What to do for 1 or 2 days in Córdoba
Cordoba is part of the trio of Andalusia’s most famous and most visited cities, with Seville and Granada, and it is not by chance. The majority of tours in Andalusia offer to visit these 3 cities to admire the main places of interest.
To visit Córdoba in 1 or 2 days, is to discover one of the most beautiful old cities of Andalusia as well as prestigious monuments like the mosque-cathedral of Córdoba or the Alcázar.
Ideal for a day trip from Seville (trains connect them in 40 minutes for 30 € return), the city is full of beautiful typical and unique places to discover.
So what to do in Cordoba? Where to stay in Cordoba?
Discover now our top 15 things to see and do in Cordoba!
Visit Cordoba: the must-sees
1. Jewish Quarter of Cordoba (La Juderia), 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 ramparts. It marks the entrance to Juderia, the old Jewish quarter of Cordoba.
Stroll through its typical Andalusian streets with whitewashed facades and flowery balconies. Do not miss calleja de las Flores, Cordoba’s most famous little alley, which leads to a pretty view of the Cordoba Mosque-Cathedral.
This district is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and includes the majority of historical monuments to visit in Cordoba such as the Mosque and Alcazar which I am talking about a little further down.
It is also in this area that you can do your shopping with many leather craft or goldsmith shops.
2. The Cathedral Mosque of Cordoba or Mezquita
This is THE obligatory passage when you visit Cordoba, the Mezquita or Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba is the main place of interest of the city and certainly the most amazing.
Built in the year 785 by a Muslim emir on the ruins of a church, it has been enlarged and embellished over several centuries and is today considered one of the finest examples of Islamic art in Spain.
Following the Christian conquest, a cathedral has even been erected within it creating a singular architectural mix. Inside you can admire columns and arcades two-color red and white endless and the most beautiful effect thanks to the play of light. For a photographer, the perfect opportunity to spend an hour or two photographing the columns from every angle.
This is one of the most impressive monuments I have ever seen, the atmosphere is really special.
All the information you need to visit the Cathedral Mosque of Córdoba can be found on the official Mezquita website.
- Take your tickets at the pay stations, to avoid the queue. They are located right next to the ticket booth.
- Visit the Mezquita around 12:45: there are a lot less people and you can make beautiful pictures of arcades without anyone around.
- It is also possible to climb in the minaret of the Mezquita for 2 €
3. The Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos
This is the other must see monument during your tour in Cordoba: the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos. It served as a residence for Catholic kings, but was also the seat of the Holy Office during the inquisition and reconverted to prison for some time.
Four towers delimit the Alcazar. You can also start your visit by climbing into one of them and thus access the ramparts to enjoy a unique panorama of the city.
Then descend to visit the interior of the Alcazar 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 of the Alcazar.
Large alleys lined with trees and orange trees with in their center beautiful fountains and pools, visiting the gardens is really relaxing and refreshing. The perfect opportunity to have a break in the shade and calm.
4. The Cordoba Synagogue
Located in the Jewish quarter, it is the only existing synagogue in Andalusia and the third best preserved in Spain. Although small, the visit is worth a look especially for the pretty stucco decorations of the main hall.
Until the expulsion of Jews, the synagogue of Cordoba served as a temple and then served as a hospital and school before being recognized as a national monument in the nineteenth century.
The entrance for citizens of the European Union is free so do not hesitate to visit!
5. The chapel of San Bartolomé
Very close to the synagogue is the chapel of San Bartolomé. This chapel is a perfect example of Mudejar art and architecture. Located inside the faculty of letters, it was built from the fourteenth century. Inside you can admire its unique nave vault intersecting warheads and walls decorated with tiles.
6. The royal stables of Cordoba
On a piece of land belonging to the Alcazar are the royal stables of Cordoba (las caballerizas reales in Spanish) founded in 1570 by King Felipe II great horse lover.
It is here that was created and raised the famous race of Andalusian horses. The stables can be visited and you can also attend an equestrian performance that is held every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday for about fifteen euros.
7. The Bridge Gate
the gate of the bridge is, as its name suggests, located just opposite the Roman bridge of Cordoba. It was built in the 16th century on the site of ancient Roman and Moorish gates. Rather aesthetic it must be said!
8. The Roman bridge
Then go to the Roman Bridge, another monument to see in Cordoba that allows for beautiful shots of the old city, especially at sunset. The complex formed by the bridge over the Guadalquivir and the view of the mosque-cathedral is one of the most beautiful views of the city.
Built in the 1 st century BC, it was the only bridge in the city for almost 20 centuries and the main means of accessing Cordoba.
The crossing of the bridge will take you directly to the tower of Calahorra.
9. The Tower of Calahorra
At the end of the Roman bridge is a defensive tower dating from the Muslim era: the tower of Calahorra.
The latter, declared an artistic historical monument, after serving as a school and prison, now houses the museum of Al-Andalus which addresses the issue of the coexistence of Jews, Muslims and Christians, a theme of current relevance.
You can also see a model of the mosque and access the terrace of the tower to enjoy the view of the bridge and the river.
10. Plaza de las Tendillas
The Plaza de las Tendillas is a very pleasant place and is very suitable for a break. With its waterbed and fountain you can easily cool off. Many terraces of cafes and restaurants surround it to prolong this little moment of relaxation around a drink and to admire the magnificent facades of buildings which border it.
If you stay 2 days in Cordoba, see also the evening when the fountains are illuminated and the atmosphere comes alive around tapas and sangria.
11. See the Roman Temple of Cordoba
Not far from the Plaza de las Tendillas, do not hesitate to visit the Roman Temple of Cordoba. Located in front of the town hall, this temple impresses with its dimensions.
