10 Fantastic Things To Do in Cordoba, Spain
Updated: Dec 6, 2020
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From being an important Roman city, to being at the centre of Islamic rule during the middle ages, Cordoba is definitely a must if you're obsessed with history. There are quite a few cultures crossing over in Cordoba, which just adds to its charm and intrigue. It has one of the biggest historic quarters in the world and has been named a UNESCO world heritage site. It's actually the only city in the world that has four cultural heritage sites in it, making it a very unique place to visit. You'll probably get a little lost walking down all the narrow streets, but don't worry, they'll always bring you somewhere fantastic! There's a lot of things to do in Cordoba, and even if you are only visiting on a day trip, you should be able to see the main attractions quite easily.
Cordoba was our third stop during our road trip in southern Spain, before heading to Granada. We drove from Seville to Cordoba, which is only 1.5 hours, and found a parking area on the far side of the Roman Bridge. There is no parking available in the old town, even if you have accommodation there. We spent one day in Cordoba, and stayed overnight in a private room at Hostal Azahar, which was located next to the Mezquita and only cost €50. Check out my list of 10 things to do in the Spanish city of Cordoba:
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1. Walk Across the Roman Bridge of Cordoba
The Roman Bridge of Cordoba is an iconic site in the city, and if you're looking for somewhere to park, chances are you'll end up on the opposite side of the old town and will have to walk across the bridge anyways. The Calhorra Tower sits at one end, and the Gate of the Bridge at the other. You may recognize it if you watch Game of Thrones. It was used in season 5 as the Long Bridge in Volantis, but was altered by the use of CGI to make it look longer and to add buildings to it.
2. Mezquita de Cordoba
If you do one thing, make sure you get a ticket for the Mezquita. It's one of the world's largest mosques and temples, and displays the best examples of Islamic architecture. Today it stands as an example of when Christians, Jews and Muslims lived side by side. This tops the list of things to do in Cordoba, and needs to be added to any tour of southern Spain that you're planning on doing. Mezquita tickets cost €11 per adult, and can be bought on the day you visit. There are also a number of guided tours of the Mezquita that you can pay to go on, as well as audio guides available to use.
3. Patio de los Naranjos
Before entering the Mezquita itself, you'll pass through the Patio de los Naranjos. This courtyard is completely free to walk around even if you aren't buying a ticket to enter the Mezquita, and is one of the main attractions in Cordoba.
4. Climb the Bell Tower
For only €2, you can climb to the top of the Mezquita's bell tower and get a unique view of the mosque-cathedral and Cordoba's historic centre. There are only a certain number of people let in every 30 minutes so make sure you get your ticket early. We bought ours at the same time we purchased the Mezquita tickets, and then came back at the time we were due to climb up it. If you're only visiting Cordoba for one day, you can easily cross off three attractions in the Mezquita complex within a couple of hours.
5. Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos
I'd highly recommend visiting the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos. The gardens are beautiful, and you get the opportunity to check out the Moorish bathhouses as well. The queue to enter here was enormous, and when we got to the front of the line they said they were only accepting cash, so we had to leave and come back, and wait even longer. But I think it was worth it, and it's definitely something you should do in Cordoba. The tickets are only €5, which is ideal if you're travelling to Spain on a budget, because a lot of the main attractions are quite steep in price. The Royal Stables are next to it which you can enter with a separate ticket. Although we didn't have time to stop there due to their opening times, it's one of the top things to do in Cordoba and highly recommended.
6. Calleja de las Flores
Calleja de las Flores is one of the most popular streets in Cordoba, and a favourite among tourists. It's known for its bright and colourful flowers against the white walls, and is a must see in Cordoba. The narrow street finishes in a small square filled with a variety of flowerpots, and at the other end you get a gorgeous view of the Mezquita rising high above the rooftops.
7. Maddow Coffee Shop
Start your day off right with this amazing brunch from Maddow Coffee Shop. You'll thank me later. We were struggling trying to find a nice but cheap place to eat before we left for Granada, and stumbled upon this cafe down the street from our hostel.
8. Taberna el Capricho
Another thing you need to try in Cordoba is the tapas. After extensive research on Tripadvisor, we ended up going to Taberna el Capricho, which sits almost across from the entrance to Calleja de las Flores. There were a number of reviews that we read saying this was the best place in Cordoba for tapas, and I have to agree. The menu had an amazing selection of dishes, and it was surprisingly cheap considering the portion sizes.
9. Roman Temple Ruins
The Roman Temple Ruins are about a 15 minute walk from the Mezquita. It looks better in photos than in real life, so don't worry if you don't have time to see this. If you do have time, it's nice to take a look at, although I was quite disappointed. But it's one of the free things to do in Cordoba at least.
10. Stuff Your Face at Canadian Rio
I can only go a few hours without tapas while in Andalusia, so naturally we stopped at another tapas restaurant for dinner. There are a lot to choose from in Cordoba, but I would highly recommend going to Canadian Rio for a deliciously modern take on traditional tapas dishes. The above picture is their version of patatas bravas, and they were amazing. So, I'm going to add this to the list of things to do in Cordoba. There are two locations in the city, but we chose the one across from the river for convenience.
Although Cordoba is much smaller than Seville or Granada, it's oozing with historic charm and walking through the streets really is like walking through history. Some of the buildings look like they're carved from sand, while others are built in a more traditional white Spanish style. Cordoba is definitely a city that can be seen in one day, and I would love to go back. I hope some parts of my list of things to do in Cordoba make the cut for your own visit to this fantastic world heritage city.
If you have any questions about visiting Cordoba or Andalusia in general, get in touch either by email or through Instagram. And don't forget to check out my other blog posts covering the best things to do in Granada, Malaga, Seville, and Cadiz!