Located in the heart of Andalusia and only 1h30 away from Seville (the capital of Andalusia) you can find the beautiful city of Córdoba. It is the city with the highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites including The Historic Centre of Córdoba, Medina Azahara, The Mosque Cathedral and The Patios of Córdoba. Because of its interesting mix of ancient Roman, Moorish, and Spanish culture, it brings a lot of tourists and history enthusiasts yearly. Another big “tourist lure” is the Festival of Patios which happens every year in May and last 12 days. Apart from that, there are plenty of other interesting things to do and places to visit so let’s have a look at it 🙂
WHAT TO VISIT?
Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba (entrance – 11EUR)
One of the most beautiful and the most important landmarks in Córdoba is definitely the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba. It dates back to 784, and features a mix of Moorish, Baroque, and Gothic architecture. It was originally built as a Mosque in the 700s and in the past Córdoba was the most important city of the Islamic Kingdom. After hundreds of years of Arab domination, the Mosque was christianized and converted into a Cathedral in the Middle Ages. The mosque’s most-photographed aspect and the most visited place is its main hall, which is supported by over 850 beautiful double-arched columns. You can climb up to the Bell Tower and have a beautiful view of the the entire Mosque – Cathedral, Patio de los Naranjos (orange gardens) and the entire city from above.
This 247m long and 9m wide bridge is one of the most popular sights in Córdoba. It was built by Romans in the 1st century BC and reconstructed by Moorish (Muslim inhabitants of the Iberian peninsula) in the 8th century. It has 16 arches in total but only 2 of them are original (the others were restored in 2006). An interesting fact for Game of Thrones fans is that the Season 5 was partially filmed there. You can have a nice walk across the bridge and meet some local artists selling their paintings or playing some musical instruments. It kind of reminded us of the Charles Bridge in Prague.
Patios and courtyards of Córdoba and Feria de los Patios
You know how people immediately think of the Eiffel Tower when you say Paris? Well when you say Córdoba, the first think I think of are the beautiful patios. It was definitely my favourite thing to do/see there. And I believe not only for me. Every year in May there is a big festival – Feria de los Patios, where more than 50 patios compete for the title of the most beautiful patio! In fact since 2012, the Córdoba Patios have been part of the world cultural heritage. If you can’t visit during the festival, don’t worry! There are still plenty of them open to the public every day.
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos (entrance – 9EUR or 6,50EUR for Noches Mágicas en el Alcázar)
This beautiful medieval castle/palace is a MUST when in Córdoba. It was built in 1328 (on the site of earlier structures – the old Alcázar) and served both as a fortress and a palace. The fortress was built in the rectangular shape and it was encircled with massive thick walls and four towers in each corner (climb up the Torre de los Leones for a beautiful view of the entire city). You can see here Roman, Moorish and Catholic finds that represent the evolution of this castle (and Córdoba in general) throughout the centuries. Don’t miss the “Ceremony Hall” which displays stunning Roman mosaics on its walls. An interesting fact to know is that in this palace, Christopher Columbus pinched his idea about the western route to India to King Ferdinand and his wife Isabella.
Have a nice walk around its beautiful gardens full of trees, flowers and fountains or come in the evening to see the popular show called Noches Mágicas en el Alcázar full of music, flamenco dances and other interesting performances.
Palacio de Viana (entrance – 10EUR)
The entire complex is 6,500 square metres large and over half is used only for courtyards and gardens. It was declared a National Monument of Historical and Artistic Interest and a Historical – Artistic Garden. The beautiful courtyards and gardens are the main reason of most of the people’s visits. The other good reason to visit this Palace is its spectacular collection of art and decorative arts. The interior of the Palace may however only be seen on a guided tour and only in Spanish (but they do offer booklets available in English and some other languages).
Hammam Ál Andalus (entrance from 28EUR to 56EUR depending on the procedure)
These beautiful Arabic hammam baths are located in the historical centre of Córdoba near the Mosque-Cathedral. We can highly recommend this unique experience. There are warm, hot and a cold plunge baths and a hammam steam room. You can choose between different package deals. We booked the MIDRA package which includes baths, 15 min of relaxing massage and 15 min of an exotic scrub with natural soap on a hot stone bed. It was something very special and we really enjoyed our time there.
Jewish quarter (Juderia)
This beautiful ancient neighbourhood is one of the most famous jewish quarters in Spain. In this neighbourhood you can find also one of Spain’s only remaining synagogues. Have a walk through its stunning narrow white wall streets full of colourful flower pots hanging all over the walls.
La casa Andalusí (entrance – 4EUR)
La Casa Andalusí was not on our itinerary. We found it randomly just walking through the jewish quarter and we are glad we did! This beautiful house-museum was originally built in the 12th century and later on restored to its potential original version to display what home of a Moorish family might have looked like. Even though it is not one of the main sights in Córdoba, we highly recommend to pay a visit to this beautiful place.
If you are travelling to Andalusia, you can’t miss out on a flamenco show! It is a big tradition in all Andalusia. We can’t suggest any exact show places here in Córdoba as we went to watch it in Seville but the most popular are “Tablao Flamenco Cardenal” and “Tablao Flamenco Arte y Sabores de Córdoba”.
We really like Andalusian food so we were very happy to be there and taste all the delicious dishes. Restaurants are pretty cheap in Córdoba and the quality is good. They are almost all very authentic and traditional and that’s what we are always looking for.
You can get a cheap accommodation directly in the centre so there is no point for you to go somewhere else. We stayed at Rincón de la Fuenseca and we were satisfied. It is a budget accommodation of around 25EUR/night. Obviously it was not a luxury hotel but it was very clean, the staff was polite and it was directly in the centre. We can only recommend it.
The biggest airports close by are in Seville and Malaga (there is an airport in Córdoba too but I don’t have any information about how many flights a day arrive there). We flew to Seville, spent 3 nights there and then we took a train to Córdoba.
Check out our Seville travel guide: http://borntotraveldiaries.com/seville-travel-guide/
In the centre you don’t need to use any public transportation or taxi as the centre is quite small and you can walk everywhere.
It is good to combine your trip to Córdoba with some other city in Andalusia if you have enough time. For example:
Malaga – 1h45min
Granada – 2h
Marbella – 2h
Ronda – 2h10min
Cadíz – 3h
We hope this blog post was helpful to you and you are gonna have a lovely time when visiting Córdoba. For more pictures and videos check our story highlight (Córdoba). If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to comment bellow or contact us via email or even better via Instagram @borntotraveldiaries Thank you for your time and stay tuned for our next diary page 🙂