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5 Unforgettable Things to Do in Cordoba, Spain

top sights in cordoba spain

Strategically located on the north bank of the Guadalquivir River, Cordoba was the Roman and Moorish capital of Spain and its old quarter, clustered around its famous Mezquita (mosque), remains one of the country’s grandest and most intimate examples of its Moorish heritage. Cordoba was a medieval city famed for the peaceful and prosperous coexistence of its three religious cultures – Islamic, Jewish and Christian. Cordoba’s artistic and historical treasures begin with the mezquita-cathedral (mosque cathedral) and continue through the winding, whitewashed streets of the Juderia, the jasmine geranium and orange filled patios and the Renaissance palaces.

 

Where to Stay in Cordoba

Cordoba merits 2 days and 1 night. The town is small enough that the main sights are no more than 10 minutes walking distance from practically anywhere in the old town. My top hotel affordable recommendations are:

NH Amistad Cordoba – A lovely, central hotel known for it’s amazing breakfast options. Slightly pricier but the rooms are worth it.

Check the latest prices on Booking.com | Hotels.com | Agoda or read reviews on TripAdvisor

Eurostars Patios de Cordoba – Perfectly located away from the hustle and crowds in the Jewish Quarter yet within a quick walk to the main sites. This is a uniquely classic Cordoba option, as the Eurostars hotel has beautiful patios for you to relax with a drink during the afternoon siesta.

Check the latest prices on Booking.com | Hotels.com | Agoda or read reviews on TripAdvisor

Hotel Riviera – a bare bones, but inexpensive and clean hotel. It’s centrally located behind a main street with lots of restaurants and food nearby. About a 10 min walk from the Mezquita.

Check the latest prices on Booking.com | Hotels.com | Agoda or read reviews on TripAdvisor

 

Top 5 Things to Do in Cordoba, Spain


After spending 3 days in Cordoba, I compiled a list of the best things to do in Cordoba, Spain based on my experience! First up are the true standout sights, followed by some options if you have additional time in tow. At the end, I included additional sight suggestions if you have more than 3 days to spend in Cordoba as well as suggestions for where to eat, featuring the top tapas bars and restaurants in town.

top sights in cordoba spain

1 | Mezquita

€8 | Mon – Sat 10-7, Sun 2-7

Built between the 8th– 10th century, Cordoba’s mosque is one of the earliest and most beautiful examples of Spanish Islamic architecture. Enter the Puerta de las Palmas (Door of the Palms) where 850 columns rise before you. Al Hakam II built the beautiful mihrab (prayer niche), the Mezquita’s greatest jewel. Make your way over to the qiblah, the south facing wall in which the sacred prayer niche was hollowed out. In front of the mihrab is the maksoureh, a kind of anteroom for the caliph and his court.

 

Sher’s Tip: During the day, the Mezquita can fill up with people and tour groups, making it difficult to get good shots without people, not to mention the entrance ticket isn’t cheap. However, early (8:30am-9:00am) before mass, the cathedral opens up free to the public while workers prepare for service. It is the best time to go because not only is it free, there is nobody around and you might get to hear the organ player warming up.

top sights in cordoba spain

top sights in cordoba spain

 

 

top sights in cordoba spain

 

 

top sights in cordoba spain

top sights in cordoba spain
top sights in cordoba spain

 

 

2 | Calleja de las Flores

Free | 24 hours

This is the textbook cover image of Cordoba found on every guidebook and for good reason! You’d be hard pressed to find prettier patios than those along this tiny street, a few yards off the northeastern corner of the Mezquita. Patios are central to Cordoba’s architecture in the old quarter, an homage to the Moorish rulers of the ancient city, who honored the sanctity of the home and the need to shut out the fierce summer sun.

 

Sher’s Tip: This is a narrow alley that practically every tour group crowds into. Go early or late for an unobstructed view. I stopped by early one morning and after dinner on a different night, to capture a day and night view.

top sights in cordoba spain

top sights in cordoba spain
top sights in cordoba spain
top sights in cordoba spain

 

 

3 | Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos 

€4.50 | May – Sept Tues –Fri 8:30-7:30, Sat 9:30-4:30, Sun 9:30-2; Oct – Apr Tues – Sat 8:30-7:30, Sun 9:30-2:30

Built by Alfonso XI in 1328, the Alcazar is a Mudejar style palace with splendid gardens. The palace is really more of a fortress, bare bones and built for military usage. This is where, in the 15th century, the Catholic Monarchs held court and launched their conquest of Granada. The most important sights are the Hall of the Mosaics and a Romans stone sarcophagus from the 2nd or 3rd century. The gardens are the true highlight here!

