Sitting in the heart of Andalusia, Córdoba is one of the most important cities when it comes to Spanish history. Home of three cultures, populations of Jews, Muslims, and Christians all coexisted peacefully here for hundreds of years.
Today, Córdoba is a captivating city full of plenty of things to do for any kind of traveler. Museums, archaeological sites, diverse houses of worship, patios, hidden terraces, and plenty of cobblestoned streets for getting lost in, Córdoba truly has it all.
If you’re planning a trip, here are 14 of the best things to do in Córdoba to add to your itinerary!
- 1 Marvel at the Mezquita
- 2 Wander Through Alcazar de Los Reyes Cristanos
- 3 Snap a Picture on the Roman Bridge
- 4 Explore La Juderia
- 5 Step Inside the Córdoba Synagogue
- 6 Admire Calleja de las Flores
- 7 Enjoy the Patios at Palacio de Viana
- 8 Climb to the Top of Calahorra Tower
- 9 Visit a Museum
- 10 Sip a Coffee at Plaza de la Corredera
- 11 Watch a Flamenco Show in an Arab Bathhouse
- 12 Eat Your Heart Out
- 13 Catch a Festival
- 14 Take a Bike Tour
Marvel at the Mezquita
A marvelous sight and one of the city’s most famous monuments, visiting the Mezquita is certainly one of the best things to do in Córdoba.
The Mezquita is a former mosque built between the 8th and 10th centuries when much of Spain was under Islamic rule. Then, in the early 1200s when Spain was reconquered by the Christians, the Mezquita was seized and converted into a cathedral. Chapels and naves were constructed along the wings of the main prayer hall, introducing Gothic and Renaissance architecture to the Moorish structure.
Today, the monument is a religious mishmash with striped arches supported by tall pillars (850 of them, to be exact) and gilded altarpieces dotting the halls. There are secrets hidden in the walls and various religious motifs around every corner, making it a thrilling place to visit to learn about Córdoba’s religious past.
If you’re interested in tales of Moorish Córdoba and the significance of the Mezquita throughout history, consider taking a guided tour complete with a skip-the-line ticket — a must-have as this is Córdoba’s most popular attraction!
Wander Through Alcazar de Los Reyes Cristanos
Another one of Córdoba’s most famous monuments is the Alcazar de Los Reyes Cristanos, a glimpse of the city’s Christian past.
This beautiful compound was constructed as a residence for Catholic kings by the order of King Alfonso XI, but was subsequently used as the Holy Office headquarters during the Spanish Inquisition, housing prisoners instead of royalty.
The Alcazar was built atop the ruins of a Moorish fort and then further completed in a Mudejar style, allowing visitors to imagine what Cordoba looked like during the 10th century.
The gardens of the Alcazar are a true highlight, spreading throughout numerous courtyards filled with baths, perfectly trimmed hedges, and stunning flowers. Another unmissable sight is the tower which you can climb for panoramic views of Córdoba.
Located just beside the Mezquita, the Alcazar is no stranger to crowds. Book early and opt for a skip-the-line ticket and tour so you can spend more time exploring and less time waiting around!
Snap a Picture on the Roman Bridge
One of the top things to do in Córdoba is to walk across the Roman Bridge, especially for an evening-time stroll. It crosses the Guadalquivir River and leads directly to the heart of Córdoba’s historic center, providing postcard-worthy views of the city and lush surrounding countryside
The bridge was originally constructed by the Romans in the 1st century but has undergone multiple renovations throughout history. What stands today is greatly credited to the Moors from their 8th-century restoration.
Fun Fact: For any Game of Thrones fans sightseeing in Córdoba, the Roman Bridge was featured in the show as the entrance to Volantis!
Explore La Juderia
In the heart of the city, through the Almodovar Gate, you’ll find La Juderia which is Córdoba’s Jewish district.
Before they were expelled from Spain in the 15th century, the Jewish population in Córdoba was thriving. Córdoba was even the birthplace of Maimonides, one of the most well-known Sephardic philosophers of all time.
La Juderia is an extremely significant place in the city and a hub for history, culture, and sheer beauty. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is full of historic monuments, narrow streets, and authentic leather shops. It’s a great place to get lost exploring for an afternoon!
