Córdoba, or Cordova in English, is a city in Andalusia, Southern Spain.
This vibrant city reflects a mix of Roman, Islamic, Jewish, and Christian cultures, significantly contributing to its charm.
Boasting vast and elegant courtyards, age-old palaces, and more majestic historical attractions, Córdoba will surely steal the hearts of history buffs.
Moreover, the city’s streets filled with mouth-watering local cuisine and stalls selling local crafts will delight foodies and shoppers alike.
Bursting with color and old-world charm, Córdoba is a destination worth adding to your bucket list.
These are the best things to do in Córdoba, Spain:
Visit the Caliphate City of Medina Azahara
Located on Carretera de Palma del Río, Medina Azahara has to be the first on your list if you are a historian at heart.
This fortified palace-city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2018.
The relics preserved here speak of Córdoba’s forgotten Hispanic-Muslim history.
Gardens, mosques, and bathhouses are just some of the many things the site preserves for tourists.
Medina Azahara is home to beautiful Islamic gardens and the Prince’s Garden, which showcases the place’s nobility and grandeur.
If you’ve watched season five of Game of Thrones, you may recognize the Roman Bridge of Córdoba on Av. del Alcázar.
The best time to visit the bridge is during sunset, as it gives off the most amazing orange glow during this time of day.
This bridge is also very close to many tourist places like the Tower of Calahorra.
Even though it has been under construction for many years, it still stands fiercely and attracts many tourists.
If you plan to visit the Roman Bridge of Córdoba, make sure you get a local tour guide as they will better explain the beauty of this historical heritage.
If not, the Córdoba Tourism Office is located just behind the bridge’s gate.
You can grab a map from there and plan your visits.
When in Córdoba, you cannot afford to miss the breathtaking Patio de los Naranjos, a place that speaks about the city’s rich history.
As its name, “Naranjos,” suggests, the courtyard is surrounded by orange trees and has a pleasant environment in the shade.
If you plan to visit this place in the spring, you will find it filled with the fragrance of delicious oranges.
Also, closely observe the gallery’s ceilings, and you will find the incredible Moorish horseshoe arches.
These arches themselves represent the history and time this courtyard has been through.
Patio de los Naranjos can be found along C. Cardenal Herrero.
Juan Carlos Munoz
Of course, Córdoba’s history is already more than enough to make you fall in love with the city.
However, do not forget to visit the city’s olive oil mills and wine region.
After all, Córdoba is known as Spain’s olive oil capital.
Olive ingredients play a significant role in the Spanish culinary experience.
Tour operators organize visits to Córdoba’s must-see olive oil mills and wineries.
Usually, they take about four hours and accommodate eight participants per group.
On the tours, visitors will learn about the processing of oil extractions and taste the olive oil with some authentic Spanish dishes.
After this comes the Montilla wine region, where you can taste the best wine made in Spain.
When in Córdoba, a soothing bath is all you’ll need after a day of sightseeing.
A hammam offers some of the most relaxing experiences you can ever have.
These Arab baths are like rituals that can ease the stress from your body.
Though there were many hammams in the city, many of them were destroyed.
However, these baths attract many visitors as they reveal some important architectural structures in Spain.
They also have cultures of the Middle East attached to them, as people used to have gatherings in these baths.
Moreover, they represent oriental cultures where these hot thermal pools and vapors are used to relax every inch of your body.
Two of the city’s famous hammams are found in Hotel Hospes Palacio del Bailío and Hammam Almanzor.
Situated on Pl. Campo Santo de los Mártires, the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos is an ancient palace-fortress that served as a home to Spain’s Christian monarchs for eight years.
The history of the Catholic Monarchs of the 15th century makes this monument an important heritage site.
There are artifacts like the Roman Sarcophagus, which has been preserved since the second and third centuries.
All these structures construct the tale of the Christian reconquest in Córdoba.
The Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos’ gardens are a significant attraction and are filled with flowers, giving visitors the most pleasant environment to enjoy.
Take note that you must plan your visit to the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos ahead of time, as the place always receives a high volume of tourists.
