The city of Jerez de la Frontera revolves around the Andalucian passions of sherry, horses and flamenco. It is a popular day trip destination from Seville, attracting visitors to its winery tours and to the ‘Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Ecuestre’ where you can watch performances by the famous dancing horses. the city also serves as an ideal base from which to discover Spain’s ‘sherry triangle’, the secluded coastal towns of the Costa de la Luz and the inland villages known as the “Pueblos Blancos”.
Unfortunately, few international flights serve this airport so most visitors to the region either fly in via a domestic connection from Madrid or Barcelona or they fly into Malaga Airport and drive here. There’s an excellent road network with relatively few vehicles using them which allows you to enjoy a stress free touring holiday.
JEREZ TRAVEL GUIDE – CONTENTS:
Getting There – Flights to Jerez
Driving to Jerez de la Frontera
Jerez Hotels – Best Places to Stay
Jerez Tourist Attractions – What to See and Do
Sherry Tours in Jerez
Jerez Restaurants – Best Places to Eat
Festivals in Jerez de la Frontera
Jerez de la Frontera Airport
The airport of Jerez de la Frontera lies just 8km northeast of the city but it attracts very few international arrivals throughout the year although there are a few extra services during the summer months. If you can’t find a suitable flight you should consider a connection via Madrid or Barcelona as there are domestic flights to Jerez all year round. Alternatively, you could fly to Seville (80km), Malaga (230km) or even Gibraltar which are all quite accessible by public transport or rental vehicle.
On arrival transfers into Jerez are very straightforward thanks to the local train service which gets you into the city centre in less than ten minutes. Mid-distance trains also connect the airport with both Seville and Cadiz in about an hour. There are also bus services between the airport and the city centre as well as taxis which meet arrivals.
An alternative is to pre-book transport from the airport and have a driver waiting for you on arrival. You can get a live quote from the following search box:
Airport Car Hire: If you’re visiting this part of Spain with a view to travelling around rural Andalucia then you’d be best off picking up a hire car at the airport than relying on public transport. The city of Jerez de la Frontera can be awkward to get around but driving into the white villages of the interior is a real pleasure. Zest Car Rental are highly recommended for rentals at Jerez Airport. Book before travelling as rates in the airport aren’t as good as online.
Driving to Jerez de la Frontera
There are two exits off the AP-4 Seville-Cadiz motorway. The best one to take is the Jerez Norte exit which also goes to Arcos de la Frontera in the opposite direction. Follow the sign for city centre (centro ciudad) and continue through several traffic lights and roundabouts until you come to a roundabout which has the Hotel Jerez to your right. Take the road to your left off this roundabout (Avenida Alvaro Domecq) and select one of the fine hotels which are located in this part of town.
By staying in this part of town you are only a few minutes’ walk from the Royal School of Equestrian Art where the dancing horses show takes place and the Sandeman winery is just around the corner. You can walk to Plaza Arenal and the Alcazar in the city centre in 10 to 15 minutes or get a taxi to take you there or to some of the other sherry bodegas. Parking in this area, to the north of the city centre which we recommend for hotels, is readily available.
Please note that Jerez de la Frontera is one of the most awkward Spanish cities to get around for drivers as the main street in the centre is restricted to city buses and taxis so first time drivers cannot find their way from one side of town to the other.
Where to Stay in Jerez de la Frontera
Whether you’re driving to Jerez or coming from the airport we strongly recommend that you select one of the Jerez hotels recommended below. We’ve also included a few others that deserve a special mention.
Villa Jerez (Avda. de la Cruz 7)
This plush new hotel offers a secluded, exclusive feel as you drive through its gates into a beautifully maintained courtyard with lovely gardens. The staff are extremely friendly and helpful (speak to Paco for information about just about anything you want to know about what’s going on in Jerez). There’s a nice terrace overlooking the small pool at the back and an excellent restaurant.
Hotel Palmera Plaza (c/ Pizarro, 1)
Standing directly opposite the entrance to the Sandeman sherry bodega and two minutes from the horse school this is the perfect place to stay in Jerez. The hotel is new with large, luxurious rooms and a great team of staff. The pool around the back is a great place to escape the Jerez heat and its gourmet restaurant is superb.
