Córdoba began as a Roman settlement, and by the 10th century, it was the
most important city in Europe. When the Muslims invaded the Iberian
Peninsula at the time, they named the region Al-Andalus and made Córdoba
The city became the centre for cultural exchange
between Muslims and Christians, giving rise to many scientific and
Memories of Córdoba's rich past are
still visible today, from its colourful Roman patios filled with flowers
to its monumental Mosque and Moorish palace. Adding to these landmarks,
is La Judería, the city's old Jewish quarter.
looking for things to do in Córdoba, this two-day itinerary will help
you make the most of your visit. It includes the city's best
attractions, as well as tips on where to eat and where to stay.
The first stop on our itinerary is the Mezquita-Catedral, also known as
the Great Mosque. It's this monument that most people imagine when they
think of Córdoba. Just like the city, the Mezquita also went through
several changes. It started as a Mosque in the 8th century, but after
the Christian conquest in the 13th century, it got converted into a
cathedral. As a result, the building features a mix of Christian and
Islamic elements. Today this UNESCO-World site is one of the most
visited Spanish monuments.
Go in through the Puerta del Perdón,
and follow the path towards the Patio de los Naranjos, a courtyard
surrounded by fragrant orange trees. This is where Muslim worshippers
used to perform their ablutions.
admiring the interior, head back out and make your way to the bell
tower for a panoramic view of the city. Entrance to the tower costs an
Tip: If you don't mind waking up early, it's
possible to access the Mezquita for free from Monday to Saturday between
8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., except during extraordinary celebrations.
Calleja De Las Flores
From the Mosque, walk down to the Calleja de las Flores. This narrow
street gets its name from the colourful flower pots that adorn its
buildings. The picturesque setting has made it one of the most
photographed streets in Córdoba. Standing in the middle, you can capture
the cathedral tower surfacing amid the whitewashed houses.
La Judería is Córdoba's old Jewish quarter. It's worth spending some
time here exploring its maze of cobbled streets and hidden monuments.
Keep an eye out for the Casa Andalusí, a museum with Moorish-style
architecture and the statue of Maimonides, a prestigious Jewish scholar.
Other highlights include the 14th-century synagogue, the chapel of San
Bartolomé with its striking Mudejar-style architecture, and the Casa de
Sefarad, a small museum that showcases the history of the Spanish jews.
Puerta del Puente was once one of the city's main gates. The structure
you see today dates back to the 16th century, but there was already a
gate here during Moorish and Roman times. You can walk under it on your
way to the Roman bridge.
While it dates back to the 1st century BC, the Puente Romano got a
makeover in the 10th century after the city's Moorish occupation. The
bridge stands above the Guadalquivir river and includes 17 stone arches.
It's the perfect spot to capture the whole town and the mountains
rising in the background. At the end of the bridge, you'll find the
Torre de la Calahorra. This fortified tower houses a museum that
explores the religious and cultural facets that helped shape the
In the afternoon, head over to the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos. This
former royal palace was built upon the ruins of an old Moorish fort.
Some of its original structure remained, but most of it was added later
on when the Christian Monarchs took over Córdoba. Like most Andalusian
buildings, the Alcázar features a series of halls and Arabian-style
gardens with trees and decorative fountains. These courtyards are
especially colourful during spring when the flowers are in bloom. Inside
the palace is a collection of antiquities, including Roman mosaics
discovered on this site. Visitors can also climb up to the towers which
have splendid views over the town.
Beyond historical landmarks, Córdoba is famous for its picturesque
patios. After visiting the Alcázar, take a tour of the Patios San
Basilio. These are privately owned courtyards, but you can purchase a
ticket to access them. The trail includes a series of houses with
stunning floral displays arranged by locals through the years. Córdoba
gets pretty hot during summer, and in the Roman era, patios like these
were designed to help residents cool off.
Continue walking until you reach the Almodovar Gate. In the Moorish era,
this defensive structure was known as "Bab al-Chawz" or Puerta del
Nogal, but its current structure dates back to the 14th century. Along
with Puerta del Puente, the Almodovar Gate is one of the few remaining
gateways to the city and marks the entrance to the city's Jewish
quarter. Next to the gate is the Jardines de la Victoria, a large public
garden lined with palm trees.
Food markets are one of the best places to experience local cuisine. In
Córdoba, you can visit the Mercado Victoria. The market occupies a
19th-century building right in the middle of the Victoria gardens. Open
between 10 a.m. and midnight you can grab a meal here at any time. There
are around 30 stalls inside, serving anything from Córdoba's classic
salmorejo to sushi and empanadas. While you decide what to eat, grab a
glass of Montilla-Moriles, a wine similar to sherry that is produced
exclusively in Córdoba.
Finally, take a walk around the Plaza de las Tendillas, the city's
shopping district. Here you'll find a series of cafes and restaurants
with outdoor terraces. The square is even more special at night, when
the fountains lit up. On the way there, you can pick up a souvenir in
shops like the Olive & Co, which sells beauty products made with
local olive oil or the Faustino Prieto for delicious cured meats.
