Jerez de la Frontera, or simply Jerez, is a beautiful city with an abundance of natural beauty, cultural, historical landmarks, delicious local cuisine, great weather, nightlife, cobbled streets, flamenco and of course, sherry. We take a deeper look into the heart of Jerez and find out the top six things you absolutely must do on a short visit to this delightful place.
Article by Victoria Wood
1) Drink Sherry
There is far more to Jerez than it being the home of sherry, but of course if you are going there, you simply must test the world-famous barrels of varieties and flavours that are on offer. This is true Jerez heritage- Jerez literally means sherry – and so, ‘when in Rome’ as they say. The best way is to take a tasting tour or simply pick a sherry winery to head to and taste their wares. Sherry is only produced in Jerez wine-making region and is then sent to the other two ‘sherry triangle’ towns of Jerez: Sanlúcar de Barrameda and El Puerto de Santa María. There are plenty of tours to choose from, one of our favourites being the tour of Bodegas Díez Mérito which has been in the wine business since 1876.
2) Eat Tapas
This sounds like an obvious one, and something you can partake in pretty much anywhere in Spain, but, it is still something that Jerez kindly invites you to try as it actually claims to be the place where tapas were invented!
The origins of the ‘tapa’ (meaning top, or lid) came from bartenders placing a slice of bread on top of the customer’s sherry glass to prevent any flies or dust getting in. This progressed into people eating the bread, which then again progressed into the bread having something placed on top of it creating more interesting snacks that came for free with your drink.
The best places to look for are called tabancos, and they are exclusive to Jerez. They are traditional tavern-style establishments you can still find dotted around the city centre which serve local sherries and tapas, and sell local wines.
For a more detailed map of the Tabancos of Jerez you should check out the official ‘ruta de tabancos’ which will take you on a tour of the most famous and popular tabancos in the city.
3) Feel the History at the Alcazar
This Moorish architectural wonder was built in the 11th century when southern Spain was under Muslim rule. The Citadel features the City Gate, the Mosque, the main courtyard and the Villavicencio Palace, as well as its gardens, the Countryside Gate and the Arab Baths with their star-shaped shafts of light.
As you enter the only remaining mezquita, or mosque, in Jerez (there once were 18 in total), through horse-shoe shaped arches, passing fountains and peaceful patio gardens you can feel the arabic impression left on the city as well as throw your senses into a bygone culture. Where the Almohad palace once stood now stands the Villavicencio Palace known for its exceptional panoramic views over the city. A definite must-see when in the city, see the opening times and information here.
4) Wonder at the Palace
A definitively unique experience comes in the form of the tour of the Palacio del Virrey Laserna. Available in English, French or Spanish, the tour takes around 40 minutes and takes you on a journey through this antique-filled home. Ever since the 13th century generations of the same family have lived here, and still live here to this day. The Count of the Andes himself will take you around his family home and shower your senses in antiquity and heirlooms. This is true Spanish aristocratic living at its finest. The palace became an attraction and opened to the public in 2015, tours cost €7 per person. See here for more information on the palace and opening times.
5) See Horses Dance
The Andalucían horses are such an incredible spectacle as their majestic riders perform miraculous balletic dances with them. They are seemingly delicate and their accuracy in their performances is outstanding for such muscular heavy creatures. Try the Fundación Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Ecuestre to witness a jaw dropping 90-minute display of this traditional equestrian, artistic phenomenon.
If you happen to be in town in May you could be in luck and get to see the week-long annual fair ‘Feria de Jerez’, or ‘Feria del Caballo’ which combines the city’s two greatest passions; sherry and horses. There are countless events to get involved in at the city fairground at Av. Duque de Abrantes, see here for more information on the 2022 fair.
6) Experience Flamenco
Flamenco is more than music and dance, it is made of soul-penetrating passion and is an art that is absolutely worth experiencing when in Jerez. There are a multitude of venues that offer live shows on a regular basis, this map will take you to the heart of Jerez de la Frontera’s flamenco world.