A few weeks ago I took a city break in the old part of Cadiz. (Read more about it here: Cadiz break post or a Day out in Puerto Sta Maria ) and one of the day trips that I made while in that region was to Jerez de la Frontera.
Here´s what I got up to on my day in the town of Sherry!
I chose the train to go from Cadiz to Jerez, the Cercanias lines are good value for money, I think it was less than 3 euros, it clearly indicated and the trains are air conditioned. The 45 minute journey took us along a scenic routes seeing the beaches, salt flats and different towns from out of the train windows.
You can also take a day trip from Seville to see Cadiz and Jerez
On arrival to the station of Jerez even the 100 year old building is impressive in itself with it´s typical ceramic decoration on the facade:
Here´s a photo of the detail of the tiles that decorate the walls.
Jerez is famous for producing Sherry and wine. There are many bodegas to visit there. Most offer tours so that you can taste the wine and see the production and premises. Pictured below is the famous Bodega of Tio Pepe, of Gonzalez Byass. Here you can go along without an appointment to the tasting (closed Sunday afternoons)
You can certainly tell that this is the main business in the area when you arrive in Jerez. The smell of Fino wine is noticeable as you walk by the large premises of some of the wineries. It is a really distinctive smell. There are many signs and other clues as you wander around Jerez that it is the capital of sherry production.
My plan for the day was to see the main buildings and squares around the city and in the afternoon head to the famous Horse Fair La Feria del Caballo.
I didnt have the best day for walking around, it was red hot! At 1pm in May the temperature was around 38ºC (more than 100ºF) so we were prepared with Sun cream, water and kept walking in the shade as much as we could.
The main buildings and monuments in Jerez are the Cathedral and the Alcazar which are together just off the Plaza del Arenal. A large square lined with cafés and restaurants.
The Cathedral dates back to the 17th century and is an example of a mixture of Baroque, Gothic & Neoclassical styles. We couldn´t actually visit the inside of the Cathedral as we arrived late on Sunday afternoon and it was closed.
It is an impressive buiding of large dimensions and very intricate detailing on all sides.
Alongside the Cathedral is the Alcazar, a moorish fortress from the 11th or 12th century. Part of the building has a Mosque, which is the only one left in the city, there used to be 18 of them!
After getting rather hot under the collar walking in the sun at 3pm like an authetic tourist we headed to Plaza Arenal for some seafood tapas and a few cold beers. Then we headed off the the Feria del Caballo.
We caught a special bus from the city centre that takes you to the fair. It cost just over a 1 euro but there was no air conditioning on the bus. Phew!! I actually thought that when the bus got going with the windows open that the inside of the bus would cool down but I think the motor actually made it worse. Lucky it was a short ride.
When we arrived at the Fair I was impressed at the size of it all. The layout is very polished and with large stretches for the horses and carriages to move around. You have to be careful ´crossing the road´ to get to the different casetas (bars) as there are horses everywhere!
We went to listen to a typical Rocio choir singing.
The colourful dresses and horse carriages in Jerez certainly make it worthwhile visiting the fair. This fair has been going in Jerez since medieval times when it was for the sale of horses and livestock
I certainly found alot more than I expected in Jerez to see and do and will probably return to this charming place.