The site is not visited, you can just see the columns of the street but since it is on the way between the two most famous places of Cordoba, it is worth a small stop.
12. Corredera Square
Your path will then take you straight to the most famous square in Cordoba: the Plaza de la Corredera. Its rectangular shape and its arcades recall the “Plaza Mayor of Castile” but it is actually the only place to present such features in Andalusia.
For centuries, it has been a gathering place for parties, markets, bullfights and even the theater of executions.
Today it is especially the ideal place to enjoy a drink or a lunch on the terrace. You will also find a market for your fresh produce.
13. The palace of Viana
Located about ten minutes walk from the square of Corredera, I suggest you continue the visit of Cordoba by the palace of Viana. This majestic palace will delight lovers of gardens and plants with its 12 patios and beautiful garden.
And art lovers will also be delighted by the impressive collection of paintings, tableware and tapestries that can be found in the palace’s multiple outbuildings.
All information for your visit can be found on the website of the Palace of Viana.
14. Visit the museums of Cordoba
If you have more time to visit the city than one day, 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 Museum of Fine Arts : Collections of Modern Spanish Art and Baroque Art
- The bullfighting museum for those who would not be opposed to this practice of course
- The ethnobotanical museum and the botanical garden
- The museum Julio Romero de Torrez which gathers a collection of the famous local painter
- The gallery of the inquisition which presents the instruments of torture used by the inquisition. Attention visit is trying and strongly disadvised with children
15. The Salmorejo: typical dish of Cordoba
Finally do not leave Cordoba without having tasted its typical dish: the salmorejo. It is a cold soup (and therefore perfectly adapted for hot weather) made of tomato, olive oil, bread crumbs, garlic, vinegar on which we just put small pieces of serrano ham and eggs.
And to finish with a sweet touch, why not let yourself be tempted by an ice cream? Personally I tested that of the Cremeria di Vaniglia, close to the Plaza de las Tendillas and I have not regretted it!
What to do around Cordoba?
- Madinat al-Zahra : 8 kilometers from Cordoba, are the remains of the mysterious city of Madinat al-Zahra. The tradition says that this city was built by a caliph in tribute to his wife named “Azahara”. Do not skimp on the means, the palace was built with marble, gold and precious stones. The city consisted of 3 levels and there was also a mosque. Today the city is in ruins but it is a very interesting visit for lovers of history.
- San Jerónimo Monastery of Valparaíso : Opposite Madinat al-Zahra is the impressive monastery of San Jerónimo de Valparaíso, built in the 15th century. Its origin is Gothic but we can find some elements of the Renaissance and Baroque. For several years, the family of owners has done a great job of restoration and we can admire a large collection of art. Be careful, visits are only private so check before you go.
1 day in Cordoba
It is possible to visit Cordoba in one day. Even without hurry, you will be able to see all the unmissable places of the city.
- Start by visiting the Jewish Quarter and its flowery streets
- Then head to the Cathedral Mosque of Cordoba, unique place in Andalusia
- Lunch on the 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.
- Follow the Guadalquivir to reach the bridge gate and the Roman bridge of Cordoba
- Cross the bridge to go to the tower of Calahorra.
- End this day in Cordoba with a visit to the Alcazar of Cordoba and its magnificent gardens
2 days in Cordoba
Resume the program of the first day. Note however that if you are sure to spend 2 days in Cordoba, you can visit the Alcazar only on the second day to space the 2 visits that will take you the most time.
- Start the day at La Corredera Square for a small coffee on the terrace.
- Visit the Palace of Viana and its 12 patios
- Why not try the Salmorejo for lunch?
- One or more museums of Cordoba to choose from the list above. I personally recommend the gallery of the inquisition
- If you have a car, visit Madinat al-Zahra or San Jerónimo monastery of Valparaíso
Where to stay in Córdoba
- Option Be: Hostel located in the district of Juderia. Bed in dormitory from 22 €, breakfast included. What good points for this brand new hostel: perfect staff, comfortable bed, very clean, outdoor pool and great location.
- Ayre Hotel Cordoba: Located 10 minutes drive from the center of Cordoba, nestled in a beautiful garden and quiet. Room with classic decoration but very spacious from 61 €, breakfast 10 €. Most: quiet location, large outdoor pool and free parking. It’s our heart stroke to get away from the crowds and the city.
- Hotel Boutique Caireles: Located in front of the Mosque of Córdoba, right in the historic district. Modern and bright room from € 67, breakfast included. Most: the view of the Mezquita from the rooms, the kindness of the staff who also speaks French. My favorite for its unbeatable performance / price ratio!
- Eurostars palace: Located on the paseo de la victoria, 5 minutes walk from the entrance of Juderia and Mezquita. Huge room and very design from 110 € night, breakfast surcharge 14 €. Goodies: good geographical location, swimming pool on the roof. The best choice in Cordoba if you do not have a budget restriction!
Cordoba: Tourist map
To help you prepare for your visit to the city, here is the tourist map of Córdoba, in very high resolution. I recommend you put it on your Smartphone to 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 of Cordoba
I loved the city of Cordoba, it is easy to visit on foot and in 1 day in Cordoba, without much hurry, you can see all the must-see in the city. The majority of alleys and the historic center being pedestrian, I found it very pleasant to walk there safely, without the noise of cars.
The Cathedral Mosque of Cordoba impressed me particularly and, rare, even having seen several pictures before going to see it, I really had the impression to discover it so much one can not realize its greatness that ‘penetrating it.
The Alcazar gardens of Cordoba are also particularly beautiful and well-appointed. Everything is very geometric and graphic, that’s what I liked, in addition to being able to enjoy a little shade and calm!
Have you planned to visit Cordoba during your trip to Andalusia?