We spent some time in Jerez de La Frontera – Or often just “Jerez” – pronounced Her-reth. The “de la Frontera” means “of the frontier” and comes from the fact that it was on the border of Christian and Islamic populations.
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We’re staying right in the center in an apartment that overlooks the Alcazar (a Spanish palace or fortress of Moorish origins).
Jerez is glorious. Every which way you turn there’s another street or alley to wander down and another café, restaurant, or tapas bar to discover. There are squares (Plazas) galore. Each a delight to discover. There might be tourists here but they blend in, we’re hardly noticeable. It feels very local without being a weird local place for local people. I love it. I’d love to be here when there’s not a global pandemic and truly experience the lifestyle here.
Jerez’s Alcazar costs 5 euros to enter. And there’s a downloadable set of audio guides to talk you around. When it opened at 0930 we were waiting at the gate. During the 90 minutes we spent there, we saw 4 other visitors. It may not have the razzmatazz of Seville’s Real Alcazar, but it has a quiet architectural elegance and some lovely surprises around corners.
Jerez is famous also for its equestrian school here – it’s one of the world’s foremost schools and trains the beautiful Andalusian horses to dance. We were lucky enough to be here on the one day a week this season that they perform “How an Andalucian Horse Dances” – and they truly do dance.
The other thing that Jerez is famous for its sherry wine. One of the most famous is the Tio Pepe brand (it means Uncle Pepe). This is part of the sherry triangle, which goes from Jerez to El Puerta de Santa Maria to Sanlucar de Barrameda. Sherry is a type of fortified wine and in the bodegas there the wine (sherry) is fortified and stored all within the city. So you can literally walk to all the bodegas. We picked one and get a socially distanced, fully masked tour. Lustau. They’ve been making sherry since 1896 right here in the city. This ain’t no Harvey’s Bristol Cream nonsense. Sherry is made from white grapes, the word sherry comes from the Moorish word for Jerez. Sherry is a fortified wine (like port), which means that distilled alcohol is added to it. This was originally done to ensure that it survived being shipped for long months overseas. The grapes used to make sherry are Palomino, Pedro Ximenez, and Muscat. Lustau stores more than 10,000 500-liter barrels in Jerez.
Jerez is really rather lovely. There’s a surprise around each corner, but a nice one. It’s friendly, not touristy and yes, the tapas is seriously good here too… if you like Seville, I’m convinced you’ll love Jerez.
Other places to explore in Spain