Cordoba is an extraordinary city, home to one of the most spectacular mosques in Europe and a beautiful confluence of Roman, Moorish, and Christian architecture and culture. Cordoba is also a relaxed city. You won’t feel rushed to do anything or be anywhere. Enjoy the narrow streets, put your map in your pocket and just go where your instinct takes you.
Cordoba has more than just the Mezquita
Start at The Mosque-Cathedral
It’s not every day you see a cathedral sitting within a mosque. But in Cordoba, that’s precisely what you’ll find. A Renaissance nave sits within the stunning architecture of a Moorish mosque. Today the building is recognized as a Catholic cathedral and Muslims are not permitted to use it for their prayers despite repeated lobbying of the church since 2000.
Perhaps the best time to visit is at 8:30 AM when you have 50 minutes of free access. The mosque closes again at 9:20 when security clears everyone out. It then reopens at 10:00 AM for ticketed entry at €10 per person.
Then head to Alcazar de Los Reyes Cristianos
Known quite simply as the Alcazar of Cordoba the palace is small but a few of the rooms have been reconstructed and boast the renovated mosaics from throughout the original palace. The gardens are small but nicely kept and full of blooming buds as well as a simple but peaceful koi pond.
Entrance to the Alcazar is €4.50 and can be bought in a combination package with other museums. Thursdays entrance is free from 12:00 in summer and from 18:00 in winter.
Walk across The Roman Bridge
Especially beautiful when lit up at night the Roman bridge crosses the Guadalquivir river and was built in the early 1st century B.C but reconstructed numerous times since. Most of what you’ll see today is from the Moorish reconstructions in the 8th century. At one end of the bridge, you’ll find the Calahorra Tower. Enjoy a simple walk across.
Visit the Bullfighting Museum of Cordoba
Touted as one of the best in the country the Cordoba bullfighting museum is a quiet spot that provides a detailed and extensive history of bullfighting throughout the world and includes the most famous bulls and matadors. Unfortunately, the majority of the information is listed only in Spanish. There are two short videos which are presented in both English and Spanish. Entrance is €4 or can be bought in a combination ticket that I mentioned above.
...if you have more time in Cordoba
Visit Museo Juilo Romero de Torres
The museum dedicated to the Cordobian native is the largest collections of his works. While he is not that well known globally his works are among some of Spain’s most iconic. With more time a trip to his museum will complete your trip.
Head out to Palacio de la Merced
A stately palace, this one is on the outskirts of town so is a bit of a trek to fit into a single day. With more time it’s worth seeing. This former convent is a 20 min walk from the Mezquita but closes at 3 pm (Mon-Fri).
Some practical advice for a day in Cordoba
The queues to the Mosque can get lengthy later in the day. But if you arrive early enough you’ll get in fairly quickly. Otherwise, no advanced bookings needed.
Travel within the city?
Cordoba is a very walkable city. In fact, it’s mostly only walkable, many of the streets running around the city center are pedestrian, very narrow and entirely impossible for any sort of public transport to navigate.
City card and multi-attraction tickets?
The Cordoba City Card is not economical at over €40. However, there are options to buy multi-ticket passes. For example, you can buy one for 5 attractions; the Bullfighting Museum, the Alcázar de Los Reyes Cristianos, the Arab Baths of the Alcázar, the Fosforito Flamenco Centre, and the Julio Romero de Torres Museum. The entire ticket can be purchased for just €8.40 and can be purchased at the box office of any of the places it covers. If you plan to visit at least three of the spots the ticket will be more than worthwhile.
Should I take the Cordoba sightseeing bus?
The Cordoba HoHo bus runs two 60 minute loops with a 60-minute frequency, tickets are €17. The HoHo is not really recommended as so much of what you should spend your time seeing is within the old town and the HoHo bus simply can’t get there. If you’re keen to see the outskirts of the city, it’s not a bad option.
Recommendation on walking tours
OWay tours offers a history heavy walking tour that takes about 3 hours. Because Cordoba is small you can see it all quite quickly. If you’re into a full rundown of the history this is for you, if not, skip it.
More than 1 day in Cordoba?
Cordoba is a great city to spend a few days in because you quickly start to feel like you know the place. It’s small and comfy which should encourage you to give it more time. Find it’s hidden little spots.
How to spend the evening in Cordoba
Cordoba is certainly not the place to seek a raging night out. Though, realistically, if you play your cards right things might work in your favor.
Tapas abound throughout the streets and many places are great. Be aware that the closer you are to the mosque the more touristy, less authentic and more expensive things will be. The closer you get down to the river the better the food will be and the lower the prices. Aim for that area.
La Bicicleta is strongly suggested. The atmosphere in the evenings is great with people spilling out into the streets drinking and chatting. The menu is also perfect. Any of the toasties are simple but filling. Plate-sized portions are shareable and everything is delicious.
Stick around in this part of town, by the river, for laid back chilling, chatting and low key drinks. It’s the best way to pass a night in Cordoba.