Jerez de los Caballeros

Jerez de los Caballeros is a lovely little town that's tucked away in the south-west corner of Extremadura. Not to be confused with its more famous Andalusian counterpart - Jerez de la Frontera - it takes the second part of its name (de los Caballeros means "of the knights") from the Templar knights whose castle is a major feature of the town.

Apart from the afore-mentioned castle, Jerez also boasts a number of beautiful churches (one of which has been converted into a bar!) and an Easter week that's famous throughout the region.

The town is set in one of the prettiest drops of countryside in southern Extremadura, slightly marred by a steelworks on the outskirts, which brings prosperity but inevitable downsides. The surrounding countryside is home to many Iberian pigs and Jerez is one of the main production centres for Extremadura's renowned hams (as described elsewhere in this guide). You could certainly do worse than buy one during your trip, while local restaurants specialise in fresh Iberian cuts.

The road from Zafra to Jerez then continues towards the Portuguese border and an excursion that's definitely worth your while if you have an extra couple of hours. Once into Portugal, Monsaraz, not to be mixed up with the nearby winemaking town of Reguengos de Monsaraz, is just a few miles further on along a winding country road. it's an incredible mountain-top village with glorious views back over Extremadura. A stroll around its cobbled streets is recommended, as is a visit to the ruins of its castle, which also double as the local bullring.

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