If you have an extra day during your trip to Seville, or on your visit to Andalusia, definitely don’t miss a chance to go to Córdoba. Sadly, if people even know about this city, they usually tend to skip it! The lesser-known sister to Seville is only an hour further north, and is worth a visit because of its beautiful architecture and the cozy city center. Check out my tips for a nice day trip to Córdoba: the most beautiful sights and other recommendations.
Sights in Córdoba
Córdoba is a city with a small, compact city center, which makes it easy for you to walk around and admire everything the city has to offer. It is therefore – and because of its location – a perfect day trip from Seville, but you can of course easily stay the night as well and enjoy the atmosphere that the town brings.
Thé highlight of Córdoba is Mezquita, the city’s cathedral. From the outside it looks somewhat like an Arab castle, and the comparison is not that far-fetched. Mezquita was originally a mosque, and that’s also what the name means! The mosque dates back to 711, when it was still a church. Over the centuries the mosque was expanded until it was the largest mosque in Europe, and the largest in the world after Mecca.
When the Christians came to power in 1236, the mosque was used as a cathedral of Córdoba’s diocese. This is why the building is full of Christian art. Since 2000, Muslims have been asking to pray in the church again, which has been rejected so far by the Spanish church and even the Vatican.
I really thought this building looked like it walked straight out of a fairytale, with the beautiful colorful arches, and vast layout, allowing you to wander through the church from corner to corner. The courtyard is lush. The green trees and the fountains make it seem like nothing has been changed since the Middle Ages. However, my favorite part of Mezquita were the richly decorated doors. I really felt like I was in the Middle East instead of Spain! You can visit the church between 10:00 and 19:00 and tickets cost € 10 per person.
Tour: If you want to visit Mezquita with a guide to learn more about the history and cultural relevance of the building, you can book the tour mentioned here below. You will be guided for one hour and will learn all the ins and outs about the building. The price includes the entrance fee for the mosque cathedral.
The Roman bridge & Calahorra & Puerta del Puente
One of the eyecatchers in Córdoba is the Roman bridge, which dates from the first century BC. Since then it has often been rebuilt and strengthened, but the current design still dates back to the eighth century. The bridge connects the center with the other side of the Guadalquivir river. The road over this bridge was most likely the road between Rome and Cádiz.
On the north and south side of the bridge you will find the Calahorra tower and the Puerto del Puente, a building with Roman-inspired columns that is used as a gate. However, this tower and gate only date back to the Middle Ages. Since the 17th century the bridge has been adorned with a statue of Saint Raphael standing in the middle of the bridge.
Alcazar de los Reyes Christianes
This is the most important castle of Córdoba, and was once the residence of Queen Isabella I of Castille and her husband Ferdinand II of Aragon. The palace originates from 1328 and was built by Alfonso IX of Castille. The design of the building is quite sober, and primarily had a political and military purpose. So it’s by far not as interesting as the Alcazar of Seville, but still worth a visit. From the tower and the city walls you have a great view over the city center.
My favorite part were the castle gardens. These are lush, with Moorish influences and the bright colours just jump out from the century old walls. The green of the trees was only interrupted by the bright orange color of oranges and lemons growing in the trees. You should mainly visit the castle for its view and the beautiful gardens , as those are more interesting than the interior.
You can visit the castle during weekdays (monday closed) between 08.30 and 20.45, and on Saturdays between 8.30 and 16.30. On Sundays you are welcome between 8.30 and 14.30. The price is € 4.50 per person.
Judería + Calleja de las Flores
The Jewish Quarter of Córdoba (Judería) is one of the more cozy parts of Córdoba. It is the tourist center and is full of nice hidden restaurants, tourist shops, and beautiful winding streets. On the walls the many blue pots with flowers that brightly contrast against the traditional Andalusian white walls will instantly capture your eye. The Celleja de las Flores is famous for this and is thus named after it. It is a small alleyway with flowers everywhere. To be honest, I found it to be too touristy and not very beautiful, but if you’re in the area you should definitely pay it a visit. Just stroll through Judería and you will eventually find even more beautiful streets filled with flowers!
Hotels in Córdoba
La Casa Del Aceite, source photo.
€ – If you want to stay in a tropical paradise decorated with beautiful flowers and plants, then I highly recommend Pension Agustina. For about 30 bucks a night you will have a room that is centrally located, with a shared bathroom. Check out the most recent prices here.
€€ – Looking for comfortable rooms, in a hotel with an amazing courtyard garden and a tasty restaurant? Take a look at Casa de Los Azulejos. It is also located right next to the Roman temple. Check out the most recent prices here.
€€€ – For ultimate luxury you have to go to La Casa del Aceite, located at about 5 minutes from the Jewish Quarter. You will then have access to your own apartment, with kitchen and wifi, and a beautiful courtyard garden. Check out the most recent prices here.
Have you ever been on a day trip to Córdoba?
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