Things to do in Cordoba
You’re planning to visit Cordoba during your next trip in Spain?
Visiting Córdoba in 1 or 2 days is discovering one of the most beautiful old town of Andalusia, as well as prestigious monuments like the mosque-cathedral of Córdoba or the Alcázar.
It’s also the perfect destination for a day trip from Seville (it’s only at 40 minutes by train!).
In order to help you plan your stay, I have created a guide of the best things to do in Cordoba, with all the best places to visit and points of interest. If you’re planning to spend more than a day in town, you should also have a look at the list of my favorite accommodations in Cordoba, for every budget. It’s located at the end of the article.
And as always, I will also give you my best tips to make the most out of your trip!
So, what are the best things to do in Cordoba? Where to stay?
Discover the top 15 must see attractions in Cordoba now!
- Things to do in Cordoba
- Visit Cordoba: The 15 Must-See Attractions
- 1. Jewish Quarter of Cordoba (La Judería), the heart of the city
- 2. The Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba
- 3. Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
- 4. Cordoba Synagogue
- 5. Chapel of San Bartolomé
- 6. The Royal Stables of Cordoba
- 7. The Bridge Gate
- 8. The Roman Bridge
- 9. Calahorra Tower
- 10. Plaza de las Tendillas
- 11. See the Roman Temple of Cordoba
- 12. Plaza de la Corredera
- 13. Viana Palace
- 14. Visit Cordoba’s museums
- 15. Try the Salmorejo: Cordoba’s typical dish
- Best things to do around Cordoba
- One day in Cordoba
- 2 days in Cordoba
- Where to stay in Cordoba
- Cordoba: Tourist Map
- My impressions about Cordoba
- You’re traveling in Andalusia? These articles will help you!
- Visit Cordoba: The 15 Must-See Attractions
Visit Cordoba: The 15 Must-See Attractions
1. Jewish Quarter of Cordoba (La Judería), the heart of the city
To enter the historic center of Cordoba, you will pass through the Almodovar Gate, surrounded by its high walls and battlements. It marks the entrance to La Judería, the old Jewish quarter of Cordoba. Stroll through its typical Andalusian streets with whitewashed facades and flowery balconies. Don’t miss la calleja de las Flores, Cordoba’s most famous little alley, which leads to a nice view of Cordoba’s Mosque-Cathedral.
This neighborhood is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and includes the majority of historical monuments to visit in Cordoba. It’s the place where you will find the city’s main attractions such as the Mosque Cathedral and the Alcázar. I will tell you more about them below.
In this area, you can also shop in the numerous lather crafts and jewellery stores.
2. The Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba
The mosque-cathedral of Cordoba (also sometimes called Mezquita) is the city’s emblematic monument and certainly the most impressive. Built in 785 by a Muslim emir on the ruins of a church, it has been enlarged and embellished over several centuries. Nowadays, it’s considered one of the most beautiful examples of Islamic art in Spain.
Following the Christian conquest, a cathedral was erected at its center, creating a singular architectural mix. Inside you can admire columns and endless red and white arcades, glorified by the beautiful lighting.
Spending an hour or two photographing the columns from every angle is the dream of every photographer.
This is one of the most impressive monuments I’ve had the opportunity to see, the atmosphere is really special there. You will love it!
All the important information you need to visit the Mosque Cathedral of Cordoba can be found on the Mezquita’s official website.
3. Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
This is the other must-see monument when visiting Cordoba: the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos (“Alcázar of the Christian Kings” in English). It served as a residence for Catholic kings, but was also the headquarter of the Holy Office during the inquisition. At that time, it was converted to a prison.
You can start your visit by climbing into one of the Alcázar’s 4 towers. You will end up on the ramparts, with a unique panorama of the city to enjoy.
Then go back downstairs to visit the interior of the Alcázar of Cordoba, with its mosaic salon, the royal baths and the moorish patio. You can then enjoy the highlight of the visit, the beautiful gardens. Large paths lined with trees and orange trees with beautiful fountains and ponds in the center.
Visiting the gardens is truly relaxing and refreshing, the perfect opportunity to have a break in the shade and quiet.
For only 4.50 €, the visit is really worth it. And if you want additionnal historical information during your visit, I highly recommend you to book a guided tour by clicking here (the guides are really good). The Alcazar of the Christian King is a must-do, very relaxing after a day of visit in Cordoba!
4. Cordoba Synagogue
Located in the Jewish quarter, it’s the only existing synagogue in Andalusia and the third best preserved in Spain. Although small, it’s worth a visit especially for the nice stucco decorations of the main hall.