For an insider look at the Jewish Quarter, I highly recommend taking a walking tour with a local guide who will bring you to hidden streets, markets, and breathtaking sites in this neighborhood.
Step Inside the Córdoba Synagogue
Evidence of Córdoba’s deep-rooted Jewish history is the city’s Synagogue, one of just three left in all of Spain and the only one to exist in Andalusia.
Tucked away in La Juderia, the synagogue was built in 1315 and has been remarkably preserved throughout history, especially considering the turbulent Inquisition era. It’s an important piece of history and the city, as well as a beautiful place to visit.
The ancient Synagogue is tiny but intricately decorated with stucco and surrounded by a pretty courtyard. Throughout time, the building was used as a hospital, as well as a school – pretty remarkable!
Admire Calleja de las Flores
The most famous street in Córdoba is without a doubt Calleja de las Flores, the Alley of Flowers. Lining the narrow little street are dozens of hanging flowerpots and patios, overflowing with colorful fauna and bright green leaves as if out of a fairytale.
You’ll see patios and flowerpots along many streets in Córdoba, but they’re definitely most abundant and picture-perfect along Calleja de las Flores. This street is easily accessible as it’s right in the heart of Old Town, so you can’t miss it during a day out on the town.
Enjoy the Patios at Palacio de Viana
The most stunning place to take in Córdoba’s patios is Palacio de Viana, a massive compound complete with 12 different gardens.
Each of the interior patios are intricately designed, full of different plant varieties, exotic flowers, and shady trees, in a position to compliment the 14th-century residence surrounding the gardens. All of the patios have a unique theme, creating a stunning experience as you wander between each of the different ones.
The residence is also open for visits and guided tours where you can see antique collections of furniture, artwork, tapestries, and mosaics, giving some insight into how the wealthiest families of Córdoba lived.
Climb to the Top of Calahorra Tower
Sitting on the southern side of the Roman Bridge, you’ll find Calahorra Tower, the main defensive point of the city, standing guard over Córdoba.
Torre de la Calahorra has been standing tall since the mid-1300s and has kept countless enemies and undesirables outside of the city.
Today, you’ll find a museum inside the tower with presentations of Córdoba’s history and evolution over time. Once you finish making your way through the displays, climb the winding staircase to the top of the tower for panoramic views out over the Roman Bridge and the rest of the city.
Only have one day? Check out our article on the best things to do in Córdoba on a day trip!
Visit a Museum
Like most Spanish cities, Córdoba is home to some world-class museums, perfect for exploring on a rainy day or when you need some refuge from the hot Spanish sun.
To get an outstanding picture of Córdoba’s past, head to the Archaeological Museum. It’s filled with prehistoric and medieval artifacts, rounded out by an outstanding collection of bits and pieces from Iberian and Roman periods. The Archaeological Museum also encompasses the remains of a Roman theatre which was stumbled upon and then fully excavated, turning it into one of the most captivating exhibits in Córdoba.
Art lovers, you may want to visit the Museum of Fine Arts where you’ll be met by stunning collections of Spanish and Baroque art. The works here span the 14th to 20th centuries, with works by famous names such as Zubaran, Antonio del Castillo and Valdes Leal lining the walls. Admission is free for members of the EU, otherwise, it’s €1.50 per person – a total steal!
Finally, if you’re ever curious about Spain’s deep history of bullfighting, head to the Museo Taurino where you can learn everything there is to know about this controversial sport.
Sip a Coffee at Plaza de la Corredera
After exploring all of Córdoba’s past, step back into present-day with a visit to Plaza de la Corredera, the beating heart of Córdoba.
This is where you can find a great deal of the hustle and bustle in the city, filled with sprawling patios, endless arcades, and classic Spanish architecture everywhere you turn. It’s always full of life, making it a great place to settle down after a long day of walking.
The plaza was crafted in the late 1600s and has been a staple in the city ever since. It’s where bullfights were previously held, and then it became the central spot for Córdoba’s markets after that.
In the present day, Plaza de la Corredera is a great place to grab a meal or a coffee and watch the daily life of Córdoba swirl around you.
Watch a Flamenco Show in an Arab Bathhouse
Flamenco is central to traditional Spanish culture and catching a show is something you simply must do while in Spain.
