Jerez came into my life seven years ago, and it is starting to feel like a second home now. For me, it captures the real essence of Spanish culture and how people imagine traditional Spain to be.
I didn’t discover Jerez by chance, but my boyfriend is actually half Spanish and this is where his Spanish family originate from.
When I first went I was expecting it to be similar to Costa Del Sol because that is what a lot of people think of these days when they think of Spain, and I was so pleased it was the exact opposite.
You rarely hear an accent or language other than Spanish here, and the centre still has many traditional features serving the local people, e.g. the daily fish market.
It is full of beautiful dramatic churches and cobbled streets, with historic buildings on every corner. There is even a castle hidden away, which I have yet to go into.
Jerez is famous for its Sherry, and in particular Tio Pepe. There is a fantastic tour you can do to take a look at the Bodega’s and learn how Sherry is produced, along with a tasting session at the end! A large amount of the streets you walk down feature Bodega’s and so you are hit by the sweet waft of Sherry which is intensified in summer by the heat. Even if you are not a lover of Sherry or even alcohol in general I would still recommend a visit to Tio Pepe, just to learn about the culture and to explore the beautiful grounds.
The fish market occurs daily, every morning, and it is chaotic, but definitely worth getting up early for, although 10am does not seem early, living on Spanish time it’s my equivalent of 8am! Theres a whole range of different seafood and fish to purchase, or just browse at and then you can stroll on through to the fruit and veg section, a slightly more pleasant smell and also really colourful!!
If you go to Spain, you have to have Churros for breakfast at least once. You can pick these up in various cafes, but there are two stalls that we usually go to just outside of the fish market which, personally, I think are the best around. You order your portion and then you can go and sit in any of the surrounding cafe’s, order a Cola Cao or a Cafe con Leche and sit back and watch the world go by.
The main square, Plaza del Arenal, features a merry go round every summer and a large statue in the centre. It was once used as a main road through the city centre, but has now been pedestrianised. It comes to life at night time, when everyone is out eating Tapas or ice cream and is used as a meeting point.
Jerez is not a massive city, but if you are seeking a more relaxed and authentic vibe I would certainly add it to your list. My favourite thing to do is just wander round and look at all the buildings, some of them are now used as shops so you can actually go in and have a nosey.
There is no shortage of flamenco shows in Jerez, but I won’t go into detail in this post. Nor is there a shortage of great restaurants and hotels surrounding Jerez. I will give more detail on these in September as I will be going out to Jerez and staying in one of the hotels.
I hope this gives a good overview of Jerez, please let me know in the comments below if you have ever been or have any other suggestions 🙂