Start your second day in Córdoba with a visit to the Medina Azahara. Set
on the outskirts of the city, this was once the centre of the Islamic
Caliphate. Abd al-Rahman III ordered the construction of the medina in
936 and named it after his favourite wife Zahara. At the time, the
complex stretched for more than 1500 metres. In 1010 it was looted and
destroyed by the Almoravids. The remains you see today were only
uncovered at the beginning of the 20th century, and although it's only a
fraction of what it used to be there, they still give you a sense of
the medina's former glory. If you don't feel like driving here, you can
book a guided visit which includes a shuttle from the city centre.
Once you're back in the city, head over to the Palacio de Viana. For
centuries, this 15th-century palace was a residence for the Spanish
royalty. These days, visitors come here to see its Andalusian-style
patios. There are 12 courtyards to stroll through, decorated with
fountains, mosaics and colourful flower beds. In addition to visiting
the gardens, you can explore the palace itself, which houses a
collection of antiquities.
From the patios, walk to the Templo Romano on Calle Capitulares. Here
you'll find the remains of a Roman temple dating back to the 1st century
AD. These were only discovered in the 1950s when the city was expanding
the town hall. Only ten columns remain from the temple's original
structure, which contrasts against the modern buildings around it today.
Slowly make your way to Plaza de la Corredera for an afternoon drink.
Established in the 1600s, it's one of the city's most famous squares.
The plaza features a classic Castilian style, with its rectangular shape
and surrounding arcades. It's been used for multiple purposes through
the years, including executions, bullfights and food markets. These days
it's a meeting point for locals and tourists, who gather around its
After a tiring day of sightseeing, there's nothing better than a
relaxing bath at Córdoba's Hammam Al Andalus. The space tries to
recreate the Moorish baths that existed around the city during the
Caliphate era. At one point there were hundreds of these, but with time
most of them got demolished. The Hammam Al Andalus was built in 2001,
but it resembles the old bathing complexes, with its geometric tiles and
horseshoe arches. Besides accessing the baths, you can also book
massages and rituals.
Royal Stables of Córdoba: You'll find these horse stables close to
the city's Alcázar. Established in 1570 by King Felipe II, it was where
the Andalusian horse race first started. You can visit the stables
throughout the day or attend one of their nightly horse shows.
de Bellas Artes: Housed in a former hospital building, this little
museum showcases works by Córdoban artists ranging from the 15th to the
19th centuries. It includes pieces by Antonio del Castillo, Zurbarán and
Julio Romero de Torres. Alongside these are also a series of
contemporary paintings and sculptures.
Museo Julio Romero de Torres: Just opposite the Museo de Bellas Artes is this museum dedicated to the
Spanish painter Julio Romero de Torres. Torres was born in Córdoba and
was famous for its portrait work. Besides his paintings, the museum also
features some personal items, including art materials, books and
If you're visiting Córdoba with kids, it's best to take things slow
while touring the city. Places like the Mezquita and the Alcázar can
take a couple of hours to explore, so keep that in mind and schedule
breaks throughout the day.
Beyond the attractions mentioned in
our itinerary, there are other family-friendly sites worth checking in
Córdoba. At the Municipal Park Zoo, kids can see a variety of animals
including ostriches, zebras and lions. Close by is La Ciudad de los
Niños, a large open playground featuring slides, mini-golf and zip
lines. There's also a café and picnic tables if you decide to grab a
In the summer, you can head to Aquasierra, a fun
water park which is a 30-minute drive from the city. Another idea is to
explore the Andújar National park with Iberian Lynx Land, a company that
organizes wildlife watching tours. Some species found in the park
include the Iberian Lynx and the Golden Eagle.
You'll find most tapas bars around Córdoba's old town. While visiting
the city, don't be afraid to step inside some of the old-school places
and embrace its lively atmosphere.
One dish that is often on the
menu is the salmorejo. This soup is a thicker version of gazpacho
made with fresh tomato juice, olive oil, garlic and bread crumbs.
Sometimes it also comes with toppings like cured ham or a hard-boiled
Other local delicacies worth trying include oxtail dishes,
flamenquín (battered pork or ham), and the pastel cordobés, a
flaky pastry filled with pumpkin jam. Below are some of the best places
to eat in Córdoba:
Maddow: Set near the Mosque, this cosy café
is the ideal spot for breakfast in Córdoba. Here you can order the
classic Spanish tostadas with olive oil, ham and tomato, as well as
avocado toasts and yoghurt bowls. You can also get brunch for less than
Mercado Victoria: This local market is home to more than a
dozen food stalls. Each of them sells a unique speciality, from the
classic salmorejo to Argentinian empanadas and delicious oysters. The
wine bar at the market serves Montilla-Moriles, which is like an
unfortified version of sherry wine.
Taberna Salinas: This traditional
tavern has been delighting visitors with its homemade dishes since
1879. Specialities include the oxtail, the Serrano ham and the chickpea
stew. To pair with the food, you can order a glass of Moriles wine.
