Cordoba, Spain is a beautiful city in Southern Spain located in the region of Andalusia. If you’re wondering what the best things to do in Cordoba, Spain for a one to two day visit to the area, then this complete guide is for you.
Why visit Cordoba?
Cordoba happens to be the perfect day trip from Seville or Malaga, which are both within easy reach. It is most famous for the Mezquita-Cathedral, which the city is centered around. The mosque itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a great example of the Moorish architecture that can be found in this region of Spain.
But, there is much more to Cordoba than that! Whether it be the charming winding roads with white-washed buildings or the rich history and culture. Cordoba may not be the first place you think of when planning where to visit in Spain, but it is definitely worth a visit and by the time you finish reading this post, I hope that I have convinced you to travel here! I fell in love with Cordoba as I wandered the adorable streets, and visited the patios of people’s homes which felt like a walk in paradise. They were filled with so much greenery and colorful flowers.
Note: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to purchase something through the links, at no additional cost to you. Read our Affiliate Disclosure here.
When is the best time to visit Córdoba?
The best time to visit Cordoba is in May when the Cordoba Patios Festival (Festival de Los Patios) takes place. This festival is a unique tradition where residents open up their private homes to showcase the gorgeous patios decked out with flowers and greenery. Keep in mind, that this is also the busiest time to visit. The temperatures are quite pleasant during this time too with a low of 12C/54F and a high of 27C/81F.
However, the worst time to visit Cordoba happens to be when I visited in July! Don’t make my mistake and go in the height of summer (June to August) as temperatures can become extremely hot. The highs during this time can go up to 41C/105F and even late at night it remains very warm. It is not impossible to visit during this time, since I myself visited in July but it’s important to just be prepared by bringing lots of water and taking breaks from the sun. I would advise checking ahead of time that the hotel you book offers great air conditioning. The one good benefit of traveling during this time is fewer crowds. July and August are actually off-peak seasons so I was able to see many of the popular attractions without a ton of people everywhere.
Nonetheless, if you want to experience milder temperatures with fewer crowds and don’t mind missing the Patio Festival, then visit in October to November.
The Best Things to do in Cordoba, Spain
1. Visit the Mezquita-Cathedral for free in the morning
Visiting The Mezquita-Cathedral is one of the top things to do in Cordoba, Spain. Also known as The Great Mosque of Cordoba, it is the most famous and impressive attraction in Cordoba. It is the largest mosque in the world dating back to 785 AD and built on the ruins of a church. The architecture is uniquely curated with columns and archings painted with red stripes which can be found in the Great Hall. There is also a Bell Tower you can visit as well as a beautiful courtyard (the Patio de Los Naranjos). The Mezquita-Cathedral really represents a mixture of Moorish and Christian architecture and is a great representation of Islamic art in Spain.
Start your morning by visiting here as it’s free only in the mornings between 8:30 – 9:30 am, Monday – Saturday. However, groups aren’t allowed during this time slot but individuals can come in free. I was visiting on a Sunday so I missed this opportunity to visit free. If you do too, then the tickets normally cost €11 or €25 with a guide. You can purchase the guided tour here.
Another option is going on a multi-experience tour which takes you to the three main tourist attractions in Cordoba. The benefit is that you can save time and money by skipping the line and getting a bundle deal. This tour is 4 hours and will take you to the Mosque-Cathedral, the Jewish Quarter to see the synagogue, and finally the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos. Click here to book this tour
Mezquita-Cathedral Address & Hours
Calle Cardenal Herrero, 1, 14003 Córdoba, Spain
⏱️Hours: Monday to Friday: 10 – 14 & 16 – 19. Saturday: 10 – 19. Sunday: 8:30 – 11:30 & 16 – 19.
FREE ADMISSION: 8:30 – 9:30 am, Monday – Saturday
General Admission: €11 at the entrance or €25 with a skip-the-line guided tour. Click here to Book
2. Have breakfast at Maddow Coffee
After visiting the magnificent mosque, head over to Maddow Coffee for a delicious breakfast. I really enjoyed eating here as they had some nice healthy options and it was a break from the typical Spanish food but it still had a twist of Spanish to it. I got the Big Maddow which was an open-faced sandwich with Jamon, tomato, ham, rocket, avocado, olive oil, and chia. Also, the juices are great – I got one with watermelon and it was very tasty! I highly recommend stopping by here.
