One Day In Córdoba
Updated: Apr 29
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Planning a trip to southern Spain in the near future? Then chances are you’ve come across Córdoba during your research. But is Córdoba really worth visiting? The answer: absolutely. Córdoba is one city in Andalucía that I can never get enough of. Its historic streets, medieval old town, and its stunning architecture are just some of the many reasons that spending one day in Córdoba is so popular. Of course, if you can spend 2 days in Córdoba then you’ll be able to explore this magical city at a leisurely pace. But if you’re like us and are planning a day trip from Málaga to Córdoba then you’ll still have plenty of time to see all of the main attractions here.
Like a lot of Spanish cities, Córdoba was founded by the Romans and became a very strategic location due to its position along the Guadalquivir River. In the early medieval period, when the Moors ruled the region, the prestige of Córdoba increased tenfold and is where much of the impressive architecture we see today comes from. As you walk along the streets of Córdoba, you’ll also see a lot of Christian influence throughout the city, because by the 13th century the Christians had conquered this part of Andalucía. As you can imagine, with such a rich history, there are a lot of fantastic things to do in Córdoba. Here are my recommendations for a Córdoba one day itinerary.
You can’t plan a day trip to Córdoba without walking across its famous Roman bridge - Puente Romano. The bridge was originally built in the 1st century by the Romans, and crosses the Guadalquivir River. What you see today is a medieval reconstruction, as the Roman bridge most likely would have been wooden. Nevertheless, its architecture was impressive enough to make it one of the Game of Thrones filming locations in Spain, and it continues to be one the most popular attractions in Córdoba. If you’re driving to Córdoba, I would recommend parking near the bridge, on the far side of the river. Córdoba’s old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site so no cars apart from residents and taxis are allowed inside.
Torre de la Calahorra
Torre de la Calahorra sits at the far end of the Roman bridge, but was built by the Moors in order to improve the defence of the city. In the 14th century the tower underwent a series of improvements and became more of a fort than a tower, which is what you see today. For €4.50 you can go inside Torre de la Calahorra and learn more about the history of Córdoba through its museum as well as a multimedia presentation. I would recommend visiting this attraction first before you cross over the bridge into the old town.
Puerta del Puente
As you make your way across the Roman bridge, Puerta del Puente will rise to meet you in the distance. Despite its Roman architecture, it was actually built in the 16th century to commemorate a visit to the city by King Philip II. It was specifically built where Roman gates into the city would have stood. If you’re planning on seeing Córdoba in a day, this is one attraction that you can easily add to your itinerary as you make your way into the old town.
Centro Histórico de Córdoba
You could probably spend one day in Córdoba just walking around the beautiful streets of the old town and the Jewish Quarter. The narrow cobbled streets lined with whitewashed houses, together with the medieval sandstone walls of the Mezquita and the Royal Palace are truly breathtaking. The Centro Histórico de Córdoba is one of the largest of its kind in Europe, and the entire area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can even catch a glimpse of part of the Roman walls which were built in 206 BC. Luckily, Córdoba’s old town isn’t too large, and you can always join one of the walking tours in Córdoba too if you’re not sure what the best areas to see are.
Calleja de las Flores
The most popular street in Córdoba to visit is Calleja de las Flores in the Jewish Quarter. Even if you don’t visit in the springtime when the flowers are in full bloom, it’s beautiful. It’s a very narrow street, only a few minutes walk from the Mezquita, and its whitewashed walls are lined with blue flower pots and beautifully presented flowers. At the end of the street you’ll find a small courtyard with a souvenir shop, and you can catch a glimpse of the bell tower of the Mezquita in the distance. Visiting this street is one of the best free things to do in Córdoba and certainly shouldn’t be missed during a day trip here.
