Cordoba is located in Southern Spain in the Andalusia region. It is on the list of most popular tourist destinations in Andalusia, along with Seville, Granada and Ronda. Cordoba is located just 40 minutes drive from Seville which makes this city a perfect place for either a day trip or two to three days stay. I wrote this complete guide to Cordoba (including the best things to do in Cordoba) to help you organize your visit to this beautiful Spanish city.
As I mentioned above, Cordoba is located in the Andalusian region in the south of Spain. Since the city is quite big and a well known tourist spot there are many ways to get to Cordoba.
Of course if you are coming on a one day excursion with a group and a tour guide, you don’t need to worry about transportation, since the tour agency will organize everything. For those who want to travel by themselves there are a few options you can choose among: train, bus, or rental.
The most common and quickest way to travel to Cordoba is by train, especially if you are coming from Seville (which most of you would).
There are also many buses that go to Cordoba, however, the bus will take longer. For example, the bus from Seville to Cordoba is 2 hours, while the train is 45 minutes.
Renting a car is always a good choice if you like driving. It will give you a chance to visit different historical sites on the way to Cordoba, and you don’t depend on a set departure-arrival time. Surprisingly, it is quite cheap to rent a car in Spain (compared to some other popular countries in Europe for tourists), so renting a car might be a great option.
Since Cordoba is a city in the South of Spain, the weather here is great most of the time. Of course, in summer it can be uncomfortably hot for long walks during midday, but other than that, the weather is great and you can visit Cordoba pretty much all year around.
Although, there is a very specific time when I would recommend you to visit this city. If you are fan of festivals and comfortable with crowds around you, there is the Fiesta de los Patios (the courtyard festival) that takes place every year during the first two weeks of May. People put in a lot of effort to make their courtyards look magical and win the title “the best courtyard”.
Of course, for those who want to see traditional courtyards covered in flowers, but don’t want to be in large crowds, the best time to come to Cordoba will be March, April or the second half of May, when the flowers are still blooming, but the crowds are already gone.
Of course the best place to stay in a new city is always closer to the center. Cordoba has many great hotels, a big part of them you will find in the beautiful Jewish Quarter. However they can be quite pricey as well. That is why we chose to stay at Itaca Colon Hotel on the outskirts of Cordoba’s center. You can read my full review of this hotel here.
Since we stayed just a few days in Cordoba I cannot give you a long list of restaurants to visit. However, I have three suggestions that you might find to your liking:
Taberna La Bodega is a great place to get some local experience. This is a tapa bar that mostly locals visit. It is located next to the Itaca Colon Hotel. That is how we were able to find it.
At Taberna La Bodega you can enjoy a great selection of traditional food, amazing sherry, and a friendly welcome from the staff.
Cafetería pastelería heladería Roldán was my favorite place to get breakfast in Cordoba. It is an amazingly beautiful cafe (I think I associate this cafe with the word “beautiful”, because the pastries they have there look so good and BEAUTIFUL).
Cafetería pastelería heladería Roldán has a great selection of savory pastry and breakfasts. (By the way, do you know that the most popular breakfast here is simply toast with butter and jam?)
Sibuya Urban Sushi Bar is a place for people who would love to get some good sushi. For some reason after a month in Spain I was craving sushi so much, maybe it is because in Ukraine (where I live) sushi has become a very popular meal and it is quite affordable as well.
Sibuya Urban Sushi Bar is a great sushi bar with a great selection. The only problem is that if you didn’t reserve a table, you better come right at the opening hour, since they don’t have a lot of tables and most of them are often booked.
In most Andalusian cities I usually put the city’s Alcazar(Alhambra in Granada) on the first place in my To-Do list. However in Cordoba the first place I give to the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba (also known as the Great Mosque of Cordoba).
If you have time to visit just one of the historical sites in Cordoba I say go to Mosque-Cathedral. This is a very unique place compared to all the other cathedrals in Andalusia. Of course the history is similar to other places and the Mosque-Cathedral has Catholic and Islamic influence, but the interior is just mesmerizing. The combination of Moorish and Renaissance styles along with the colors and details that are so vibrant make this cathedral a truly unique place.
Visit Alcazar of the Christian Monarchs
Alcazar of the Christian Monarchs is the second most important historical site in Cordoba. If you have been to other Andalusian cities, chances are you have already visited an Alcazar or two.
The Alcazar of Cordoba has a long history and it is quite bloody. At one point the Alcazar had become the headquarters of the Spanish Inquisition. The palace was turned into a prison and into turture chambers. Queen Isabella and her husband used the Alcazar of Cordoba as their tribunal and as a headquarters of their campaign against the Nasrid dynasty. At this Alcazar they also received a visit from Christopher Columbus, who was set to find a western way to Asia.
Besides its long history, the Alcazar of Cordoba is famous for its beautiful gardens. In fact, the gardens are the best part of the Alcazar. You will find there are countless fountains, flowerbeds, beautifully shaped trees and bushes, long walking paths, and cozy looking benches hidden in shade.
