Cordoba Travel Guide​

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Steeped in history and culture, Cordoba is a must-visit destination for anyone headed to Spain. This small city is often overshadowed by the more popular Granada and Seville but for a true understanding of Andalucia, a visit to Cordoba will complete the picture. 

Located in the heart of the Andalucian region, Cordoba was once the capital of the Islamic caliphate, and it’s home to some of the most stunning examples of Moorish architecture in the world. 

The most famous of these is the Mezquita, a mosque that was converted into a cathedral in the 13th century. The building is a masterpiece of Islamic and Christian architecture, with a forest of columns and arches that create a sense of awe and wonder in all who visit. The Mezquita alone is worth the effort of visiting Cordoba!

But Cordoba is not just about history and architecture. The city will win you over with its warm and friendly vibes; despite drawing thousands of visitors, Cordoba retains an authentic vibe. And the food in Cordoba is simply amazing, with a wide variety of traditional Spanish dishes that are sure to tantalize your taste buds.

Read on to learn more about this beautiful city as I share my Cordoba travel tips so that you can plan your ideal visit!

Cordoba Facts and Figures

  • Today, Cordoba is home to over 300,000 people. It’s the 10th largest city on the Spanish mainland and the 3rd largest in Andalucia. 
  • Cordoba was founded by the Romans in 152 B.C.
  • Roman philosopher Seneca was born in Cordoba.
  • Muslim philosopher and polymath Averroes and Jewish philosopher Maimonides were also born in Cordoba.
  • Cordoba was the capital of Al-Andalus.
  • Cordoba was once the world’s largest city with about one million residents.
  • Cordoba is the city with the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites – four! 
  • Cordoba’s historic quarter is the largest old town in all of Spain. 
  • The Mezquita is the largest mosque in the world, as well as the world’s largest temple. It measures 24,000m2 and was able to accommodate 10,000 worshippers. 
  • Cordoba boasts some of the highest summer temperatures in Europe, with daytime temperatures of 40°C/104°F!

Visit Cordoba: Travel Tips

Here’s what you need to know to plan your trip to Cordoba. 

Getting to Cordoba 

Cordoba has an airport but it serves mainly small planes and there are no regular flights. So if you’re coming from outside of Spain, the best way to get there is to fly into a nearby airport such as Madrid, Malaga, or Seville. Then you can hop into one of highspeed trains that will get you to Cordoba. 

From within Spain, I recommend getting to Cordoba by train. As mentioned above, the highspeed train connections to Cordoba make it super convenient… and fast. Here are some approximate train travel times:

  • From Madrid to Cordoba: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • From Seville to Cordoba: Under 1 hour
  • From Malaga to Cordoba: Under 1 hour
  • From Granada to Cordoba: 1 hour 40 minutes

Tip: Book your train tickets early to get the best deal! Typically, tickets are available up to 4 months before your travel date. Head to the Renfe website (be sure to toggle to the English language for easy navigation) to search for your routes.

You can also get to Cordoba by bus. Buses to Cordoba are run by ALSA and they’re a comfortable ride. Bus tickets are much cheaper than train but the journey will be longer. 

If you want flexibility and freedom to explore, then renting a car is the way to go. Getting to Cordoba by car is easy as the city is linked to major highways. Simply fire up GoogleMaps (or your map application of choice) and you’ll be good to go. 

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! 

Getting Around Cordoba 

Cordoba’s tourist attractions are mostly centered in and around the historic center so the best way to get around the city is by foot. You’ll be walking a lot so be sure to wear your most comfortable shoes! 

If you need it, public transportation in Cordoba is reliable and affordable. For bus tickets, you can buy a ticket from the driver when you board. There are 12+ bus lines covering the entire city but as a traveler, here are the two you’ll be interested in:

  • Bus #3 gets you to-and-from the train station to the historic center
  • Bus service to Medina Azahara (do note that this bus is not part of the local transit system)

Taxis are also available in the city. Here are three reputable taxi companies in Cordoba:

  • Pidetaxi – Tel: +34 957 764 444 / 957 450 000 
  • eTaxi – Tel: +34 957 789 789 
  • TaxiMercedes – Tel: +34 605 459 777 / 605 459 818

Best Time to Go to Cordoba

The best time to go to Cordoba is in April and May, when the weather is pleasant, sunny, and the city comes alive with its traditional festivals. 

While summer travel does attract many visitors to Cordoba, it’s best to avoid visiting in July and August which are the hottest months in Cordoba. Due to its Andalucian climate, it can get super hot in Cordoba (it can get as hot as 40°C/104°F in the afternoon!) which isn’t ideal for exploring the city.

