malaga to cordoba day trip

Málaga to Córdoba Day Trip (Transport, What to Do & More!)

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Nestled in the heart of Andalucia, the southern region of Spain, Málaga and Córdoba are two fascinating cities that should be on every traveler’s bucket list. While both cities have their unique charm, a day trip from Málaga to Córdoba is an excellent way to experience the rich history, architecture, and culture of Andalusia in one day. 

In this article, I’ll share how to get from Málaga to Córdoba, the top things to do in your Córdoba visit, plus some travel tips and FAQs, so that you can plan an amazing day trip in Córdoba that suits your needs. 

Quick Answers: Málaga to Córdoba Day Trip

Here’s what you need to know if you’re planning a Málaga to Córdoba Day Trip:

  • The distance from Málaga to Córdoba is 135km (train) to 160km (driving distance), which makes it ideal for a day trip. 
  • The best way to travel between Málaga and Córdoba is by train. It’s relatively affordable and hassle-free. The train journey from Málaga to Córdoba takes as little as 48 minutes on the AVE trains! It’s best to book your tickets in advance so that you can get the best deal. 
  • Unless you’re on a budget, avoid the bus as it takes the longest to get from Málaga to Córdoba (minimum 2 hours 30 minutes). 
  • A guided Málaga to Córdoba full-day tour is also a good option, if you prefer all the details to be taken care of.
  • You can easily see Córdoba’s highlights in one day. Click here for my tried-and-tested one-day Córdoba itinerary
cordoba day trip

Córdoba to Málaga Distance

It’s approximately 135km from Córdoba to Málaga and the driving distance is 160km. This relatively short distance is what makes a Málaga to Córdoba day trip so popular!

Málaga to Córdoba Day Trip: How to Get There

Let’s explore the various ways you can travel between Málaga and Córdoba. 

As mentioned above, for me, I would travel by train from Málaga to Córdoba. The rail system in Spain is well-developed and well-maintained and it’s definitely my favorite way to get around the country. It’s also a more relaxing way to travel and the frequency of trains allow you to maximize your time spent in Córdoba. 

That said, bus and care are also viable options if you prefer. A guided day trip to Córdoba from Málaga is possible as well and they’re good when you want to be completely hands-off with any planning. 

Train: Málaga to Córdoba 

There are 15+ trains from Málaga to Córdoba, with the earliest trains beginning from around 6.20am on weekdays and about 9.00am on weekends. The average travel time between the two cities is approximately 1 hour but you can get trains that get you there in 48 minutes!

Some trains travel direct but others have a quick change-over in Antequera-Santa Ana (the station after Málaga) which accounts for the slightly longer travel time. Don’t worry though: the change of trains is easy and there’ll very likely be others doing the same so there’s little chance you’ll get lost or left behind!

For a day trip to Córdoba, in my opinion, any train that departs Málaga before 11.00am will give you plenty of of time to see the city’s main highlights. There are trains leaving Córdoba for Málaga as late at 10.00pm so you can even spend the evening there if you want. 

The prices of the train tickets from Málaga to Córdoba do vary but if you buy in advance, it can be as cheap as €17.55 one-way.

To check train timings and prices, visit the Renfe website or Trainline for the latest information. 

Once you arrive in Córdoba, the historic center is about 20 minutes by foot. It’s a pleasant downhill walk so I highly recommend it. Alternatively, Bus #3 will take you from the train station to the edge of the historic center. Or you can hail a cab at the taxi stand outside the train station. 

Málaga to Córdoba by Car

If you prefer to drive, getting to Córdoba from Málaga is certainly doable. Simply take the A-45 highway, heading north. It’ll take about 1 hour 45 minutes but it can take longer if there’s traffic. 

Driving in Spain is pretty easy as the roads have good signage and are well-maintained. The big advantage is that having your own car for the Málaga-Córdoba day trip will give you the ultimate flexibility, instead of being beholden to the train or bus timetables. It can also be a cost-effective option if you’re traveling as a family or a group. 

Upon arrival in Córdoba, I recommend finding parking outside of the historic center as it’ll be easier and cheaper. You won’t want to have to navigate through the narrow, one-way labyrinth of streets in the historic quarter!

It’s easier to park a few blocks away and then walk to the main sights. 

Car Rental Recommendation

If you’re looking for the best prices for car rental during your stay in Spain, check out Discover Cars. Just plug in your location and dates and you’ll get the best deals available. Super convenient and easy! 

Bus: Málaga to Córdoba

The most affordable mode of transport is the bus from Málaga to Córdoba. If you buy in advance, you can get a one-way ticket for as low as €5! The downside is that the journey takes much longer (from 2 hours 30 minutes to up to 4 hours, depending on the bus route). 

The bus service is run by ALSA which is a reputable bus company that provides services throughout Spain. I’ve taken their buses before and can vouch for the comfort of their trips. 

There’s just a handful of buses from Málaga to Córdoba daily. At the time of publishing, the earliest bus departing Málaga leaves at 9.00am and gets you there at 11.30am while the last bus departing Córdoba for Málaga is at 6.00pm. So that gives you about 5 hours to see Córdoba. Be sure to check the official ALSA website for the latest bus timings. 

I do think train from Málaga to Córdoba is the best way to do a day trip but if cost is a concern, the bus is not a bad option.

The bus station in Córdoba is just opposite the train station so you can refer above for the 3 ways to get from there to the historic center. 

