Jerez de la Frontera

Jerez' muscular yet elegant 11th- or 12th-century fortress is one of Andalucía's best-preserved Almohad-era relics. It's notable for its octagonal tower, typical of Almohad defensive forts, reached through Islamic-style gardens, past a 12th-century mosque-turned-chapel, the sprawling Patio de Armas and the 17th- and 18th-century baroque Palacio Villavicencio.

On the left as you enter is the beautiful mezquita (mosque), transformed into a chapel by Alfonso X in 1264, though retaining its fountain and horseshoe arches; it's the only remaining one of 18 mosques that once stood in Jerez. On the right, the Palacio Villavicencio, built over the Almohad palace ruins, is known for its bird’s-eye views of Jerez; the camera obscura inside its tower provides a picturesque panorama of the city.

Beyond the Patio de Armas, the peaceful gardens recreate the ambience of Moorish times with geometric flower beds, tinkling fountains, and the well-preserved, domed Almohad Baños Árabes (Arabic Baths), with their star-shaped shafts of light.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Jerez de la Frontera attractions

1. Catedral de San Salvador

0.09 MILES

Echoes of Seville colour Jerez' dramatic cathedral, a surprisingly harmonious mix of baroque, neoclassical and Gothic styles. Standout features are its…

2. Bodegas González–Byass

0.14 MILES

Home to the famous Tío Pepe brand, 1835-founded González–Byass is one of Jerez' biggest sherry houses, just west of the Alcázar. There are several daily…

3. Antiguo Cabildo

0.16 MILES

A couple of blocks northeast of Jerez' cathedral stands the handsome 16th-century old town hall.

5. Iglesia de San Miguel

0.19 MILES

Built between the 15th and 18th centuries, this richly adorned church blends Gothic, Renaissance and baroque architecture, and was modelled on Seville…

6. Museo Arqueológico

0.36 MILES

In the Santiago quarter, Jerez' modern archaeology museum houses fascinating local relics dating from Paleolithic to 20th-century times. Grab a detailed…

7. Iglesia de San Mateo

0.38 MILES

Founded by Alfonso X El Sabio, this 14th- to 16th-century Gothic church is one of Jerez' oldest.

8. Centro Andaluz de Flamenco


Both architecturally intriguing – note the entrance's original 15th-century Mudéjar artesonado (ceiling of interlaced beams with decorative inserts) and…