Cathedral View

Jerez - Spain

Sherry, flamenco, tapas, horses... Jerez is the epitome of Andalucía, both old and new. Anna Berrill explores its endless culture, Moorish design and legendary bodegas

Travel Time 3hrs 10min

Why go?

The first stop for many on Spain’s Sherry Triangle, Jerez is fuelled by tapas and its ubiquitous tipple, and the city marches to a flamenco beat. Around 30km inland from Cádiz towards Seville, the cobbled alleys, plazas, baroque churches and bars make exploring a joy, while the sedate pace livens up when Jerez hosts its two big festivals: The Horse Fair in May and the Wine Harvest Festival in September. However, in spring, the weather is warm and the tree-lined streets are punctuated with vibrant reds and purples from the bougainvillea and jacaranda trees, which welcome in the Feria, one of Andalucía’s greatest fairs, from 11-18 May.

What to do

While it’s easy to spend several days bar-hopping along the historic streets, a visit to the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art’s museum http://www.realescuela.org is a must. Here you can watch the legendary steeds being exercised and trained for their world-renowned dances, and buy tickets for shows. There has been a tradition of horsemanship in Jerez for 600 years and, in addition to the elegant gardens that define the region, a museum, Museo del Enganche 00 34 956 319 635, is dedicated to the region’s equestrian heritage. The dramatic 11th-century Alcázar is one of Andalucía’s best-preserved Almohad-era fortresses and notable for the mosque-chapel and octagonal defence tower, accessed through Islamic-style gardens, past a 12th-century mosque that is now a chapel – there are great city views to be found at the top. The nearby Catedral de San Salvador fuses baroque, neoclassical and gothic styles and houses artwork by Pacheco and Zurbaran under ornate and elaborate domes. The centre of Jerez originally formed a diamond shape and was surrounded by more than 4km of walls, and parts of this are still visible today. However, it’s worth stepping outside of the city to explore the countless bodegas and their spectacular settings – Gonzáles Byass gonzalezbyass.com of Tío Pepe fame, and neighbouring Pedro Domecq 00 34 956 151 500 are a good place to start.

Where to stay

Hidden down a characterful street in the old town is La Fonda Barranco 00 34 956 332 141, lafondabarranco.com – a restored 19th-century merchant’s townhouse: think fresh whites, wooden beams and Moorish influence. Hotel Palacio Garvey 00 34 956 326 700, hotelpalaciogarvey.com was once home to the Garvey family – a leading sherry and brandy dynasty. The mid-19th century palace fuses neoclassical style with modern facilities and is a five-minute walk from the main shopping street. Beautiful manor house Hotel Villa Jerez 00 34 956 153 100, hace.es may not be the most centrally located, but the leafy surroundings and infinity pool more than make up for it.

Where to eat and drink

Contemporary meets traditional at chef Javier Munoz’s former bodega La Carboná 00 34 956 347 475, lacarbona.com where we suggest the sherry pairing menu for its grilled duck with pears and oloroso. The marble-topped tables at La Moderna 00 34 956 321 379 are always busy: it’s as popular for breakfast tostadas as it is for tapas. Tabanco San Pablo 00 34 956 338 436, tabancosanpablo.es is one of the city’s most popular bars – dry finos, sweet olorosos and plates of cured jamón and Manchego will delight. The smart design of La Cruz Blanca 00 34 956 324 535, restaurantelacruzblanca.com provides the backdrop to the likes of wild tuna with ginger and soy, while plates at next door Albores 00 34 956 320 266, restaurantealbores.com are more than worthy of the queues. Pick up fresh tuna, sea bream and prawns at Mercado de Abastos, on Calle Doña Blanca and, when sweet cravings hit, try La Rosa de Oro larosadeoro.net where palmeras de chocolate pastries are a must-order.

Time running out?

Couple a tour of winery Díez Mérito with a spot on its regional cooking class. 00 34 660 233 438, diezmerito.com

Map

Travel Information

Travel Information

Currency is the euro (EUR). Time is 1 hour ahead of GMT. Flight time from the UK to Jerez is around 3 hours.

Getting There

Iberia flies to Jerez de la Frontera La Parra Airport from both London Gatwick and London Heathrow with one stop at Adolfo Suarez Barajas. iberia.com

Ryanair offers flights to Jerez from London Stansted. Alternatively, you can fly via Madrid. ryanair.com

Resources

This is Andalucía is the official tourist board. Its website is packed with information, from history to what to do. andalucia.org

Average daily temperatures and rainfall

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min Temp578912151818171397
Max Temp161820222529333330252017
mm321210000234

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