Attending the Flamenco Show at the Baños Árabes de Santa María is one of the best opportunities to enjoy the most authentic cultures of 10th-century Spain.
This live performance is a beautiful amalgamation of music and dance and is worth watching.
Seats are limited, so consider yourself lucky if you’re able to score tickets to the show.
Apart from being the venue for the Flamenco Show, the Baños Árabes de Santa María—also known as the Arab Baths of Santa Maria—is a fascinating attraction dating back to the Caliphate period.
You can find the old public baths in the Jewish Quarter.
The Mezquita, also known as the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba, is culturally significant for Córdoba’s Muslim population and has a significant history behind it.
You will observe the two areas of the mosque, namely the courtyard and the haram.
The columns with red and white arches are impressive in their looks.
The stories of Visigoths and Abd al-Rahman III can be traced through these magnificent works of architecture.
If you love and are interested in learning about Spain’s history, visiting this place is a must.
Choose a weekday when planning your visit, as the mosque is generally crowded on weekends.
The Mezquita is located on C. Cardenal Herrero.
Situated on Rda. de Isasa, Regadera is one of the city’s most popular restaurants.
The cuisine offers the best mix of Spanish and international flavors.
The head chef Adrián Caballero is trained in hospitality and gastronomy and is more than qualified to host this rich Spanish kitchen.
Located in the prime historical center, Regadera attracts many people.
If you land here, do not miss out on the acorn Iberian ham croquettes and the butterfish.
The latter is prepared with teriyaki, black garlic, and apple kimchi, which allows diners to experience firsthand how delicious the combination of Spanish and international cuisines can be.
Known locally as Judería de Córdoba, the Old Jewish Quarter has enough sights for you to wander around all day.
It is part of the city’s Historic Centre, which has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
History is traced through all the ancient landmarks you’ll find in the Old Jewish Quarter.
It has streets filled with vendors where you can shop for authentic Spanish goods.
The beautiful architecture is one of the things that attracts a lot of tourists to this part of the city.
Almost all the windows are covered and decorated with beautiful flowers.
The restaurants have remarkable flower courtyards, with flower pots hanging down the ceilings.
The Old Jewish Quarter’s old-world charm creates a serene atmosphere that visitors love.
This place should definitely be on your Córdoba itinerary.
If you are wandering through Córdoba’s Old Jewish District, you ought to find this lovely place that serves the best classic grilled meat in the entire city.
Located on C. Romero, El Churrasco is quite an old restaurant but still receives a lot of tourists because of its reputation for serving delicious food.
The dishes are served and prepared with special sauces, including Arab-style red and green pepper sauces.
These sauces are precisely what makes their Iberian pork so heavenly.
El Churrasco is just one of many restaurants in the city that provide you with excellent food and a fantastic dining experience.
Located in the neighborhood of Santa Marina, the Palacio de Viana dates back to the 15th century.
It would be best for you to book a tour guide if you wish to see all the palace’s intricate details.
More than anything, it is known for its grand and beautiful courtyards decorated with flowers.
This rich and ancient historical landmark was inhabited by the upper class and noble Spanish families.
It’s one of the best representations of how the Spanish bourgeoisie lived in the 15th century.
The Palacio de Viana has also been declared a National Artistic and Historic Monument and an Artistic Garden.
Restaurante Arrocería Casa Pepe Sanchis serves some of the best paella in Córdoba.
The dish is mostly eaten at lunchtime and is saffron-colored.
Its originality comes from Valencia, and it is mainly made of rice, chicken, and vegetables.
Paella has a crispy crust, and many people find it to be the most delicious part.
You can have the paella Valenciana, made with chicken and rabbit.
The other variety is the seafood paella, served in a shell.
Now, if you are convinced enough to order some paella, here is a tip: Have most of the bottom layer of the dish!
This part is where the flavors mingle the most, and the slight toast makes them even more delicious.
Restaurante Arrocería Casa Pepe Sanchis is located on Av. Virgen de los Dolores.