Hotel Jerez (Avda Alcalde Alvaro Domeq 35)
Pretty much all you’d expect from a hotel of this category with large, luxurious rooms many with balconies overlooking the extensive gardens. There’s a large outside pool and a smaller one inside as well as spa facilities. About 30 minutes on foot from the city centre so a cheap taxi ride is the best way to travel.Website: Hotel Jerez
Montecastillo Hotel & Golf Resort (Ctra. de Arcos, Km 9)
If you don’t mind taking taxis in and out of Jerez and are looking for something luxurious then you should consider the Montecastillo which is 9km from the city near the Jerez ractrack. The superb facilities are sometimes used by the Spanish football team before international matches. Website: Montecastillo Hotel & Golf Resort
Hotel Guadalete (Duque de Abrantes 50)
Another relaxed option located near the Jerez horse school about a 20 minute walk from the city centre. Great swimming pool surrounded by gardens and very friendly staff. Try the excellent evening BBQ if you don’t fancy the trip into Jerez centre.Website: Hotel Guadalete
Hotel NH Avenida Jerez (Avda Alcalde Alvaro Domecq 10)
A standard chain hotel with all mod cons in an ideal location which offers excellent value for money. It has a nice restaurant but no pool which is a handicap considering Jerez’s temperatures.
For cheaper accommodation try the c/Arcos and c/Medina and surrounding streets in the city centre where there are various one and two star options available. A particularly clean, friendly and well looked after option is Hotel Avila (c/Avila, 3). Arriving by car is tricky, head for the railway station and cut up to c/Arcos at the Harveys winery then park at any pay and display you can find.
Also the Hotel Serit (c/Higueras, 7) in the same area is worth a look and the Doña Blanca (c/Bodegas, 11) is another nice little place in the historic centre with easy access to Jerez’s main attractions.
For a more comprehensive selection of accommodation take a look at Booking.com’s hotels in Jerez de la Frontera.
Tourist Attractions – What to See and Do in Jerez
The show of the dancing horses must be booked well in advance as it is frequently sold out. Check the Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Ecuestre website for information and booking procedure. Alternatively, you can book a tour from Seville. A tour of one of the sherry bodegas is the other main tourist attraction of Jerez. Advance booking isn’t necessary but check the website of your selected winery to find out what time guided tours take place in English.
The other main attractions of the city are the 12th century Alcázar (fortress) within which you can visit the ‘Camara Oscura’, a 360 degree camera lodged at the top of the Alcazár from where you get fabulous views of the whole surrounding area. The heart of the city centre is the beautiful Plaza Arenal which has a fabulous fountain in its centre. As you walk north east out of the square along c/Lancería you’ll see the huge Domecq clock tower ahead of you in Plaza Gallo Azul. This has long been Jerez’s most well known landmark. Continuing on you enter the pedestrianised Calle Larga which is the city’s main shopping street.
The Centro Andaluz de Flamenco which was set up to protect and promote the art of flamenco is worth a visit and for younger visitors a trip to the zoo (Parque Zoológico) is a must. The most popular short excursion from Jerez is to Sanlúcar de Barrameda just 20 minutes away by car where you can dine on some of Spain’s finest seafood at one of the restaurants at Bajo de Guía which overlook the Doñana National Park (get directions in advance from your hotel reception).
Sherry Tours in Jerez de la Frontera
When you visit Jerez you must take a tour of at least one of its sherry bodegas. The tours provided by each of the wineries specifically details the history of their company within the general context of the history of sherry in Jerez de la Frontera.
Below we’ve listed many of the main wineries in Jerez with a short explanation of their tour and contact details. Tours will usually be arranged on request. Check their websites listed below for up to date information on times of tours in particular languages and entrance fees.
Address: c/ Manuel María Gonzalez, 12
As producers of the world famous Tio Pepe sherry this is the most famous and most visited of the wineries (it is actually the 2nd most visited winery in the world). The novelty factor of their tour is a miniature train which transfers you around the complex. The tour begins at their most prestigious cellar called La Concha then takes you to a larger cellar where the alcohol smell is quite wonderful.
An audi-visual show tells the story of the company’s development and a visit to the barrel room where celebrities have signed their names in chalk is very interesting. It’s ironic to see Margaret Thatcher’s barrel next to Primo de Rivera, General Franco’s right hand man! And look out for the glass of wine and piece of cheese on the floor which is placed there every day for the cellar mouse.