3. Visit the famous floral street, Calle De Las Flores in the Jewish Quarter
Possibly, one of the most photographed streets in Cordoba is Calle De Las Flores. It’s a narrow street full of potted plants hanging between white-washed houses. The vibrant pops of color along the white buildings make it a picture-perfect spot. I had the chance to go when no one was around because July is off-season. However, I hear that the street is very busy with tourists trying to get an Instagram-worthy photo so I was happy to enjoy it to myself. Be sure to take your picture after walking to the end of the street so you have a glimpse of the Mezquita Cathedral in the background
Calle De Las Flores Address:
03 Córdoba, Spain
To avoid crowds, visit as early as possible
📸Photo tip: Take the picture at the end of the street to capture the Mezquita Cathedral in the background
After visiting the flower street, continue exploring the Jewish Quarter (known as Judería de Córdoba). Here, you will find many other neighboring streets that are charming as well. All filled with nice shops and restaurants, narrow pathways, and cobblestone streets. The Córdoba Synagogue is also right in the heart of the Jewish Quarter and is worth a visit as well.
4. Wander the San Basilio neighborhood & visit the many flower decked patios
Every May, tourists flock to Cordoba for the patio festival, Fiesta de los Patios. This is when the local residents open up their homes to the public to showcase their beautiful patios, filled with endless plants and flowers. There is even a competition for the best-decorated patio! The reason so many homes have these gorgeous patios is to keep their homes cool during the summer with the oasis of plants and water elements. This tradition was started in the Roman days and was continued by the Moors. You can really feel the creativity and the pride the homeowners have when opening up their beautiful homes from their normally hidden courtyard to be seen by visitors. It really makes me dream of having a beautiful space as well and definitely has Apartment Therapy & Anthropologie vibes. However, I am not sure how I would ever keep all the plants alive!
How to visit the Cordoba Patios in off-season?
I was disappointed that I didn’t plan my trip in May to see all of this in action but thankfully I found a way to still see a couple of the patios in July when they are completely closed. The reason they are closed in July and August is that it’s poor etiquette to invite guests to see their home in the extremely hot summer months. It is also closed during the months of January and February as this is the time when the least amount of tourists visit.
I really struggled to find out how I could see the patios outside of May so I’ve compiled what I found here after lots of research!
- Book a guided tour of the patios: however, these are still not available in peak summer but you will be able to book it in other months like during autumn and fall. Click here to book!
- Another option is booking through Patios de San Basilio. This may have limited availability but you can WhatsApp them through the website in advance to find out if you can visit.
- How I visited 3 different patios in JULY! So, I found out that there is one patio open for free, all year long. That one is located at Calle D San Basilio, 44. Below are some of the pictures I took here, and boy was it pretty!
Another way I saw the patios was by walking around the lovely neighborhood on Calle San Basilio and stumbling upon a few homes where the owners were allowing in tourists – they only requested a small tip out of courtesy. to the homeowners. This is how I got to see the beautiful patio below – it was one of my favorite moments during my whole trip to Andalusia! The interiors of these places are just stunning! You can tell how much time and detail is put into decorating these homes.
Info about the May Cordoba Patio Festival:
Interactive Map of the Patios Locations
🌐Website for the Patios Festival
⏱️Hours: The Patio Festival takes place every May around the 3rd to the 16th and visiting hours are between 11.30 am – 2 pm & from 6 – 10 pm.
Entry is free but tips are appreciated.
Visiting the Cordoba Patios outside of May:
Book this guided tour (not available in July/Aug)
Visit Calle D San Basilio, 44 open year-round for free. Note: Closes at 2 pm daily.
5. Admire the beauty of Palacio de Viana
One of the best things to do in Cordoba, Spain is to visit the Palacio de Viana. It is a palace with 12 historical patios designed during Renaissance and Baroque periods. It was founded between 169 BCE and 152 BCE by General Claudius Marcellus. You will find magical gardens, fountains, many plants and flowers, and doors/pathways leading to many more gorgeous surprises.
If you don’t get to see the patios in the homes mentioned above, you can feel what they are like through a visit to Palacio de Viana which is open all year long. I highly recommend coming here regardless as it’s so very beautiful. I loved every moment of walking through each courtyard and was impressed by how pretty it could possibly be. You can easily spend a couple of hours here admiring all the nature around you. There are even a few benches where you can have a seat.
I only went to the patios during my stay due to limited time but there is also a guided tour that will take you inside the palace itself. There you will find rooms full of artwork and antiques that will take you back in time.
Palacia de Viana Address & Hours:
Plaza de Don Gome, 2, 14001 Córdoba, Spain
⏱️September to June Hours: Monday: Closed; Tuesday – Saturday: 10 am – 7pm; Sunday 10am-3pm.
July to August Hours: Monday: Closed; Tuesday – Sunday: 9 am – 2 pm.
The last admission is one hour before closing.
FREE ADMISSION: Wednesdays between 2 PM and 5 PM.
General Admission: Patios Only, €6. Palace (guided tour) + Patios, €10.
