BEST THINGS TO DO
IN CORDOBA

Spain

Cordoba’s star attraction is without a doubt the Mezquita (aka the Cathedral-Mosque). Its interior is captivating and jaw-dropping. And the history its endless archways tell is equally as impressive. But Cordoba has more than just the Mosque to make it a great destination.

The old Jewish quarter is a pleasure to stroll through and there are tons of perfectly manicured patios full of flowers and vegetation to discover. And don’t miss the Alcazar palace and walk across the Roman bridge to the Calahorra Tower.

Below is out list of the best things to do in Cordoba, Spain.

Patricia Palacios, co-founder of España Guide
About
PATRICIA PALACIOS
España Guide Co-Founder
Patricia is an engineer turned content creator who for over a decade has been helping travelers navigate her native Spain. In addition to her own website, her tips and recommendations have been featured on BBC Travel, CNN, El País & Lonely Planet, just to name a few.

This article might include affiliate links, allowing us to earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Check our disclosure page for more info.

Patricia Palacios, co-founder of España Guide
About
PATRICIA PALACIOS
España Guide Co-Founder
Patricia is an engineer turned content creator who for over a decade has been helping travelers navigate her native Spain. In addition to her own website, her tips and recommendations have been featured on BBC Travel, CNN, El País & Lonely Planet, just to name a few.

This article might include affiliate links, allowing us to earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Check our disclosure page for more info.

Best 5 Things to Do in Cordoba

1

CORDOBA MOSQUE

The Great Mosque, one of the best things to do in Cordoba, Spain
The Great Mosque, one of the best things to do in Cordoba
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Córdoba’s majestic mosque ("mezquita" in Spanish) is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the city’s main attraction. It is one of the world’s greatest works of Islamic architecture as well as a symbol of the sophisticated Islamic culture that flourished in Córdoba when it was once the centre of Western Islam.

Cordoba Things to Do - Mezquita Tickets Icon    Book tickets: Get your Mezquita tickets here!

The construction of the mosque started in 785 AD, when Córdoba was established as the capital of Al-Andalus. Over the centuries numerous new additions were made to the original building.

In 1236, Cordoba was retaken by the Christian King from Castile and the mosque was converted into a church. Finally, in the 16th century, a massive cathedral was built in the center of the Mosque.

Views of the Mezquita de Cordoba from its bell tower, Spain
Mezquita de Córdoba seen from the Bell Tower
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What makes the mezquita truly special is that it was never destroyed by the conquering Christian forces but instead was repurposed and added on to, leaving behind centuries of history in a single building.

Apart from the interior of the mosque itself, its courtyard, known as the Patio de los Naranjos (The Patio of the Orange trees), is always free to visit. Inside, you can visit the 17th century Bell Tower which was built over the remains of the mosque’s minaret. With its height of 54m (177ft), it offers some of the best views of the city.

Cordoba Things to Do Icon - full guide of Cordoba's Mosque    Don't miss: Check out our complete guide of Cordoba's Mosque
2

ALCAZAR

Garden's of the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos in Cordoba, Spain
Gardens of the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos – Cordoba
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The Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos (Castle of the Christian Kings) was built in the 13th & 14th centuries on the remains of a Moorish palace. During the reconquista in the late 1400’s, Isabella I and her husband, Ferdinand II, used the castle as their primary residence.

Cordoba Things to Do Tip Icon - Inquisition at the Alcazar    Did you know? The first permanent tribunals of the Spanish Inquisition (which lasted for 3 centuries) were established at Cordoba's Alcazar.
Views of Cordoba's Alcazar from one of its towers – Andalusia, Spain
Views of Cordoba's Alcazar from one of its towers
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Although there isn’t much to see inside the building today, the Alcazar of Cordoba is still definitely worth a visit. There are some great views from the top of one of the towers and outside you will find beautiful terraced gardens that are a delight to walk through: fish ponds, fountains, orange trees and plenty of colorful flowers. It’s easy to imagine caliphs and kings walking through these same gardens centuries ago.