Restaurante CuatroManos: In 2015, two brothers got together and created
this contemporary restaurant in the heart of Córdoba. The menu features
innovative dishes inspired by traditional Spanish cuisine. You can
choose between full dishes or tapas. Make sure to reserve ahead.
Restaurante El Rincon De Carmen: Set in the old town, this restaurant
serves both tapas and full plates. Some highlights include the fried
aubergines with honey, the croquettes and the oxtail. To finish off
there's tiramisu, cheesecake and the pastel cordobés.
Adrián Caballero is the chef behind the Regadera, a colourful restaurant
located across the Guadalquivir river. Every dish here comes with fresh
and seasonal ingredients, and presentation is key. Try the ham
croquettes and the lemon dessert.
La Tarterie: If you're in the mood
for a sweet snack, head to La Tarterie. This small bakery offers a
variety of homemade cakes served by the slice. There's not much room
inside, so order a slice to go, and enjoy it at the nearby Plaza de la
Where To Stay In Córdoba
Here are some of the best hotels in Córdoba where you can spend the night:
Hotel Hospes Palacio del Bailío (5 stars): Housed in a 16th-century
palace, this hotel stands out with its Moorish-style decor. The rooms
are modern and spacious, and some include hand-painted murals and
classic bathtubs. Guests can enjoy the outdoor swimming pool surrounded
by lush gardens, or book a treatment at the hotel's spa. There's also a
restaurant on site that serves a mix of Spanish and Asian cuisine. Under
it are the remains of a Roman villa dating back to the 1st century AD.
Hotel Soho Boutique Capuchinos & Spa (4 stars): This boutique
hotel gets its name from the nearby square, Plaza de Capuchinos. The
rooms are a mix of modern and rustic, with exposed wooden beams and
brick walls. It features a spa with jacuzzi, Turkish bath and sauna, as
well as a terrace with splendid city views.
Balcón de Córdoba (4
stars): If you want to stay near the city's main attractions, this is
your best bet. The Balcón de Córdoba is only a few steps away from the
Mosque-Cathedral and the Alcázar. There are ten rooms available,
including suites with private balconies. Guests can relax in one of the
hotel's quiet courtyards, including one with Roman remains, or enjoy the
views from the rooftop.
Hotel NH Collection Amistad Córdoba (4
stars): Set in the Jewish quarter, this hotel occupies two renovated
18th-century palaces. Its romantic courtyards and stone walls remind
visitors of Córdoba's architectural past. The interiors, on the
other hand, are quite modern, with marble floors and bright furniture.
Facilities include an outdoor pool, a restaurant and a fitness centre.
Hotel Viento10 (3 stars): Before it became a hotel, this building was
part of a 15th-century hospital. The owners transformed the whole place
and turned into a cosy boutique hotel on the outskirts of Córdoba's
historic centre. Remains of the building's old structure are still
visible like the arches and sandstone columns. During their stay, guests
can access the spa, which includes a jacuzzi and sauna. There's also a
charming rooftop terrace overlooking the city.
Spring is the best time to visit Córdoba. The temperatures range
between 20-25ºC and the days are pretty sunny. Visiting at this time
also allows you to see the city's patios in full bloom, especially if
you catch the Fiesta de los Patios in May. Many other events take place
in the spring, such as the Semana Santa and the Batalla de las Flores.
When scheduling your trip, make sure to check the festival dates.
Semana Santa: Like most Andalusian cities, Córdoba celebrates
the Semana Santa with a round of processions. These last for several
days and depart from different churches across the city, including the
parish of Our Lady of Grace (part of the Mosque), the Church of San
Lorenzo, the Convent of Santo Angél and many others. Occasionally you
might hear a religious song chanted by a member of the public.
Cruces de Mayo: This local festival takes places at the end of
April or beginning of May and usually lasts four days. It includes a
contest between Catholic brotherhoods and neighbourhood associations,
who compete for prizes for the best-decorated cross. The competition
started around 1953, but the decoration of the crosses is a tradition
that comes from the 18th century.
Batalla de las Flores: Every year in May, Córdoba welcomes
the Batalla de las Flores (flower battle). Locals and visitors head to
the Paseo de la Victoria to see a parade of floats covered with
colourful paper flowers. The participants also wear traditional
Andalusian dresses and throw flowers at the audience.
Fiesta de los Patios: Held in the second week of May, Fiesta de
los Patios is among the most popular events in Córdoba. During this
festival, locals compete for the most beautiful patio. The prize goes to
the patio with the best display of plants and flowers. Beyond the
competition, there's also dancing and singing performances, and plenty
of tapas. The best places to capture these patios are the Alcázar Viejo
district, the Santa Marina district and around the Iglesia de la
Magdalena. Some of these courtyards are closed to visitors for the rest
of the year, so this is an opportunity to explore hidden corners of the
city. Make sure to grab a map at the tourist office, so you don't miss a
Feria de Córdoba: At the end of May, a funfair takes over the El Arenal fairgrounds. Thousands of people gather here to see a variety of activities, including flamenco performances, costume demonstrations and a firework display. There are also plenty of rides to try and food stalls selling tapas and other snacks.