Córdoba is a great starting point for your trip to the south of Spain, especially if you are coming from elsewhere in Spain with the high-speed trains that are available. What we love about Cordoba are the rich cultural influences it has had over time, which you can see today in the architecture, sights and food. It is also known for being a place where three different cultures, Christians, Muslims and Jews all coexisted, albeit with differing circumstances. We loved so much about Cordoba, from the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, the beautiful plant-filled Patios you will stumble across everywhere, and the Juderia (Jewish quarter) of Cordoba. So to help you plan your trip, here’s our Córdoba Spain travel guide so you can enjoy the best things to do in Córdoba, best places to eat in Córdoba, best Córdoba hotels and everything you need to know before you go to Córdoba Spain. We also have a printable Córdoba travel guide at the end of this post.
Córdoba Spain Travel Guide
Things To Do In Cordoba Spain
Where To Eat In Cordoba
Cordoba Travel Essentials | Getting There | Getting Around | Day Trips | When To Go | How Long To Go For | Tips
Córdoba Travel Guide Video
Córdoba Spain Map
Here is our Córdoba Spain Map, with Córdoba restaurants and landmarks pinpointed so you can easily find your way around. We also have a printable Córdoba Spain travel guide PDF at the end of this post with the map and summary of this Córdoba blog post so you can easily save it to your phone or print it out to take with you.
Things To Do In Córdoba
The historic centre of Córdoba is filled with beautiful streets that really feel like you have stepped back in time. The combination of Roman, Christian and Moorish architecture, among others, is unlike anywhere we have ever seen. Cordoba was founded by the Romans in 169 B.C. From 711 Cordoba was under Moorish rule. During this time, Cordoba became the worlds largest city with around 1 million residents. In 1236 Cordoba was conquered by Christians.
One of the main examples of Moorish architecture and one of the most beautiful sights in Cordoba is the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, otherwise known as the Mezquita. The red and white arches that engulf you as you explore the Mosque-Cathedral are incredible, but then to reveal a Cathedral in the centre of all of this is just unlike anything we have ever seen before.
The courtyard at the front of the Mosque-Cathedral is the beautiful Patio de los Naranjos (Patio of the oranges), which is full of orange trees.
During your visit to the Mosque-Cathedral, make sure to also climb the Bell tower for amazing views over Cordoba.
Another incredible place to visit during your trip is the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos. This is a fortress and palace from during Christian Rule. The highlight of our visit here was exploring the beautiful Moorish-style gardens.
The Puente Romano (Roman Bridge of Cordoba) is a beautiful example of Roman architecture in Cordoba. It’s nice to look at this bridge from afar and walk over it for the full experience. At the end of the bridge is the Calahorra Tower, which you can go up and also has a museum. We didn’t do this as it would have been our third tower in Córdoba, and we were definitely satisfied.
The Fiesta de los Patios is held each year for a two week period in May, and during this time, residents open their beautiful courtyards to the public.
If you don’t happen to be visiting Cordoba in May, we would definitely recommend going to Palacio de Viana, where you can see twelve beautiful patios filled with incredible plants, flowers and trees.
Exploring the narrow lanes of the Jewish Quarter (Juderia) of Cordoba is one of the best things to do in Cordoba, although it can be a little touristy. Some places to see here include the Cordoba Synagogue, Casa Sefarad (a restored house and museum), La Puerta de Almodovar (an original gate into the Jewish Quarter and Historic Centre of Cordoba) and Capilla Mudejar de San Bartolome (a small chapel).
There are so many beautiful streets in Cordoba to explore. Perhaps the most popular is Calleja de las Flores, filled with beautiful flowers, plants and patios, but be sure to get there early to avoid the crowds. Another one of our favourites, Calle de Pedro Jimenez, feels like you enter a world that no-one else knows about. It’s a tiny little street that has a water fountain and a small courtyard at the end.
You can also walk past the Roman Temple of Cordoba.
There are also some interesting plazas you can walk through in Cordoba, including the Plaza de la Corredera, Plaza de las Tendillas, and one of our favourites, Plaza del Potro where you will find a fountain, a Flamenco museum, which is free to enter and the Museo de Bellas Artes (Museum of Fine arts).
Casa de las Cabezas, otherwise known as the House of Heads, is a restored house that shows what life was like in the middle ages.
You can also visit the fresh fruit and vegetable market, Mercado Victoria.
Where To Eat In Córdoba
The food in Southern Spain is definitely some of our favourite in Spain. From traditional to modern tapas, simple dishes full of flavour and always a highlight on using seasonal ingredients. Some local dishes to try in Cordoba include the salmorejo, a cold soup made from tomatoes, bread, garlic and oil which originated from Cordoba, flamenquín (ham and pork rolled together, crumbed and fried) and Rabo de Toro (strewed bull’s tail).
If you are looking for a nice modern restaurant experience, Regadera is fabulous and one of the best restaurants in Cordoba Old Town along the river. A light and bright space with an open kitchen, the food here is a modern take on classic Spanish cuisine using fresh and seasonal ingredients. The service here was really friendly. We loved the fluffy and creamy Acorn Iberian ham croquettes with a confit garlic mayonnaise, salmorejo which had delicious bits of Iberian pork jowl, bread crumbs and ‘fried egg’, as well as confit Iberian pork cheeks with light and airy ‘gnocchi’.
