7 Things to do in Jerez de la Frontera
I must admit, prior to my visit to Jerez de la Frontera, I knew very little about this beautiful destination.
However, and although often overlooked for its neighbours Seville, Córdoba and Granada, the understated city of Jerez has plenty to offer. Home to the dancing horses of Andalucía, world-renowned sherry and (despite Seville’s protests) the cradle of flamenco, Jerez de la Frontera is a city bursting with history, culture and tasty wine.
Following a day trip to Jerez from Seville, I’ve put together a quick guide to the 7 best things to do in Jerez de la Frontera. This is the ideal itinerary for anyone spending just one day in the city and wondering how to make the most of their time in this Andalucían heartland.
1. Visit the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art
If you only have one day to explore Jerez de la Frontera, then devote your morning to visiting the fascinating Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art.
After getting off the train from Seville, we walked straight to the School, eager to see the infamous horses and riders train at 11am.
The School was established in order to protect the art of Spanish horse dancing and is now a university offering degrees relating to horsemanship. These includes blacksmithing, saddlery and coach driving courses (fascinating).
Each day, members of the public are invited to watch the horses and their riders train in the arena, which I was incredibly excited to take my toddler to. As a horse lover, she adored watching the horses canter around, as the riders practised their skills.
After watching the horses train, be sure to go on the 11.15am guided tour of the School (available with different guides, dependent on your preferred language). I was not expecting to enjoy this as much as I did – but it was truly fascinating. We toured the prestigious tack room, the stables (Olive got to stroke a lot of horses) and asked lots of questions.
If you’re visiting Jerez at midday on a Thursday, you can also book to see the ‘How the Andalusian Horses Dance,’ show. This dazzling performance features the world renowned skills of both horse and rider, with choreographed dancing, riding in unison and pulling carriages.
Aside from tours and shows, the School also boasts several museums to explore, including a carriage museum (unexpectedly interesting), state rooms and an interactive museum that teaches you more about the famous ‘dancing horses’ of Andalusia.
If you happen to be in Jerez in early May, be sure to visit the Feria del Caballo (Horse Fair), which celebrates the city’s much-loved horses.
2. Sherry Tasting at One of Jerez’ Many Bodegas (Wineries)
Now, a list of things to do in Jerez de la Frontera would not be complete without a trip to one (or many) of the city’s Bodegas (wineries).
Jerez, literally meaning ‘sherry’, is one of the world’s most famous sherry producers and is the first stop on the famed Sherry Triangle.
Sherry lovers are spoilt for choice when it comes to Jerez’ Bodegas and the sherry tasting tours on offer. Sadly, as we were visiting with a toddler – who is quite far off legal drinking age – we weren’t able to enjoy a tour. We did, however, treat ourselves to a luxury lunch at Pedro Nolasco, which is on the site of Bodega Tío Pepe.
The restaurant comes highly recommended, if you’re looking to treat yourself while in the city.
For those looking to indulge in an afternoon of sherry tasting and tapas in Jerez de la Frontera, below are a few notable suggestions.
Best Bodegas in Jerez de la Frontera for Sherry Tasting
Price: €35 per person
Offering extra-aged sherries (20-30 years), Bodegas Tradicíon also casually boasts the Colección Joaquín Rivero – a private 14th to 19th century Spanish art collection.
The tours of Tradicíon last 1.5 – 2 hours, including tastings.
Price: €18 for the ‘standard visit’ or €28 for the ‘complete tastings’ tour.
This handsome Bodega is on my list for when I revisit the city (child-free). You will need to pre-book your tour in order to enter this spot as it’s extremely popular. The price includes five wine tastings and a vermouth. For a more premium tour, the ‘complete tastings’ costs €28 and includes seven wines and two vermouths.
Sherry Bars in Jerez
If you would rather hang out in a local sherry bar (known as ‘tabancos’) then there are plenty on offer throughout the city. Two of the most notable tabancos in Jerez are: Tabanco El Pasaje and Tabanco San Pablo.
3. Visit Jerez’ Alcazar (Royal Palace)
Entry: €5 or €7 for those looking to take photographs
Jerez’ Alcazar is one of the best preserved 11th – 12th century forts of the Almohad-era. The Almohad era began in 1147, when the dynasty took power. Their aim was to bring the area of Andalusia back under a stricter adherence of Islam.
