Jerez de la Frontera in the province Cadiz is one of the Andalusian cities with the most pure traditional Spanish character. The very best time to visit Jerez de la Frontera is in spring when it's time for the "Feria" Spring Festival: Traditional clothes, beautiful Spanish horses, flamenco music and dancing, and of course fine Spanish sherry wines and traditional Spanish food are the highlights of the festival.
Jerez is sherry wine hometown. To visit any of the sherry bodegas is almost a must when one is in place. It is best to book the visit in advance. Most of the “Bodegas” will not let you visit the wine cellars on your own.
Many believe that Spanish flamenco culture was born in Jerez, and the city has a long tradition in the art of Spanish horse breeding and riding.
The Royal Andalusian and Spanish Riding School “Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Ecuestre” in Jerez is probably the world's very best. Amazing performances and shows can bee seen twice a week.
In recent years Jerez has made a name in the world of motor sport and golf with the famous Jerez race court and many first class golf resorts.
The festivals are many in Jerez, one after the other throughout the year. There is always something going on in Jerez, where the Andalusian Easter is also celebrated in a very special way as in the rest of Andalusia.
In the month of May the horses and the festival "La Feria del Caballo" are the highlight in Jerez de la Frontera. The huge festive area of 52 000 m2 is illuminated with 1.2 million lamps and is visited by more than 2 million people. It is said that half a million bottles of sherry are sold (And drunk) during the festive week where horses and parades are all over the city.
In September, the Autumn Festival in Jerez is going on during almost three weeks, "Fiestas de Otoño". The festival is a mix of all local traditions: Wine, horses and flamenco, what makes it a lovely Andalusian cultural festival.
The Jerez-Sherry appellation of origin embraces the triangle formed by Jerez, Sanlúcar de Barrameda and El Puerto de Santa María, although it can also be extended to parts of Chiclana, Chipiona, Rota and Trebujena. What makes these wines special, apart from the climate, are the procedures used in the winemaking process, such as mixing old wines with new, so that we talk of soleras rather than “vintages”. Another special feature is the formation of a layer of fermentation – the “flor” – which is what determines whether or not a wine will be a fino. If the flor does not appear, the wine will be an oloroso. Depending on colour, flavour and strength, sherries can be classified as finos, amontillados, olorosos, moscateles, palo cortado or Pedro Ximénez. The most important wines from the province of Huelva are those of El Condado, which are similar to sherry in type. The production is consumed almost exclusively in Andalusia.
Andalucian Flamenco Centre in Jerez de la Frontera
Housed in the Pemartin Palace, itself a jewel of Jerezanian architecture. The Centre offers exhibitions, concerts, seminars, courses, and all kinds of activities related to the world of flamenco. Open Monday to Friday 10-14 and 17-20. Saturdays 10-13.30.
Clock Museum "La Atalaya"
Housed in a mansion of neo-classic style, it is considered to be one of the best of its kind in Europe and the only one with more than 300 clocks in perfect working order. Open Monday to Saturday 10.00 - 13.00.
The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrianism in Jerez de la Frontera
Considered one of the greatest horse shows in the world and famous for a spectacular combination of dressage and vaquera. The Andalusian Horse Ballet is a choreographic marvel.
Spanish Bodegas in Jerez de la Frontera
Famed throughout the world, the bodegas of Jerez open their doors daily to bring you closer to the art of creating the wine of most singular distinction: Sherry. Most bodegas offers visits every morning.
Festivals in Jerez de la Frontera
There are three important festivals in Jerez: The Horse Fair in the month of May, The Harvest fair in September and of course as everywhere in southern Spain, Holy Week in March or April.
The Zoo in Jerez de la Frontera
The Zoo in Jerez de la Frontera is exhibiting the most important and complete zoological collection in all Andalusia, including some species in danger of extinction. Open Tuesday to Sunday 10.00-18.00
Racing Track in Jerez de la Frontera
The Jerez circuit was inaugurated in 1986 and is now one of the best racing tracks in Europe. The circuit in Jerez hosts all kind of motor racing events like Formula 1 and motorcycle races. Spanish Grand Prix, Formula 3000, etc.
Jerez de la Frontera possesses remains of pre-historic settlements, 12th century castle walls of Arabic origin and monuments from late 15th and 16th centuries. There are also many outstanding monuments dating from the 18th and 19th centuries, the period known as The Golden Age of Sherry.
