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What to see in Medina Sidonia (in addition to its spectacular views)

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Some call it theBalcony of the Bay of Cádiz and possibly they lack reason. Scholars say it is also one of the oldest centers in the province. Casonas, churches, castle, convents and Arab legacy are constituted as one of the Historic-Artistic Sets, formerly walled, which have more importance and whose name evokes past times of battles and conquerors. We go for the main attractions to see in Medina Sidonia where you will not miss its spectacular views from the highest viewpoints or the walk through its most labyrinthine streets.


However, we are not going to deceive you, we have not managed to capture in Medina Sidonia that spell that if we take in Vejer de la Frontera. Maybe we had the bar very high or maybe we didn't succeed with the streets of our walk. Who knows? Even so, it deserves to be missed at least half a day ... and if you can in the evening, better!

What to see in Medina Sidonia in 1 day (detailed route with map)

Medina Sidonia It is framed in one of the most spectacular natural areas of the Iberian Peninsula, the Region of La Janda Lagoon, although its Assidian heritage is already large. In 2008 he received the award for most charming town in AndalusiaAnd with this data, who does not want to escape one day to know this beautiful town? Although, in our opinion, after visiting it and contrary to the above when we write about Vejer, Medina-Sidonia does not deserve beyond half a day unless you combine it with some of the attractions of its surroundings. Our route proposal could be something similar to the following (CLICK on Google Maps to load it)

We will start the route in one of the authorized parkings in the city. having already ascended part of the hill, very close to the Plaza de España (end of itinerary) and at the beginning of it we will do for the Bethlehem Arch. Its about Free Public Parking La Zapata and convenient to access



Although, from the moment we enter the town, we will see that what Medina-Sidonia lacks in relation to others charming white villages of the Sierra de Cádiz or Vejer himself is a small face-lift, exposing the traveler too many facades in poor condition, dirt in some streets or works on the road (at the date of our visit), something that does not happen in the upper area than if it is a wonder .

1 Arch of Bethlehem or Arch of the Gypsies

The Arch of Bethlehem, whose construction date is around the 10th and 13th centuries, was one of the three gates of the municipality of Medina Sidonia when it was still a walled enclosure (in fact it still has a wall and its watchtower). It is of Muslim origin, as well as the smallest but also the prettiest to access the center of the medieval village.




The denomination of Arco de los Gitanos is from the 18th century, which is how the door was known at that time.

2 Church Santa María la Mayor

We continue our ascent and this church, considered of Tourist Interest since 1931, does not go unnoticed since it is one of the historical and artistic jewels of Medina Sidonia. Like many other buildings of the time, it dates from the 16th century and laid its foundations on part of an old mosque. The style of its architecture is defined as Gothic-Renaissance and has three entrances: the main cover, in the Herrera style; the door of the Church (these two exteriors) and the one of the cloister, interior, of Plateresque style. The Plateresque style is a fusion of Gothic with Mudejar components, flamboyant Gothic, Lombards and small initial signs of the Tuscan revival.




The crown jewel of this church is the Altarpiece, also in Plateresque style which, with its 15 meters high and 40 columns, tells the mysteries of the life of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary. It consists of 22 images (figures) of mannerist style, which is characterized by being a more subjective style in which the author's tastes prevailed, oriented towards a more unreal and abstract side. It does not attend to the logical proportion and was a sophisticated style that also related to the court.

AN ACCOUNT FOR OLI: THE CULTURE MIXTURE IS ALWAYS POSITIVE

Oli, this city in which we are today Medina Sidonia, is one of the most historically rich in all of Cádiz. Before us, and many other people, lived very different cultures and civilizations. Since prehistory, with the sites of lasa caves from the Berrueco to the Sierra de la Momia, until being tartésico, Muslim and Christian territory.

We can never forget history, because it is what has brought us here. Although the times when some of these cultures shared settlement and fought for it are times stained by many fights and wars, the convergence of different civilizations always results in incredible cultural wealth. This is how today we have the opportunity to see these views in which we can appreciate elements of Muslim art, remains of what was Al-Andalus with a mixture of the style that came from the center of the peninsula, With the Christian conquest. All in the same place.

He opening hours Summer is from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and the Ticket price is € 2.5.

