Andalusia, City breaks

10 things to do in Cordoba

Cordoba is a cosy city, where new and old mix together creating a unique combination. This city is famous because it is home to one of the world’s greatest Islamic buildings, the Mezquita, standing as a reminder of the time Cordoba was the capital of Islamic Spain. But there are so many other hidden gems that can be discovered in the winding streets of this city, like in a treasure hunt!

In the old districts, new exhibition spaces find their places in old churches, while hipster cafè and vintage shops share the streets with old typical tapas bar and classic museums. The sweet perfume of the potted plants which embellish the little old courtyards and the lush interior patios permeates the labyrinthine streets of the city. And guitar music brightens up everyone.

The main attractions of Cordoba can be visited in one day, but the more the time you will spend wandering between this city golden-stone buildings, the more you will fall in love with Cordoba.

Read more: Are you planning a trip to Andalusia? Click here to read all my posts about this amazing Spanish region.

Here there is the list of the 10 things to do in Cordoba.

1. Visit the Mezquita

I know I said Cordoba is much more than the Mezquita, but this building is mesmerizing and you cannot leave Cordoba without visiting it!

The Mezquita was built as a horizontal and simple space, where the spirit could be free to roam and communicate easily with God. When Cordoba was conquered by Christians, the centre of the mosque was converted into a Catholic cathedral. Today it is very interesting to observe the strong contrast between the asceticism of the Mezquita and the full baroque of the Christian cathedral tucked right in the middle of the mosque. Further Christian additions include about 50 chapels around the aisle, which somehow blend together with the Islamic architecture.

The Mezquita
The Mezquita

From the outside of the Mezquita, you can admire the beautiful 19 doors. Unfortunately today, most of the doors are closed and the natural light inside this building is limited, dampening the vibrant effect of the red-and-white double arches.

Tip: the entrance is free from 8.30 to 9.30, while the regular ticket is 10€.

Here you can find more info about prices and visiting times.

One of the Mezquita doors
One of the Mezquita doors

2. Check the exhibition in the Sala Orive

Right after the Mezquita, the coolest place in Cordoba is the Sala Orive!

This is an old convent which has been recently turned into a cultural space which hosts exhibitions and events. When I was there, there was the interesting exposition “Del ruendo al cómic. Toros y toreros entre Superman y Rompetechos“, which showed the integration of the bullfighting culture in comic books over the years.

All around the sala, there is a small park, which used to be the convent garden, and today it is an oasis of peace inside the city.

3. Visit the Palacio de Viana

Cordoba is also super famous for its colourful and verdant patios. Although trying to sneak into each of them can be tempting, it’s not really an option as most of them are private property. Luckily you can still see stunning patios inside the Palacio de Viana. To be specific, there are 12 patios in this Palacio, and they are all spectacular.

The price to visit the courtyards is 5€. If you want to save money (who doesn’t?) remember that the admission to the Palacio is free on Wednesday from 14:00 to 17:00. The entrance is free also during the FLORA festival, which is held every year in October.

Here you can find more info about visiting hours and rate.

Palacio de Viana
Palacio de Viana

4. Stop at Plaza de la Corredera

Located outside the main historical centre, Plaza de la Corredera is a beautiful rectangular square, boarded by colourful buildings. This square is the same type of Plaza Mayor in Madrid, and it is the only one of this type in Andalusia.

Plaza de la Corredera was initially built to be a bullring, but during the years it has been used for different purposes. Today it is home to many cafes and restaurants which are cheaper than the one in the most touristic area. Plus, there is a small market under the clock where you can find fresh food.

Plaza de la Corredera
Plaza de la Corredera

5. Eat at Mercado Victoria

Speaking of food, if you are a foodie you cannot miss the Mercado Victoria, a lovely urban market where you can find Spanish and international cuisine at affordable prices.

This market is housed in a nineteenth-century forging building surrounded by a verdant garden. You can decide to sit in one of the external or internal tables. This market is located about 20 minutes walk from the Mezquita and it is a great place where you can enjoy great food away from the most touristic area.

Mercado Victoria
Mercado Victoria

6. Pass by the Puerta de Almodovar

Very close to the Mercado Victoria there is the Puerta de Almodovar, the gate access to the Jewish Quarter.

What makes the Puerta de Almodovar so unique is the surrounding area. Going out of the Jewish Quarter from this door you can find a huge fountain, surrounded by flowers. It defines the limit between the old and the new part of the city.

Puerta de Almodovar
Puerta de Almodovar

7. Cross the Roman bridge

The Roman Bridge is the massive and beautiful bridge which links the Mezquita with the Torre de Calahorra across the Guadalquivir river. Torre de Calahorra is a wonderful place to be at sunset, when the sun brushes the walls of the Mezquita with its golden light.

Fun fact: the Roman Bridge was featured in Season 5 of Game of Thrones, and it is the bridge of Volantis!

View of the Mezquita and the Roman Bridge
View of the Mezquita and the Roman Bridge

8. Explore the Alcazar

Is the Alcazar worth a visit? For sure, especially if you haven’t visited the Alcazar of Seville. Inside the Alcazar, you can find the castle, its delightful gardens and a Moorish bathhouse. This site is really worth a visit if you are interested in knowing the history of Andalusia, and of Cordoba in particular.

Here you can find more info about opening times and ticket prices.

The Alcazar
The Alcazar

9. Walk through Calle de las Flores

Calle de las Flores is the cutest alley I have ever seen. This narrow street is full of wall hanging flowers and ends in a lovely small square.

If you look back you can see the Mezquita bell tower between the flowers.

Calle de las flores
Calle de las Flores

10. Get lost

I always say that getting lost is the best way to explore a new city, and this is even more true for Cordoba.

There are so many cute corners in this city that it is almost impossible to list of all them. But I tried to pin some on the map you can find at the end of the post.

Mezquita side
Mezquita side

Places that are worth a stop are the Plaza del Capuchinos and the Templo Romano.

If you fancy some shopping you can walk to the Plaza de la Tendilla, from where two of Cordoba favourite shopping streets begin: Cruz Conde and Jesús María streets.

Streets of Cordoba
Streets of Cordoba

Check on the map all the places to visit in Cordoba!

Green pins indicate the places listed on this post, while blue pins indicate the additional places which are worth a stop if you have time.

Read more: Are you planning a trip to Andalusia? Click here to read all my posts about this amazing Spanish region.

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