Originally an Arabic stronghold with later additions. Inside the fortress is the Mosque.
The Church of San Miguel
The construction of this beautiful church started in 15th century and was completed in 17th.
The Cathedral in Jerez
The Cathedral was built on the remains of a mosque in the 18th century. It includes a museum.
Characteristic of the Mudejar period, when Muslims were allowed to live under Christian rule. It was Constructed in the first half of the 15th century.
The Town Hall
The principal Building in Jerez de la Frontera. The Town Hall was Built in the second half of the 16th century by Andres Rivera. The style is predominantly plateresque, italianate decoration imposed on a basically gothic structure.
The City Walls
Though no longer complete, there are several remains of the old Hispanic - Islamic city walls.
The Old City
The old city of Jerez de la Frontera is an area where streets and buildings recalls the Hispanic - Muslim origins of the city. Within the old part of Jerez de la Frontera you find some outstanding churches and palaces: San Mateo, San Lucas, San Marcos.
The Carthusian Monastery of St. Mary
Founded in 1476 it is the most interesting building of its kind in the province. There is a combination of gothic, renaissance and barroque architectural styles.
Around Jerez de la Frontera there are several routes well worth visiting.
Arcos de la Frontera
28 km (18miles) from Jerez on the Cartagena route. Arcos de la Frontera has been declared Centre of Cultural & Historical Heritage and it is also the capital of the villages and towns along the famous Ruta de Pueblos Blancos (White Village Route). Arcos de la Frontera is considered one of the most beautiful villages in all Andalusia. Places to visit in Arcos de la Frontera are: Iglesia de Santa Maria (St. Marys Church), Balcon del Tajo (Tajos Terrace), Exposicion de Artesania (The Local Handicrafts Exhibition), and Iglesia de San Pedro (St. Peters Church).
Sanlucar de Barrameda
22 km (14 miles) from Jerez on the Jerez - San Lucar route. Sanlucar de Barrameda is situated on the left bank of the river Guadalquivir, just in front of the world famous nature reserve Doñana. Sanlucar de Barrameda is the very quintessence of a south Spanish fishing village.
Sanlucar de Barrameda offers the very best of Spanish sea food and fresh fish and is a very popular holiday destination among Spaniards. Once there: Please do not miss a walking tour in the old part of the town, including the market.
Sanlucar de Barrameda is the perfect place for nature lovers, who plans to visit the nature reserve Doñana where bird watching and untouched nature are the highlights. Cruises on the river Guadalquivir runs all around the year, including stops to visit Doñana with guided tours, by foot or in jeeps.
Another highlight in Sanlucar de Barrameda are the visits to the local and typical Bodegas where the local sherry wines patiently matures in the wine cellars where the river Guadalquivir meets the Atlantic Ocean. Sanlucar de Barrameda also offers a large number of very fine sandy beaches and warm clear water, and of course being located in the south of Spain: Pleasant temperatures and sun, sun, sun and more sun!
In Sanlucar de Barrameda it is more than easy to combine leisure, gastronomy and interesting visits and excursions.
El Puerto de Santa Maria
Only 11 km (14 miles) from Jerez following the road National Route IV. Puerto de Santa Maria is famous all over Spain for excellent sea food, shellfish, bars and wine. From Puerto de Santa Maria cosy steamships takes you along the river to visit the province capital Cadiz.
Medina Sidonia - Vejer - Barbate - Zahara de los Atunes
The route Medina Sidonea - Vejer - Barbate - Zahara de los Atunes is a must in the wonderful province of Cadiz.
From Jerez there is 28 km (18 miles) to Medina Sidonea. Medina Sidonea is a historical white village with a medieval Islamic air, famous for its cakes and pastries of Arabic origin. Strolling around the narrow streets in Medina Sidonia is really delightful.
Vejer de la Frontera
Vejer de la Frontera is located 62 km (39 miles) from Jerez. Vejer de la Frontera is an enchanting white village, declared as a part of Andalusia's Historic and Artistic Heritage.
Barbate follows on the same route. About 70 km (44 miles) from Jerez. Barbate is a fishing village on the Atlantic coast.
Zahara de los Atunes
Zahara de los Atunes is the last stop, 80 km (50 miles) from Jerez. It is a tiny fishing village where you find the fantastic beach Bolonia.