Last Updated on 07/11/2021 by Alfred
This guide to the unique places to see in Cordoba will help you organize your visit without missing any of the most charming corners of one of the most beautiful cities in Spain, making the most of your time.
Christians, Jews, and Muslims lived together for an extended period in the former capital of the Umayyad Caliphate.
This left a legacy of exceptional heritage and cultural significance that is kept and preserved to this day. It is a favorite destination of travelers and historians from around the world.
In addition to its great mosque, one of our favorite buildings globally, we recommend getting lost in the narrow streets of the old town and the Jewish quarter and getting a taste of its rich cuisine with dishes such as salmorejo, flamenquin, and oxtail.
It is recommended that you dedicate at least two days to exploring its main tourist attractions. You can also visit nearby Medina Azahara, which is also highly recommended.
You might also consider going to Cordoba in autumn, or, better yet, in spring, in which you can avoid the sweltering heat and also enjoy the flowering of Cordoba’s courtyards, though that isn’t guaranteed.
20 Unique Things To Do In Cordoba In Your First Trip
1. Mosque of Cordoba
Cordoba is awash with world-class attractions, one of which is Cordoba’s Mosque, which was declared a World Heritage Site and is a valuable legacy of Al-Andalus.
Its construction began in 786, and after several extensions, during the Caliphate, it became the second-largest mosque in the world, only behind Mecca, until in 1238, after the Christian Reconquest, it was consecrated as a cathedral.
Its interior features a fusion of different Umayyad and Christian styles, such as the prayer hall, which enchants with its forest of columns and bicolor horseshoe arches, perfect for postcards.
Visit the cathedral area, the royal chapel, and, above all, the mihrab, the sacred place of the mosque, where the decoration is presented in greater depth.
If you don’t want a guide or long lines, you can buy tickets in advance or enter free from 8:30 to 9:30 in the morning, except Sundays.
Note that this last option is only recommended for people who have already visited this mosque before as it is very short. Some of the areas of the cathedral are not yet illuminated.
Afterward, nothing better than making a stop at Bar Santos, which makes the best tortilla de patatas in the city, which you can eat right there in front of the Mosque, as tradition dictates.
Visiting hours: Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm; Sundays from 8:30 am to 11:30 am and from 3 pm to 6 pm.
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2. Jewish Quarter
The Jewish Quarter or Judería, where Christians, Jews, and Muslims lived together for centuries, is the oldest and most historic neighborhood to visit in Cordoba.
Roman in origin, this neighborhood is characterized by its maze of narrow streets with an Islamic layout that will transport you back in time several centuries from the Puerta de Almodovar to the Mosque-Cathedral.
There is also the Synagogue, one of three remaining orthodox temples in Spain, the Municipal Souk, a market with many craft workshops, and the Andalusi House, a house from the Middle Ages.
Another thing you shouldn’t miss is the Calleja de las Flores, where you can take pictures of white houses with flower pots and the mosque in the background.
Walk down Calleja del Panuelo, one of the narrowest streets in the city, and explore Calleja del Salmorejo Cordobés, devoted to its most famous dish, and Calleja de la Hoguera, full of charming corners.
To complete a route through the neighborhood, we recommend passing through the Plaza de Maimónedes and its famous sculpture.
You can also pass through Romero Street, Calle de la Luna, and enter the Chapel of San Bartolomé, a small jewel of Mudejar architecture.
After the walk through the neighborhood, you can recover your energy by eating at Taberna El No 10, Casa Pepe de la Judería, Casa Mazal, specialized in Sephardic food, or Casa Rubio to try a good salmorejo and flamenquín, all of which are among the best restaurants to eat in Cordoba.
A free tour is a great way to learn about the history of this neighborhood and the entire city.
3. Roman Bridge – One of the places to see in Cordoba
The Roman Bridge, built in the early first century A.D. by Emperor Augustus, is another of Cordoba’s most beautiful places to visit.
A span of 331 meters and 16 arches was the only way to cross the Guadalquivir River for twenty centuries. Although it has undergone many renovations, it still retains much of its original charm.
Flanking the two ends of the bridge, you will find two other important monuments to visit in Cordoba: the Puerta del Puente and the Torre de la Calahorra.
Here you can climb to the top to enjoy excellent views of the bridge and the mosque in the background, and in the middle of the bridge, you can see a stone sculpture of the Archangel San Rafael that was placed as thanks after passing an epidemic of plague.
Even though you can cross the bridge at different times of the day, we recommend crossing at sunset. Then you can see the orange colors of the evening and the beautiful night lighting.