Purchase skip-the-line tickets online here
6. Tour the Alcázar of the Christian Monarchs
Another must-see thing to do in Cordoba is touring The Alcázar, a medieval palace in the historic center of Córdoba near the Mezquita-Cathedral. It is also one of Cordoba’s UNESCO World Heritage sites. The palace was built in the 1300s and later became the residence of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. The interior of the castle only holds a few mosaics and a chapel. Outside, you will find beautiful gardens and orange trees. For the best view, climb up the tower to view the surrounding area from above.
Alcázar of the Christian Monarchs Address & Hours:
Plaza Campo Santo de los Mártires, s/n, 14004 Córdoba, Spain
⏱️Hours: Monday to Saturday: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm & 5:30 pm. – 7:30 pm. Sundays and Public Holidays: 9:30 am – 2:30 pm.
General Admission: €4.50. Entry ticket + Guided Tour is €18 and can be purchased online here
FREE ADMISSION: Tuesday – Fridays 8:30 – 10:30 am.
7. Head to dinner and try the local food
Salmorejo is a local dish you can try. It is a cold soup with a tomato base, perfect for a hot day. Another traditional thing you can try is the deep-fried eggplant with honey.
There are many great restaurants you can visit for dinner to try these specialties and a few are outlined below.
Casa Pepe de la Judería offers traditional Andalusian fare and is a wonderful place to go when the weather is nice because there is a rooftop terrace. Here you can try some local favorites like salmorejo, gazpacho, and flamenquín (breaded pork loin).
Casa Mazal is a great place to dine in the Jewish Quarter. It offers fresh and seasonal cuisine and specializes in Sephardic food. The menu features items like lamb and bean salad, couscous options, and veal-stuffed aubergines.
Bodegas Campus is a tavern and restaurant with a very nice patio to mirror the Cordoba atmosphere! They are famous for the Salmorejo and you can also try the Cod dish and indulge in flan for dessert.
* Just note that Spaniards eat very late! So, don’t expect a crowd til maybe 10 pm. Some restaurants do not even open til 9 pm so be sure to check ahead.
8. At sunset, visit the Roman Bridge for the perfect view.
The Roman Bridge is located in the historic center of Córdoba and was built in 1st century BC but has since been reconstructed on several occasions. It spans the Guadalquivir River and once you cross it you can find a beautiful view of the town. The perfect time to visit is at sunset. Also, very nearby is the Calahorra Tower, a fortified gate built by the Moors. You can head to the top of the tower to find another great view of the city.
How to get to Cordoba?
Córdoba doesn’t have a local airport. The closest airports to Córdoba are:
- Sevilla Airport (SVQ): Located in Seville and 133km/83 miles from Cordoba
- Federico Garcia Lorca Airport (GRX): Located in Granada and 117km/72 miles from Cordoba
- Málaga Airport (AGP): Located in Málaga and 136km/85miles from Cordoba
You can easily get to Cordoba by train from any of these cities but if you want to cover a lot of ground quickly, you can rent a car. Driving in Spain is pretty easy so if you decide to do it start your search for a rental with Discover Cars. It will find the cheapest option amongst many rental companies.
How to get to Cordoba from Seville
🚂By Train: You can take the train from Sevilla Santa Justa Train Station and arrive in Córdoba in only 45 minutes. Search and book your train using Trainline here.
How to get to Córdoba from Malaga
🚂By Train: You can take the train from Málaga-María Zambrano Train Station and arrive in Córdoba in only 1 hour. Search and book your train using Trainline here.
Where to stay in Córdoba?
Córdoba can be explored in one day, but if you want to see all the sights and take your time, you should definitely stay overnight in Córdoba. You can easily spend 2 or more days here and not get bored.
Budget hotels in Córdoba
Since I’m a solo female traveler, I often need to book budget-friendly hotels as it can become expensive just on my own. The average cost for a budget hotel for one person is €22 or €42 for double occupancy.
This is where I stayed and it only cost €38. It was not the fanciest of hotels but it was in the perfect location in the heart of the city next door to the Mezquita-Cathedral. They also had a lovely patio you could sit at and order drinks or lunch.
Another affordable hotel at only €36/night. Located pretty central as well and in a historic building with a beautiful courtyard.
Mid-Range to Luxury Hotels in Cordoba
You can expect to pay between €60 to €150 for a mid-range to luxury hotel in Cordoba.
Hotel Boutique Caireles
I love a good view and this hotel has a wonderful balcony just that. You can also sit on the rooftop and admire the view too. Location is also right in the midst of everything. Around €95/night.
Located in the most ideal place only 250 yards from the Mezquita. This boutique-style hotel offers an outdoor pool and bar as well as beautiful and comfortable rooms. Roughly €120/night.
Cordoba, Spain was truly amazing! I hope you enjoyed reading this post and be sure to leave a comment to let me know.