Top 5 Jerez
I recently visited the ancient city of Jerez de la Frontera in the very south of Spain to learn more about my favourite wine: Sherry. Alongside the beautiful bodegas, I also discovered a charming old town with narrow cobbled streets and Moorish architecture, rustic bars serving great charcuterie and other snacks, flamenco music, friendly locals and beautiful handicrafts. It’s a great city for walking, especially of an evening when everyone is out enjoying a glass of sherry, a bite to eat and the music – and by day it makes a perfect base for exploring the surrounding towns, vineyards, coast and wetlands. Add it to your ‘must visit’ list and be sure to pick up these highlights while you’re there.
Stay Hotel La Fonda Barranco
Dating back to the 15th century, this 10-room boutique hotel on a narrow cobbled street in the old town, is comfortable, low-key and slightly Moorish. Breakfast is served on the open rooftop with glimpses of the cathedral’s flying buttresses and the neighbours flapping washing. Book a rooftop suite.
Flamenco Tabanco El Pasaje
Eat jamon iberico and lomo (cured pork loin) and artichokes drizzled with PX vinegar in Jerez’s oldest tabanco (Andalucia’s casual bars), washed down with ridiculously inexpensive, delicious sherry while listening to flamenco singers and guitarists belt out their songs of woe.
History Alcázar of Jerez de la Frontera
The old town is dominated by the ancient walls of this 12th century Moorish fortress which contains the city’s only remaining mosque, gardens, a tower with views over the rooftops and an olive press with huge grindstone and half-buried amphorae. Well worth a stroll around, as is the gothic cathedral in front of it.
Bodega Bodegas Tradición
Of course you’ll visit several bodegas, but don’t miss the fabulous collection of 15th to 20th century Spanish art at Tradición (including Picasso ceramics). They are also one of the few bodegas that still ‘run the scales’ (transfer wine from one level of the solera to the next) completely by hand.
Shop MusArt, Calle Tornería 11
This charming hole-in-the-wall is a riot of colourful suede handbags, scarves, handmade costume jewellery and other delights that make far better souvenirs than the usual flamenco fridge magnets – great value too. Some items are made in Spain, others are from Morocco made exclusively for the shop.