Jerez de la Frontera, Andalucia

"A City with a Passion for Flamenco, Horses and Wine." - Reviewed by Lisa

  • Lisa says: “Do not miss the open air Flamenco performances under the stars at the Alcazar – beautiful memories.”
  • Francisco says: “I could spend days in this city just enjoying all the bullfighting memorabilia in each bar, restaurant and café.”
  • Aaron says: “We loved all the kid-friendly restaurants. The kids were fascinated by the dancing horses.”
  • Miguel says: “Spending long days on the fabulous beaches, then long evenings in the fabulous city restaurants – my idea of the perfect vacation!”

Talk to most tourists who have visited the deep south of Spain and they will not have been to Jerez – and may not even have heard of it! The city appears to be the overlooked ugly step-sister – which is a great shame as it still remains truthful to the personification of what this region is truly about.

Jerez (you pronounce the J as an H and the Z as a TH = Hereth) is a small, very approachable agricultural town where established local families have been producing world-famous wines, horses, and flamenco artists for centuries. Plazas are synonymous with Spain… well, here you have plaza after plaza – one pedestrian-friendly square leading off another – each surrounded by elegant architecture and skirted with cafes, bars and restaurants. Take a ride on one of the painted antique fairground carousels or visit a local equestrian cortijo for an authentic Spanish country experience. There is something in this lovely down-to-earth city to amuse everybody.

As you tour the town, you cannot escape the importance of the Sherry industry. Visit the bodegas, enjoy a complimentary amontillado after dinner, or try a Sherry “crawl” along the Ruta de los Tabancos – discovering one bar after another and sampling a glass of their finest – often straight from the barrel.

Nor will you be able to avoid the passion for bullfighting. Every bar, café and restaurant pays tribute to their local heroes, whether they be bulls, horses or men.

And don’t expect to have to book a ticket at a “Tabla” to hear and see flamenco – impromptu performances were erupting in every street when we last visited.

The surrounding areas of gently rolling hills – which come alive in the spring with fields full of millions upon millions of bright yellow, friendly-faced sunflowers – offer up the real Andalucia. Kilometres can fly by without a glimpse of a home or any other man-made construction. Suddenly, you turn a corner and rising in front of you is a white, hilltop town clinging to a precipice or cascading down a lofty incline. It’s impossible to visit them all, though you’ll want to. But then, that’s what return visits are for…

LOCATION

  • 621 km (about a 6-hr drive) from Madrid
  • 45-min drive from Seville
  • 70 km (45-min drive) from Vejer de la Frontera
  • 115 km (1 hr 30-min drive) to Gibraltar

EXPERIENCES

  • TRIPWIX tailor-made “Spanish Classic Countryside Pursuits” program – Enjoy a day in the countryside “a campo abierto” at Los Alburejos and see the Torrestrella brave bulls and the famous (pure Spanish race) purebred horses. Or visit the spectacular Fuente Rey – a benchmark of the bullfighting world.
  • Personal sherry bodega tours – with host Elena Domecq
  • Cooking classes – Experience the food and wine of southern Spain – from amazing albondigas to perfect paella!
  • Mercado de Abastos – Wonderful fresh produce, beautifully displayed, fish so fresh you expect it to jump out of your hands, meat and much more!
  • Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art – See riders performing classical and Andalusian dressage on the most beautiful horses.
  • Dance – Summer Flamenco under the stars at Alcazar
  • Flamenco festival – Held every February
  • The Feria de Jerez is held in May – Bullfighting aficionados and lovers of all things Spanish will never fail to revisit the unique memories of this incredibly vibrant festival.
  • Lazing on the beach – Miles of golden, sandy beaches nearby
  • Sightseeing – Visits to Andalucian hilltop towns