Cordoba Things to Do Icon - full guide of Cordoba's Alcazar    Don't miss: Check out our complete Alcazar Guide
3

JEWISH QUARTER

Tourists walking down a colorful street in the Jewish Quarter – one of the best things to do in Cordoba, Spain
Jewish Quarter – one of the top things to do in Cordoba
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The Jewish Quarter (“judería” in Spanish) is located next to the Mosque. This labyrinth of narrow streets and whitewashed buildings was once home to a vibrant Jewish community that, by the 10th century, was well established in the society (doctors, jurists, administrators, etc.).

Cordoba Things to Do Hotels Icon - Best hotels in Cordoba    Where to stay? The Jewish quarter is our favorite neighborhood. Find out more in our curated list of The Best Hotels in Cordoba.

However, once the christians arrived to Al-Andalus, the Jewish community faced persecution. Thousands were killed for not converting to christianity and by 1492 all were expelled from Spain. As a result, there isn’t much “Jewish” in the Jewish Quarter today, with the exception of a small but beautiful synagogue (free entrance).

Cordoba's San Bartolome Mudejar Chapel, Spain
Chapel of San Bartolome in Cordoba's Jewish quarter
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The neighborhood is still very charming and it’s worth it to wander through its winding streets. You will also find many bars, restaurants and souvenir shops. In addition, there are several other small points of interest:

  • Chapel of San Bartolomé (1.50€ entrance fee) is a splendid example of Mudejar (Islamic style) architecture.
  • Artisan Market (Zoco Municipal de Artesanía, free entrance) is formed by a charming series of courtyards surrounded by the studios of local artists. You can buy leather, glass, textiles, pottery, etc.
  • Sefarad House (4€ entrance fee) is a Jewish museum in a restored 14th century home. Not many local artifacts though and a lot of reading.
  • Casa Andalusí (4€ entrance fee) houses a small exhibition of Córdoba’s history, art and culture.
  • Córdoba’s Bullfighting Museum (Museo Taurino, 4€ entrance fee). If you have already seen the bullfighting museums of Ronda or Sevilla, you can skip this one.
Cordoba Things to do - Eye Icon    See the best of Cordoba by taking part in this complete Jewish Quarter & Cordoba Mosque tour. We highly recommend it!
4

PATIOS & VIANA PALACE

Lush courtyard with a palm in its center in the Viana Palace – Cordoba, Spain
Courtyard in the Viana Palace – Cordoba
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Cordoba can get hot. Real hot. It’s not uncommon to surpass 40°C (99°F) in the summer months. Back in the day, every building in Cordoba would have a small courtyard patio that would function as a private oasis, away from the sweltering heat.

Inside these patios, it’s typical to find a fountain surrounded by shade-giving trees, brightly colored flowers and special architectural features such a tiles, ironwork, arches and columns. These are places that invite you to slow down and relax – away from the stress of the city.

Cordoba Things to Do Food Icon - Best Restaurants    Getting hungry? Check out our selection of The Best Restaurants in Cordoba

While you can often have a peek into many patios throughout the city, one of the best ways to experience them to their fullest is by touring the gorgeous Viana Palace (8€ entrance fee). This exuberant 16th century Renaissance Palace is set around 12 beautifully manicured patios. For an extra 4€, you get a 1 hour guided visit of the inside of the building, which is definitely recommended.

Cordoba's colorful flowers in the Viana Palace, Spain
Colorful flowers in the Viana Palace
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Patios are a serious thing in Cordoba. Every year, the best patios compete for the prize of the most beautiful patio in the Fiesta de los Patios de Córdoba (Patios Festival), celebrated around May’s second and third weeks. During the festival, all of the competing patios are open to visitors for free. .

Cordoba Things to Do Tip Icon - Patios Tour    Dont' miss! Check out the best patios in all of Cordoba taking part in this Patios Tour
5

ROMAN BRIDGE & TOWER

Roman Bridge and Mosque at sunset – Cordoba, Spain
Roman Bridge & Great Mosque at sunset – Cordoba
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Córdoba’s hefty Roman Bridge spans across the Guadalquivir River. When it was originally constructed, it connected the ancient road known as the Via Augusta. This highway ran from Narbonne in France to Cadiz in the very south of the Iberian Peninsula. It was actually the longest and busiest road built by the Romans in ancient Hispania.