El Paseo Ibérico is a tapas bar with lots of locals, a great place to get a drink and some local cheese, Jamon Iberico and other cured meats. The owner is very friendly and generous. Although this wasn’t our favourite food experience in Cordoba, the food was still good, we had a great time here and it felt like we were having an authentic experience.
A great place for breakfast in Cordoba is La Bicicleta. This nice cafe has amazing freshly squeezed juices and delicious tostadas, we loved the salmorejo tostada. The service here was really friendly.
If you’re looking for traditional desserts to try, we enjoyed the Pastel Cordobés (also known as manolete), a pastry filled with Cabello de Angel (made from pumpkin but the end result tastes more like apple). You can find these at bakeries in Córdoba.
Other places to eat in Cordoba that looked great but we didn’t get time to try include La Tinaja, Garum 2.1, Jugo Wine Bar & Shop, Casa Pepe de la Juderia and the Michelin starred Noor Restaurant.
The Best Córdoba Hotels
Here are our picks for the best Cordoba Hotels…
Las Casas de la Judería de Córdoba – Charming boutique hotel with a traditional design set within 5 noble houses. Located in the Jewish Quarter of Cordoba, close to the Alcazar and Mosque-Cathedral. Check prices here.
There are also some great options for Airbnb in Cordoba Spain. Click here for $50 credit towards your first stay.
Córdoba Travel Essentials
How to get to Córdoba? You can reach Cordoba a number of different ways depending on where you start your journey.
If you are starting your journey within Spain, you can easily reach Cordoba from Madrid (2 hours) and even Barcelona (4 hours 45 minutes) with the high-speed trains. If you are already in Southern Spain you can reach Cordoba within 45 minutes on a train from Seville, 1 hour 30 minutes on a train from Granada and a 1-hour train from Malaga.
For flights to Córdoba Spain, the nearest airports to Cordoba are Seville Airport, Malaga Airport, Jerez Airport and Madrid Airport. Flying into Barcelona Airport is also great if you want to experience Barcelona first then make your way to Cordoba.
The easiest way to reach Cordoba is via high-speed trains, which we definitely recommend booking in advance for the cheapest fare. We use Trainline for most of our train bookings in Europe. But depending on where you are coming from, there are also many bus services. ALSA bus is a good one to look up. You can also hire a car to explore Andalucia. We will go into each option on how to get to Córdoba in detail, from multiple different locations in our upcoming ‘How To Get To Cordoba Spain’ article.
How To Get Around Córdoba
You can easily get around Cordoba by walking. Cordoba is not too big and is a beautiful city to walk around. We didn’t need to use public transport at any time in Cordoba, but depending on where you are staying you may need to get a taxi from the train station to your accommodation.
When To Go To Córdoba Spain?
So when is the best time to visit Cordoba? Cordoba can get really hot in summer, so if you can, avoid visiting in July and August. The shoulder seasons of Spring and Autumn will give you the best weather in Cordoba, including March, April, May, September, October and November. We were there at the beginning of April and loved the weather and what we presume would be fewer crowds. We had cold mornings and evenings, and warm days. If you want to visit in Summer, then June would be your best bet as it is the least hot of the summer months.
Something to keep in mind when picking your dates to visit Cordoba is the many festivals and events. You may either choose to visit for these festivals, in which case we would recommend booking in advance and be prepared to pay more, or you may want to avoid these times of the year. In Cordoba, May, in particular, has a lot of festivals, including the beautiful Fiesta de los Patios. There is also Holy Week or Semana Santa during Easter.
So in our opinion, the best time to visit Cordoba is in March, April, May, June, September, October or November.
Getting Out | Day Trips from Córdoba
One of the main places to visit near Cordoba is the ancient ruins of Palace Town Medina Azahara (Medinat al-Zahra) that dates back to the 10th century. This was meant to be the most luxurious and magnificent place to have been built, but only 74 years after it was built, the city was destroyed during civil wars and looted. This is a UNESCO world heritage site and can be reached by tourist buses from Cordoba. We, unfortunately, didn’t get to visit this area but would definitely love to go back to see it. We imagine you would need at least half a day to include this in your Cordoba itinerary.
How Long To Stay In Córdoba?
How many days should you stay in Córdoba? There are so many amazing sites in Cordoba, and even exploring the streets and neighbourhoods deserves time. We would recommend a minimum of 2 nights in Córdoba (at least one full day) if you want to see the main sights in Córdoba. If you want to visit Medina Azahara, then we would recommend at least 3 nights in Córdoba (at least 2 full days).
Our Córdoba Travel Tips
Many people skip Córdoba completely or only visit as a day trip from Seville. If you have time in your Southern Spain Itinerary, although it’s possible to do a day trip, we would definitely recommend staying there to make the most of mornings and evenings. Córdoba is a great starting point to your trip to Andalucia if you are coming from other areas further north in Spain.
Download or print off our Córdoba Spain Travel Guide below to help you plan your trip to Córdoba.
A Printable Córdoba Spain Travel Guide PDFGet your free printable guide to Córdoba PDF with map here.
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