This post is also available in: Dutch

Latest update: 26 July 2023

Sherry. Flamenco. Horses. Those three words actually sum up Jerez de la Frontera quite well. The city may not be as well known as Seville or Granada, but it should be. It is smaller, more relaxed, and very Andalusian. So let’s explore Jerez de la Frontera!

Jerez de la Frontera: on the border of what?

Jerez de la Frontera is located in Andalusia, in the Cádiz province. Many call it Jerez, but like other towns and cities in this region, it has ‘de la Frontera’ behind it. Chiclana de la Frontera, Arcos de la Frontera, Vejer de la FronteraFrontera means border. The Moors ruled parts of Spain from the 8th to the 15th century. And Moors is actually a collective name for different peoples, but let’s not dive into that. Jerez de la Frontera was on the border of the Moorish and Christian areas. Hence the addition.

Jerez de la Frontera Tio Pepe statue

What to do in Jerez de la Frontera?

Jerez de la Frontera is smaller in size and fame than Seville and Granada, but spending a little more time here really can’t hurt. During a long stay in Andalusia, I return to Jerez de la Frontera a few times to see as much of the town as possible. There are enough activities and sights to keep you entertained for two to three days. Some activities and sights are slightly outside the city center, so I recommend getting a rental car – also to explore more of Andalusia!

Walking tour in Jerez de la Frontera

I always enjoy discovering a city with a guide. This way, I get to know a piece of history while visiting the city’s highlights. In addition, the guides often know the best places to eat and drink, and I can better orient myself in the city. My best friend and I are lucky: the other walking tour participants don’t show up, so we have a private tour.

We walk past sights such as the Alcazar and the cathedral for about two hours. Guide Marta talks endlessly about sherry, the Moorish era, and religious buildings. For example, she explains how Muslims, Christians, and Jews lived together in Jerez de la Frontera long ago. That ended because the Spanish war treasury had to be filled. The Pope came to the rescue, but in return, all people in Spain had to become Catholic. Muslims and Jews were given a choice: either adopt the new faith or leave and leave your money and belongings behind. So many people “converted,” although they continued practicing their faith behind closed doors.

This history of the Spanish Inquisition is still evident in Jerez de la Frontera. Mosques were demolished and replaced by churches or modified so they could pass for a church. Fun fact: apparently, the mosques didn’t point to Mecca but were facing more to the south. Design flaw? The people in Jerez de la Frontera would rather not admit that.

Book the walking tour.
If there is no availability, you can also try Freetour or GuruWalk.

Jerez wine: sherry

Jerez de la Frontera, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, and El Puerto de Santa María form the ends of Spain’s sherry triangle. The name of Jerez de la Frontera evolved over the years: the Romans called the city Ceret, and the Moors called it Sherish. That eventually became Jerez de la Frontera, and you can clearly see and hear that the name sherry comes from the Moorish name. The Moors started making the wine themselves; they saw money in it. Although they did not drink alcohol, they had to make an exception for their own wine. So sherry was allowed.

Sherry tours and tastings in Jerez de la Frontera

There are about twenty sherry houses in Jerez de la Frontera, and in every restaurant, café, and tabanco (an old pub that serves sherry straight from the barrel), you can get several types of sherry. If you look around you, you see many people in the entire region drinking a glass of sherry instead of a beer or wine in bars.

So if you’re in Jerez de la Frontera, you pretty much owe it to yourself to visit at least one sherry house. For example Bodegas Tradición, Bodegas Lustau or Bodegas Gonzáles-Byass.

I join a tour at Bodegas Gonzáles-Byass. They make the Tío Pepe sherry. But not only that, they also make whisky, gin, and other drinks. But the tour is all about the sherry, of course. This sherry house is one of Jerez’s largest and feels quite commercial. It is a tightly planned tour with a train over the grounds of the sherry house. There are a few stops, including a “party location” designed by Gustav Eiffel (from the Eiffel Tower) and between the sherry barrels where a video is played. It’s all a bit too impersonal and massive for me – I liked the tour at Bodegas Manuel Aragon in Chiclana de la Frontera ten times as much.

Tip! Read more about sherry and wine tasting in the Cádiz region.

But hey, I’m learning something. For example, Manual Maria González was the founder of the sherry house, and he found a business partner in the Englishman Robert Byass. Hence the name. But who is Tío Pepe then? Well, Manuel named his sherry after his uncle Pepe. The Byass family is no longer a co-owner of the company; it’s now owned by the fifth generation of González.