Cordoba Things to Do Tip Icon - Bridge in Game of Thrones    Did you know? Córdoba’s Roman bridge appeared in season 5 of Game of Thrones as the Long Bridge of Volantis. In the show, the bridge is completely covered by rows of buildings, taverns, brothels and marketplaces, forming a small neighborhood on itself.

At one end of the Roman Bridge, stands the Calahorra Tower (4.50€ entrance fee), a fortified gate from the 14th century built to protect the Christian city. Currently it houses the Museum of Al-Andalus Life. Inside, you will find information about the thriving Moorish culture that existed in Córdoba during the time of Al-Andalus (9th-12th centuries). The top of the tower offers some of the best panoramic views of Córdoba.

More Things to See in Cordoba

6

MEDINA AZAHARA

Views over Yafar's house in Madinat al-Zahra – Cordoba, Spain
Views over Yafar's house in Madinat al-Zahra
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Located 8km outside of Cordoba’s historic center is the archeological site of Medina Azahara. The ruins are part of a Moorish city built in the 10th century. Its name means the brilliant city and it was built to show off the newly independent western Caliphate’s power and might. Historical documents describe it as one of the most splendid cities ever built by mankind.

Unfortunately, Medina Azahara was destroyed in a bloody civil war only 75 years after its foundation. Today, its ruins give great insight into everyday society of Moorish Spain. Since 2018, it has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Cordoba Things to Do Icon - full guide of Medina Azahara    Don't miss: Check out our complete Medina Azahara Guide
7

FLAMENCO

Young flamenco dancers in Cordoba, Spain
Young flamenco dancers in Cordoba, Spain
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Flamenco is at the core of Córdoba’s culture. This old tradition is still very much alive today. Flamenco is part of most festivities and celebrations. It is not uncommon for children to attend flamenco school since an early age.

There is even a yearly Certamen de Academias de Baile (Dance Academies Competition) when the students of all the flamenco schools in the city perform for free for a week for the joy of both locals and visitors.

Cordoba Things to Do Icon - flamenco    See a live show: Find the top venues with our guide to the best flamenco shows in Cordoba
8

JULIO ROMERO MUSEUM

Painting in Cordoba's Julio Romero Museum, Spain
Painting in Cordoba's Julio Romero Museum

Córdoba’s most visited museum is devoted to the beloved local painter Julio Romero de Torres (1874-1930). Housed in a former hospital, the museum (4€ entrance fee) exhibits the work of Romero de Torres, including some of his famous paintings of Andalusian female beauty.

9

PLAZA DE LA CORREDERA

Plaza de la Corredera in Cordoba, Spain
Plaza de la Corredera in Cordoba
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Plaza de la Corredera is Córdoba’s "main square" ("plaza mayor" in Spanish). Dating back to the 17th century, this historic square is often used for markets and other celebrations (concerts, etc.). The buildings that surround the square have had many different uses throughout the centuries (town hall, jail, hat factory, etc.).

Cordoba Things to Do Food Icon - Best Restaurants    Getting hungry? Check out our selection of The Best Restaurants in Cordoba

Today, apart from the Market Sánchez Peña, there are also a variety of bars and restaurants surrounding the square, making it the perfect place to sit in a terrace and enjoy a drink and/or snack.

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10

ANDALUSIAN HORSE SHOW

Horse breeding has a long tradition in Córdoba. In 1570, the royal stables (Caballerizas Reales) were built next to the Alcázar with the goal of creating a new horse breed, the Andalusian horse. This horse was bred to be the pure Spanish breed, a symbol of prestige.

Today, the Caballerizas Reales offer a 1-hour equestrian show (17.5€ entrance fee) featuring the Andalusian horse and combining a variety of riding styles with flamenco dance.

If you don’t have a specific interest in horses, you can skip it.

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