Heading to Córdoba? You’re in for a treat. Discover the best things to do in Córdoba and take a deep dive into this fascinating city and all it offers.
I’m not being dramatic when I say that Córdoba is a treasure trove of a Spanish city. Dating back to ancient Roman times, it’s been an important cultural epicentre for centuries.
Ok, let’s have a quick history lesson before I dive into the sights that need to be on your itinerary…
During the Islamic Golden Age, Córdoba was a vital part of Muslim culture, serving as a place to learn, grow, and live peacefully with other cultures. It was an important period in Spain’s history and helped shape many great cities, traditions and architecture that still shines today.
After the Siege of Córdoba, Christian influence grew in the city, and architecture, food and customs also began to change (more on that later).
So, what’s Córdoba like today? Aside from its historical significance, it is an absolute gem to visit.
Boasting the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites of any city worldwide (four), unique architecture and exciting street festivals, Córdoba is a must-add destination to your Spain itinerary.
Looking for a one-of-a-kind hotel in the centre of Córdoba? Hotel Viento 10 is within walking distance of the best things to do in Córdoba and boasts charming rooms.
Top 5 Things to do in Córdoba
Visit the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba (Mezquita)
Perhaps no building is more emblematic of the delicate history than the Mosque-Cathedral of córdoba.
First constructed in the 8th century, the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba became a cathedral under the direction of Ferdinand III — an important (if sensitive) piece of history for two major religions; this building is truly a special place.
The towering doors leading to timeless spaces around the mosque-cathedral that date as far back as when the building was first constructed. Once you’re inside, take some time to look around the prayer hall. It’s well worth slowing down and paying attention to the teeny tiny details on the walls.
Massive columns spanning cultures and centuries (some going back to the Romans) tower above you — there are hundreds of them. Each forms a prayer area like no other. Honestly, it is magnificent. The central dome is also a stunning architectural feature of the mosque and a must-see.
As you continue perusing the Mezquita, you’ll see the Gothic and Renaissance influences that are visually striking. The most famous? The bell tower is stunning, although covering the mosque’s original minaret.
When visiting, I suggest arriving as early as possible – this is among the best free things to do in córdoba. How? You can show up before 8:30 am and enter for free (for one hour).
Or purchase a ticket ahead of time and skip the line. However you decide to go, visiting the mosque in the morning feels even more majestic as the sun rises over the magnificent city.
Explore Medina Azahara
Even if you’re only in Córdoba on a day trip, Immersing yourself in the fascinating history through the many archeological sites is a must. And there’s nowhere better to do this than in the medina.
Explore ancient ruins built by the Umayyad dynasty that sat unnoticed for nearly 1,000 years.
Cordova is a very walkable city, but you won’t likely reach this destination on foot. Instead, you can drive, park nearby, and then take a bus to the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Once inside, you won’t be able to access every inch of the forgotten city, but you will see plenty of very interesting (and 1,000+ years old) artefacts.
My advice? Find a tour guide who really knows the lay of the land and explains the ancient village in great detail.
Walk Across the Roman Bridge of Córdoba
Easily at the top of the things to do in Córdoba is visiting the Roman Bridge. One great thing about this storied passageway over the Guadalquivir River is that you can pair it with a visit to the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba.
This ancient bridge (you may recognize it from GoT) currently boasts mostly eighth-century Moorish construction, with additions from the 16th and 17th centuries decorating the impressive piece of history.
Walking across the Roman Bridge, I can’t help but think about how it was once (many historians believe) a part of the Via Augusta — the famous roadway travelling from Ancient Rome to Cadiz.
Hit Up a Festival Near Calleja de las Flores
Visiting Córdoba in May is a blast, from the street festivals to the excellent weather – the small city in Spain is full of life. But one of the things that makes this month particularly special is that the famous Calleja de las Flores is in full bloom.
The neighbourhood is adorable any time of year (think white-washed village with surprises around nearly every turn). But what really makes it special at this time of year is catching a glimpse of the Cathedral tower framed by the white walls and brightly coloured flower pots.
It’s a popular area, so arrive early if you want to photograph the empty streets. And you definitely do.
Take a Walk Inside the Alcazar of the Christian Monarchs
Visiting the Alcazar of the Christian Monarchs is one of the best things to do in Córdoba, Andalucia – and here’s why. The Medieval Moorish Castle is defined by its long rectangular shape, numerous mosaics and the imposing Tower of the Inquisition.
Southern Spain is home to a few incredible Alcazars, and this one may not rank as my all-time favourite (that’s a toss up between the Alhambra and the Alcazar of Seville) , but one feature I truly love is the garden area. So impressive it deserves its own section on the best things to do in Córdoba.
Brilliant Things to See & Do in Córdoba
Stroll Through the Jardines del Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
You can’t miss the on-site gardens when you visit the Alcazar of the Christian Monarchs.
Really, it’s impossible to visit the palace-fortress and not be completely swept away by its beauty. Rows of perfectly manicured cypress trees, towering palms, and vibrant citrus guide you past the large fountains and statues toward the fortress.
The price of admission is five euros (and you can access the Alcazar of the Christian Monarchs, too), but you’ll want to purchase ahead of time and show up at your scheduled window. Or, even better, purchase a skip-the-line tour.
Top tip: Visit the spring when flowers are blooming for the most epic photos.