 

Sher’s Tip: This is right behind the Mezquita. Go first to the cathedral, spend about an hour, and you’ll make it to the Fortress of the Christian Monarchs by 9:30, early enough to arrive during the free entry period!

top sights in cordoba spain

top sights in cordoba spain
top sights in cordoba spain
top sights in cordoba spain
top sights in cordoba spain

top sights in cordoba spain

top sights in cordoba spain

 

4 | Palacio de Viana

patios €3, patios and interior €6 | Tues – Fri 10-7, Weekends 10-3

This 17th century palace is one of Cordoba’s most splendid aristocratic homes. Also known as the Museo de los Patios, it contains 12 interior patios, each one different; the patios and gardens are planted with cypresses, orange trees and myrtles. Inside are a carriage museum and library.

You can buy either a ticket for the interior, to tour the 16th century estate, or a combined ticket to see the beautiful flowers in the outdoor patios. The grounds can feel a little disjointed, as the palace was once individual houses that were then combined after a seller bought out his neighbors. The gardens are the true highlight here!

 

Sher’s Tip: If you miss the Patio Festival in May, this is a great museum to stop at as it gives you a glimpse of what the beautiful patios and courtyards look like. If you’re in town for the Festival, you can skip this museum. You’re probably all patio’d out already, ha.

Read more: Spring in Cordoba – Visiting the Flower Patio Festival

top sights in cordoba spain

top sights in cordoba spain
top sights in cordoba spain
top sights in cordoba spain
top sights in cordoba spain

 

 

 

5 | Roman Bridge

Free | 24 hours

This ancient bridge still stands on its original first century AD foundation, pointing a direct path to the Mezquita. Although it’s a small, relatively unimpressive bridge compared to say, Paris’ Pont des Arts, it’s worth it’s weight in historical significance. This bridge established Cordoba’s strategic importance in Andalusia and one of its fortified gates was converted to hold the Museum of Al-Andalus Life.

 

Sher’s Tip: The bridge was converted in 2009 to a pedestrian walkway. Go for a walk or bike ride at sunset, where you’ll mingle with lots of local Cordobans out for their post dinner stroll. You’ll also have an impressive, beautiful view of the Mezquita mosque and cathedral lit up at night!

 

top sights in cordoba spain

top sights in cordoba spain
top sights in cordoba spain

 

Other Worthwhile Sights


The top sights I recommended above are easily doable with just 2 or 3 days in Cordoba. If you love Spain and have more time, here are some smaller but equally beautiful sights to check out while you’re in Cordoba.

Also don’t forget to check out Granada and Seville! You can find my 7 day Andalusia itinerary here.

Torre de la Calahorra

The tower on the far side of the Puento Romano (Roman Bridge) was built in 1369 to guard the entrance to Cordoba. It now houses the Museo Vivo de Al-Andalus ( ‘Land of the West’) with films and guides on Cordoba’s history. Climb the narrow staircase to the top of the tower for the view of the Roman bridge and city on the other side of the Guadalquivir.

€4.50 incl audio guide | daily May – Sept 10-2 and 4:30 – 8:30; Oct – Apr 10-6

Museo Julio Romero de Torres

Across the courtyard from the Museum of Fine Arts, this museum is devoted to early 20th century artist Julio Romero de Torres who specialized in mildly erotic portraits of demure Andalusian temptresses.

Tues – Fri 8:30 – 10:30 | mid-June – mid-Sept Tues-Sat 8:30-2:30; mid Sept – mid June, Tues – Fri 8:30-7:30, Sat 9:30-4:30, Sun 9:30-2:30

Juderia

The lively Plaza Juda Levi, surrounded by a maze of narrow streets and squares, lies at the heart of the Juderia and is for great people watching. Best experienced in the morning with minimal crowds.

 

Madinat Al-Zahra

Built in the foothills of the Sierra Morena by Abd ar-Rahman III for his favorite concubines, al-Zahra, this once spending summer pleasure palace was begun in 936. The Madinat was sacked in 1013 and parts have been reconstructed. No public transportation but a tourist bus runs 2x daily (3x on Saturday) and the tourist office can provide details of stops and schedules.