I try the fino sherry and the cream sherry in the state-of-the-art tasting room. The fino is not for me; I like the cream better. You can expand your tasting with tapas and more sherry. Book online in advance!

Google Maps location

Wine tasting at Bodegas Luis Pérez in Jerez de la Frontera

If you prefer a wine tasting and tour of a vineyard, I can recommend Bodegas Luis Pérez. It is outside the center of Jerez de la Frontera, so you need a car to get there (I recommend renting cars from Sunny Cars or EasyTerra). The tour takes about 1.5 hours, and you can taste four wines with snacks. The vineyards are so beautiful. The area is so glorious. But during my visit, the notorious levante wind (a strong easterly wind) blows hard, so I am excited about the warmly decorated tasting room.

You may come across Luis Pérez’s wines in the restaurants in the region: Garum is often on the wine list. You can make a reservation via the website, but pay attention to the spoken language. We happen to have a Dutch guide on the English tour: Caroline. She is very pleasant and knows a lot about the wines and the Jerez region.

Google Maps location

The Church of San Miguel

The facades of the Iglesia de San Miguel deserve your attention. The church was built in the 15th century with a local, not-so-time-resistant type of stone. That is why you see, especially on the sides of the building, that the decoration on the facades is slowly decaying. Just look at the details; they are hard to see because everything crumbles. The parts that are not adequately covered and therefore unprotected against wind and weather actually fall off.

The entrance at the front is only open occasionally. Here you see some images on the sides. Our guide from the city walking tour directs us to the lion in front. Or well, lion… Apparently, there were no skilled sculptors in Jerez de la Frontera because it looks more like a dog. Very little of the statue matches reality. And that’s right, says our guide, because first of all, people had never seen a lion in real life, so they went by the stories. Secondly, they used local people to sculpt at that time. So if you showed just the slightest skill, you immediately got an important assignment.

In front of the church is a small square with orange trees. The Moors took those trees with them to Spain. But be careful, don’t pick the oranges. The trees on the street don’t grow tasty oranges. They are very sour and bitter and are used for marmalade or goat food.

Google Maps location

The Cathedral of Jerez de la Frontera

The cathedral of Jerez de la Frontera is the Catedral de San Salvador. It is a huge Catholic church that you can admire for 7 euros per person. You can also access the museum behind the altar and get a free audio guide. In the museum, you will find various religious relics and paintings.

The cathedral is said to have been built on the site of a former mosque. The cathedral has three layers and different architectural styles (Gothic and Baroque). It took a long time to build, so the style changed with the times. You can see that in the layers too. The top layer even fell off during an earthquake.

Apparently, you can also enter the minaret across the street, I didn’t know that, so I missed it. Too bad, because from the tower you have a nice view of the church (I see it on Google). Buy your entrance ticket here.

Google Maps location

Plaza del Arenal

The Plaza del Arenal is the main square of Jerez de la Frontera. In the center is a giant statue with a fountain surrounded by bars and restaurants. The statue is of Miguel Primo de Rivera y Orbaneja. It’s pretty controversial because he was a dictator. According to our guide, some people confuse him with his son, who was a bad guy. But this Miguel had good intentions for the city, she says.

Also take a closer look at the ‘dolphins’. From a distance, they look like dolphins, but if you look closely, you can see that nothing is right. Since when do dolphins have scales? The artist has clearly never seen a real dolphin…

Google Maps location

Jerez de la Frontera Plaza del Arenal

Walk from the Plaza del Arenal into the street Pescaderia Vieja. You get there by walking under the arches of the building that also houses the tourist information point. This is a charming little street with nice bars and restaurants.

Google Maps location

Flamenco in Jerez de la Frontera

Jerez de la Frontera is nicknamed the ‘cradle of flamenco’. The city has produced many famous flamenco dancers and even a flamenco style. It’s called buleria. Now you shouldn’t ask this non-Flamenco connoisseur to distinguish flamenco styles from each other, but what I read is that it is fast and rhythmic. Who am I to argue?

You can visit the Centro Andaluz De Documentación del Flamenco for free. You can view photos and drawings of flamenco artists, watch video and listen to audio. There’s even a whole study room if you want to know everything about flamenco. A sweet lady at the reception shows you the way – in Spanish, of course.

Google Maps location

Visit a flamenco show in Jerez de la Frontera

In Jerez de la Frontera there are many peñas flamencas: flamenco houses. You can watch the dance there or in a tabenco (the old sherry bars). For example, try Puro Arte (Google Maps location and buy tickets here) or Damajuana (Google Maps location). I went to Tabanco El Pasaje, where you either walk in and hope for a good seat or make a reservation that includes a tapas menu (Google Maps location).

