If you’re a fan of sherry wine, then you’re undoubtedly familiar with Jerez de la Frontera.
Located in Spain’s Sherry Triangle region just north of Cadiz, Jerez is renowned as the world’s sherry capital. The area’s unique microclimate and chalky limestone soil are essential for the production of this distinctive wine.
Jerez has numerous sherry bodegas (wineries) and large cellars that are filled with rows upon rows of sherry barrels. This is where the magic happens as the wine slowly ages until it turns into Jerez wine.
But there are more things to do in Jerez de la Frontera than visit the city’s sherry bodegas and tabancos (sherry bars).
The city boasts a lovely historic quarter featuring the Alcázar de Jerez, a former Moorish fortress. Other buildings of note include the Seville Cathedral and the culturally important Church of San Miguel.
Jerez is also famous for its Carthusian breed of horses. These horses originated in Jerez and are now celebrated in the city’s Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art.
Are you ready to pack your bags yet? If so, here are some of the top 10 things to do in Jerez de la Frontera to get you inspired for your next trip.
Map of the Best Thing to do in Jerez
The downtown core of Jerez de la Frontera is fairly compact and most major attractions are located blocks away from each other. This makes it a relatively easy city to explore on foot.
8 Amazing Things to do in Jerez De La Frontera
Step back in Time at the Alcázar of Jerez
- Hours: 9:30 am to 2:30 pm daily / hours extended in summer months
- Cost: €5 Alacázar only / €7 Alacázar & Camara Oscura
There is no better place to begin your visit to Jerez de la Frontera than the Alcázar of Jerez. A former Moorish fortress, the Alcázar is a magnificent structure surrounded by imposing walls in the heart of the old quarter.
A former residence of the Almohad Caliphate, the building continued to be utilized after the reconquest in the 12th century. While a palace and other structures were added during this time, the Alcázar’s Moorish roots are still clearly visible.
Of particular interest is the building’s mosque which was later Christianized and turned into a chapel. The Alcázar also features a Camara Oscura (although it was not open during my visit in February 2022).
For the best views of the compound, be sure to take a stroll along the fortress walls and climb the Octagonal Tower.
Tour the Jerez de la Frontera Cathedral
- Hours: Monday to Saturdays 10:00 am to 8:00 pm / Sundays 1:00 pm to 8:00 pm (hours may vary seasonally)
- Cost: Cathedral only €6 / Cathedral + Tower €7
After visiting the Alcazar, head across the Alameda Vieja park to the Jerez de la Frontera Cathedral. Constructed in the 17th and 18th centuries, the Cathedral is a spectacular example of the Gothic, Baroque and Neoclassical styles.
In addition to the main cathedral, the visit includes access to a series of rooms behind the main altar. These areas house the church’s treasury and some interesting works of art – most notably Zurbarán’s “Virgen niña meditando” (Virgin Mary as a Child, Asleep).
Access to a free audio guide is provided upon entry. You will be provided with a QR code so you can listen to it directly on your phone. I recommend bringing along headphones so you don’t disturb the other visitors.
Climb the Cathedral Tower
- Hours: Monday to Saturdays 11:00 am to 1:00 pm / 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm (hours may seasonally)
- Cost: Tower only €4 / Cathedral + Tower €7
The highlight of visiting most historic churches is climbing the bell tower – and the Seville Cathedral is no exception.
Standing apart from the Cathedral building, the tower was possibly built over top of the minaret belonging to the old mosque. The bottom half of the structure features the Gothic-Mudéjar style and the Baroque style dominates the top half.
The best part about climbing the tower, of course, is the views. The tower has a narrow pathway which encircles the entire platform and provides panoramic views of the entire city.
Learn how Sherry is Made at Bodegas Lustau
- Hours: tours by appointment
- Cost: Standard Tasting €18 / Full Tasting €28
With origins going back to 1896, Lustau is one of the largest and most well-known sherry wineries in the world. Lustau has won an impressive number of international awards and is a staple at bars around the world.
The winery is located in a collection of recently-restored 19th century bodega buildings in the middle of Jerez. It’s a lovely facility with cathedral-like ceilings and sand floors which keeps the temperature and humidity stable.
A visit to Bodegas Lustau includes an in-depth tour of the winery along with an overview of how the wine is made. You’ll learn how the process differs for each of the sherry varieties: fino, manzanilla, amontillado, oloroso, palo cortado, cream and PX sherry.
The best part of the tour, of course, is the tasting. You’ll get to sample some of the bodega’s signature sherries that can be hard to find elsewhere.
Pro tip: go for the Full Tasting which includes 8 sherries and 1 vermouth. It’s a terrific value and a great introduction to the bodega’s best wines.
Admire the Art Collection at Bodegas Tradición
- Hours: tours by appointment
- Cost: €40
For a different kind of winery experience, head to Bodegas Tradición. A unique blending of art and wine, the bodega not only ages vintage wines in its cellars – it also features an impressive private art collection.
A tour begins in the cellars where the wines are aged. Here, you’ll get an overview of the wine-making process and learn the basics of sherry wine. The visit also includes a tasting in the courtyard complete with a selection of tapas.
They’ve saved the best part for last, however. The tour concludes with a peek inside the company’s private art collection. The gallery features Spanish painters from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries such as Goya, Velázquez, Murillo and El Greco.
It’s a really impressive collection of Spanish masters and a great opportunity to see some amazing art.
Discover Horse Dancing at the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art
- Hours: tours offered on weekdays from 10 am to 1 pm / shows take place at noon (check calendar for availability)
- Cost: €12 regular tour (with access to Carriage House) / €23 How the Andalusian Horses Dance show
The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art is a prestigious classic riding academy located in Jerez. It is dedicated to preserving the equestrian arts in Spain and conserving the Carthusian breed of Andalusian horse which originated in Jerez.
While visitors can tour the Recreo de las Cadenas and the school’s various museums, most people are there for the renowned show “How the Andalusian Horses Dance”.
Part dance and part sporting event, the show is a unique equestrian ballet showcasing the skills of Spanish riding and horsemanship.
During the show, horses and riders in 18th century costumes participate in beautiful choreographies that are set to evocative Spanish music. The show features Doma Vaquera (country-style riding) and carriage driving along with classical dressage horse riding.
Go for a Stroll in the Plaza del Arenal
- Hours: 24/7
- Cost: Free
Located in the heart of Jerez, the Plaza del Arenal is a gorgeous tree-lined square lined with cafes and shops. The plaza features a fountain with a prominent statue of Miguel Primo de Rivera, a Spanish dictator who ruled the country from 1923 to 1930.
As the city’s main square, the plaza is a great place to watch the world go by. The square features plenty of shady benches along with cafes where you can pull up a chair and sip a sherry.
The tourist office is also located just off the square, should you have any questions for the local tourism board.
Shop for Local Ingredients at Mercado Central de Abastos
- Hours: 8:00 am to 2:45 pm / Closed Sundays
- Cost: Free
One of the best ways to get to know a new city is by visiting the local market. Here, you will see the best local produce and products on display in an open and friendly environment.
The market in Jerez, known as the Mercado Central de Abastos (or the Plaza de Abastos), is located in the middle of town in a gorgeous historic building. It’s a great place to start the day or to shop for lunch at one of its 115 food stalls.