€1.50 | Tues – Sat 10-6:30 (to 8:30 May-mid Sept), Sun 10-2

Museo de Bellas Artes

Hard to miss because of its deep pink façade, Cordoba’s Museum of Fine Arts, ina  courtyard just off the Plaza del Potro, belongs to a former Hospital. The collection includes paintings by Murillo, Goya, Sorolla, etc.

Iglesia de San Miguel

Complete with Romanesque doors built around Muedjar horseshoe arches, the San Miguel Church, the square and café terraces around it and its excellent tavern Taberna San Miguel Casa El Pisto, form one of the city’s finest combinations of art, history and gastronomy.

Read more: 7 Day Andalusia Spain Itinerary – Everything You Need to See

top sights in cordoba spain
top sights in cordoba spain

Where to Eat in Cordoba – Best Restaurants


Cordoba is a classic Spanish town, with later lunch and dinner times than you may be used to. Lunch is typically from 1-3pm, with a siesta until 6pm, and dinner from 9-11pm. Some of the best tapas and restaurants in town include:

  • El Potrillo Español – It’ll be you and a handful of boisterous locals in this rustic little tavern run by one-man-band Argimiro. Get a plate of jamón, perhaps some local cheese and throw in an order of grilled garlicky mushrooms | Calle Lucano, 19
  • Gastrotaberna Macsura – A modern restaurant and bar serving tasty local food. If they’re on the menu when you go, try the coquillas (small clams) and ortiguillas (sea anemones) here. They have an outside terrace | Calle Cardenal Gonzalez
  • Regadera – If you’ve only got a day (or an afternoon) and you’re wondering where to eat in Cordoba: Regadera should be high on your list. The menu mixes tradition with innovation, and everything has a light, modern touch. Delicious | Calle Ronda de Isasa
  • Garum 2.1 – With its bright and breezy bistro style atmosphere, Garum 2.1 turns out inventive version of Cordoban classics. The salmorejo with sherry and the bull tail stew are excellent. They even do a bull tail churro, if you’re feeling post-modern | Calle San Fernando, 120-122
  • Las Piconeras – tapas bar, everyone likes the paella entree for two at just 11 euros | Calle de Corregidor Luis de la Cerda, 73

Save this post by pinning it for later or read the full series of Spain guides: 


here are the 5 best-things-to-do-in-cordoba

 

Spain Itinerary and Travel Guides


Spain and Portugal Itinerary Advice for 10 Days

How to Experience the Best of Andalusia (Southern Spain) in 1 Week

 

Andalusia Blog Posts


Spain’s Best Hidden Attraction: The Cordoba Patio Festival

5 Unforgettable Things to Do in Cordoba, Spain

Quick Guide to 48 Hours in Seville

Know Before You Buy: Alhambra Tickets for Granada, Spain

Where to Eat Tapas in Seville – 3 Must Try Spots

Spending the Perfect 3 Days in Granada, Spain

 

Read more: Have 3 days in Barcelona? Here’s what to see.

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The Fashion FolksJune 16, 2016 - 8:34 am

These are lovely tips, so many gorgeous places! Xx

http://www.thefashionfolks.com

JoyceJune 16, 2016 - 10:58 am

All of these places are so pretty! I love all your pictures & how organized all your tips are. Hopefully I can stop by some of these cities in my July trip to Spain this year. And also loving all your travel fashion! <3

Characters & Carry-ons

Maggie KrolJune 16, 2016 - 11:55 am

I love this post so much! My fiancé and I are actually looking for places to go on our honeymoon and this seems so romantic. The photos are beautiful. Truly appreciate the detailed breakdown of your adventure.

http://www.maggiekrol.com/

Xoxo, Maggie

SherJune 16, 2016 - 3:56 pm

Thank you Maggie! Spain is a great honeymoon destination :)

Vishu SaumyaJune 16, 2016 - 4:13 pm

Such an informative post. I am in love with the pictures.Good read and amazing clicks!
Request you to visit http://www.roadtotaste.com to know about our travel experiences.

LouJune 17, 2016 - 1:57 pm

Nice article and pictures !
We subscribe to your blog :)
Ultimate Paris Guide Team

Siddhartha JoshiJune 17, 2016 - 11:41 pm

Wow! Loved the pictures and the post :)

mark wyldJune 18, 2016 - 8:22 pm

Looks like a great place to visit. We are heading Spain later this year but could only fit in Granada and Seville wish we had time for Corboda aswell. I have always loved the look of the Roman bridge

JoyJune 18, 2016 - 9:25 pm

so beautiful, I m sure you had fun. I can’t wait to go to Spain.

http://www.myeternalsymphony.com

Vicki LouiseJune 18, 2016 - 10:30 pm

Wow! I never realised there was so much to see and do in Cordoba – it looks like a beautiful part of the world!