Boasting the traditional octagonal tower of that era, traditional Islamic style gardens and a 12th century mosque-turned-chapel, this magical Alcazar should come top of your list of things to do in Jerez de la Frontera.
My favourite spot in the Royal Palace was the Patio de Armas. Similar to Seville’s Alczar (but much smaller), the patio boasts sprawling flower and fountain filled gardens. They truly are a dream to explore under the warm Andalusian sun.
The gardens also still house the original Arabic Baths (Almohad Baños Árabes), with star shaped shafts of light dancing off the interior walls.
For panoramic views of Jerez, climb the tower of Palacio Villavicencio.
4. San Salvador Cathedral of Jerez de la Frontera
Entry: €6 (children go free)
I liken the Cathedral of Jerez to a mini replica of Seville’s, complete with a very small, but perfectly formed, orange tree courtyard at its centre. As well as the breath-taking altar and soaring, stone carved ceilings, the Cathedral also houses many works of art, silverware and religious artefacts.
A blend of baroque, neoclassical and Gothic architecture, Jerez’ Cathedral is a beautiful spot in the city. This is particularly so come the evening time, when the bricks seem to glow a deep ochre colour and the towers silhouette against the darkening blue sky.
5. Climb the Cathedral’s Bell Tower
Across the square from the Cathedral, Jerez’ bell tower is a modest climb and far less busy than Seville’s Giralda.
The views out over the city and the adjacent Cathedral dome are also picture perfect. On my visit, I had the whole clock tower to myself and enjoyed 10 minutes or so (as my husband watched our sleeping toddler below), enjoying the warm winter’s sun from high above the city.
6. Iglesia de San Miguel
Entry: €6 (children go free)
Built between the 15th and 18th centuries, the pretty church of Iglesia de San Miguel should also be on your list of things to do in Jerez de la Frontera. Similar to the Cathedral, the Church is a dazzling mix of Gothic, Renaissance and baroque architecture. Indeed, it is said that Iglesia de San Miguel was modelled around Seville’s Cathedral – and that both buildings shared the same architect.
7. Centro Andaluz de Flamenco
Last on our list of things to do in Jerez de la Frontera is a visit to the city’s incredible Flamenco museum.
Jerez is said to be the birth place of Flamenco (despite Seville’s claims), and the museum is a brilliant resource to learn more about the city’s deep history with song and dance.
Housed in a 15th-century ‘Mudéjar artesonado’ (meaning the ceiling is interlaced with decorative pieces), the building itself is worth a visit, alongside its intricate baroque courtyard.
The museum is home to thousands of print and musical works relating to Flamenco, and videos of the dazzling dance are screened between 9.30 – 13.30. If you’re looking for advice on where to find the best Flamenco in Jerez, then the museum also provides lists of suggested ‘tabancos’ and ‘peñas’ (small private clubs) in the city.
Feeling really brave? At the museum, you can also find out more information about upcoming classes in Flamenco dance.
How to Get to Jerez de la Frontera from Seville
Travelling to Jerez from Seville is incredible easy.
We left Seville at 9am and were back in the city for 4pm (as we’d already booked tickets for Seville’s Cathedral). I was worried it would feel rushed, but it all felt very doable and I’m really pleased we made time to explore Jerez while in Andalusia.
The two easiest ways to reach Jerez from Seville are by train or car –
1. Train from Seville to Jerez
Price: it cost us €15 return (per person) but tickets can be booked for as little as €4-5, if booked in advance.
The train from Seville to Jerez takes just under an hour. Bound for the coastal city of Cadiz, the train was incredibly easy to catch (even with a toddler). I recommend booking your train directly with Renfe, for the cheapest prices.
The walk from Jerez’ train station to the city centre was 15-minutes and very manageable.
2. Travelling by Car from Seville to Jerez
If you have a car, the drive from Seville to Jerez is equally as straightforward, with the journey taking you around an hour in light traffic on the AP-4. There is a surprising amount of free parking in Jerez and I’d recommend parking in the esplanade by the Bullring, for a good central location.