Marvel at the Courtyards of Palacio de Viana
On the subject of gardens, my favourite in Córdoba is Palacio de Viana. The Museum of Courtyards makes up over half the property of this 15th-century palace. It’s absolutely stunning. A maze of blooming gardens and shaded patios.
You can tour the palace from inside and out or opt to see the magnificent gardens as the main event. If you choose the latter, it’s just five euros.
That said, the inside is quite beautiful and worth the extra charge to visit, or you can skip the line with this tour.
Visit the Torre de Calahorra
If you walk across the Roman Bridge from Mezquita (a must when you visit this ancient city in Spain), you’ll reach Torre de Calahorra.
Although it’s not the most impressive building in Córdoba, it’s certainly worth seeing as it anchors one side of the iconic Roman Bridge.
It’s not a personal favourite as far as eye-popping architecture goes, but the Andalusian cultural museum inside is worth an afternoon visit.
Stop by the Museum of Fine Arts Córdoba
With all the incredible architecture, cathedrals,and streets to explore in Córdoba, you might find it difficult to make time for an art museum. But do yourself a favour and visit at least one – and make it the Museum of Fine Arts.
If you stop by this famous gallery in Córdoba, check out the works of local artists like sculptor Mateo Inurria and other artwork from the 14th to 20th centuries in Córdoba.
Admittedly, if you don’t like religious art (largely from the Baroque period), this one’s not for you.
Take a Walk Near Templo Romano
Looking for unusual things to do in Córdoba? How about seeing a Roman temple without leaving Southern Spain? If this piques your interest, head to Templo Romano.
It might not exactly be the incredible Pantheon or Maison Carree, but the 12 pillars in the middle of an unassuming neighbourhood are a welcome surprise if you’re on a walk in Córdoba. Its history is fascinating and (spoiler alert) it is most impressive if you stumble upon it.
Try a Bowl of Salmorejo at Bodegas Mezquita
You’re in Spain – good food is a given. But you need to make a beeline for Bodegas Mezquita. Trust me on this one.
Here’s why. Not only is the food terrific — don’t miss the Córdoban specialty Salmorejo (think gazpacho topped with the finest Iberian ham) — but it’s also easy on the wallet. The service is stellar and the dining space is ridiculously comfortable, though usually crowded.
Be sure to order the flamenquin, too. Think pork cutlet stuffed with serrano ham, rolled, breaded and fried to perfection. Drool.
Unique Things to See & Do in Córdoba: Hidden Gems That Are Off the Beaten Track
Dine at Noor
The ultra-exclusive two-Michelin Star restaurant Noor by hometown hero Paco Morales is more than a fine dining restaurant.
If you can score a table here (the dining room is intimate and only open seasonally), you are in for a history lesson that taps into the Moorish traditions of Córdoba from centuries past.
Discover amazing flavours and presentations through dishes that rediscover ancient recipes lost to time.
Attend the Festival of Patios
Attending the Festival of Patios is one of the best things to do in Córdoba, Spain.
Why? The proud residents brighten up the interior courtyard of their picture-perfect village, allowing locals and tourists to check out the abundance of colourful hanging pots, vines and foliage. It’s seriously stunning and even more impressive to see in person.
But how do you find the best patios in Córdoba? The festival takes place in several neighbourhoods, including San Basilio and San Agustin.
Thanks to the festive atmosphere (think impromptu flamenco shows) and increasingly large numbers of attendees, you can walk around the city centre and likely walk right into the festivities over these two weeks.
Enjoy Some Late Night Eats at Taberna la Sacristia
Located just a few blocks away from the centre of Córdoba, Taberna la Sacristia is an excellent option for dining like a local.
Looking for things to do in Córdoba at night? This local haunt stays open until 2 am and serves up superb food and wine.
It’s cosy, and you may have to wait for a table, but once you try the popular montaditos, you’ll be happy you did.
Things to do in Córdoba: Practical Tips for Your Trip
How Long to Visit in Córdoba?
Want to plan the perfect holiday to Southern Spain? Add two or three days in córdoba to your trip to Spain, and I think you’ll be quite (ok, extremely) happy.
You can also extend your stay and dive into the local culture, food and surrounding areas for more fun things to do in Córdoba.
Best Time to Visit Córdoba
Visiting Córdoba in April or May will give you a good look at the famous flower blooms, street festivals, and the vibrant culture of this ancient town. It’s a popular time to holiday in Europe, so schedule your trip in advance for decent hotel rates.
Where Should I Stay in Córdoba?
Hotel Viento 10 (Mid-Range)
The sweeping stone arches of the interior garden of this hospital-turned-boutique Hotel Viento 10 in Old Town Córdoba are just one of many features I adore about this unique place to stay.
Choose a courtyard suite for stylish comfort at a budget-friendly price.
Hotel Hospes Palacio del Bailío (Luxury)
Old Town Córdoba is full of extraordinary historic properties, and this 16th-century palace, Hotel Hospes Palacio del Bailio, makes the perfect setting for a luxury stay in Córdoba.
The room decor features elements of the original palace, including stone walls, antique artwork and views of the beautiful garden courtyard. Not too shabby, right?
Recommended Tours in Córdoba
- Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba Skip-the-Line Ticket
- Alcazar of the Christian Monarchs Entrance
- From Seville: Full Day Córdoba Tour
- 3 Hour Guided Tour of the Medina Azahara
Things to do in Córdoba: Map
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