Travel Guide to Cordoba, Spain

By Rachael Funk


Once Europe’s largest, most cultured city, Cordoba is layered with Moorish, Jewish, and Catholic heritage. Charm oozes from every winding lane and cobblestoned street. Between the Mezquita and the city’s flourishing reputation for gastronomy beyond compare, Cordoba is ideal for a romantic getaway, an adventure, or a journey through time.


What to Know

An often overlooked city when compared to its Andalusian relatives Seville and Granada, Cordoba has a powerful presence beyond its spectacular historical sites. With an intimate atmosphere and magnificent cuisine, the city will enchant you with its quiet majesty. The city is linked to other major hubs via high-speed rail so not only is it easy to get to, it’s easy to take day trips from as well.


When to Go

One of Cordoba’s highlights is the Festival of the Patios, which occurs early through mid-May. Fiesta season lasts April through June, and showcases this ancient city at its absolute best. If you prefer to see the city with fewer crowds and don’t mind missing the colorful festivals, shoulder season may be right for you.


How to Get Around

The outskirts of Cordoba can be navigated by bus or train. Within the city, you can use public transit, such as the city bus which generally runs 6am to 11:30pm. Taxis are available as well, and can be waved down when the green light is on. Otherwise, you’ll want to call the taxi dispatch or you may be liable for fees such as flag-down and kilometers traveled. Tariffs should be displayed inside the taxi to explain extra charges for special services such as night service, public holidays, or train and airport service.


Where to Eat

You can expect fabulous food at reasonable prices in Cordoba. Specializing in bulls’ tail stew and salmorejo, which is a thicker, creamier version of gazpacho, this charming town is sure to offer something that will get your mouth watering! Here are some of our best picks for where to sink your teeth into something great in Cordoba.


What to See

Mezquita

A relic of the flourishing culture that existed here when Cordoba was the capital of Islamic Spain, this is regarded as one of the world’s greatest Islamic buildings. Built on the foundations of a Visigoth cathedral in 784, Mezquita has 1,293 pillars and the key to the city’s history.

Alcázar

Headquarters of the Inquisition, this site is both a fortress and a palace. Covered with Roman mosaics and Moorish courtyards, Alcázar deserves a few hours for you to stroll the fountains, ponds, and other attractions of this historical attraction.

Mercado Victoria

This is Andalusia’s self-proclaimed first gastro-market, and if you love food, you are not going to want to miss this! Peruse stalls filled with gastronomic delights such as sushi, oysters, wine, cheese, jamón ibérico, and all the tasty treats you can handle.

Calleja de las Flores

Hit the zig zagging streets of Calleja de las Flores to indulge in some shopping! All along the streets, you can find people selling pottery, silver, and leather goods. If you’re looking for souvenirs to bring back to “wow” your friends and family, you’ll find them here.


Tips and Tricks

  • Treat yourself to a spa day! Take a trip to Cordoba’s authentic Arab baths at Hammam Al Andalus to soak in hot and cold pools, enjoy a massage, or go all-out with the Water Journey experience.

  • The Jewish Quarter of Cordoba (Juderia) is one of the city’s coziest areas. You can find lovely hidden restaurants, shops, and beautiful streets there.

  • The most central tourist office is located in the middle of the Plaza de las Tendillas

  • You can avoid the €8 fee to enter the Cathedral of Cordoba if you visit between 8:30 am – 9:30 am Monday – Saturday. They allow individual tourists in free, with the expectation that you will remain silent while visiting.


Day Trips

Madrid

Accessible in about two hours via high-speed rail, Madrid will be a colorful addition to your trip! Soak in the city’s energy as you shop, eat, and dance your way through one of Spain’s most popular destinations. See art galleries and museums or simply relax in one of the incredibly manicured parks.

Malaga

About an hour and a half from Cordoba by train, Malaga boasts yellow sand beaches, a modern skyline, and access to the glittering sea. Charged with a youthful energy that will invigorate its guests, this city has it all. See everything from edgy street art all the way up to some of Picasso’s finest paintings or watch live Flamenco and devour impeccable cuisine at great restaurants.

Seville

A popular day trip from Cordoba, Seville is a place of romance and history. Watch bullfighting from the Plaza de Toros or eat, drink, and dance your way through this iconic city. Take in the Alcazar and Cathedral to get your architecture fix and to see the blend of styles from the city’s vibrant cultures. Then, dash over to the achingly beautiful neighborhood of Santa Cruz, where you can explore on foot. You’ll find plenty of tapas bars and restaurants in the heart of Santa Cruz as well.

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