I spend one day in Cordoba during my trip to Sevilla and I was in complete awe. It was even better than I imagined! Cordoba is the city where East meets West and is one of the most diverse cities I’ve ever visited. The typical Spanish white alleys, decorated with colorful flower pots, are surrounded by exquisite gems of Islamic architecture. This is the place where Muslims, Christians and Jews once lived peacefully side by side. One day is too short to experience all the beauty and culture this city has to offer, but I feel as if I was able to get a decent first impression. So here is the ultimate travel guide to spend one day in Cordoba and still get a good feel of the city.
The ultimate travel guide for one day in Cordoba
Why you should visit Cordoba
Cordoba is a fantastic city where you can enjoy a mix of Spanish and Moorish culture. The streets surrounding the Mezquita are narrow and filled with houses that have gorgeous (hidden) patios. Don’t hesitate to take a glance when a front door is open. I discovered some pretty nice patios by peeking through a half open door. I often snucked in to take some pictures. There are plenty of monuments to visit in Cordoba and if you’re hungry you can choose from a wide range of restaurants. The stores offer some very nice souvenirs so you can take a small piece of Cordoba with you!
Where is Cordoba and how can you get there?
Cordoba is situated in the Spanish region of Andalusia. The distance between Cordoba and Sevilla is 140 km, Cordoba – Malaga 160 km and Cordoba – Granada 155 km. The easiest way to get there is to fly to Sevilla or Malaga and take the train to Cordoba’s central station. Trains are very comfortable and fast. It only takes 20 minutes to walk from the train station to the Mezquita, Cordoba’s most famous monument. Tickets can be booked online via Renfe.
When should you go to Cordoba?
I visited Cordoba in July and I can tell you that it was HOT! Temperatures rose to 45°C and it didn’t seem to cool down during the evening. July and August are the driest months, but if you can’t stand the heat I advise to visit Cordoba between October and May. The advantage of going in July is that there weren’t many tourists. In January the average temperature is 15°C so it never gets freezing cold.
How to make the most out of your one day in Cordoba?
When you spend only one day in Cordoba, I recommend to arrive early in the morning so you don’t have to stand in line to visit the Mezquita and you can take pictures inside before the crowds arrive. But the most important advice I can probly give you to visit Cordoba is: planning and research is everything. (So by reading this article you’re already doing a good job 😉 ) A lot of monuments are only open until 3 pm. So make sure to choose which monuments you want to see in advance.
Take snacks with you or buy something small on the go between visiting monuments so you can wait for lunch until 3 pm. That way you can spend your time exploring the monuments you wish to see. At 3 pm you can have lunch while most of the monuments, shops and bars close. After lunch you can visit monuments that are still open after 3 pm and explore the streets of Cordoba.
What can you do when one day in Cordoba?
You can do a lot in one day in Cordoba, depending on what you want to see and how you plan your day. This is what my day looked like;
Cordoba was originally built by the Romans, but knew its most glorious period when it became the capital of El Andalus and the Great Mosque, better known as the “Mezquita”, was constructed. Originally it was a Catholic church, but the Moorish kings turned it into a giant mosque starting in 784. It stayed a mosque until the Reconquista in 1236. Then the mosque was converted into a Catholic church by building a Renaissance cathedral nave in the middle of the enormous structure. The Mezquita is the main reason why tourists come to Cordoba. It is the perfect mix of Roman, Gothic and Islamic architecture. The arches inside seem neverending and when you discover the cathedral in the middle of the building, you can’t stop staring at its ceiling and decorations until your neck starts to hurt. Don’t forget to make a walk around the Orange tree courtyard.
Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos
I chose to visit this palace because it was one of the famous monuments that were situated near the Mezquita. My first idea was to visit the Palacio de los Marqueses de Viana, but since I was going to visit a lot of casas and palaces in Sevilla, I prefered the Alcazar because I knew it had some beautiful gardens. I wasn’t impressed by its interior, but the gardens are wonderful to explore. There are a lot of fountains, statues and orange trees.
This house truly is a hidden gem in Cordoba! I didn’t really know what to expect from this house, built in the 12th century. But as soon as I entered, I fell in love. It was as if I entered a different time zone. Harem music is playing in the background while you can admire its dreamy patios and its beautifully furnished rooms. This house is completely decorated in medieval Andalusian and Moorish style. I couldn’t stop taking pictures of every detail so I could use it as an inspiration for my apartment.
Explore the streets surrounding the Mezquita
Walking around the Mezquita and discovering its 20 magnificent doors is pretty impressive. The streets in the surrounding area of the Mezquita are narrow and packed with restaurants and souvenir shops. It’s fun to walk a little further to find yourself alone in the deserted streets. Locals are taking their siesta and you can look out for hidden patios. There is always someone who left his gate open, so you can take a peek inside!
Make sure to give the Calleja de las Flores a visit. Walk to the end of the street and turn around to see the bell tower of the Mezquita between the street’s houses.
Cross the Puente Romano
This bridge was built by the Romans and crosses the Guadalquivir river. It is renovated several times through history and only 2 arches are still original. This bridge was also used as a decor in Game of Thrones.
Where to eat?
I had lunch at a cute place called El Abanico (Calle Velazquez Bosco, 7). It’s a small tapas bar that serves local tapas only, which were very tasty. Its walls are decorated with red flowers and hearts. I was there among locals, so then you know it’s good! It is located right behind the corner of the Calleja de las Flores.
For dinner I recommend Horno San Luis (Calle Cardenal Gonzalez, 73). The staff was super friendly and nice, its cocktails delicious and the food even better! I had the bread with Iberico ham. Which sounds very simple, but the bread was just so delicious! I had never tasted this kind of bread before. I also had the salmon tartar and the creamy croquettes. The tartar tasted like a ceviche and there were 3 kinds of croquettes.
The restaurant was also an attraction in itself. It consisted of different patios all decorated differently but with a lot of plants and flowers. If you look for a trendy, tasty, unique and budget friendly place to have dinner, this is definitely the place to go to!
I will create posts about the monuments in detail in the near future!
Have you ever been to Cordoba? Did you visit other monuments? Are you going to Cordoba in the near future? Don’t hesitate to share it in the comments down below!