This authentic experience consists of a flamenco show held in a 10th-century Arabian bathhouse… ideal for ambience and acoustics! Mix some history with culture, killer music, and stomping feet and here you have an outstanding show!
The intimate performance starts at 10.00pm, but arrive a little early and sip on a complimentary beverage before the dancers take to the stage. This is truly one of the best things to do in Córdoba for a really reasonable price, so don’t miss out!
Eat Your Heart Out
Without a doubt, the top thing to do during your time in Córdoba is to eat your heart out. Tapas, sangria, steaming vats of paella, and more, you should be leaving Córdoba with your pants much tighter than they were when you arrived!
One thing you can’t miss while eating out in Córdoba is salmorejo, a local specialty that’s basically a tomato soup topped with ham, vinegar, eggs, and olive oil. It’s typically served cold, perfect for cooling off on a hot day.
You’ll find that there are countless places to have an outstanding meal in Córdoba, but to find spots frequented by a local crowd, consider taking a local food tour.
This three-hour evening tour visits a secret terrace with stunning views of the city, a palace that was converted into a five-star hotel, an authentic Roman villa, and a tavern that’s a local staple, with yummy bites to eat and drink along the way.
Alternatively, opt for this full-day tour where you’ll mix dining with sightseeing, accompanied by a local guide committed to bringing you to the best hidden food spots!
No matter what you choose, you’re sure to end up with some unmatched meals from one of the best places to eat in the world!
Catch a Festival
Throughout the year (especially in the spring months), Córdoba holds several annual festivals, giving visitors a taste of local life as it’s been for hundreds of years.
The most famous festival in Córdoba is Patios de Córdoba, where the entire city opens up its gates to the countless interior courtyards tucked away behind tall walls. The air is full of fresh planted flowers, jasmine and orange blossom and trees in bloom. This is a time for residents to compete in some friendly fun by trying to outdo their neighbors in courtyard decoration.
Besides private residences, many monuments and religious sites in the city also take part in Patios de Córdoba, creating intricate designs with fresh flowers.
It’s the most beautiful time to visit the city as everything is in full bloom! It also gives you the chance to visit patios and courtyards that you never would have known about before.
Patios de Córdoba is celebrated annually during the second week of May.
Just after Patios de Córdoba, the city also holds Feria de Córdoba, a spring fair that dates back to the 13th century.
This festival is held for a week at the end of May and typically takes place at the fairgrounds located in the south of the city. At the fairgrounds, there are more than 100 tents set up filled with places to eat and drink, crowded from mid-day until the wee hours of the morning.
During this time, flamenco and folk dancers are in abundance, stomping their feet and swishing their colorful dresses — a great opportunity to see a more traditional side of Córdoba. There are also fun activities around the fairgrounds like rides, horse shows, and fireworks!
To see local culture come to life, plan your trip to Córdoba around these festivals and you’ll be blown away by the magnificence of it all!
Take a Bike Tour
If you want to see it all but don’t know where to start, a bike tour of Córdoba is a great way to see some of the highlights of the city and get yourself oriented.
On this two-hour tour, you’ll visit some of the most famous places in Córdoba like the Mezquita, Jewish quarter, Roman Bridge, and many churches. You’ll also get to see loads of tucked-away patios and small courtyards, ideal for taking a break from cycling.
Your local guide who accompanies you will give some good insight into the best places to eat, where to go out drinking, and less touristy areas of the city, ideal for some independent exploration as your time in Córdoba continues.
Taking a bike tour is a great way to get yourself situated in Córdoba and have a glimpse into all that the city has to offer.
Now do you believe me when I say that Córdoba truly has something for everyone who visits Spain? There’s so much to do in this city, and it had such a big impact of Spanish history you’d be hardpressed to be bored here.
Whether you’re wandering the halls of some of the most famous houses of worship in the world, catching some sun in a tucked-away patio or gorging yourself on tapas, you’ll be thrilled by all the amazing things to do in Córdoba!
Looking for more on Spain? Check out our best articles
- Best Places to Visit in Spain That You Shouldn’t Miss
- Where To Stay in Spain (2020): Insider Guide on the Best Hotels
- Best Spain Itinerary for 2020: Where to Go in Spain for 2 Weeks
Inspired? Pin It!