12 must-see things to do in Cordoba

Visiting Cordoba: what are the best things to do and see in the small city of Cordoba?

Alongside Granada and Seville, Cordoba is one of the jewels of Andalusia, just waiting to be visited. But before you set off to visit Cordoba, it’s important to know what to see and do there.

From the must-sees to typical local nuggets, follow the guide to visit Cordoba in style!

1. Cordoba Mosque-Cathedral

Mosquée-cathédrale, Mezquita, Cordoue

The Mezquita is undoubtedly the city’s most emblematic landmark. Located in Cordoba’s historic quarter, this unique monument is one of the most impressive in the Islamic West. Originally a Roman temple dedicated to deities, Cordoba’s Mosque-Cathedral later became a church, before being taken over by an emir who transformed its ruins into a mosque. Over the centuries, the site continued to grow in size and beauty, and was finally transformed into a cathedral after the Reconquista by the Catholic king Ferdinand III of Castile.

Today, the Mezquita is a portrait of architecture with two faces. Unusual and authentic, it reflects above all a true work of art with a breathtaking cultural mix. Inside and out, from arches to columns, the monument offers a superb eclecticism, one that has written the history of Cordoba.

2. Judería

Not far from the Mezquita, discover Judería, Cordoba’s historic Jewish quarter. After passing through the ramparts of the Almodovar Gate, enter a UNESCO World Heritage site, where the city’s finest souvenirs are to be found in its narrow streets.

Stroll between the charming white houses adorned with flowers, stop in front of the small patios decorated with fountains typical ofAndalusia, and enjoy yourself in the various squares lulled by guitarists and flamenco dancers. Throughout this charming stroll, the aromas of tea and exotic scents will inspire you. In fact, the Judería district is home to Cordoba’s most famous street, the superb Calleja de las Flores! Ideally situated for access to the city’s various monuments, the Jewish Quarter is a must-see in Cordoba.

3. The Synagogue

Synagogue de Cordoue

Photo credit: Wikipedia – JP Puerta

To visit Cordoba and its Jewish quarter, you must visit the Synagogue. The only one of its kind in Andalusia and one of the best preserved in the country, the Cordoba Synagogue is now a historic site that can be visited free of charge.

Classified as a national monument, the site offers a historical, political and social interlude in the history of Cordoba. A heritage, a witness to cultural diversity which, after the expulsion of the Jews, was transformed into a hospital and then a school, before being restored and reconsidered as such. Although small in size, the Synagogue is one of the most visited in Spain, and boasts a powerful heritage.

Good to know: although admission to the site is free, guided tours are available to several of Cordoba’s must-see sites, including the Mezquita and the Alcázar.

Also read in the Cordoba guide :

4. Alcázar De Los Reyes Cristianos

Alcázar De Los Reyes Cristianos, Cordoue

Photo credit: Flickr – zlaping

What else is there to do in Cordoba if not to see THE symbol of the city? As famous as the Mosque-Cathedral and more discreet than its Seville acolyte, theAlcázar de los Reyes Cristianos remains, so to speak, impressive. Residence of the Catholic kings, seat of the Holy Office during the Inquisition, place of passage for Christopher Columbus and even a prison, the Alcázar is above all a place steeped in history.

From the four towers offering superb views over Cordoba to the various outbuildings, immerse yourself in a unique site: the mosaic salon, gardens, royal baths, marble paving and other treasures promise an unforgettable visit with the scent of Andalusia.

5. The royal stables

They belong to the Alcázar and are a source of great interest to visitors. Built in 1570, the Royal Stables of Cordoba(Las Caballerizas Reales) were once home to the famous horses of Andalusia. A stronghold of equestrianism and a symbol of the discipline, the site is much sought-after by enthusiasts and amateurs alike, who come to see the stables and watch the superb shows (free of charge).

6. Baños Califales and Arab Baths

Right next to the royal stables, the Baños Califales are well worth a visit. Remains of the Alcázar’s baths or hammams, the Baños Califales are the most important in the city: divided into 9 rooms over time (hammams and other patios), they house various marble capitals and columns (or rather, what remains of them), evidence of a sacred place where ablutions were performed, among other things.

Just a few hundred meters away, the Bains Arabes perpetuate a tradition today marked by Andalusian culture. Considered Europe’s largest Moorish baths, they host flamenco performances at nightfall: intimate shows where tradition takes on its full meaning from the very first notes.