The good news is that Cordoba experiences mild winters so you can even enjoy a visit here in the low season! 

For a more detailed look at when to go to Cordoba, read this article.

How Many Days to Spend in Cordoba?

To see all of the city’s best attractions, I recommend spending at least 2 days in Cordoba. Give the city a chance and I promise you’ll fall in love with it! 

That said, Cordoba is very popular as a day trip and it IS possible to see the highlights of the historic quarter in one day. If you’re short on time and still want to fit in a visit to Cordobda, then these guides will help:

visit cordoba - travel tips
cordoba travel tips - visit the mezquita
cordoba travel guide - what to do

What to Do in Cordoba 

If you’re wondering if it’s worth it to add Cordoba to your Spain itinerary, then check out this article.

Or watch this video to get a quick overview of Cordoba:

If you love history, culture, and architecture, then you’re gonna have a spectacular time in Cordoba! Here are the top 10 things to do:

  • Mezquita de Córdoba
  • La Juderia
  • Roman Bridge
  • Calahorra Tower
  • Cordoba’s Patios
  • Calleja de las Flores
  • Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
  • Medina Azahara
  • Roman Temple of Cordoba
  • Arab Baths

Recommended Tours & Activities in Cordoba

  • A guided tour of the Mezquita is way better than DIY-ing your visit. With a local guide, you’ll better understand the building’s history and the architectural highlights… and all within just an hour!
  • Cordoba’s Patio Festival is one of the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites but you can see some of them even when it’s not festival time. Check out this guided tour of Cordoba’s patios.
  • See three of Cordoba’s best attractions on this guided walking tour: the Mezquita, the Alcazar, and the Jewish Quarter.
  • If you have a second day in Cordoba, I highly recommend a visit to Medina Azahara. This guided tour will take all the hassle out of planning your visit and you’ll learn all about the historical significance of the site!

Festivals in Cordoba 

Like many Spanish cities, festivals and events are a way of life in Cordoba. Here are the 3 best festivals in Cordoba when the city just comes alive…

Semana Santa (Holy Week)

You won’t be surprised to learn that Semana Santa is a big deal in Cordoba. Typically held in late March or early April, this religious holiday features processions with ornate floats through the streets of Cordoba.

Each procession is a unique experience, with participants wearing traditional robes and hoods, and carrying candles and crosses. The floats, known as pasos, are often adorned with flowers and candles, and depict scenes from the Passion of Christ.

The atmosphere during Semana Santa in Cordoba is electric, with crowds of people lining the streets to watch the processions pass by. The air is filled with the sound of drums and trumpets, and the scent of incense.

Click here for more information on this event

Festival de los Patios (Patios Festival)

The festival in Cordoba that absolutely shouldn’t be missed is the Festival de los Patios. Happening in May each year, this festival is so culturally significant that it’s actually a UNESCO World Heritage! 

This festival celebrates Cordoba’s traditional patios which are a unique mix of natural beauty and Andalucian architecture. Residents all around the city open their courtyards to the public and you can freely walk in to admire the beautiful gardens and participate in Andalucia’s passion for patios. 

The festival is also a time for music, dancing, and food, with numerous events taking place throughout the city. So it’s truly a festive atmosphere and an experience you can only have in Cordoba. 

Feria de Cordoba (Cordoba’s Fair)

Celebrate Andalucian culture and traditions at the Feria de Cordoba. Typically held in late May or early June, this is definitely a highlight in Cordoba’s calendar. 

The festival features two parts: the day fair and the night fair. At the day fair, you can enjoy the party-like atmosphere in the city’s streets, sample local food and drinks, and watch flamenco performances. Get in the mood and dress up in colorful Andalucian clothes! 

As the sun sets, the night fair begins, and the party really gets started. The fairground becomes a hub of music, dancing, and entertainment, with live performances by some of the best flamenco artists in the country.

Whether you are a lover of music, dance, or food, there is something for everyone at this amazing festival.

Tip: Things get busy during Cordoba’s festivals so if you’re planning a visit during one of these times, I recommend booking your accommodation in advance. 

What to Eat in Cordoba 

Each place has its own food history and culture and one of my favorite ways to discover a city is through its food. Cordoba’s food is a delightful mix of national faves, regional delicacies, and local bites. 

Here’s a quick look at 3 Cordoba foods you must try:

  • Salmorejo is an Andalucian version of gazpacho but creamier and more rich.
  • Flamenquín is a deep-fried roll of breaded ham, pork, and cheese (what a treat!).
  • Rabo de toro is a rich oxtail stew that’s bursting with flavor and features super tender meat.

All About Cordoba, Spain