Are you in the area in February/March? Then find out when the Festival de Jerez is precisely. During the festival, Jerez de la Frontera hosts many flamenco performances in the city. You must buy a ticket in advance. As a non-connoisseur, determining where to go is a bit tricky. Going by date and price, I end up at a performance by Carmen Young and Ivan Orellana – and it’s fantastic. Such energy!

Alcázar de Jerez

The Alcázar of Jerez de la Frontera is a Moorish complex from the 11th or 12th century. It consists of several buildings and a garden. In the winter, the garden looks a bit desolate, hopefully, there will be more to enjoy in the summer. I especially like the part where the mosque is. During the Spanish Inquisition (when the whole country had to become obligatory Christian), the mosque was slightly adjusted so that it could pass for a church. However, you can certainly still see a mosque in it.

There are also ruins of the Arab baths, and you can enter the Villavicencio palace. There is an audio obscura, but you can only visit it with a guide. Ask about this when you buy a ticket. You can get an audio guide via QR codes, which is included in the price. Sometimes it gets a bit long-winded, but there are some fun facts in between.

Google Maps location

Visit the Palacio de Domecq city palace

In the middle of the city of Jerez de la Frontera is the palace villa of the Domecq family. The name may ring a bell: this family has been making wine in the region for centuries. You can visit their chic city palace. Reserve a time slot because you are not allowed to wander through the palace on your own. An employee will accompany you. If you speak Spanish, the guide will explain everything. Otherwise, you will get an audio tour, and the guide will point you exactly where to look at the right time. Which is quite funny. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to take photos inside, but trust me, they are impressive spaces.

Google Maps location

Jerez de la Frontera Palacio Domecq

Tip! Do you also want to taste the wines of the Domecq family? In La Ina you can visit the Bodegas Miguel Domecq. Google Maps location

The dancing horses of Jerez de la Frontera

If you only have time to do one thing in Jerez de la Frontera, let this be it. The Royal Equestrian School of Jerez (Fundación Real Escuela Andaluza Del Arte Ecuestre) regularly puts on a wonderful show with Andalusian horses. This show is excellent entertainment even if you are not a horse person. All kinds of riding styles pass by: from classic dressage to carriage driving. It is imposing to see what the horses can do. Although I also wonder how animal-friendly it is to let a horse hop around on its hind legs.

You can combine your visit to the horses with a visit to the museum. If you’re there anyway, why not? You get access to the carriage museum, where you can view all kinds of carriages, and enter a second museum. It focuses on the equestrian school, riding styles, and horses. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to take photos in either museum. If you get there two hours before the show, you have plenty of time to see the museums and have coffee.

Do book in advance. For example, via GetYourGuide.

Google Maps location

Palacio del Tiempo: clock museum

In the Palacio del Tiempo (Palace of Time), you get to see a collection of antique clocks and pocket watches. They are mainly French and English clocks. Your entrance ticket also includes a tour of the palace of about 50 minutes. The museum is nice actually, but it’s just a short visit if the tour is unavailable in English. Luckily you can also download some extra information with a QR code.

Google Maps location

Visit the Jerez de la Frontera circuit

If horses don’t appeal to you, maybe horsepower will: the horsepower of engines. There is a motorcycle circuit in Jerez de la Frontera. The MotoGP, the world motorcycle racing championship, is held here. There are also other events. Check the calendar on the circuit website.

Google Maps location

Monastery of Cartuja

If you go out by car, you can make a short stop in the outer ring of Jerez de la Frontera at the Monasterio de la Cartuja de Santa María de la Defensión, or the Cartuja Monastery. The monastery has very limited opening hours, but you can admire it from the outside. It has a beautiful courtyard where it smells of orange blossom in spring. The facade of the monastery is richly decorated.

Google Maps location

Jerez de la Frontera Cartuja Monastery

Events in Jerez de la Frontera

There are regular major events in Jerez de la Frontera. The exact dates differ per year, so please Google the dates. These events are the most important:

  • February/March – Jerez Flamenco Festival, lots of Flamenco performances. Do buy a ticket!
  • April – Moto GP, on the Jerez de la Frontera circuit.
  • May – Jerez Feria del Caballero, a large horse market with music, dance, parades, and horses.
  • August/September – Vendimia, harvest festival with flamenco, horses, and grape stomping.

