Things to do in Córdoba, Spain
Córdoba is one of the most beautiful places in Spain and has a lot of similarities to Seville, although it’s much smaller. It has stunning religious buildings, a historical center with an ancient Jewish quarter, and old Roman architecture.
However, although the city is a hub for history, it’s very much alive; you’ll hear the tapping of flamenco dancers, the beat of the drums, and the sound of Spanish guitars on the streets.
Add this fantastic city as a stop on your Andalusia road trip, and discover all the top things to do in Córdoba, Spain!
1. Mosque-Cathedral ‘Mezquita’
Welcome to one of the most remarkable sights in all of Spain: the Mezquita of Córdoba! Now a cathedral, this Christian religious site inhibits the site of an ancient mosque, dating back to Moorish Times when much of Spain was under Islamic rule. During the period of Reconquista (13th century), the mosque was converted into a cathedral and is still an active place of Christian worship today.
There were not many alterations made to the original mosque, which means it’s fascinating to walk around; the beauty of this Islamic architecture remains evident from the red and white colored candy cane stripes that decorate the interior, the incredible archways, and the intricate stonework.
Even the outside of the complex is stunning and can be seen from the streets of Córdoba. With all this beauty and ancient history, it’s no surprise that the mosque-cathedral is also a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984.
Climb the Bell Tower
Where once a minaret stood is now the bell tower of Córdoba Cathedral. This beautiful tower stands 40 meters high and has a vast viewing platform where you can find impressive views over the city.
You can access the bell tower every 30 minutes, and tickets cost an extra 3 Euros (well worth it!). We recommend buying your ticket online in advance to avoid disappointment, as it’s one of the most popular things to do in Córdoba.
Tip: The Mezquita is still a place of worship with regular services held. Make sure to be respectful and quiet, and wear appropriate clothing.
Entry Fee and Tours
General ticket: 11 EUR (11 USD)
You can buy tickets online, which you can print out or download to your phone.
Entry is free to the gardens (this is where the ticket offices are located). However, it’s better to buy tickets online in advance since Covid.
Night visits are also available for a unique way to see the Mosque-Cathedral (a general ticket costs 18 EUR/17.30 USD)
Opening hours can vary. Because of this, we recommend visiting the website to see the availability. This is normally between the hours of 10 AM – 7 PM Mon-Sat, 8:30 AM – 11:30 AM + 3 PM – 7 PM on Sunday. Remember that the last entry to the site is half an hour before closing time.
The gardens of Córdoba Cathedral, named Patio de Los Naranjos, open earlier, so you can purchase the tickets. Make sure to leave some time to enjoy the gardens, as they’re absolutely beautiful, filled with orange trees, palms and cypresses.
Tip: The Mezquita gets busy with tours in the morning, so it’s best to visit around 1 PM when it gets a bit quieter for lunch
How to get to the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba
You can take bus lines 3 and 12 to the nearest stop, which is called Puerta del Puente. From here, walk for a few minutes and enter through Puerta de Deanes.
2. Puerta del Puente
This beautiful renaissance gate is the Arc de Triomphe of Córdoba, its name translating as ‘Gate of the Bridge’. Like much of the historic center, this 16th-century piece of architecture makes up the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Córdoba.
It’s also particularly interesting as it sits in the exact location of the original Roman gates. Back then, Córdoba was a walled city, and the Roman gates would have been the entranceway to the town.
Once you pass through the impressive columns of the Puerta del Puente, you can cross Córdoba’s famous bridge: Puente Romano.
3. Roman Bridge of Córdoba (Puente Romano)
Picture strolling over the majestic Roman Bridge of Córdoba, with the sun setting over the city and the golden light hitting the sandy stone of the bridge. This is exactly what an evening in Córdoba looks like! This incredibly picturesque bridge is a sunset favorite, with its 16 beautiful arches that cross over the Rio Guadalquivir. After the sun goes down, the street lamps light up, giving it a whole new romantic atmosphere.
