is cordoba worth visiting

Is Cordoba Worth Visiting?

Planning a trip to Spain and wondering if Cordoba is worth visiting? I had the same thought when planning my first visit to Spain… I ended up deciding that yes, Cordoba is worth going to and it was a great decision. 

In fact, Cordoba charmed me so much that I’ve visited it a second time on a longer visit. I got to know the city even better and it’s become one of my favorite places in Spain. 

So if you’re on the fence, here’s why you should add Cordoba to your Spain itinerary. 

Quick Answer: Is Cordoba Worth Visiting?

Yes, Cordoba is worth visiting! Here’s why:

  • It has an interesting and colorful history, with Moorish and Christian influences. 
  • Cordoba is home to four UNESCO World Heritage Sites, more than any other place in the world. 
  • The iconic Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba has fascinating architecture and history. 
  • The city’s major attractions can easily be covered in a day. 
  • Multiple daily train connections with cities like Madrid, Sevilla, Granada, and Malaga make it an attractive day trip option. 

Still not convinced? Read more to learn more about what makes Cordoba unique. 

reasons to visit cordoba

9 Reasons to Visit Cordoba, Spain

The Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba is one of the most intriguing monuments in the world

I confess: the #1 reason I wanted to go to Cordoba was to see the Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba. Having seen some photos of it, I was intrigued enough to want to jiggle my itinerary to try and fit in Cordoba.

Well, I’m happy to report that it is absolutely worthwhile to come to Cordoba just to see this UNESCO World Heritage Site!

The Mezquita began as a mosque in the 780s when Cordoba was under Umayyad rule and the capital of Al-Andalus. The complex was further expanded in the 9th and 10th century, as the city grew in influence in the Islamic world, until it became one of the largest mosques at that time. 

With the Reconquista in the 1230s, the city came under Christian rule and the mosque was converted into a cathedral. But of course, tearing down a huge mosque was too expensive so the building remained relatively unchanged until the 16th century when a cathedral nave and transept was built right in the middle of it. 

Today, the building remains functioning as a cathedral but since it was formerly a mosque, it’s also known as the Mezquita and the Great Mosque of Cordoba. 

The history of this monument is incredibly interesting, as is its interior which is a mix of Islamic and Christian architecture. The seemingly endless columns and double arches, Arabic inscriptions, and Islamic elements are beautiful. And the Renaissance-style cathedral and small chapels add a different dimension and mood to the place. 

I’ve visited the Mezquita twice now and I still consider it one of the most interesting places I’ve ever seen. Having seen other beautiful cathedrals around Europe and also stunning mosques in Turkey, it’s beyond fascinating to visit a monument that’s a mix of those two religions. Nothing else compares! 

Cordoba is one of the most historically rich cities in Spain

The Mezquita is not the only reason to visit Cordoba…

Fun fact: Cordoba holds the distinction of being the city with the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites! The four of them are: the Mezquita, its historic center, the Festival of the Patios (Courtyards), and the Medina Azahara. So, it’s absolutely a haven for history-lovers. 

While Cordoba’s historical landmarks definitely make it a city worth visiting, what I find particularly interesting about this Andalucian city is how we can see the intersection of the various cultures, religions, and historical powers is one small city. 

Cordoba was founded by the Romans and a closer look will reveal the town’s Roman roots: the Roman bridge and ruins of a Roman temple are the most obvious emblems of this powerful empire. 

Following that, Cordoba became the center of the Muslim world when it came under the Moorish empire. It’s said to have been one of the largest cities in Europe during the 10th century. Sadly, the city’s importance declined once it came under Christian rule 

Andalucia’s fascinating history involving the Muslim and Christian powers is stamped all over Cordoba, most notably in the Mezquita. And we also get a glimpse of the Jewish side of things in the Jewish Quarter, with the synagogue here being one of the best-preserved ones from the Middle Ages in Spain. 

A visit to Cordoba is essential to round out your understanding of Spain’s multi-faceted history and its four UNESCO World Heritage Sites are testament to how important it is to protect the remnants of Cordoba’s colorful past. 

why visit cordoba

It has a charming, well-preserved Jewish Quarter

Nestled within Cordoba’s historic quarter, you’ll find La Judería, which was home to the city’s Jewish people from the 10th to 15th centuries. Mapped out with a typical Moorish layout, this area consists of an intertwining network of tiny streets and alleys that’s easy to get lost in. 

But being lost here is an interesting way to spend an hour or so as you take in the atmosphere and charm of this historic area. It’s easy to let your imagination take spark and dream of what it might’ve been like thousands of years ago. 

There’s a medieval synagogue in La Judería that’s worth a visit (it’s free to enter) as it’s one of the best-preserved synagogues in Spain. If you come across Zoco Municipal, pop into this local artisan market to admire the beautiful patio and browse local goods to take home as souvenirs. 

Cordoba’s patios are known all over the world for their beauty

Patios and courtyards are a staple in Andalucia but Cordoba’s patios are unparalleled. So much so that they’re one of the city’s four UNESCO World Heritage Sites, together with the Festival of Patios that takes place every May. 