Until the expulsion of the Jews, Cordoba Synagogue served as a temple. Later, it has been used as a hospital and school before being recognized as a national monument in the 19th century.
5. Chapel of San Bartolomé
Very close to the synagogue, you can find the chapel of San Bartolomé. This chapel is a perfect example of Mudéjar art and architecture. Located inside the Faculty of Arts, it was built in the 14th century. Inside, you can admire its unique nave with a ribbed vault and walls decorated with earthenware tiles.
6. The Royal Stables of Cordoba
On a piece of land belonging to the Alcázar, you can find the royal stables of Cordoba (las caballerizas reales in Spanish) founded in 1570 by King Felipe II, a horse lover.
You may not know it, the famous race of Andalusian horses was created here. The stables can be visited and you can also attend a horse show, held every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday for about 15 euros.
7. The Bridge Gate
The bridge gate is as its name suggests, located just opposite the Roman bridge of Córdoba. It was built in the 16th century on the site of ancient Roman and Moorish gates. Pretty aesthetic, I must say!
8. The Roman Bridge
Now let’s head to the Roman Bridge, another must-see monument in Cordoba, great for beautiful shots of the old city, especially at sunset. The complex formed by the bridge over the Guadalquivir river and the view of the mosque-cathedral is one of the most beautiful views of the city.
Built in the 1st century BC, it was the only bridge in the city for nearly 20 centuries and the main access to Cordoba.
Crossing the bridge will take you directly to the Calahorra Tower.
9. Calahorra Tower
At the end of the Roman Bridge, you will find a defensive tower from the Muslim era: the Calahorra Tower
Declared as a national historical monument, after serving as a school and prison, it now houses the museum of Al-Andalus. This museum is about the coexistence of Jews, Muslims and Christians, a topical theme. You can also see a model of the mosque and access the tower’s terrace to enjoy the view of the bridge and river.
10. Plaza de las Tendillas
The plaza de las Tendillas is a very pleasant square, ideal for a break. Its water jets and fountain makes it even more enjoyable in Andalusia hot weather! I suggest you to extend this moment of relaxation in one of the many bars and restaurant terraces around. Don’t miss the magnificent buildings facades on the square.
If you’re staying 2 days in Cordoba, it’s also a good place to visit in the evening, when the fountains are illuminated and the Andalusian night life starts around tapas and sangria.
11. See the Roman Temple of Cordoba
As it’s not far from the plaza de las tendillas, you should definitely go have a look at he the Roman temple of Cordoba. Located in front of the town hall, this temple impresses with its dimensions. The are no guided visits available, you can just see the columns from the street but since it is on the way between the two most famous squares of Cordoba, it is worth a brief visit.
12. Plaza de la Corredera
Your path will then take you straight to the most famous square in Cordoba: the Plaza de la Corredera (Corrodera Square). Its rectangular shape and its arcades recall the classic “Plaza Mayor” of Castile but it’s actually the only square with such features in Andalusia. For centuries, it has been a gathering place for parties, markets, bullfights and even….executions!
Today it’s with the plaza de las Tendillas the best place in Cordoba to enjoy a drink or a lunch on a terrace. There is also a market, where you can buy fresh produce.
13. Viana Palace
As it’s located about ten minute walk from the plaza de la Corredera, you should continue your visit of Cordoba with a stop at the Viana Palace (“Palacio de Viana”). The highlights of the visit are for sure the 12 magnificient patios and gardens. Art enthusiasts will also be delighted by the impressive collection of paintings, ancient dishes and tapestries that can be found in the palace’s multiple outbuildings.
All information for your visit can be found on the Viana Palace official website.
14. Visit Cordoba’s museums
If you have more than one day to visit the city, here is a list of museums in Cordoba that might interest you:
- The archaeological museum and its collection of Roman objects discovered in Cordoba
- The fine arts museum: collections of modern Spanish and baroque art
- The bullfighting museum for those who are not opposed to this practice of course
- The ethnobotanical museum and the botanical garden
- The Julio Romero de Torrez museum, housing a collection of the famous local painter
- The gallery of the inquisition which presents the instruments of torture used in the inquisition. It’s not recommended for children.
15. Try the Salmorejo: Cordoba’s typical dish
Finally, don’t leave Cordoba without tasting its typical dish: the salmorejo. It is a cold soup (perfect for the hot weather!) made of tomato, olive oil, bread crumbs, garlic, vinegar on which they put small pieces of Serrano ham and eggs.
And to finish with a sweet touch, why not give an ice cream a go? Personally, I have tried the one from Cremeria di Vaniglia, close to the plaza de las tendillas and they were amazing!