People Also Read: The Best Free Cordoba Tours You Should Take
4. Alcazar of the Christian Monarchs
Entering the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos, built-in 1328 in Mudejar style, on the banks of the Guadalquivir River, is another of the most enjoyable things to do in Cordoba.
This building of military character and a UNESCO World Heritage site was the residence of the Catholic Monarchs during the reconquest of Granada. It was where Christopher Columbus met with financing his trip to the Indies. Its sober exterior, with its stone walls and four large towers, is what he left behind.
You can enter into an excellent interior of courtyards and gardens in which stand out the Hall of the Mosaics, the Moorish Patio, the Royal Mudejar Baths, and the Alcazar Gardens, in which you can lose yourself among fountains, lakes, and trees.
After visiting the Alcazar, you can visit the Royal Stables. Here you can see a collection of carriages of the time. It is another of the most exciting places to see in Cordoba.
As with the mosque, this building hides so much history. This guided tour of Cordoba’s mosque is well worth booking.
Visiting hours: Tuesday to Friday from 8:30 am to 8:15 pm, Saturdays from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, and Sundays from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm.
5. Viana Palace
The Palace of the Marquises of Viana, with more than five centuries of history and declared of Cultural Interest, is one of the most beautiful places to see in Cordoba.
A space of more than 6,500 square meters, located in the charming neighborhood of Santa Marina, features twelve courtyards, a garden, and a magnificent palace, where you can see a beautiful example of the excellent taste and power of the Cordovan nobility.
In addition to visiting the interior of the palace, which contains a magnificent library and decoration of the time, it is worth spending time exploring all its beautiful courtyards, connected by galleries, and the mix of Arab and Roman architecture, and the use of water and plants.
After visiting the palace, you can walk through the Barrio de la Marina passing by places like the Plaza de San Agustin, the beautiful Church of Santa Marina, the Monument to Manolete, Calle Horno del Veinticuatro, Calle Vera, Calle Cepas, and Plaza de la Lagunilla.
To learn more about the exciting history of this palace and its courtyards, we recommend you book this guided tour.
Visiting hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 7 pm, and Sundays from 10 am to 3 pm; July and August open Tuesday to Sunday from 9 am to 3 pm.
6. Visit Plaza de la Corredera
Having a beer on one of the terraces of the Plaza de la Corredera, the only rectangular main square in Andalusia, is another of the essential things to do in Cordoba.
This square got its name from bullfights and was also used for executions during the Inquisition and the market. It attracts visitors with its stunning facades of buildings of various colors and those that have arched porches.
You can stroll down Calle Claudio Marcelo after visiting this square, passing in front of several columns from a Roman temple.
This will take you to the Plaza Tendillas, another of Cordoba’s most important squares.
One of the most notable features of the square is its beautiful and famous clock that marks the hours by playing guitar. It is also the starting point of the most modern and commercial area of the city.
This area is also one of the best places to try homemade food such as the delicious eggplant with honey or oxtail in traditional restaurants like the Góngora or the Salinas tavern.
7. Patios of Cordoba
The patios of Cordoba, which in spring are filled with flowers of all colors, contrasting with the white walls, are another of the most beautiful places to see in Cordoba.
The houses with courtyards originated during the Muslim era when they were built around an open space with a well that supplied water to the entire house and fruit trees, potted flowers, tiles, and fountains.
The best time to visit these oases of peace is during May’s Fiesta of Patios of Cordoba. More than 60 patios are open to tourists to enjoy this incredible experience and receive a little of the freshness of Cordoba.
Keep in mind that the vast majority of courtyards are paid. While some can be visited throughout the year, others benefit greatly from the flowering of their plants.
8. Plaza de los Capuchinos
This work made in 1794 by Juan Navarro León stands out for being illuminated by eight lanterns that symbolize Andalusia provinces. It is also a source of inspiration for coplas and even a movie.
A few meters from this square is the Puerta del Rincón, built in the fourteenth century. It has on one side a beautiful bronze sculpture of a woman watering flowers.
This sculpture pays tribute to all the neighbors who take care of the courtyards of the city. Unesco has recognized the Feast of the Patios of Cordoba as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity because of their work.
9. Plaza del Potro
Another of the most beautiful places to visit in Cordoba is the charming Plaza del Potro, named after an old inn where colts and mules were sold.
In the center of the square is a fountain with a colt sculpture holding the city’s coat of arms. It is surrounded by several important buildings such as the Museum of Julio Romero de Torres, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Posada del Potro.
One of the most important museums in Cordoba, the Julio Romero de Torres Museum, was the birthplace of this painter who knew how to convey the essence of the Andalusian people.
At the same time, the Posada del Potro, the current home of the Fosforito Flamenco Center, was a famous corral of neighbors that Cervantes quoted in Don Quixote.
