Oasys Mini Hollywood

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Oasys Mini Hollywood is a Wild West town theme park, one of the three Western desert parks located near Almeria. The entry price is 22 Euros for an adult and in our opinion it represent best value for money. What makes a difference between Oasys and the other two nearby studios, Fort Bravo and Western Leone, is that the visit to the large zoo which is also included in the price of the Wild West ticket!

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As you start exploring the authentic looking western town with a stunning mountain backdrop, you can have a closer look at the 18th century houses or pop into the local bank, church, various shops or even local cemetery at the town’s outskirts. It’s all very atmospheric and instantly takes you back in time whether you want it or not! You can also buy one of the many souvenirs or head to the town square to take a photo on the horse next to a friendly cowboy. There is plenty of attractions and fun all around the place!

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The main attractions, which always draw crowds, are live shows, both played twice a day: a pleasant to the eye can-can show staged in the Western-style saloon and a bank robbery show featuring gunfights and some chilling cowboy-style fist fights.

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Lights, camera, action!

The famous Tabernas desert, in the middle of which the Oasis Mini-Hollywood is located, was once a favourite location for many film makers. In 1960s and 1970s, in the golden era of the European Westerns, many film producers preferred to shoot their films in the Spanish desert instead of going to the distant America or Africa. That’s because Almeria’s desert bears lots of resemblance to the stereotypical image of the Wild West. Three studios were created at that time: Texas Hollywood, Mini Hollywood, and Western Leone. The Italian film producer, Sergio Leone, shot “A Fistful of Dollars” as well as “The Good, or the Bad and the Ugly”, both starring Clint Eastwood, on the Tabernas desert. The Tabernas desert is occasionally used today for some smaller productions.

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More than ordinary zoo

If seeing all the attractions in the western villages took you more than half a day, the rest of the day needs to be reserved for the unique zoo which is also part of the Oasys Park. You will find there lots of species which you won’t find in many zoos. There is a white tiger, lions, Iberian bear and many more. The enclosures for animals are very spacious and ingeniously made. Also, in the summer season the swimming pool complex is opened allowing you take off the heat quickly.

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Jerez de la Frontera

Sherry, the famous fortified wine, is usually the first thing that comes up to mind when you think of Jerez de la Frontera. The fifth largest city in Andalucia owes it success to wine production. If you would like to see wine bars ‘bodegas’, try horse riding, attend one of the flamenco shows or indulge in a little bit of culture and history, make sure to visit the Europe’s capital of wine.

Jerez hosted most of history’s greatest civilizations. The Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Moors, Spanish and British all left their mark on the city. This can be best seen when you go on a church sight-seeing walk in the compact city centre. In this small heart of Jerez alone, there are as many as 17 churches, all fo them different, giving you a colourful glimpse into city’s history.

A visit to the Alcazar, the oldest building in town, is also a must when you are in Jerez. This 10th century Islamic fortress features Arab baths, several towers, beautiful gardens, cloistered patios and great poanormaic views from camera oscura housed on the top of of a tall tower.

Near Jerez there is the famous Jerez Circuit regularly hosting international motorcycling and superbike events as well as being the most popular Formula 1 testing venue. In 2014, the circuit opened there a Motorsports Museum there as well (entry 7 Euros). It is worth to visit the place in January or February when the Jerez circuit hosts the traditional pre-season Formula 1 testing.

Also close to Jerez there is a Rancho Cortesano, a honey ranch where you can buy high quality bee honey, wide range of products derived from honey and beeswax as well as lots of other organic products and souvenirs. Rancho Cortesano boasts 2000 hives in the mountains of Cadiz and in natural parks. There is a Honey & Bees museum there as well, with free entrance, which allows you to learn everything about honey: there is a honey in history exhibition, bee-keeping exhibition and more.

Jerez is a top destination for a short cultural trip. Best visited in fall to truly appreciate warming sherry wine or equally popular brandy! Jerez is conveniently located only 40 kms away from Cadiz, so you can lan visiting both places at the same time.

TOP 3 BODEGAS IN JEREZ

1. Tio Pepe (Gonzalez Byass) – the most popular bodegas in town offering guided tour (a visit to the vineyards, brandy route, barrel-making and more) as well as winetasting. Visits in English are available everyday at 12:00, 13:00, 14:00, 17:00, with the exception of Sunday afternoons when its closed.
2. Harvey – winery tour, wine museum boasting 8,000 labels on display as wel as a a collection of hand-painted bottles from the 19th century
3. Domecq – tapas, lunch, wine tasting and more