If it weren't for its weather conditions Tarifa would be just another (excellent) place with endless beaches and Andalusian charm in the south of Spain.
Still, what makes the southernmost point in continental Europe so special - and one of the most visited spots for kitesurfers around the world - is the strength and regularity of the wind.
There is the strong and warm levante, blowing from the south east from May to October mainly, and poniente, a chillier counterpart that comes from the ocean during the summer and which characteristics are optimum for kite.
This extreme sport - a mixture of windsurfing and paragliding - was once risky and rare, but during the last decade its popularity has been in the rise. Nowadays it is considered a safe practice achievable for almost all ages, since it is based in technical skills and common sense rather than strength and physical size.
A quality that makes this sport so popular is the number of modalities that one can practice depending on preference: Freestyle, the most attention-getting part of competitions, is based on performing radical tricks and technical manoeuvres, whereas Race consists in completing a circuit of buoys in the water.
Surf-Kite would be another spectacular variant: the goal is to surf the waves with the help of the kite, capturing riders from skate, surf and body-boarding.
Crossings is not a competition modality, but its high enjoyment comes from sailing to areas inaccessible by other means.
Tarifa also offers vast beaches of white sand and an ample variety of places to sail depending on varying strengths of the wind, what makes it almost a theme park for kitesurfers.
It would be unfair not to mention Tarifa's other qualities, apart from being a sport paradise. Its singular location - in the narrower part of the Strait of Gibraltar - makes it the borderline between the Mediterranean sea and the Atlantic ocean.
It is also located in the middle of the Natural Park of the Alcornocales and the Natural Park of the Strait of Gibraltar.
The town's old centre - with a blend of Arab and Spanish tradition - is full of hostels, boutiques and alfresco eateries, and it has a traditional food market that would stun any fish lover.
Tarifa is then an exceptional place to visit for anyone but, surely, the place to go if you belong to the international crowd that follows the wind.
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