A few meters from this square is the Casa de las Siete Cabezas and its famous alley. This alley hides a turbulent history, and the church of San Francisco and San Eulogio, founded by the Castilian King Ferdinand III in the thirteenth century.
Museum hours: from September 16 to June 15, it is open from Tuesday to Friday from 8:30 am to 8:45 pm,
Saturdays from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, and Sundays from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm, the rest from Tuesday to Sunday from 8:30 am to 3 pm.
10. Medina Azahara
Medina Azahara, located just 8 kilometers to the west and declared a World Heritage Site, is our last recommendation in this list of must-see places in Cordoba.
Built in 936 by Abderramán III, this Palantine city was a sample of the incredible power of the caliphate and has become one of the most important archaeological sites in Europe in a short time.
Although the city only remained for 70 years, it is worth visiting to see its most important remains, such as parts of the wall, the Rich Hall, the House of Yafar, the Aljama Mosque, and the High and Low Garden.
An option to get there is to take the tourist bus that departs from Avenida de la Victoria. This is in front of the Victoria Market. It departs from Tuesday to Sunday at 10 am, and 11 am and costs 8.50 euros, round trip.
As it departs only twice a day, seats may run out soon, so it is advisable to book in advance.
Once at the Interpretation Center that houses the Museum of Medina Azahara, you must purchase a free ticket and take the shuttle bus that will take you to the entrance.
Visiting hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm; Sundays and summer close at 3 pm.
Enjoy the local gastronomy, one of the best things to do in Cordoba.
In Cordoba, you can’t leave the city without trying the local gastronomic specialties such as salmorejo, flamenquín, fried eggplant, oxtail, fish japuta (no, it’s not an insult), and its famous snails.
Where to find it? One of the best salmorejos can be found at La Bodega. As for the flamenquín, Casa Rubio is the best place.
And the best snails? During the snail season (spring), they can be found in many small squares and bars, although it is said that La Magdalena prepares some of the best snails in Cordoba.
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11. Gate of the Bridge and Calahorra Tower
There are two monuments of cultural interest at both ends of the bridge. These are the Puerta del Puente, a triumphal arch of the sixteenth century, on the inner bank of the Guadalquivir River.
And the Calahorra Tower, which was once a defense tower and today houses the Living Museum of Al-Andalus, on the coexistence between Jewish, Christian, and Muslim cultures.
12. Malmuerta Tower
Another tower where you will undoubtedly pass is the Torre de la Malmuerta. It was the one that impacted me the most on my first visit, not so much for its construction but its legend.
It is said that the tower was built on the same site where the noblewoman Clara Herrera was murdered by her old husband Gómez de Figueroa, sick with jealousy.
King Don Enrique sentenced the latter to sell all his belongings and build a tower in honor of the young “malmuerta.”
13.Calleja de las Flores
In the Jewish Quarter, you will find one of Cordoba’s most beautiful and photographed streets: we are talking about the Calleja de las Flores. Surrounded by geraniums, you will have a great view of the Tower of the Mosque.
14. Roman Temple of Cordoba
Did you know that in Cordoba, there is still a Roman temple? It is located in Calle Capitulares. It was discovered in the ‘50s during works to expand the City Hall, and according to experts, it began to be built during the reign of Emperor Claudius (41-54 BC).
15. Roman Mausoleums of Cordoba
Other Roman remains in the city are the Roman Mausoleums, two circular buildings that served as tombs for a wealthy family in the first century AD. Believe it or not, they were not discovered until 1993!
16. Gardens of the Alcazar
And while you’re here, take a stroll through the Alcazar Gardens. In spring, when they are full of flowers, they are even more impressive. It is said that it was one of the unique places in Cordoba by Isabel the Catholic.
17. Tendillas Square
Another thing to do in Cordoba is pass by the Plaza de las Tendillas and listen to its curious clock. Every hour on the hour, instead of chimes, it entertains passers-by with the sound of a guitar.
18. Dinner with flamenco show
And speaking of guitars… would you like to enjoy a dinner with a flamenco show? We couldn’t find a better place than Cordoba!
19. Chapel of San Bartolomé
The Chapel of San Bartolomé was tinier and more colorful than we expected, with curious Mudejar architecture. Admission is 1.5€ from Monday to Friday and 2€ on Saturdays and Sundays.
20. Hammam Al Andalus in Cordoba
The last of our recommendations for what to do in Cordoba is to visit the Hammam Al Andalus, where you can take a relaxing bath in a traditional hammam to end the day (which has been quite a busy one).
However, if you are traveling with your family, keep in mind that this is not the best plan to do in Cordoba with small children (children under 5 years old are not allowed).