Málaga to Córdoba Guided Tours

If you want to go on a Málaga to Córdoba a day trip but don’t wanna deal with all the details (I totally get it!), then a guided tour is a great option for you. Not only is transportation to and from Málaga included, but with a guided experience of Córdoba, you’ll learn a lot about the city and its fascinating history. 

Here are a few Málaga to Córdoba day tours that are highly rated:

  • For a value-for-money option, check out this full-day Málaga to Córdoba day trip. With a local guide, you’ll be safely transported by bus to-and-from Córdoba, get a walking tour of the historic center including the La Juderia, synagogue, patios, and the Mezquita. All entrance fees are included so your only expense will be lunch. 
  • This semi-private day trip from Málaga (7 hours) includes transfers from Málaga to Córdoba and tickets and a guided tour of the Mezquita. One advantage is that you get free time after the tour of Mezquita which allows you see explore the city at your will. 
  • Prefer a bit more structure? This Córdoba day trip includes transportation, a stop at Lucena (typical Córdoban village), 2 guided tours of the Mezquita and the Jewish Quarter plus some free time. Total tour time is 8 to 10 hours so be prepared for a long day!

malaga to cordoba day trip

How Much Time Do I Need in Córdoba? 

Córdoba is an interesting and beautiful place and I recommend spending as much time as possible in the city!

But if you’re short on time but still want to see Córdoba’s main attractions, I would suggest a minimum of 3 hours to see what I believe are the top 3 things to do in Córdoba. Read on to find out what they are…

What To Do On a Málaga to Córdoba Day Trip

Here’s a quick overview of what you can see on do on your Málaga to Córdoba day trip. For more information, check out my perfect Córdoba one-day itinerary!

If You Have 3 to 4 Hours

  1. The Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba: Undoubtedly an iconic site in Córdoba, the Mezquita is a must-see on your visit! I recommend buying your ticket in advance so that you skip the line and enter immediately upon your arrival. Another great option is to take a 1-hour guided tour of the monument which will give you a ton of insight into the building! 
  2. The Roman Bridge: Once you’ve done with the Mezquita, take a 5-minute walk to the Roman Bridge that crosses the Guadalquivir. Once you’re on the other side, you’ll get an awesome vantage point of Córdoba so snap a few gorgeous pics for the ‘Gram!
  3. The Jewish Quarter: Spend the rest of your time wandering around Córdoba’s beautiful historic quarter. La Judería, with its narrow winding alleys, is particularly interesting and charming to explore. 

If You Have More Than 4 Hours

If you have more time in Córdoba, then add on some (or all!) of these into your day… 

  1. Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos: This Mudejar-style palace dates back to the 1300s but the real reason to visit is its gardens! There’s a small entry fee and you can only buy tickets on-site, so if the line is too long, you may need to skip this instead of wasting time in line. 
  2. Córdoba’s Patios: Don’t miss Córdoba’s famous patios! Any at time of the year, there are some patios that remain open for everyone to admire. You can go patio-hunting at Calle de San Basilio and the streets around it (near the Alcázar). 
  3. Enjoy the local food scene: Take some time to rest and try the local restaurants! In the historic quarter, you can try Restaurante Damasco and Casa Pepe de La Judería which are highly rated. Another great choice is Mercado Victoria which is a food market that you’ll find on the way back to the train/bus stations. 

Tips for Your Málaga to Córdoba Day Trip

1.Book your train tickets in advance. Train is the best way to get from Málaga and Córdoba and your best chance of getting a good deal is booking early. Tickets are typically available up to 4 months in advance. 

2. Depart from Málaga as early as possible. On any day trip, the key is to make the most of the day so I suggest leaving Málaga early. Córdoba’s attractions open at 10.00am but even if you arrive earlier in the morning, you can enjoy strolling around the historic quarter before the crowds arrive. 

3. Wear comfortable shoes. Córdoba is a very walkable city and the best way to see the historic center is by foot. So be prepared to get those steps in! 

day trip to cordoba from malaga - explore the historic quarter

Frequently Asked Questions about Málaga to Córdoba

Is there a direct train from Málaga to Córdoba?

Yes, there are numerous direct trains from Málaga to Córdoba. 

How long is the train journey from Málaga to Córdoba?

It takes as fast as 48 minutes to travel between from Málaga and Córdoba! The average travel time is about 1 hour. 

What are the Málaga to Córdoba train times and schedule?

To get the latest Málaga to Córdoba train times and schedule, visit the Renfe website. There’s an option to view the site in English so you’ll have no problems navigating and buying your trinkets (I’ve done it!). 

How much is the train ticket from Málaga to Córdoba?

The train ticket from Málaga to Córdoba will vary but it can go as low as €17.55 one-way.

When should you book your train tickets from Málaga to Córdoba?

Book as soon as possible! Bookings for train tickets in Spain typically open up to 4 months in available and you’re more likely to score a good price if you book early. Avoid buying on the day of travel as you’ll get the highest fare. 

How long is the bus journey from Málaga to Córdoba?

The average travel time by bus is 2 hours 30 minutes. Some bus routes can take up to 4 hours so be sure to double-check the travel time when you’re booking your bus tickets!

What are the Málaga to Córdoba bus times and schedule?

ALSA runs the bus service from Málaga to Córdoba, so check their website for up-to-date information. You can change the language to English to navigate and buy your tickets online.  

How much is the bus ticket from Málaga to Córdoba?

The bus ticket from Málaga to Córdoba can be as low as €5 one-way when you book in advance! It’s a great option if you want to save money and don’t mind slow travel. 

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