Eating and drinking in Jerez de la Frontera

If you want to try something local and authentic in Jerez de la Frontera, go to a tabanco. A tabanco is a simple Spanish pub serving sherry straight from the barrel. Often they also do tapas. There are several in Jerez de la Frontera, so you’re bound to find a spot somewhere.

Also fun: a tapas tour. This one will take you to several restaurants in Jerez de la Frontera.

La Carboná: a little fancy and oh-so-tasty

La Carboná is a beautiful restaurant in an old bodega where the fire dances merrily. On a cold day, my best friend and I are next to the fire when we come for lunch. And the food is so good. Be careful what you order in terms of price if you don’t want to make it too expensive. But with wines for three euros, you are always in the right place in Spain. I eat deliciously soft croquetas and a well-seasoned steak tartare. The service is friendly and tries to explain things in English because our Spanish is insufficient – to say the least. They also have a tasting menu, so if you have the time…

Google Maps location

Bar & Restaurant Albores

This restaurant in Jerez de la Frontera has been highly praised by the guide of my walking tour: Michelin star quality for a non-Michelin price. Sounds great! But because of that, my expectations are too high. Don’t get me wrong: the food is delicious, and the service is impeccable. I just expected more uniqueness, I guess. The menu contains many different types of dishes, most of which you can order in different quantities: tapa (snack), media racion (half portion), and racion (whole portion). This way, you can order many different things. The restaurant is open all day.

Google Maps location

Restaurante Mulai

Mulai is located in the colorful Pescaderia Vieja street. The explosion of colors instantly makes me happy. And the service too. Our waitress is attentive, almost un-Spanish. She regularly asks if everything tastes good and notices when our glasses are empty. During a sunny day, street musicians come by just a little too often, which is a pity. Mulai’s menu is Spanish with an Asian twist, very tasty! It is also advisable to book in advance here.

Google Maps location

Parking in Jerez de la Frontera

It is a relief that you can still park for free in many places in Spain. This is also possible in Jerez de la Frontera, although a parking garage is not expensive either. By Amsterdam standards, at least.

There is a parking garage directly below the Plaza del Arenal (here), then you are right in the middle of the city. You can park for free on the main road Carretera de la Chaparra (here), or try this small parking lot (here).

Haven’t arranged a rental car yet? Then try EasyTerra and Sunny Cars. I prefer to rent there because there are no extra costs once you pick up the car.

Hotels in Jerez de la Frontera

I stayed in Chiclana de la Frontera and visited Jerez de la Frontera from there. But I can imagine that you would like to stay for a night or two. I have looked up some friendly hotels in Jerez de la Frontera for you:

More Spain inspiration?

  • Accommodation. All-time favorites: Booking.com and Campspace. Rather stay in a hostel? Try HostelWorld.
  • Activities. You book the best tours and activities with GetYourGuide and Viator. Another good option is WithLocals. And Freetour.com and GuruWalk both offer ‘free’ walking tours, while Baja Bikes has bike tours.
  • Attractions and museums. Get a 5% discount at Tiqets on museums and attractions with the discount code: KIMOPREIS22
  • Boat. You can catch a boat to Mallorca from Barcelona, for example. Book your ticket at Balearia. You can also get to the other Balearic Islands with Balearia. Compare ferry prices at Direct Ferries.
  • Bus and train. Travel to Spain with NS International or Flixbus. Other useful companies are Busbud, 12go, and Omio, also for buses and trains within Spain.
  • Car rental. My go-to car rental companies are EasyTerra and Sunny Cars as they have all-inclusive / worry-free offers. Want to compare more prices? Check out Discover Cars.
  • Flights. Have a look at Transavia and Vueling, but do compare prices! Definitely check out Momondo, Skyscanner, and Kiwi.
  • Money. Your debit and credit cards may not get accepted everywhere. You could opt for a Revolut card as an additional card when you travel. 
  • Package deals. Rather go on a catered trip? From The Netherlands, there is plenty of choice. ANWB vakanties, Tui, Shoestring or Sawadee, of rather D-reizen, Sunweb, Corendon or Vakantie Discounter?
  • SIM card. Beware of unexpectedly high calling and internet costs. Buy a local SIM card when you arrive, or arrange one online via Airalo.
  • Travel gear. Buy your gear at Bever or Decathlon, or simply at Bol.com.
  • Travel guides. Let’s get you ready for your trip! Order a travel guide to browse through. For example, at Bol.com or Amazon.
  • Yoga retreat. Or why not treat yourself to a yoga retreat in Spain!

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