Tarifa is a small town on the southernmost coast of the Iberian Peninsula. It is part of the province of Cádiz, which, in turn, is part of the Andalusia region. The town is located on the Costa de la Luz ("coast of light") and across the Straits of Gibraltar from Morocco, from which the lights of Tarifa are visible at night. The municipality includes Punta de Tarifa, the southernmost point in continental Europe. There are five smaller villages who depend economically on Tarifa. They are Tahivilla, Facinas, Bolonia and Zahara de los Atunes.
There are regular ferries between Tarifa and Tangier and bus services between Tarifa and Algeciras, about 20 km to the northeast, and Seville about 200km to the north. There is frequent illegal immigration of Africans to the coast near Tarifa.
Tarifa is well known for its buzzing social scene during the days of summer. It provides a small-town friendly atmosphere, with many activities for children, while also offering exciting activities for adults at night. In recent years it has become a popular spot for northern-Europeans to spend their summers.
Near the port of Tarifa there is a well-preserved castle, the Castillo de Guzman. The coast of Tarifa is also popular with windsurfers and kitesurfers due to the strong winds of the straits. For this reason Tarifa is also dotted with hundreds of wind turbines. Tarifa is an excellent place to watch migrating birds, in particular the storks which cross the Straits of Gibraltar in spring and autumn. Also whale and dolphin watching can be done on the 14 kilometer wide Straits. Like the name Costa de la Luz suggests, Tarifa enjoys many hours of sunlight each year.
Tarifa is sometimes credited with being the origin of the word, tariff, since it was the first port in history to charge merchants for the use of its docks, but other sources point to the Arabic word, ta'rïf, as the origin. The name "Tarifa" itself is derived from the name of the Berber warrior, Tarif ibn Malik.
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