Anyone who’s done a long crossing before knows it feels good to have fuel and provisioning stops. It’s really nice to have solid ground under your feet again after a few days at sea. I’m doing my 10th Atlantic crossing and want to tell you about my favorite stops along the way. I’ve visited some amazing places over the years and these experiences make yachting all worth it. Travel, explore and bond with your fellow crew!
Most boats stop for provisions and fuel in Gibraltar or Tarifa before heading out to the Atlantic. Gibraltar is a British colony whereas Tarifa is the most southern city of Spain. From both cities, you can see the African mainland. It’s the last chance to stop before the Atlantic. I like both places, they are relatively close to each other but completely different.
As you can imagine Gibraltar being a British colony, they speak English and use the Pound Sterling. It’s a British enclave since the 18th century, but nowadays has its own government. The architecture is very British, as soon as you leave the docks you’ll find a Morrison’s (popular British supermarket chain). It makes the British crew members excited to have their shopping done there, so I always receive extensive lists of products they missed for months.
Gibraltar has some historical sites and a long maritime history. The rock in Gibraltar is the only place in Europe where you can encounter wild monkeys. A cable car can bring you to the top of the rock within a couple of minutes. The view of both continents is beautiful, be careful of the monkeys though. They are very cheeky and will try to steal anything just for laughs! Check out visite Gibraltar for more information.
Gibraltar has some good restaurants and a lot of English pubs with traditional pub grub. You’ll find most restaurants, bars and even casino’s in the main square within the walled city or at the Ocean Village Harbor.
Both a taxi driver and an elderly Indian couple recommended Charlie’s steak and grill in Ocean Village. We decided to give it a go. Charlie’s serves an international menu of steak and Indian fare. It’s a strange and unique combination because most Indians don’t eat beef. Cows are holy in India and eating or harming them is considered sinful.
My expectations were quite low after reading the extensive and confusing menu. They also serve pasta, Mexican food and stir fries, generally not a good sign. They really surprised me though. I must admit that the food was superb, prices are reasonable and the service was spot on. It’s a good place to have a crew dinner and start your night in Ocean Village!
Tarifa is a different story. It’s Spanish so the local currency is Euro. It’s a charming city with Moorish architecture and quaint little squares. It’s excellent for shopping and there are lots of café’s and good restaurants. If you want to do some shopping keep in mind that you’re in Spain, where most shops are closed in the afternoon due to siesta. In the evening shops and markets open again.
Tarifa is one of Europe’s top spots for water sports like wind- and kite surfing. It’s known for bird watching and it’s lovely beaches. There are also some interesting prehistoric Roman sites in the near vicinity, unfortunatly I didn’t have enough time to visite them.
When the sun goes down the town becomes buzzing and lively. Good bars to start off the night are “Surf Bar Tomatito” and “Moskito”, both are located in Old Town. “La Ruina” is a great place for some late night dancing and flirting. This is also the only club which stays open year around. I’ve had some epic nights there!!!
Restaurants in Tarifa are plentiful and very internationally oriented. From burgers, sushi, steakhouses to tapas and French fondue restaurants. Tarifa has it all. Food and drinks are even slightly cheaper than across the bridge in Gibraltar!
A nice, quirky restaurant for a crew dinner is “El lobo”. This is a table grill and fondue restaurant, It’s a unique concept and guaranteed for a fun night out.
An absolute favorite to me and many others is “El Lola”. It is situated just outside of the tourist area and is very popular with the locals. It has a few tables inside and a large courtyard for alfresco dining. The restaurant is always busy, so when you arrive there you’ll probably have to wait and subscribe to the list to get a table. Don’t worry, the wait is never long and the food and atmosphere are so worth it!
Enjoy your time in Gibraltar or Tarifa. Don’t get carried away too much and party too hard because sailing on a hangover is the worst! Our next stop will be Tenerife.