Why visit Jerez de la Frontera (Spain)?
Two things spring to mind when visitors think of Jerez de la Frontera: sherry and the beautiful horses of Andalucía. Tio Pepe, Sandeman and Harveys, amongst others, all have a presence in the heart of the town. The center is dominated by its old city walls and the Moorish Palace and Fortress, parts of which date from the 10th century. A pleasant and cool place to explore, it has an intriguing camera obscura in a tower, giving a 360 degree view of real time Jerez. One of Andalucía’s most beautiful palaces, the Atalaya, contains two interesting museums – the Palace of Time and the Mystery of Jerez. The Mystery of Jerez tells the story of sherry and wine and the Palace of Time has a fine collection of clocks. As a reminder of the city’s past wealth (built on sherry!), there is no shortage of palaces to visit in and around the town. The Bertemati Palace has beautiful ironwork balconies and the Palacio Duque de Abrantes is home to the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art. Whether a horse lover or not, this is a place that should be visited. The ‘dancing stallions’ show takes place daily. Visitors can also see horses in their stables or practising their jumping and dressage. Saddles are still made here in the traditional way and there is also an interesting interactive museum.
Temperatures never get very cold in Jerez de la Frontera, at least during the day, but the extremely high temperatures from June to September can make exploring on foot tiring at these times. You will find that April, May, September and October are a good time to visit the city for a short break. Easter Holy Week, although very busy, is a good time to see traditional Catholic processions and parades.
Jerez de la Frontera is a town of narrow, cobbled streets, terraces and wide squares and is pleasant to wander around on foot. The bodegas of the sherry companies often have guided tours and tastings and are a cool place to escape the heat of the hot months. There are several guided walking routes, including Jerez by Night, Old Jerez and the Old Sherry Bars route. Open top buses are a good way to get an overview of the town and you can hop on and off whenever you like to visit sights that catch your eye. A fairly new initiative is the free bicycle rental service. These can be rented for periods of two hours from coin operated machines in the central square, at the bus station and at the university campus.