Best things to do around Cordoba
- Madinat al-Zahra: The remains of the mysterious city of Madinat al-Zahra are located at 8 kilometers from Cordoba. The this city was built by a caliph in tribute to his wife named “Azahara”. The palace was built with marble, gold and precious stones. The city consisted of 3 levels and there was also a mosque. Nowadays, the city is in ruins but it’s a very interesting visit for history lovers. In addition, entry is free of charge for European citizens.
- Monastery of San Jerónimo de Valparaíso: In front of Madinat al-Zahra, you can find the impressive monastery of San Jerónimo de Valparaíso, built in the 15th century. It was originally a Gothic building, but you can find some Renaissance and Baroque architecture elements. For several years, the family of owners has done a great job of restoration and you can now admire a large art collection. Be careful, visits are uniquely private, so you need to make a reservation before going.
One day in Cordoba
It is totally possible to visit Cordoba in one day. Even without hurrying, you can see all of the most important attractions of the city.
- Start by visiting the Jewish Quarter and its flowery streets
- Then head to the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, a unique place in Andalusia
- Lunch in a terrace at the Plaza de las Tendillas for example.
- Then go to the Plaza de la Corredera. Along the way you can see the Roman Temple of Cordoba.
- Walk along the Guadalquivir to get to the Bridge Gate and the Roman bridge of Cordoba
- Cross the bridge, and arrive at the Calahorra Tower
- Finally, end your day in town with a visit to the Alcázar of Cordoba and its magnificent gardens.
2 days in Cordoba
If you spend 2 days in Cordoba, you should do the program I recommended just above for the 1st day. However you can visit the Alcázar on the second day, in order to split the 2 longest visits.
- Start the day at plaza de la Corredera for a coffee on the terrace.
- Visit the Viana Palace and its 12 patios
- Why not try the Salmorejo for lunch? (Followed by an ice cream of course!)
- Visit one or more museums of Cordoba to choose from the list above. I personally recommend the museum of the inquisition
- If you have a car, visit Madinat al-Zahra or the monastery of San Jerónimo de Valparaíso
Where to stay in Cordoba
- Option Be: Hostel located in the district of Judería. Bed in dormitory from 22€, breakfast included. The positive aspects of this brand new hostel: perfect staff welcome, comfortable bed, very clean, outdoor pool and great location.
- Ayre Hotel Cordoba: Located within a 10 minute drive from the center of Cordoba, at the center of a beautiful and quiet garden. Room with classic decoration but very spacious from 61€, breakfast 10€. The best: quiet location, large outdoor pool and free parking. We love to be far from the crowds and the city.
- Hotel Boutique Caireles: Located in front of the Mosque of Cordoba, right in the historic district. Modern and bright room from 67€ breakfast included. The best: the view of the Mezquita from the rooms, the kindness of the staff who also speaks French. My favorite for its great value for money!
- Eurostars palace: Located on the paseo de la victoria, within a 5 minute walk from the entrance of Judería and Mezquita. Huge room and very good design from 110€ per night, breakfast at 14€. The best: good geographical location, swimming pool on the roof. The best choice in Cordoba for an affordable luxury stay!
Cordoba: Tourist Map
To help you prepare for your visit to the city, here is the Córdoba tourist map, in very high resolution. I advise you to download it on your Smartphone, so you will have it during your trip!
This other map of Cordoba, extremely complete and accompanied by the list of activities will also be very useful during your stay in Cordoba
My impressions about Cordoba
I loved the city of Cordoba, it’s easy to go over by foot and in one day in Cordoba, without much hurry, you can see all the must-see attractions of the city. As most alleyways and the historic centre are pedestrian only area, it’s very pleasant to walk around in complete safety, without noise.
The Mosque Cathedral of Cordoba particularly impressed me, even if I had seen several pictures before entering it in real. I really had the impression to discover it for the first time, it’s hard to realize how amazing it is before going there!
The Alcázar of Cordoba gardens are also particularly beautiful and well put together. Everything is very geometric and graphic, I liked that, in addition to being able to enjoy a little shade and quietness!
And you, have you planned to visit Cordoba during your trip to Andalusia?
Andalusia travel Guides
- Buy the DK Eyewitness Andalusia guide on Amazon.com or on Amazon.co.uk
- Buy the Lonely Planet Andalusia guide on Amazon.com or on Amazon.co.uk
- Buy the Rick Steves Snapshot Andalusia guide on Amazon.com
You’re traveling in Andalusia? These articles will help you!
Discover all my articles about Spain: All my articles to help you plan your trip to Spain are listed there.
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