Taberna El Abanico
You won’t be short on choices of places to eat in Córdoba. We’ve been to a few tapas bars around the city during previous visits, but this time we wanted to try Taberna El Abanico. It’s located at the entrance to Calleja de las Flores so you should have no trouble locating it. Normally this tapas bar in Córdoba is packed, but we visited in November and easily found a seat inside. They have a great selection of traditional Spanish tapas and dishes that are found mostly in Córdoba itself. The prices are very reasonable and you can tell everything is freshly prepared. If you don’t want to venture too far from the main attractions, this is a great option for somewhere to eat.
Patio de los Naranjos
Patio de los Naranjos is a large courtyard you’ll walk through as you make your way to the entrance of the Mezquita. It would have been a space for religious rituals before entering the mosque in the medieval period. If you don’t have tickets to go inside of the Mezquita, Patio de los Naranjos is completely free to roam around. The courtyard was traditionally filled with palm trees, but in the 15th century orange trees were planted instead. The patio is also a great area to sit and get some shade, especially in the summer months.
Mezquita Bell Tower
If you’re able to climb, a visit to the top of the bell tower is an absolute must for the best views in the city. The tower was built at the same time as the mosque, in the 9th century, and was a minaret before being converted into a bell tower by the Christians. From the top, you can see the Mezquita in all of its glory, as well as the nearby Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos. Entrance to the bell tower costs only €3, so if you’re capable of climbing 130ft make sure you grab yourself a ticket on the day. It’s a great addition to a one day in Córdoba itinerary.
Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba
The main attraction for everyone who visits Córdoba is the Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba, also referred to as the Mezquita. It’s considered to be one of the greatest examples of Islamic architecture in the world, and is also one of the largest mosques. It was originally built in the 9th century and by the 12th century it had doubled in size. In 1236, when Córdoba was conquered by the Christian army, they were so impressed by it that they decided to convert it into a cathedral.
Apart from its incredible architecture, what’s fascinating about the Mezquita is its blend of Muslim architecture and Christian artwork inside - you’ll even find a Christian altar set in between Arab archways. Córdoba is a city known for having a peaceful coexistence between the Muslims, Christians, and Jews in the medieval period (the Mezquita sits on the edge of the Jewish Quarter), and there’s no better place to witness this than at the Mezquita.
If you’re only planning to spend one day in Córdoba, I would suggest booking tickets for the Mezquita online before you visit (€11.00 per person). In peak season, tickets are known to sell out quite quickly so you don’t want to miss out.
Café Viena is a 15 minute walk from the Mezquita, heading a bit further out of the old town. It’s a family-owned coffeehouse serving fresh brews and a wide selection of pastries and cakes. The walk to the cafe is slightly uphill so it may not be a good option if you’re not too good on your feet. We stopped here before heading back to the car for a quick drink, and of course a cake. The prices are slightly cheaper than those in the heart of the old town, so it’s a great option if you’re visiting Córdoba on a budget.
View over the Guadalquivir
What better way to end your one day in Córdoba than by taking in the views over the Guadalquivir River near sunset? There are usually musicians on the Puente Romano playing traditional Spanish songs, so the walk back to your car (if you parked where I recommended) will be a pleasant one. I don’t think I could ever get tired of this view, and it’s one I look forward to seeing each time I visit this amazing Andalucían city.
Sadly we didn’t have time during our one day in Córdoba to visit the 13th century Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos. It translates to the Castle of the Christian Monarchs and is absolutely stunning to walk around - especially the gardens. I’ve visited on a previous occasion and would highly recommend adding it to your itinerary.
One day in Córdoba may not be enough to explore this beautiful medieval city completely, but you should have plenty of time to see its main attractions and eat some delicious tapas along the way. We drove up to Córdoba from Málaga, but it’s just as easy to plan a Córdoba day trip from Seville or Granada as well. Wherever you’re coming from, you’ll quickly realize that Córdoba is a city like no other in Spain and rightly deserves a spot on anyone’s bucket list.
Have you been to Córdoba before? Or any of the nearby white villages such as Iznájar? I’d love to hear what you thought of Córdoba and if you have any recommendations on other attractions to see next time. You can always follow me on Instagram to keep up to date with my latest trips.
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