3 Medina Sidonia Castle

We would do badly to imagine that idyllic castle that evokes its name since it is in the process of excavation and investigation. However, Medina Sidonia Castle is the final result of an ascent of up to 300 m above sea level that leaves the best environment and good views (Maybe not the best ones but the ones that best contextualize where we are for its 360º panorama).



Medina Sidonia Castle is "formed" by the remains of three different constructions: remains of the Roman military Castle, the remains of the Arab Alcazar and the remains of the medieval Castle. And if so many years of history seem like few, to these three remains of fortifications are added the appearance of materials dating back to the Bronze Age.



If you want to know more about the archaeological Ensemble of Medina Sidonia in the Official tourism website Medina Sidonia You will find more information.

5 La Vista de Medina, the best panoramic view

Possibly, since it is not a monument, it sounds strange to put it on the route but you know that we have long stopped doing itineraries based exclusively on heritage and if very thoughtful of the experiences. Be it coffee time, vermouth, lunch or a romantic candle, the La Vista restaurant in Medina (It is also hotel) It represents a mandatory stop because it has the best views of Medina Sidonia, As its name indicates.



It has several dining areas (bar, interior and exterior) and a very careful decoration, but it is on the terraces where you can see an unparalleled panoramic view of the entire region of La Janda. Medina Sidonia has an exceptional enclave and we are at one of its highest points.




Can you imagine enjoying a sunset or a romantic evening on the rooftops of Medina Sidonia, tasting a white wine from the land, a cold beer or a snack?

4 The door of the Sun

It is another of the three old entrances to the town and, therefore, an element of great importance for the municipality. Why the door of the Sun? It is well known because it is located to the East and, therefore, is where the sun rises every morning.



By the way, if you want to enjoy one of the most typical inns in the whole town, you are in the right place.

6 Church of San Juan De Dios

Although somewhat further away, history lovers have another important point in the Church of San Juan De Dios. It is also from here that one begins that part of labyrinthine street through these villages where every corner is part of a legend and in Medina Sidonia it was not going to be less. Crossings in honor of Dr. Thebussem or the Admiral Pascual Cervera Topete himself (associated with the naval disaster of Santiago de Cuba) commemorate that intangible heritage of the city



The Church of San Juan De Dios was the last building of what was the most important hospital in the region, built in 1650 by the Hospitallers of San Juan De Dios. Already at the time all this was based on an old hermitage dedicated to San Sebastián, where the cemetery was stinking, outside the city walls, so if you want to cut the route go directly to the Pastora Arch and you will save half an hour of walking.

5 Pastora Arch and Wall of the Salt Fountain

With the visit to the latter of the entrance arches we are also visiting the living history of Medina Sidonia, the remains of its urban wall. There's a stretch of about 63 meters known as Fuente Salada which is very well preserved and restored and has a low old trough attached to the wall.




The Arco de la Pastora, which is still a door, is of Andalusian style (which is how the Islamic art that took place in Andalusia, former al-Andalus, is named, between the eighteenth and fifteenth centuries). Both the Mosque of Cordoba and the Alhambra in Granada are great representative examples of this type of art.

7 Santiago Parish

Returning to the area of ​​the Plaza de España, it is worth a detour to get closer to the Church of Santiago because its origins date back to 1384 and it has a particular Andalusian Mudejar style, mixed with the first Gothic.



It is also built outside the city walls and is built in honor of Santiago el Mayor, patron of the city

8 Victory Church

Although the beautiful part of the route is the walk through the alleyways, new buildings inevitably emerge, such as the Victoria Church that stands on the rooftops and serves as a reference for the route.



This is another religious monument, burned down and restored in 1875 although it dates from S.XVII, where a brick tower stands out in the Plaza de la Cruz

9 Plaza de España and City Hall

What could be the best place to end a route than the City center, bars, restaurants and shops? All San Juan Street represents that Andalusian town that we all have in our heads, with arcades full of shops and even a Market of Supplies and which flows into a rectangular square, known as the main city since the early eighteenth century (La Plaza de la Muela) and current headquarters of the City Hall.




However, the locals still consider the whole area like La Alameda, for its past of poplars, and it is the ideal place to finish the itinerary and have a farewell beer (or have Oli hit a few races, haha).