The tour ends with an opportunity to taste the sherry then you leave via the winery shop.
Address: c/ Pizarro, 10
If you’re pushed for time in Jerez this is a good winery tour to select because it’s right next to the Royal School of Equestrian Art where the dancing horses show takes place. Therefore, you can walk from the horse show directly to the Sandeman tour and tasting.
The tour takes you into several wineries for their different sherries including Fino and Oloroso then you get to see the bottling area and go for a tasting session.
Address: San Ildefonso, 3
The is Jerez’s oldest cellar where a guided tour takes you through the winery’s history with a audio visual presentation and takes you into Bodega de la Luz where Spain’s first brandy, Fundador, was born. The tour naturally concludes with the best bit .. the tasting and the shop visit.
Address: c/ Pintor Muñoz Cebrián
On this tour the guide explains the process of making and ageing Harvey’s sherries in one of their historical cellars along Calle Arcos where the world famous Bristol Cream brand was born. The tour culminates in the tasting of Harveys Bristol Cream in the 19th century Don Ramiro patio.
Website: www.domecq.es (Domecq now own Harveys)
Williams and Humbert
Address: Ctra. Nacional IV, Km.641.75 (Jerez-Puerto de Santa Maria)
A personal favourite purely because they produce Gran Duque de Alba brandy (my chosen brand). This is the largest bodega complex in Europe which has been producing some of Jerez’s finest wines for over 200 years. As well as a tour of their installations there is a horse exhibition on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Address: Ctra. Circunvalación, s/n
A fascinating history of a young man from Dublin who settled in Jerez and sent small amounts of wine back to Ireland and England. His son developed the business as the Bodega de San Patricio which became the city’s largest for over 125 years occupying 30,000 square metres. He was the first to export fino from Jerez and in 1858 was responsible for exporting the first barrel of brandy which sailed from Cadiz for London. You can learn more about this fascinating story and the process of wine and brandy production on the Garvey tour. Full day wine tasting courses with lunch can be arranged.
All the above wineries offer general tours which are open to the public most days. These can get very busy during peak holiday periods. As an alternative you can arrange a Private Tour of their premises with tasting though this will obviously be far more expensive. A cheaper alternative is to go to one of the smaller, more intimate bodegas which are less well publicised so attract far fewer tourists. A few suggestions are listed below.
Address: c/Madre de Dios, s/n
Tel: 956 339 634
Address: Plaza Cordobeses, 3
Tel: 956 168 628
Recommended Restaurants in Jerez
For dining in Jerez a nice place to sit is at one of the terrace restaurants in Plaza Arenal which serve up reasonable dishes relatively cheaply. If you’re looking for something more upmarket try La Mesa Redonda (c/Manuel de Quintana,3) just opposite the Sherry Park Hotel. In the old town La Carboná (c/San Francisco de Paula, 3) is highly recommended as it is located in an ancient wine cellar. Just a couple of doors down you can eat for half the price in the popular local’s bar/restaurant of Mesón Alcazaba.
A nice spot at lunchtime is the small alley next to the tourist information office on the western side of Plaza Arenal. Here you’ll find a few tapas bars where you can order a selection of tapas or raciónes (they’re bigger portions) washed down with a few glasses of sherry of course. A great breakfast spot is the kiosk in the market square (Mercado de Abastos) where you rub shoulders with the locals who stand in line ordering their churros con chocolate.
Festivals in Jerez de la Frontera
Jerez takes its festivals seriously and a great time to visit is during the Jerez Sherry Festival (Fiestas de la Vendimia y Otoño) which takes place during the middle two weeks of September. This is a time to bless the grape harvest, dance flamenco, sing aloud and drink sherry like there’s no tomorrow.
The two other main annual festivals are the international Jerez Flamenco Festival in February/March which attracts flamenco performers from all over the world and the Jerez Horse Fair (Feria del Caballo) in May which celebrates the region’s love affair with its horses.
A time to avoid Jerez unless your a motorcycle fan is one weekend in May (check dates) when the Spanish MotoGP at the Circuit de Jerez attracts an estimated 150,000 motorcyclists from all over Europe. It’s a wild few days but not recommended if your here to discover the cultural heritage of Jerez de la Frontera.