A beautiful city in Andalucía, Córdoba is a wonderful place to visit, whether for a weekend or much longer. Originally a Roman town, it became capital of the Islamic Iberian empire in the 10th century. Later it became Christian after the Reconquista.
Due to all these political and religious changes, Córdoba, and Andalucía in general, has fascinating history and beautiful architecture. Let’s explore!
The Weekend Guide to Córdoba
Cordoba is in the heart of Andalucía, surrounded by mountains, rolling hills dotted with oaks, and fertile lands covered with olive groves and vineyards. I’d recommend visiting Córdoba in the spring or autumn for the best weather, as it can get very hot in the summertime, over 40C (100+ F). However, the siesta is a wonderful tradition that can help with the heat.
Cordoba makes a perfect weekend trip but it is also a wonderful place to stay longer – maybe forever! 🙂
Here are some of our tips for enjoying a weekend in Cordoba including things to do, where to eat and drink, places to stay and how to get there and around.
Getting to Córdoba
It’s not too complicated to get to and from Córdoba. Traveling by car it is about 1.5 hours from Sevilla, 2 hours from Malaga and 4 hours from Madrid. If you don’t have a car of your own you can rent one or do what the locals do and use shared Blablacar.
Cordoba is an easy trip on the bus or train from other places in Spain.
You can also travel to Cordoba from other cities in Spain like Granada and Sevilla with the ALSA buses. The bus takes about 3 hours from Granada. Across Europe the least expensive option is with Flixbus. You can find ticket prices as low as €4. Check here for Flixbus prices and schedules.
If you need to store your bags there are luggage lockers at the bus station (which is across from the train station), but after hours you may need the assistance of the security guard to access them.
There is a small airport in Cordoba but you will probably arrive in either Malaga (AGP) or Sevilla (SVQ), as more flights serve these airports. Airlines like Norwegian, Ryanair, EasyJet, British Airways and Vueling fly to Malaga and Sevilla from cities across Europe like Amsterdam, London, Paris and Berlin. Madrid (MAD) might be the closest major airport for overseas trips. Check Skyscanner for the best prices and flight schedules for multiple airlines.
Things To Do in Córdoba
Córdoba is filled with interesting history down every street and alley and is the largest urban area to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. Of course there are a few famous places you shouldn’t miss when visiting the city. Here are some of my favorites.
- Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba: the famous mosque turned cathedral is a stunning place to visit. The characteristic red striped arches alone are a reason to see this place. Although I may be biased because Moorish architecture is my favorite! Get the audio tour to learn more about this awe inspiring place. You can also take a guided tour of the Mezquita. Be sure to walk around the outside of the walls to see the beautiful arches and hopefully some lovely horses and carriages.
- Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos: this fortress on the bank of the Guadalquivir River is a must-see. The gardens are vast and beautiful, filled with fountains and flowers. Bring a book and a snack and stay all day! I have to say I found the fortress part a bit too crowded with tourists when I went, so perhaps try to visit in the early morning.
- Baños del Alcázar Califal: located next to the Alcázar, these historic baths are worth a visit if you’d like to learn more about traditional bathhouses.
- See the highlights of Cordoba on a 4-hour guided tour that includes the Cordoba Synagogue and Alcazar.
- Take a short drive out of the city and see the Medina Azahara with a guide. These ruins of the large fortified Muslim medieval palace-city were the capital of Al-Andaluz.
- Go for a walk across the Roman Bridge of Córdoba, a beautiful and ancient bridge with peaceful views on the Guadalquivir River. Especially enchanting at dawn and dusk when the swallows are swooping.
- Calleja de las Flores: Cordoba is famous for its charming streets and alleys, they even have festivals dedicated to them! (see below for information about festivals and events) This is one of the most famous small streets, and a good photo op.
- Casa de las Cabezas: a small museum that showcases a medieval home. One of my favorite places in Córdoba! Very interesting to imagine how people lived during those times.
- Casa de Sefarad: another small museum about Jewish history in the area. They also host musical performances and other events so be sure to check out what is on.
Festivals in Córdoba
There are three festivals in Córdoba you should try to coordinate your visit around:
Feria de Nuestra Señora de la Salud
If you have been to Andalucía before you know about the Ferias! An exciting spring event with horses, carriages, flamenco, processions, parades, food, drink and dancing into the night. I have been to quite a few ferias in Andalucía and I think Cordoba was my favorite. The majority of women were dressed to the nines in beautiful gowns, and the atmosphere was extremely lively. Don’t miss this amazing spring festival that takes place at the end of May.
La Fiesta de los Patios de Córdoba
Probably Córdoba’s most famous festival. Explore hidden courtyards filled with flowers and splashing fountains at the Fiesta de los Patios during springtime. During the May festival you can visit private patios along the route and see their secret beauty.
El Festival de las Callejas de Córdoba
This brand new festival takes place in the fall and celebrates the charming streets and alleys of the city. The website gives suggested routes and information about each alley on the map. If you miss the festival itself you can still download the maps and do a self-guided tour.
Places to Eat & Drink in Córdoba
Generally in Andalucia to find the best food, just walk down a charming street or a popular square and look for the places that are filled with locals. Order what they are having and you will be happy as a clam. Or eating clams with garlic. haha. In any case, here are a few of my recommended spots to eat and drink in Córdoba.
Smoothies, salads, sandwiches and other healthy treats can be had at La Bicicleta. It’s vegetarian friendly too.
Califa is the place to go for craft beer in Córdoba. Excellent brews and friendly staff. If you like beer, go here!
La Flor de Levante is my go-to ice cream shop when I visit Córdoba. Located on Plaza de las Tendillas, you can sit at a table or take your cone to go. Try the leche merengada flavor. You’re welcome.
If you walk across the Roman bridge you will come to Cocemar, a casual seafood restaurant that is always crowded. Go to the counter to order fried seafood that comes in a paper cone and sit outside on the terrace.
Right next to the Mosque-Cathedral you will find Bodegas Mezquita. A traditional restaurant, they serve tapas and meals, and are open longer hours than some smaller places. Although tourists flock here so do locals, the food quality is excellent and the service is great.
Places to Stay in Córdoba
Córdoba has many beautiful places to stay for all budgets. During the busy seasons like during the Feria and Fiesta de los Patios you should be sure to book in advance for the best prices.
Several of the hostels, guesthouses and small hotels in Córdoba are located in charming traditional buildings with interior courtyards. Check out Backpacker Al-Katre, El Sueño Hostel, Bed and Be, May Flowers Hostel, Hostal La Fuente, and El Antiguo Convento.
Staying for longer or prefer more privacy? Look for an apartment with a kitchen or kitchenette. I have stayed at Apartamentos La Fuente. Also check out Apartamentos San Fernando 76 and Apartamentos Casa de Aceite.
You can also find amazing apartments for rent in Córdoba on sites like Booking.com and Airbnb. Be sure to use this link to get €30 off your first Airbnb stay.
Getting Around in Córdoba
It is very easy to get around in the historic center by walking, but you can also hop on a city bus. For route maps and information check the Aucorsa website. Click the numbered lines at the bottom of the page to see the route maps. At this moment, tickets are €1,30 and can be purchased from the driver.
You can also purchase 24 or 48 hour tickets for the hop on hop off bus which can be a convenient way to get around, especially when the weather is very hot!
We hope you liked this weekend guide to Córdoba and that you enjoy your visit to this beautiful city.
How will you get to Spain? Forget flying! Take the ferry instead!
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