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If you wish to get a taste of life as a local in Córdoba, the best way to do so is by checking out the markets.
These are where all the locals fetch their ingredients to prepare the most authentic Spanish cuisine.
Several tour guides can help you plan your visit to the local markets.
They will also show you the best kitchens where you can learn the recipes and see chefs prepare them.
You can stroll and meet the stall owners, who will also guide you to select a few rich ingredients.
Also, feel free to enjoy a meal and grab some refreshing cocktails while you relax in one of the market’s courtyards.
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The entire Museo Julio Romero de Torres is dedicated to the early 20th-century artist it is named after, Julio Romero de Torres.
The painter’s furniture and paintings are all preserved at the museum, which is regularly visited by a large number of people.
Many of his works are perfect representations of modernism and symbolism.
Most of his displayed paintings are of women he knew and thought were talented singers and dancers.
A few of his paintings also reflect the aristocratic class of Spain.
One of his most fascinating works is a painting called “La chiquita piconera.”
The artist took inspiration from a young girl who died and whom he saw in her coffin.
Julio Romero de Torres’ paintings are a big part of the cultural history of Spain.
The Museo Julio Romero de Torres is located on Pl. del Potro.
The city’s oldest defense building is found in the Calahorra Tower, located in Puente Romano.
The Moors constructed it to defend the city against invasion.
Henry II of Trastamara ordered the tower’s extensive renovation and fortification in 1369.
He converted it into a fortification by building a third tower, giving it its present form.
Today, tourists of Cordoba are drawn there by the tower’s striking beauty.
The Chapel of San Bartolomé was once a part of the Cardinal Salazar hospital and is a magnificent example of Mudejar design.
It was built during the 14th to 15th centuries, added to the hospital during the Baroque era, and refurbished in the 19th century.
A porch protects the main entryway with three arches, and at the back of the altar are remnants of previous paintings.
The 19th-century side chapel, including its Baroque altarpiece, is now being restored after its previous renovation in the 1970s.
Interior characteristics include exquisite plasterwork, a tiled base, and a single aisle with arched vaulting on the ceiling.
The Chapel of San Bartolomé is located on C. Averroes.
Located on C. Caballerizas Reales, the Royal Stables of Córdoba are a collection of stables constructed in 1570 by the order of King Philip II to raise purebred Spanish horses.
They are situated near the Alcázar de Los Reyes Cristianos.
Currently, at least 15 carriages from the 19th century are still housed at the Royal Stables of Córdoba.
In 1929, the National Historical Monument designation was given to these stables, making them part of the National Heritage.
They were referred to as “the cathedral of horses” by the poet Federico Garcia Lorca.
Abd ar-Rahman I constructed the initial building of the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba from 784 to 786.
In the ninth and 10th centuries, additions increased its size.
Located on C. Cardenal Herrero, the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba is presently recognized as one of the Islamic world’s biggest and most magnificent structures.
The finished structure’s ground plan is a massive rectangle almost the same size as St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, spanning 180 by 130 meters.
A cathedral was built there after the Christian conquest, resulting in a unique architectural fusion.
Inside, the stunning lighting enhances the pillars and infinite red and white arcades.
The Archaeological Museum of Córdoba has been located in the old Renaissance-style mansion of the Páez de Castillejo family since 1965, making it one of Spain’s most outstanding archaeological museums.
Its three courtyards and eight rooms feature a diverse collection of exhibits from many historical eras and architectural styles.
Moreover, a new structure opened next to the old one in January 2011.
This addition’s modern architectural style blends well with Jerónimo Páez’s Renaissance palace.
Art and history lovers will appreciate the Archaeological Museum of Córdoba, nestled on Pl. de Jerónimo Páez.
While many tourist sites in Córdoba are characterized by amusement, relaxation, and entertainment, many have a historical connection.
Whether you’re visiting cultural monuments or simply taking a walk around the city, you’ll surely have some fun.
Plan your trip to this art-filled paradise and enjoy all the best things to do in Córdoba, Spain.
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