara near the hamlet of Zahara de los Atunes, immediately northwest of Tarifa, reached on E-5. Zahara emerges from the isolated and beautiful landscape as a white-walled, fortified, and very Arabic-looking village. A hard-drinking, athletic crowd of 20-somethings from northern Europe, especially Germany and Belgium, congregates here for windsurfing or eating and drinking at the stands selling fried and grilled fish along the beach.

Another popular spot for windsurfing is El Porro en Ensenada de Valdevaqueros, the bay formed by Punta Paloma to the immediate west of Tarifa.

To the immediate south of Tarifa begins Playa de los Lances, whose white sands stretch 5km (3 miles) along the Atlantic. The drawbacks here are high winds and a strong undertow.

For windsurfing rentals, visit Tarifa Spin Out Surfbase (tel. 95-623-63-52; www.tarifaspinout.com), 10km (6 1/4 miles) west of Tarifa. Rentals cost 26€ ($42) per hour or 60€ ($96) per day.

An uninterrupted stretch of fine beach covers most of the coastline between Tarifa and Conil to the northwest. In this isolated landscape, there are some simple, government-rated one-star hostels where surfers crash for the night, plus a lot of nondescript cafes in the villages serving wine and fish platters. Playa El Palmar, near Conil, is nice and sandy, but it's windy and has no protection from the fierce sun.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.