Lara DunningJune 19, 2016 - 12:55 am

I love the breakdown of the sites, hotels and places to eat. Very helpful. I’m particularly drawn by the mosque and the roman bridge.

BriannaJune 19, 2016 - 11:27 am

Wow! I love all these photos- expecially the Roman Bridge! I also really like how you added your own personal tips!

Carly MooreJune 19, 2016 - 2:27 pm

1st Century Roman Bridge… I’d be all over that. Your photo’s are fantastic and your blog makes me want to redesign mine a bit lol.

Michelle WJune 19, 2016 - 2:42 pm

Such gorgeous, dreamy photos! I went to Cordoba in 2012 and I loved it!! Happy to see I’ve done most of the things you recommend. Going back to Spain this summer but only for about 5 days unfortunately

ReaJune 19, 2016 - 3:58 pm

Let me start by saying that you have some really beautiful pics! I love Spain so much, especially Andalusia as the mixture with the Arabic culture makes is really special. Although I am originally from Slovenia, I spent 6 years living in Granada and went to Cordoba a couple of times. I’m afraid I’ll have to disappoint you because, to be honest, I’ve only been to Mezquita, while I spent the rest of the time wandering around the streets, having cerveza along with some really good tapas :) I guess I’ll have to go back to tick off the rest of its landmarks! :)

Karla StrandJune 19, 2016 - 5:49 pm

Love this post! So thorough and such beautiful photos! Pinned :D

Carmen's Luxury TravelJune 19, 2016 - 10:59 pm

Cordoba, actually all of Andalucía, is such a beautiful part of Spain. Your photos are lovely, thanks for sharing. Happy travels :)

KerriJune 20, 2016 - 12:11 am

It’s all stunning but I think Calleja de las Flores would be the place I would love to spend some time. Gorgeous photos and I love all the alleys.

TravelGretlJune 20, 2016 - 4:05 pm

Love your pictures and the way you style your blog! Much better than many I’ve seen (including my own website really ;) So congratz, well done :D

Lauren Meshkin @BonVoyageLaurenJune 20, 2016 - 5:21 pm

I fell in love with Seville and Granada recently, but have yet to visit Cordoba! It’s going on my list now. Beautiful pictures :)

Jackie Sills-DellegrazieJune 20, 2016 - 10:12 pm

What an informative post! I’d love to see the CALLEJA DE LAS FLORES! How true it is to visit popular sights in the morning or at night to avoid the crowds. I did this in Prague and got amazing photos of the city. Cordoba looks incredible. I can totally picture myself strolling the streets and admiring the architecture.

SherJune 21, 2016 - 12:02 am

hey jackie, i hope you check it out! yes, always going early and later seems to help a bit with crowd control :)

SamanthaJune 24, 2016 - 11:32 am

Your photos are absolutely stunning. I would love to visit Spain and your pictures make me want to check out Cordoba!! Amazing scenery and wow, that Cathedral! Thank you for sharing this post!

[…] Read more: Don’t Travel to Cordoba Without Seeing These 5 Sights […]

Cristal DyerJune 24, 2016 - 6:03 pm

Beautiful pictures! Definitely makes me want to visit <3

[…] Attractions: Mezquita-Cathedral, Palacio de los Reyes Cristianos, Roman […]

LaurenJune 27, 2016 - 11:49 pm

Such a wonderfully indepth list! I loved Córdoba when I visited when I was 26. Truly romantic… Love the photos.

KorinnaJuly 23, 2016 - 2:47 am

Your photos are amazing! Made me wanna go to Cordoba :)

Quick Guide to 48 Hours in SevilleJuly 29, 2016 - 12:57 pm

[…] arrived late in the afternoon from Cordoba and took a 75 min Renfe ride into Seville’s Santa Justa train […]

[…] 1 | Appreciating the exquisite architecture of Granada’s Alhambra and Cordoba’s Mezquita […]

[…] the high speed rail down to Andalusia to experience the warm sunny cities and Moorish influence of Cordoba, Seville and Granada, and then flew back north to Barcelona. After a couple days exploring (with […]

[…] the high speed rail down to Andalusia to experience the warm sunny cities and Moorish influence of Cordoba, Seville and Granada, and then flew up northeast to Barcelona. After a couple days exploring (with […]

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