More things to do and visit in Medina Sidonia

- Combine with the best beaches of Cádiz less than 30 minutes or with Vejer de la Frontera, the most beautiful town for us

1-DAY EXCURSIONS INCLUDING MEDINA SIDONIA AND VESSEL OF THE BORDER:Those who want to make the most of your time have several tours from different departures to combine both white villages:

Excursion to Vejer de la Frontera and Medina Sidonia from Cádiz.
Excursion to Vejer de la Frontera and Medina Sidonia from Jerez.
Excursion to Vejer de la Frontera and Medina Sidonia from the Port of Santa María.

- Hiking through the park of the Alcornocales de Cádiz, the most extensive cork oak congregation in the world and an impressive ecosystem in the province of Cádiz.



- Visit the Hermitage of the Holy Martyrs, the oldest in Andalusia, 5 minutes by car from the historic center down the hill. We tried to see her before we left but we found her closed. It seems that it has its origin in Roman times although it is of Visigothic style, with an inscription from 403 and converted into a Christian church in 630.



- Enter the Medina Sidonia museum and archaeological site where in addition to taking a tour of all history, you can visit a sector of what was the Roman city and even a perfectly preserved street of S.I. Also highlight theethnographic museum.
- Make the call "Route of the Fountains" which include the Salty Fountain (visited in our itinerary) but also the large fountain, the Commander, the Azocarrem and the orange trees.
- Do the "Ruta del Toro Bravo" that passes through this municipality between Jerez de la Frontera and Tarifa. Or if you prefer, come and discover them in the Andalusian landscape of Finca los Alburejos and its pasture, making aVisit to cattle ranching bull Torrestrella and Domecq horses.

Where to eat in Medina Sidonia

If the Andalusian food is always extraordinary, do not forget Try the sweets, especially the alfajores, the assidonense jam par excellence. Also the piñonates, yolks, bitter, brown or shortbread cakes, polvorones, pestiños, nougat that you can buy in any bakery. Come on, if you are going to stay for lunch or dinner ... leave room for dessert! Our recommended charming restaurants would be:

 La Vista restaurant in Medina, already set as a must for a coffee or drink with better views of the city but full success if you stay for lunch or dinner.



 El Duque Restaurant, rated as the best restaurant in Medina Sidonia by El Tenedor and as the third best by Tripadvisor, with great recommendations from its customers ... What better guarantee?
 The show, restaurant winner of the Certificate of Excellence in 2017 and 2019, The Show is an ideal place to taste typical food with an excellent location.
Paco Ortega Bar Restaurant, typical food maintaining the flavor of always but with renewed techniques.

Tapas by Medina Sidonia

There are dozens of options for those who like good tapas. As we could not prove this time, we leave you the recommendations of the official website of Medina Sidonia:

Bar el Troli, in Calle Asido, s / n (San José de Malcocinado)
 La Plaza Bar, a place that looks like those that could be called "the usual", with homemade tapas and charming.

Practical information for your holiday in Medina Sidonia

How to get to Medina Sidonia

Medina Sidonia is only half an hour drive from Jerez de la Frontera Airport, along the A-381. If your base is in any town on the Cadiz coast you can access the A-390 both on the A48 (exit 7) and the N340 parallel to the coast. You can locate the location with this Google Maps link.

Weather in Medina Sidonia

The time in Medina Sidonia is more hot and temperatures are slightly higher than in other coastal areas of Cádiz precisely because it is an inland town. You can check the forecast for your trip on the time and date website.

Where to sleep in Medina Sidonia

There are various types and alternatives for those who value staying in Medina Sidonia for a night. Our Accommodation recommendations would be:

Hotel La Vista de Medina, the ideal place in the historic center, with the best views and with 2 outdoor pools and restaurant ...! an unbeatable base!



Attic73For those who prefer an apartment, this chain offers you all the comforts and qualities of a hotel with the freedom you gain when you book an apartment.

What do you think of this tour with the main attractions what to see in Medina Sidonia? Is it useful to plan your own route? We hope so and you know that you have these lines open to add any discovery that you consider interesting for future travelers. Medina Sidonia did not finish haunting us as if Vejer de la Frontera did it, but we do believe that he has enough incentives to dedicate half a day (at least). What is your opinion?


Isaac, Paula, Oli and Nico from Medina Sidonia

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