There was no way we could have done this trip without Belen’s expert help! She totally customized it to our needs, including several last minute changes which she graciously accommodated. Not only did she include key sites, but the drivers and ...
Robert Halper, West Orange, NJ USA
Perhaps its the combination of old sherry houses, flamenco and the beautifully choreographed “dancing” horses but there’s a unique atmosphere in Jerez – something you just don’t find anywhere else. Although it’s very easy to access, you have a real sense of being off the main tourist trail. This city itself is a rewarding space – with almost a Colonial feel from its low rise architecture – you’ll enjoy the wonderful colours whether your looking down from a rooftop terrace or walking the many tree-lined streets peeking into the delightful courtyards.
Jerez is inextricably linked with the music and dance of flamenco, as the town lies at the very center of Andalucia’s Gypsy culture. The annual Festival de Jerez in late Febuary/early March offers a fortnight’s nonstop celebration of flamenco and is well worth travelling to Jerez for.
You can’t go to Jerez without sampling the olorosos, finos and manzanillas. Names such as Harveys, Sandeman and Gonzales Byass will be very familiar to you. It’s an exciting time to visit the sherry producers. Sherry has become fashionable again and as The New York Times puts it “sherry is gradually moving from the drawing room to the dinner table”. After four decades of a downturn, the sherry producers are excited by the new possibilities and are responding with some interesting and unique blends.
Another good reason to visit Jerez is to see the world-renowned Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art. The school was founded by the Domecqs who were horse breeders as well as sherry purveyors. The Telegraph gives the equestrian show a huge thumbs up: “It’s enthralling: an extraordinarily precise show. Rather like equine Royal Ballet students, the pure-breds (descended from horses bred by 15th-century Carthusian monks in Jerez) are reared on a farm until their dancing potential can be evaluated at the age of four.” You really should visit the school and take in a show to see just how impressive these horses are. Also be sure to visit the Horse Carriage Museum and gardens which are splendid.
If you’re after more horsepower than hooves can offer, then the Formula 1 track at Jerez is a place where you can catch many a big name training if not competing.
And as you’d expect of any city that boasts wineries, you’ll find a wonderful selection of formal and informal restaurants and tapas bars in Jerez.
If you like the sound of Jerez but want to spend some time on the beach, note that Jerez is less than 30 minutes drive from the coast. You can easily access El Puerto de Santa Maria, Cadiz, Rota or any of a number of charming fishing villages where the coastline and the seafood is amazing. Also not forgetting the Doñana National Park, one of Europe's premier wetland reserves.
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