Beautiful weather, streets lined with palm trees, delicious regional food—what’s not to love about the home of sherry, Jerez de la Frontera?
Jerez is sometimes overlooked when people travel to nearby Seville or Cadiz—but this is a mistake! Jerez has the same Andalusian charm as Seville without all the crowds, and it has something else going for it as well: sherry! Sherry originated in Jerez, and in fact, the two words mean one and the same. While Jerez is a mandatory stop for anyone wanting to dive deeper into Spanish wine culture, this city has something for everyone—wine lover or not! Follow our guide for the top five things to do in Jerez de la Frontera and you’ll leave with a new favorite Spanish town.
1. Visit a sherry winery in Jerez
The city of Jerez de la Frontera is synonymous with its most famous export: sherry wine! This fortified wine is produced only in the Jerez wine-making region, then aged in the towns of Jerez, Sanlúcar de Barrameda and El Puerto de Santa María. These three towns make up “the sherry triangle.” This means that no visit to Jerez is complete without visiting one of its famed wineries and sampling the famous sherry wines for yourself!
As it is one of the most essential things to do in Jerez, there are some great wine tours in the town. We personally love the tour of Bodegas Díez Mérito. They’ve been making sherry wine since 1876! This family-run winery is beautifully maintained and visiting it is the perfect opportunity to both learn about and try the unique wines of the region.
Address: Calle Diego Fernández Herrera, 4
2. Visit typical tapas bars and go on a tapas crawl!
It’s said that tapas were invented in Jerez—so what better place to embark on a tapas crawl? Traditionally, a small snack on a piece of bread would be placed over the small sherry glasses as a ‘lid’ (or tapa). This served to protect the wine from sand and flies.
If you’re looking for the perfect place to eat tapas in Jerez, try a tabanco. This type of establishment is found only in Jerez. They emerged in the 17th century, and there are still several of these traditional places scattered around the city centre today. Tabancos served both as taverns where you could sip on sherry and nibble on typical tapas, as well as places where you could buy wine in bulk. We love the atmospheric Tabanco San Pablo (Calle San Pablo, 12), which dates back to 1934. For a modern take on the traditional tabanco, try El Almacén (Calle Latorre, 6), a wine bar located in the city center. And don’t leave without trying their buñelos de bacalao!
There is even an official Ruta de Tabancos (Tabancos Route) in Jerez. Read about the tabancos here and add this to your list of things to do in Jerez!
3. Take a trip back in time at the Alcazar
While smaller and lesser-known than the famous Alcazar in Seville, anyone interested in architecture or history will love checking out this Moorish wonder in Jerez! Built in the 11th century under Muslim rule, this fortress is now a great architectural throwback to Spain’s past. Visiting it is one of the most interesting things to do in Jerez.
The fabulous towers, patios and fortifying walls are evident. Inside, there are some more surprising and interesting things including an olive oil press, an old pharmacy and Arab baths. Tickets cost five euros, with the added bonus of a much lower number of visitors than at the Alcazars in Seville and Cordoba. There’s no doubt that it’s an absolute must-see in Jerez!
Address: Calle Alameda Vieja, s/n
4. Get lost inside a palace
Have you ever wanted a glimpse into the life of Spanish aristocracy? A visit to the Palacio del Virrey Laserna is your opportunity to do exactly that! Kept within the same family since the 13th century, this residential palace has been passed down through generations. Finally, in 2015 it became open to the public for the very first time.
The family still lives in the house today, and it is filled with antiques, art and family heirlooms, creating an interesting take on a museum. The palace has been the residence of the Count of the Andes since the 18th century. At your visit, the Count of the Andes himself will show you around! Entrance is 7 euros and you can do the obligatory guided tour in English, French or Spanish. It lasts around 40 minutes. This visit is certainly one of the most unique things to do in Jerez.
Address: Conde de los Andes, 8
5. See a spectacle of horses!
Jerez isn’t just famous for sherry. This town is also known throughout the country for its Andalusian horses. Another popular attraction for visitors to Andalusia is seeing a Jerez horse show. If you’re interested in witnessing this incredible performance, head to the Fundación Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Ecuestre. The 90-minute show is an equestrian ballet which shows off the typical dancing of the Andalusian horses, complete with 18th-century costumes. Check the calendar on their website for availability and make sure to add this to your list of things to do in Jerez!
Insider’s Tip: Visit Jerez during the annual Feria de Jerez (also known as Feria del Caballo) which happens every May, to combine Jerez’s two great loves: sherry and horses! Aside from a number of horse-related events and activities, you’ll also enjoy the week-long party and festive atmosphere that fills the fairground.
Address: Av. Duque de Abrantes, s/n
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Ashley fell in love with the Spanish language, culture, and food while studying in Madrid—and basically never left! Besides a two year stint in southern Spain, the rest of her time has been spent exploring the bars and restaurants of Spain’s capital city, and the mountains and countryside that surround it.