How to get here, where to stay and what to see – visit one of Spain’s most dazzling cities.
The delights of this magical city are crying out to be discovered and explored this summer and no matter whether you want to do a city break to Cordoba or a day trip from your Costa hideaway, we can show you how to get here, where to stay, what to see so that you don’t miss the beauty and fascinating back story to this Andalusian masterpiece.
Smaller and less ‘touristy’ you could say, but no less impressive, Cordoba was one of the great cities of the medieval world and still boasts some of the finest architecture among the charming little streets – and many of the highlights and attractions are accessible on foot, in fact, walking around Cordoba is a joy in itself, although it can get very hot in the high season. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of quaint bars and eateries in which to seek respite from the sweltering heat of the summer sun.
Many cities are described as a melting pot of cultures but this is precisely what Cordoba is; Romans, Christians, Moors, Jews, they have all left their mark here and the city is a heady mix of all of their influences.
Originally occupied by Romans, the city changed hands in 711 to become the Islamic capital of Spain before being recaptured in 1236 by Fernando III of Castilla. Now that the city was reconquered by the Christians, they set about building a new central place of worship but the new rulers were so impressed by the existing mosque that they left it standing and built the Cathedral around it.
The church was erected amidst the hypnotic rows of arches and columns, creating the unique and extra-ordinary church/mosque (Mezquita de Cordoba) we know today as Cordoba Cathedral. This is without doubt, the city’s centrepiece – an immense mosque that houses a Christian cathedral in the same building!
Inside, you’ll be met with a mesmerising sight. The prayer hall is forest of arched columns that almost gives the impression of an optical illusion or a hall of mirrors. Despite this jaw-dropping spectacle, visitors may feel quite serene and calm, and the coolness of the building is a welcome feature, given the soaring temperatures outside, especially if you visit in peak season.
Cordoba gets really hot in the summer. Now, if you’re planning to visit Cordoba for the day, there are some great options on organised excursions from many popular coastal resorts and towns, particularly, if your base is on the Costa del Sol or Malaga.
Travel by luxury coach from your pick-up point, usually your hotel and enjoy some spectacular scenery along the way.
How to Get to Cordoba
There is no international airport in Cordoba so choose from flights to Malaga, Seville, Granada or Madrid from your most convenient airport.
Excellent rail links serve the region and trains are regular.
- Seville (approx. 45 minutes)
- Madrid (approx. 2 hours)
- Malaga (approx. 50 mins/1 hour)
- Granada (approx. 2.5 hours)
Or treat yourself to a private transfer from Seville airport
which, depending on traffic should take around 1 hour and 30 minutes
what you should not miss on your trip to the city.
Juderia (the old Jewish quarter)
Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos
(Royal castle and gardens featuring a Moorish bath-house)
Palacio de Viana
(Renaissance palace with stunning courtyards and gardens)
Once you arrive on Cordoba, or indeed any new city, one of the best and most comfortable ways of getting around and ticking off the ‘must see’ list is by going on the open top bus tour. Take in all the sights at your leisure, getting on and off as many times as you like or just sit back and enjoy the informative audio commentary
Cordoba bus stops include:
- Cordoba Botanical Gardens
- Cuidad de los Ninos (City for Kids Park)
- San Basilio (Old Alcazar neighbourhood)
- Puerta de Almodovar
- Mercado Victoria
- Gran Capitan
- Estecian de Trenes-Autobuses (bus station)
- Palacio de la Merced-Diputacion
- Malmuerta- Santa Marina
- San Lorenzo Church
- Puento Romano (Cordoba’s famous Roman bridge)
If you fancy taking in the city by foot, you could join in one of the many walking tours that offer an informal, yet interesting view of the city with the help of a local expert guide.
If you have decided to spend a night or two in the city, there are some lovely hotels in Cordoba that are within close proximity to all the major sights and attractions. Consider one of these as your base and you won’t go far wrong:
- Palacio del Bailio
- Eurostars Conquistador
- NH Collection Amistad Cordoba
- AC Hotel Cordoba by Marriot
- Eurostars Patios de Cordoba
Eating Out in Cordoba
As with all of Spain, the food is brilliant and you will enjoy tasty regional dishes in the city bars and cafes.
Salmorejo Cordobes – a cold, creamy blend of tomato, bread and olive oil, a common tapa often served as a starter.
Flamenquin de Jamon Serrano (Serrano ham and pork rolled fritter) – another Cordoban favourite, usually served with chips and mayo.
Pastel Cordobes (local sweetmeat) – puff pastry stuffed with a sort of citrus type filling known as ‘angel’s hair!), topped with almonds, caster sugar and cinnamon.
As far as dining is concerned, it’s sometimes best to just wander around and see what little places take your fancy and often it’s the ones you happen upon by chance that are the most delightful. In some cases, if our feet are getting sore and the walking has worked up an appetite (or thirst!) you might just stop at the first watering hole that comes your way – almost like the oasis in the desert. However, if you do want some suggestions on where to eat, ahead of your visit, take a look at tripadvisor’s Cordoba restaurant guide for some inspiration.
Are you going to Spain this year? Are you opting for some culture in the cities or will you be chilling out with some sun, sea and sangria? Don’t forget to tell us all about it – we just love hearing from our members. You may have seen that we regularly feature some of our members’ articles and pictures. Go on; don’t keep you holiday tips a secret – share the knowledge and show off what a seasoned traveller you are.