In the day, admire this bridge that dates back to the 1st century and has been rebuilt many times throughout the ages. Once you cross over the pedestrian bridge, you’ll reach the imposing Torre de Calahorra, a defensive tower from the Moorish times. There is a museum inside which will teach you more about the co-existence of Jews, Muslims, and Christians in Córdoba. Plus, you can climb up the tower itself for beautiful views of the river and city below.
Did you know: The Roman Bridge of Córdoba was used as the setting for Game of Thrones scenes in season 5 of the series (another reason to add Córdoba to your Andalusia road trip itinerary!).
4. Calleja de las Flores
Calleja de las Flores is the most famous street in all of Córdoba, known for its colorful floral decorations. The charming street is tucked away and is very narrow, bordered by whitewashed houses that are covered in hanging wall pots and pink flowers.
Follow along the street, and you’ll come out in a small square with a fountain. This is one of the many ‘patios’ in Córdoba, which in May comes alive for the Fiesta de Los Patios, an annual festival where locals compete with their florally decorated courtyards. In fact, the festival is so integral to the culture of Córdoba that UNESCO classifies it as an ‘intangible heritage’.
Tip: There are many other beautiful patios to visit in Córdoba. For example, Patios de San Basilio and Patios Cordobeses.
If you can, time your visit to Córdoba with the festival. Alternatively, you can visit as early as the beginning of April, and the patios will be almost ready and filled with flowers (virtually the same experience and much quieter!).
Join a courtyard tour to discover all the best spots!
5. Jewish Quarter
The Jewish Quarter is one of the most charming neighborhoods in the city and a top thing to do in Córdoba! Known in Spanish as the ‘Juderia’, this neighborhood has maintained its traditional aesthetic with its cobblestone streets, whitewashed houses, statues, and archways.
Located close to Calleja de Los Flores, it’s also part of Córdoba’s UNESCO World Heritage Site for its preservation and cultural value. Wander around the labyrinth of streets, admiring the beautiful gardens and manicured trees. Make sure to also buy some souvenirs from the stores (the area is known for its silversmiths and leather goods). There is also a very important synagogue here in this neighborhood, which is actually the only synagogue in Andalusia!
6. Alcazar of the Christian Monarchs (Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos)
Maybe you’ve visited the Alcazar in Seville? The Córdoba Alcazar is a little bit different, but with its own unique beauty. This ancient fortress and perfectly landscaped gardens are one of the top things to do in Córdoba, home to many wonderful trees, flowers, and sculpted fountains.
There’s something very impressive and regal about walking through the gardens, with the 13th-century thick castle walls looming at the edge. You can also visit inside the fortress. However, the most impressive part is definitely the typical Andalusian courtyards with orange trees and water features.
There are also 4 towers in total that makeup part of the fort. However, only two towers are open to the public: Torre de Los Leones and Torre del Homenaje. It’s well worth the steps to the top for the beautiful views across the green and luscious gardens.
Entry Fee: You can buy tickets at the entrance. However, there is usually a queue to do so. Because of this, we recommend buying online in advance for just 5 EUR (4.80 USD). Please note that you can only pay with a credit or debit card.
7. Palacio de Viana
No trip to Andalusia is complete without visiting one of the many palaces in the region. One such palace is the Palacio de Viana—a top thing to do in Córdoba.
Wander around the 12 courtyards of the palace gardens, following the mapped-out circular walk. You’ll discover beautiful columns, orange trees, and regal architecture. As you go, you’ll see a diverse range of architectural styles. This was because the palace was built hundreds of years ago, and as the times changed, so did the architecture, creating this fantastic melting pot of styles. Make sure to also look down; you’ll see the beautiful stonework across the floors and terraces.
Tip: Inside the Palace, you can find some incredible historical paintings, as well as some beautiful ceramics.
Opening times and entrance fee: Tickets cost 10 EUR (9.60 USD) to visit the Palace, patios, and collections. Opening hours vary by season and can be consulted here.
8. Caminito del Rey
If you’ve got a bit more time, head for the thrilling Caminito del Rey. This hike is made up of heart-stoppingly high walkways that are secured to the side of a deep canyon. Not surprisingly, it was once one of the most dangerous hikes in the world! However, it’s perfectly safe these days, with safety barriers and helmets provided.