Good to know: for those wishing to immerse themselves in the traditional Arab Baths, there are two main ones in Cordoba. Around the corner from the Mosque-Cathedral, you’ll find Europe’s largest Hammam, with its unique and authentic architecture, where various hot, warm and cold water basins, as well as a Turkish bath and hot stone, guarantee a moment of absolute relaxation. In the Jewish Quarter, the « Arab Baths of Cordoba » offer a unique experience: in addition to Hammams and typical patios, the premises feature a pool of Epsom salt (renowned for its magnesium content) and even offer massages.

7. Roman bridge

It’s impossible to pass through Cordoba without seeing or walking around the city. Spanning the Guadalquivir, the Roman Bridge is, so to speak, the only one of its kind. Erected in the 1st century BC, for almost 20 centuries it was the only means of access to the city. Today, it’s a must-see in Cordoba, attracting large numbers of passers-by (beware, it’s really crowded in high season) and offering a superb view of the city. For the record, the Roman Bridge was used as a filming location in the Game of Thrones series.

At the very end of the bridge is the Tour de la Calahorra, a defensive tower dating back to Muslim times. Declared an artistic historic monument, it houses the Al-Andalus Museum, which highlights the cohabitation of different cultures, as well as a terrace offering a lovely view of the Roman Bridge and Cordoba.

8. Plaza Corredera

It’s often compared to Madrid’s Plaza Mayor. Popular day and night, locals and visitors alike enjoy meeting up in this well-known central thoroughfare, the Plaza Corredera. Over the centuries, the square has been the scene of parties, street shows, bullfights and even executions, but today it’s famous for its terraces. It’s in the middle of this large rectangle of typically Andalusian architecture and colors that you can enjoy a drink or lunch outdoors.

9. Viana Palace

A few minutes’ walk from the Plaza Corredera takes you straight to the Palacio de Viana. Although often discreet in the eyes of tourists, the palace hides many wonders… Within it, no less than 12 patios with Roman and Arab influences welcome you along a path punctuated by a luxuriant garden, before opening the doors to a superb collection of china, paintings and tapestries scattered throughout the palace. A journey through time, with eclectic styles and symbols that make this place unique.

10. Cordoba’s museums

What to do in Cordoba for a 100% cultural day out? If you have the time, why not opt for a tour of the city’s museums? From artistic movements to local flora, there are plenty of them to discover Cordoba through its history and heritage. Here are the main ones to see during your stay:

Archaeological Museum: dedicated to the Roman collection discovered in Cordoba

Fine Arts Museum: houses modern and Baroque art collections

Julio Romero de Torrez Museum: features works by the local painter

– Ethnobotanical Museum and Botanical Garden: offers a vast collection of paleobotanical fossils, plants, trees and shrubs to discover typical flora.

Inquisition Gallery: recounts the darker side of the jurisdiction. We do not recommend this area for children or sensitive visitors.

11. Salmorejo, a typical regional dish

A cousin of the well-known gazpacho and originally from Cordoba, salmorejo is a traditional cold soup made from breadcrumbs, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, salt and tomato. Delicious shavings of Serrano ham and eggs are also added. This typical, inexpensive dish will delight the taste buds of young and old alike: refreshing, it’s the perfect starter on hot summer days. Alongside the famous tapas, it’s a local favorite!

For those with a sweet tooth, there are tapas tours where you can discover Cordoba’s culinary history and traditions. A tour full of flavours and discoveries, punctuated by a few tastings and, why not, new recipes to take home with you!

12. Feria de Mayo

To round off this article on must-do activities in Cordoba, we’d like to suggest a festive local event! Every year in May, the Feria de Mayo invites Cordobans to a traditional fiesta in the El Arenal park. The program includes traditional music, song and dance, immersing you in a typically local event.

How to get to Cordoba

As Cordoba airport is only served by private flights, you’ll have to fall back on the nearest airports, such as Seville and Málaga, both less than three hours away. Whatever your departure city, our partner Ulysse has some of the best flight deals available, so don’t forget to take a look at the site.

Once there, you can opt to rent a car: this will allow you to visit Andalusia on your own. You can also get to Cordoba by bus with Alsa. The bus station is served by numerous regular lines providing daily connections to many major cities, including Madrid, Seville, Málaga and Granada. Finally, from Seville, Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid and Málaga, several trains run to Cordoba: for more information, visit the AVE website.

Where to stay in Cordoba?

Cordoba offers a wide choice of accommodation. From the city center to the surrounding neighborhoods, there’s a hotel to suit every budget, from the smallest to the most comfortable. Airbnb, hotel, room, hostel or guesthouse: you’ll find it all under the Andalusian sun! To find a cheap hotel in Cordoba, go to this hotel comparison site: depending on your selection criteria, it will find you the pied-à-terre of your dreams.

So, are you ready to discover Cordoba?

Map of hotels and accommodation – Cordoba,es