Located just 8-minutes southwest of Jerez on the MD commuter train (4,05€/one-way), El Puerto, across the bay from Cádiz, is known for its beaches, pine woods and whitewashed houses, and from where Columbus set sail on his second voyage to the Americas. The old cities cobbled streets are lined with orange trees and typical Andaluz architecture, wrought iron fences and intricate tile work. One of your first stops, about a 20-minute walk or 5-minutes by taxi from the train station should be the 13th-century Priory Church with its Gothic sandstone facade and ornate Mexican-silver altarpiece. The church is found in the Plaza de España, just past the city hall.
Your next stop, the medieval Castillo de San Marcos built by Alfonso X of Castile, a hidden delight, is about a 10-minute walk from the Priory Church, in the Plaza Alfonso X el Sabio. A visit to the castle, an Islamic-Gothic structure with horseshoe arches, stained glass, octagonal keep and crenelated walls, includes a visit to the San Marcos Castle Wine Cellar where you can taste an elaboration of Sherry wines from Bodegas Luís Caballero, Tours are by appointment only. There is a tourist office located in the castle.
Visiting a Bodega in El Puerto
From the castle you can walk over to Bodegas Osborne for a Sherry tasting and/or lunch at their new restaurant, Toro Tapas in the very heart of Bodegas Osborne. Tours by appointment only. Bodegas Fernando A. de Terry, part of the Domecq Group, can be found at Santísima Trinidad, 1, but is not open for public visits. Bodegas Gutiérrez Colosía has been sitting on the banks of the Guadalete River since 1838, where the dry “Levante” and the horrid “Poniente” winds help maintaining optimum conditions. Bodegas Grant, known locally as Bodegas Las 7 Esquinas (7 corners winery), was founded in 141. One of our favorite Cádiz wine, Forlong, is a short taxi ride away.
If you are arriving from Cádiz, the ferry terminal is only a 5-minute walk away from either Bodegas Gutiérrez Colosía or Osborne. The Catamaran Bahia Cadiz departs every 30 minutes. The cost is 2,75€ each way from Cádiz to El Purto.
The Real Plaza de Toros de El Puerto de Santa María, built in 1880, is only a few steps from Bodegas Osborne, in the Plaza Elias Ahuja. It is one of the most beautiful examples of large Spanish bullrings. The building, renovated in 2016, is a beautiful 60-sided polygon with 3 floors of which the upper floors are supported by wrought iron columns, and can hold up to 12,186 spectators, making it the third-largest bullring in Spain after Madrid and Valencia. One of the unusual things about the bullring are its double studs and pens, which is called “Plaza Partida”, where they can hold two bullfights at the same time. The bullfighting season in El Puerto is July and August, generally, the warmest time of the year.
If you’re staying in Jerez and want a little beach time, then you can head to the 6 kilometer long Valdelagrana Beach, which is very popular during the summertime. It has a seafront promenade for taking relaxing walks and is popular for windsurfing. Because the beach is on the bay, the water is generally warm.
Where To Dine In El Puerto
El Puerto now has a good assortment of excellent restaurants, including chef Ángel León’s “cuisine of the unknown seas” the 3-Michelin star kitchen Aponiente at Calle Francisco Cossi Ochoa, sitting over water of the Caño del Molino, a two-minute walk from the train station. Chef Francisco Custodio Cárdenas’ gastronomic experience, Restaurante Los Portales is located in the old quarter, at Calle Ribera del Marisco, 7, along the Guadalete river. Sophisticated dining can be found a quick 10-minute walk from the Plaza de Toros at Avenida Fuenterrabía, km. 0.5. El Faro de El Puerto is part of El Faro de Cádiz. Chef Pablo Terrón Guijarro’s Restaurante Puerto Escondido is housed in a 17th-century manor house at Calle Puerto Escondido, 5. Bespoke is a casual restaurant belonging to Carmen of Bodega Gutiérrez-Colosía, while La Bodeguilla del Bar Jamón is a 3rd generation family restaurant in a former bread store specializing in jamón and seafood.
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