Spain’s capital during Roman and Moorish times, Cordoba constitutes one of the three most visited cities in Andalusia. It is best known for the Mosque. Furthermore, Cordoba is nowadays considered one of the world’s greatest Islamic architectural treasures.
If it is your first time visiting this incredible city, keep reading our new blog post to be updated about the top things to do. Discover with us now the city of the three religions and cultures and immerse yourself in the exotic ambiance of Cordoba.
Here you have the 12 top things to do in Cordoba, Spain:
Also known as the Mezquita and considered the most impressive and emblematic monument of the city, the Mosque one of the earliest ones. Its construction took place between the 8th and 10th centuries. This astonishing complex dates back to times when Cordoba was Europe’s leading city for science and culture. Undoubtedly, you could dive into Spanish History through its walls and monuments that will take you back to those ancient times.
Going to Cordoba and not visiting the Mosque is the same as travelling to Granada and leaving the Alhambra out. Therefore, it has to be on your top things-to-do list. Once Cordoba was conquered by the Christians in 1236, the Mosque was converted into a church. Over the centuries, it has been enlarged and embellished up to the point that today it is one of the most beautiful examples of Islamic art.
After the Christian conquest, in the center of the Mosque, a Cathedral was constructed. Nowadays, you can admire the columns, the white and red arcades, and the singular architectural mix. However, somebody said, that building a Gothic Cathedral inside this harmonious Mosque was the biggest architecture crime ever!
2. Roman Bridge
Secondly, located next to the Calahorra Tower, this Roman Bridge is one of the most famous in the city. Despite, it dates back to the 1st century, this monument that crosses the Guadalquivir river needs to be one of the 12 top things to do in Cordoba, Spain. Did you know that the bridge is an Augustan architectural example and that its structure is medieval? In spite of the fact that several restorations and changes through the years, two of the 17 stone arches remained intact.
Are you a photography lover? You just have to go to the middle of the bridge to get the perfect spot and panorama of Cordoba and the countryside. Here you have another recommendation: walk at sunset over the bridge to delight yourself with the orange glow with which the stones are bathed. Don’t miss this paramount visit!
3. Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
Very close to the Mosque, you will find the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos, also known as the Palace of the Christian Kings. Although it was the Residence for Catholic Kings, this striking royale monument entails a complicated history behind it. Apart from being the residence of the King and Queen, in the beginning, it was a fortress and during the inquisition, it was a prison. Nowadays, it has been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
What about visiting the 4 towers of the Alcazar? Is there a better plan than climbing it and enjoying the amazing panoramic views of the city?
Inside the castle, the original Moorish structure remains, with its mosaics, royal baths, etc. If you love gardens and spacious places full of vegetation, take a stroll through the gardens of the Alcazar! Plenty of orange trees and colourful flowers, you will enjoy the peaceful and refreshing landscape with beautiful fountains.
4. Patios de los Naranjos
In the fourth place, located in the heart of the Historic Centre of Cordoba and within the complex of the Mosque-Cathedral, the Patio de los Naranjos is considered as one of the most beautiful and oldest gardens in Europe. With almost 100 oranges trees planted in it, the Patio de los Naranjos is the main courtyard that you will find at the end of the Mosque.
Did you know that its name is due to the number of orange trees that you can find there? In spring, you could smell the delicious aroma of oranges. Isn’t it fantastic?
Furthermore, considered one of the most pleasant places in the city where you can enjoy the cobbled floor, the ancient fountains as well as the galleries and porches that surround this splendid courtyard. Do you want to know more about it? You just have to visit it and you will discover the best curiosities and facts about this amazing place!
5. Jewish Quarter
And…what about the Jewish Quarter? Home to some of the city’s most historic and splendid sights, the Jewish Quarter shows how influential the Jews were in Moorish Spain.
Located in the north and west of the Mosque, the narrow streets and the Synagogue remain as part of the Moorish legacy.
Its streets, full of shops for tourists and restaurants with flowers and courtyards, you will enjoy the smell of rosemary and will feel that you are back in the 10th century.
So, if you want to wander through the city, book now a private tour adapted to your preferences. Discover thus all the treasures of the Moorish legacy and learn the most interesting and curious facts about it one of the top things to do in Cordoba, Spain.
6. Medina Azahara
Built by Abd-ar-Rahman III during the mid 900s and located at the west of Cordoba, this fortified palace-city constitutes the newest and the fourth UNESCO World Heritage Site of Cordoba.
Display of the power and strength of the kingdom at that time, Medina Azahara was discovered in the 20th century. The ruins show that once there were 3 levels and a palace in the middle.
