Cordoba Travel Guide

Cordoba was the capital of Al-Andalus, the name used to describe Moorish Spain.  In its heyday it was Europe’s largest city, a centre of learning and culture and was considered the Mecca of the west. Visitors today would be surprised to know that Cordoba is Spain’s 10th largest city by population with around 320,000 residents.  Yet it feels like a small provincial town centred around a historical centre which is dominated by the magnificent Mezquita – the Great Mosque of Cordoba. This Mosque dates back to 785 and was by far the biggest and most beautiful one constructed by the Moors in Spain and will be the highlight of your stay.

What to Do in Cordoba

Don’t make the mistake of visiting the Cordoba Mosque then heading off as there’s a lot more to this charming city than its Mezquita. In fact many of our clients have commented that Cordoba was the highlight of all the places they stayed in Spain.

You can wander around the tiny streets of the Judería (Jewish Quarter) with their flower filled patios.  Here you’ll come across one of the last three remaining Synagogues in Spain, the others being in Toledo.  You must visit the beautiful gardens of the Catholic Kings (Alcazár) where Columbus first sought finance for his voyage of discovery from Fernando and Isabella.  And a stroll across the Roman bridge past the Moorish waterwheels to the other side of the Guadalquivir river is a great spot for a panoramic view of the historical heart of the city which is particularly beautiful at sunset.

Cordoba is more than just churches, palaces, monuments and museums.  It is a very special place and a day or two spent wandering its tiny streets, relaxing in its beautiful little squares, drinking in its traditional old bars and dining in its fine restaurants is time well spent.

Here we have listed our top 10 things to do in Cordoba.

  1. Visit the Mezquita – The Great Mosque
  2. See the Geranium filled patios especially during the Fiesta de los Patios in May
  3. Wander round the streets of the Juderia – the old Jewish quarter
  4. Visit the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos with its beautiful gardens. This is where Columbus reportedly went to ask Fernando and Isabela to fund him in his search for America
  5. Enjoy the Semana Santa (Holy Week) celebrations
  6. Visit Medina Azahara, a moorish archaelogical site in the countryside dating back to the 11th century
  7. Eat Salmorejo, a thick tomato based version of Gazpacho, and Rabo de Toro, oxtail stew
  8. Try the local wine of Moriles and Montilla which resemble sherry but are not fortified
  9. Go to a flamenco show at one of the city’s tablaos
  10. See the Cruces de Mayo fiesta in the first few days of May when you will see crosses made of flowers in many of the squares around the town

Our Favourite Hotel – Amistad Cordoba

The Hotel Amistad is a great place to stay thanks to its ideal location which allows you to walk to the Mezquita in just a few minutes through the quaint streets of the historical heart of the city. It’s a lovely, modern hotel built in what were originally two 18th century mansions.

When NOT to Go to Cordoba

The weather in Cordoba is usually beautiful but do bear in mind that this is the interior of Andalucia. Just 55km south-west is the town of Écija which is known as ‘La Sartén de España’ (the frying pan of Spain) where summer temperatures as high as 48°C have been recorded in the shade. Avoiding Cordoba in the peak of summer is usually a good idea.