Start your morning early and drive the 1 hour 45 minutes to the Caminito del Rey. Once you arrive, join a morning walk (you will be allocated a slot on buying your ticket), and enjoy the incredible bird’s eye view of the canyon, lakes, and surrounding Andalusian landscapes. It’s one of the top things to do in Córdoba and a must-do on any Andalusia itinerary! Book your ticket here.
Read: Hike Caminito Del Rey
Where to Stay in Córdoba
Córdoba is small but perfectly formed, with many great places to stay. If you’re looking for the best location, situate yourself in the old town, close to all the top things to do in Córdoba. What’s more, the narrow cobbled streets are the perfect place for boutique hotels, many of which have typical Andalusian interior courtyards. See all accommodation options in Córdoba.
Best Cafes and Restaurants in Córdoba
Tapas lovers rejoice; Córdoba is excellent for food, and there are plenty of restaurants to suit every traveler. It can be a bit harder for veggies and vegans as, generally, Spanish food revolves around meat and seafood. However, it is possible to find some options, and the veggies and fruits in Spain are delicious!
Make sure to try the Córdoba delicacy of Salmorejo, a thick tomato soup that comes with chopped-up ham and egg on top (veggies can ask for the ham to be removed). Here are our tips for changing to a vegetarian diet.
Some of our favorite places to eat in Córdoba were:
- El Patio de Maria (Spanish)
- La Bohême (Vegan)
- Restaurante La Boca (Fusion Spanish)
- Taberna Patio de la Judería (Andalusian)
- Mercado Victoria (Mix of everything)
- Damasquino (Syrian kitchen)
- Maddow (Coffee)
How to Visit Córdoba, Spain
Unfortunately, there is no airport in Córdoba, Spain. However, the nearest airport in Malaga is just under a 2-hour drive away and has arrivals from all over the world.
If you’re traveling on an Andalusia road trip, we recommend flying into Malaga airport. From here, you can hire a car (adding Córdoba as a stop on your itinerary).
We recommend renting a car in Spain through Sunny Cars as they work with local car rental companies. When booking through Sunny Cars, the price already includes all insurance. Book your rental car here.
Alternatively, there is a direct train from Malaga to Córdoba. This takes approximately an hour and costs anything between 20-40 EUR (19.23 – 38.50 USD), depending on the day and time of year. (See the train timetable here)
There is a great train station in Córdoba, so if you’re traveling from other bigger cities in Spain, like Madrid, Barcelona, or Valencia, there will be plenty of high–speed train options. The journeys are usually direct and take a maximum of 5 hours.
Córdoba is one of the most walkable cities in Spain! It’s very small, and the historical center is truly beautiful, so the best way to see it is on foot. Alternatively, taxis and buses are available to transport you around the city. However, the roads are very narrow and one-way, so it’s not the fastest way to travel.
If you’re driving to Córdoba, park outside of the historical center. It’s much cheaper, and you’ll have a greater chance of finding a parking space.
How Much Does Córdoba Cost?
Like a lot of Spain, Córdoba is a very affordable city to visit. Food is cheap, especially the tapas, and many places will offer you a free plate if you buy a beer. Accommodation is als very well priced within the city. Just make sure to book outside of Easter and the flower festival in May. During these periods, the city gets very busy, and accommodation prices can almost double.
- Hotels: 50 – 100 USD / night
- Hostels: 15 – 30 USD / night
- Price per meal: 10 – 25 USD
- Entrances: 10 – 20 USD
Best Time to Visit
Córdoba is a very small city and you really only need one or two nights to visit and see all the top things to do. You could even visit on a day trip from one of the bigger cities in the region if you’re low on time, adding it as a stopover on your Andalusia road trip itinerary.
Summer is extremely hot in Córdoba, with temperatures exceeding 40 °C (104 °F) in July and August. For this reason, we recommend visiting in the shoulder seasons, April-May or October-November. During these months, the days are still warm and sunny, and it’s perfect for walking around and exploring.
Even in December and January, the days can be lovely; a little cooler but still beautiful blue skies. Visit in early April to see the flowers bloom or in May if you want to witness the famous Córdoba flower festival.
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