What probably you will like most is how it has been restored. You could feel as if you were there at that time. Don’t you want to immerse yourself in this authentic and incredible experience? There is no better plan than booking a guided tour to appreciate and understand everything about Medina Azahara. So, take note of this top thing to do in Cordoba, Spain. You will only need a couple of hours to spend a great time.
7. Palacio de Viana
How about going to Santa Marina’s neighbourhood to see the elegant and sumptuous 15th-century palace? This palace museum was once the residence of the Spanish royalty. Visiting it you will learn not only some of the architectural styles that were used at that time but also will see its 13 patios and gardens. If you are a garden lover, what are you waiting for? Without any doubt, this is one of the top things to do in Cordoba, Spain for you, so don’t miss the opportunity.
Remember to buy your tickets in advance and to check the open days before. Don’t worry if you don’t speak perfect Spanish, you could have access to the whole information in English, so just relax and enjoy every story that you will hear.
8. Patios de Cordoba
In case of travelling to Cordoba and not knowing one of its main attractions, Not Just a Tourist will help you. May is the month of Cordoba and when flowers are blooming and the patios are the prettiest. Here you have some basic and useful information.
As we were saying, May is the month when Cordoba’s courtyards are open to all public! Yes, you have heard correctly, to all public! So, you could see the most beautiful patios located near some very well-known places.
The fragrances you could smell, such as orange blossom, will delight you. Nowadays, people prepare their patios and take them into competitions. Do you know why they do this?
Taking into account that Cordoba is one of the hottest cities in summer, these patios were designed to keep cool. Nowadays, they are decorated with different plants and flowers. It is completely free to visit them.
9. Calleja de las Flores
Being the most Instagram featured street in Cordoba, the Calleja de las Flores (Flower Street) is the perfect plan to see gorgeously decorated building facades. You just have to stroll down the old quarter to discover how houses look like fairytales. Have a look at the picture below to be stunned by how these colourful narrow streets captivate you.
Once you are there, remember to walk to the back and look toward the Cathedral. Despite it’s indeed a moving street, capture the moment and keep it in your memory, it is one of the most beautiful ones! Have a look at our social networks to check some pictures of Flowers Street.
10. Plaza de la Corredera
This square will remain you that you are in Spain after vising the old city and the ruins of Cordoba. It’s quite similar to other important and well-known main squares in Spain. The square dates back to the 17th century and a Salamancan architect built it. Nowadays, it’s the centre of daily life and joy. But, in summer, it’s the best solution to escape from the sun!
Apart from holding the city food markets, in the past, it also held bullfights, very typical in Spain. Considered, by size, the largest public square in Andalusia, in summer some events and concerts take place there.
So, if you are thinking about what to do in Cordoba, this is definitely a must in your top things!
11. Flamenco show
There is no better plan when travelling to a new place than learning and enjoying its culture and without any doubt, flamenco is a key part of the Andalusian essence. Although it is your first time going to a flamenco show, do not worry. In Cordoba, you will surely find some excellent flamenco shows where have a great time with the typical Andalusian music and art.
We truly recommend you to visit el Tablao del Cardenal in case you want to experience the real Spanish culture and dance. But, despite the original flamenco music has been lost, the provinces gypsies have been able to remain the style of dance.
For that reason, you just have to stroll around Cordoba’s streets to take in a show and discover the passion and colour of the city. Get involved in this amazing and spectacular experience! In Not Just a Tourist, we offer you some private flamenco lessons that will help you to learn the basic steps of flamenco dance. Add it to your list of top things to do in Cordoba, Spain.
12. Taste local specialities
On the other hand, if we talked about the importance of knowing the culture and the architectural monuments of a city, tasting the most typical local specialities has to be another must on your list.
But, if you have not ever tasted salmorejo, you should. This traditional cold soup made with tomato will make you crazy. It is normally served with ham and hard-boiled egg? Just delicious! You can take it with some deep-fried eggplant drizzled with honey, your mouth will be watering from the first moment, that’s for sure!
And, as with every menu, a dessert cannot be missed. Continuing with local specialties, you should try the typical pastel cordobés. There is no better plan to end your culinary travel around Cordoba. And, of course, in case you are a food lover, you can book our eat at home tour or our tapas cooking class to discover other traditional dishes. Gastronomy is undoubtedly as important as every other aspect of a country’s culture.
In short, Cordoba is an Andalusian city with plenty of top things to do and activities to get involved in. So, in case of planning to travel there this year, take note of all of our recommendations and be sure to live the real Spanish experience left, right, and center. Moreover, you should witness a horse show, a typical and highly acclaimed activity in Cordoba. Do not hesitate to book now your custom and private tour to ensure that you have a blast and get to see all the hidden gems.