Price: 5€ – adults, 2.5€ – students (audio guide is included);
The Jewish Quarter in Cordoba is itself a historical monument. The whitewashed small buildings with tiny streets full of romantic spots will make you fall in love with Cordoba once more.
In the Jewish quarter you will find most of the historical places that are worth a visit. The streets of Judería de Córdoba will take you to The Grand Mosque of Cordoba (the Mosque-Cathedral) and to the Alcazar.
My advice to you: just put away your Google maps and get lost in the Judería de Córdoba. This is the best way to find the most amazing and unexpected spots in this area (that is how I found La Casa Andalusi).
Location: C. Averroes, 2, 14004 Córdoba, Spain
Cordoba Synagogue is another place worth a visit, however small it might be, it is a part of the city’s culture and history. The synagogue is located in the Jewish quarter, a few minutes away from the Alcazar of Cordoba and the Mosque-Cathedral.
The visit is completely free and you just need 5 – 10 minutes for a visit. There is just one room with a balcony and a small courtyard. Inside the main room you will find some of the preserved ornaments and a few information plaques that you should read.
Location: C. Judíos, 20, 14004 Córdoba, Spain
Cordoba is full of cute places like small alleys and charming courtyards, it also has two of the most charming museums I have ever visited: La Casa Andalusí and Museo de la Alquimia.
These two museums are located not far from the Cordoba Synagogue. I advise you to visit both of the museums, since if you visit one of them you get a big discount to visit the second one (keep the ticket from the first museum to show it at the second one).
La Casa Andalusi has few charming courtyards that are perfect instagram spots. Here you will see a few ponds, tons of flowers, and greenery. It has a beautiful interior and you can even visit the basement.
Museo de la Alquimia as you probably understood already (if you speak Spanish) is mostly about the science of alchemy. It might not have as charming courtyards as la casa Andalusi, but here you can climb to the roof of the building and enjoy a beautiful view of the Jewish Quarter.
Price: 4€ for each separately, 6€ for two;
Location: C. Judíos, 12, 14004 Córdoba, Spain
One of the most popular festivals to visit in Córdoba is The Fiesta de los Patios – the courtyard festival that takes place every year in the first half of May (as I already mentioned in the “The Best Time To Visit Cordoba” paragraph).
Among the thin streets and alleys in the historical part of the city (Jewish quarter) you will find many charming courtyards that are covered in flowers, decorated with interesting statues, and beautiful ponds. The owners take big pride in their flowery courtyards, no wonder there is actually a competition/festival dedicated to this cause.
You can visit Cordoba’s most beautiful courtyards on your own or get a tour guide that will tell you more about the history of the Fiesta de los Patios and the courtyards itself.
Location: 14003 Córdoba, Spain
The Roman bridge is another significant place for Cordoba. This is probably the most recognized place among tourists – the picture of the bridge in front of the Mosque-Cathedral and the Alcazar.
The bridge was originally constructed in the early 1st century BC. Since then the bridge was reconstructed of course and it looks magnificent.
The Roman Bridge is the place to plunge into an amazing atmosphere. You will find many great street musicians here that deserve recognition.
The Roman Bridge is a place to relax, people watch, enjoy the music, and get some amazing photos of the city.
Torre de Calahorra is a lovely museum that is located on the other side of the Roman Bridge from the Grand Mosque. I usually don’t put many museums on the list of “Things To Do”, but this is one of those places that you definitely should visit.
Here you will learn a bit of the history of Cordoba, see a few wax models (the Alhambra model is especially nice), and at the end of your tour you can get to the top of the Torre de Calahorra and enjoy the view of the Roman bridge and the Grand Mosque.
Price: 4,5€ – adults, 3€ – students (audio guide is included);
Location: Puente Romano, s/n, 14009 Córdoba, Spain
Just a few minutes from the Plaza de las Tendillas (in front of the city hall) you can find an interesting site with the ruins of Templo Romano.
The ruins of the Templo Romano have a few columns that were reconstructed, so you can imagine a bit better how the temple looked in its glory.
This site doesn’t offer any guided tours, since it is quite small and you can just see it from the street. It might not be the most important tourist spot in Cordoba, nevertheless it is very nice to see it.
Location: C. Capitulares, 1, 14002 Córdoba, Spain
Plaza de las Tendillas is one of the main plazas in Cordoba. It is a beautiful space with a big fountain, many cafes and restaurants.
Plaza de las Tendillas is a great place for shopping and people watching. Get a coffee or lunch at one of the restaurants’ terraces and enjoy the view of the fountain, charming facades of buildings around, and the fun that people have next to it.
During the Christmas holidays Plaza de las Tendillas is transformed into a magical place with fairytale lights all over it.
In any time of the year Plaza de las Tendillas is a great spot to have a break from exploring the city and enjoy good food in a cute place. What can be better?
Location: Plaza de las Tendillas;