Patios are a point of pride for locals and you can bask in the beauty of Cordoban patios if you visit during the festival. Many homeowners in the traditional neighborhoods take part in the festival and open up their patios to the public. 

But even outside of the festival, you’ll be able to see some patios at any time of the year (check out these patios that are always open). You can also visit Palacio Viana which is a mansion with twelve different patios and courtyards. 

The patios of Cordoba are a cultural and architectural delight that can only be found in this city and they’re definitely worth visiting!

You can visit Cordoba any time of the year

If you’re looking for a holiday destination that has a lot to offer even during low season, Cordoba is an awesome choice. Both times I’ve visited Cordoba was actually during off-peak times: October and March. 

Cordoba’s location in the south of Spain means temperatures are mild in the winter. An average daily temperature of 10°C and tons of sunshine means that it’s easy to spend your time outdoors, exploring the city. When I visited in March, the weather was very pleasant and it was even warm enough during the day to be without a jacket! 

I believe that the off-peak period is actually the best time to visit Cordoba as the weather is pleasant and the city remains lively and not too crowded with visitors. 

It’s easy to get to Cordoba

Lack of accessibility can be a turn-off when planning a visit to a city so you’ll be glad to know that Cordoba is well-connected with the rest of Spain. 

If you have a car, there are highways that directly connect Cordoba to other major cities. Spanish highways are well-maintained with good signposts so you’ll have no trouble navigating to Cordoba. 

Even better, Cordoba has great train connections that make it easy to visit it on a day trip. High speed trains from Madrid leave every hour from Atocha station, with a travel time of less than 2 hours. 

There are also AVE trains from Malaga to Cordoba (1-hour journey) as well as Granada to Cordoba (60 to 90 minutes).If you’re coming from Sevilla, it takes only 45 minutes. These multiple daily train connections from other major Andalucian cities make Cordoba a very easy day trip option. 

Buses between Cordoba and other cities are also available but in my opinion, trains are your best bet. 


You can see the city’s highlights on a day trip

The easy train connections to Cordoba makes the city a popular day trip for travelers exploring Andalucia. Another plus point is that you can see Cordoba’s main sights in just a day so there’s really no reason to leave it off your itinerary. 

To help you get the most of your Cordoba day trip, I put together the perfect itinerary for one day which includes the city’s major attractions based on my own personal experience. Cordoba’s historic center is pretty compact and the main sites are within walking distance so it’s easy to hit the city’s highlights without completely exhausting yourself. 

Of course, if you have more time, I highly recommend spending at least 2 days in Cordoba to really enjoy your time here but if not, it’s definitely worth making the time to visit Cordoba on a day trip. 

It’s a budget-friendly destination

I don’t mind paying to visit attractions but it’s still really nice when you can experience a city without burning a hole in your pocket. Cordoba is worth visiting as you can get to know the city on a low budget. 

You can discover the city’s historic quarter at no cost. Cordoba’s patios and its festival of patios are also completely free. On Mondays to Saturdays, from 8.30am to 9.30am, the Mezquita offers free entry before it officially opens at 10.00am. Roman monuments such as the Roman Bridge and ruins of the Roman Temple also have no charge. 

There are other attractions in town that are free if you are an EU national: Medina Azahara, Palacio Viana, and the archaelogical museum are worth seeing. For non-EU nationals, there’s a small entry fee that won’t bust the bank. 

And if you decide to spend more than one day in Cordoba, you can easily find budget accommodations especially if you’re visiting in low season. 

Cordoba is more relaxed and laid-back than its more popular Andalucian sisters, Sevilla and Granada

When we talk about Andalucia, Sevilla and Granada are most often talked-about — and for good reason! I too love those cities. They’re beautiful to visit, with some spectacular landmarks.

But because they attract a lot of travelers, I’ve found that those cities can sometimes be crowded, busy, and touristy. On the flipside, Cordoba exudes a more relaxed, authentic vibe. Even if you’re just visiting for the day, the small town feel of Cordoba will charm you.

cordoba is worth visiting

When is Cordoba NOT worth visiting?

While I love Cordoba and think that it’s definitely worth visiting, I think it’d be fair to highlight in which instances Cordoba is not worth visiting. 

Firstly, a visit to Cordoba is most worth it if you’re already in the Andalucia region. As I mentioned above, the train connections and short travel time make it easy to see Cordoba as a day trip. 

However, if you’re coming from Madrid and only have time for one Andalucian stop, I would recommend Sevilla over Cordoba. The AVE train from Madrid to Cordoba can be quite pricey so if you’re on a budget, a day trip is probably not worth the cost. From Barcelona, there are no good and/or fast connections to Cordoba so I wouldn’t recommend it at all. 

Secondly, in my opinion, the best Andalucian itinerary would include all three of Sevilla, Granada, and Cordoba. But if you only have time for 2 Andalucian cities, I suggest prioritizing Sevilla and Granada and leaving off Cordoba for your next trip. Believe me, there’s more than enough to hold your interest in those two cities! 

Lastly, if you’re planning to visit Andalucia in the summer, the weather can get uncomfortably hot in July and August. We’re talking upwards of 35°C! I would personally avoid Andalucia at this time of year and visit either the north of Spain, the beaches along the coast or the Spanish islands instead. 

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