Europe

The Definitive Córdoba, Spain Visitor Guide

Because of its rich culture and breathtaking historical sites, creating a Córdoba travel guide was one of the easiest and most satisfying projects I have undertaken as a travel blogger. Once referred to as the “Constantinople of the Occident” and “Pearl of Moorish Spain” in because of its blend of different cultures who have, throughout its history peacefully coexisted, the beautiful city of Córdoba is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Spain. At one time, Córdoba was the world’s largest cities with over a million people calling the city home.

While the city is no longer one of the largest in the world, it is still one of the most culturally diverse cities in Europe. In fact, Córdoba is the only city in the world to host four cultural heritage sites. This includes the Mezquita, which is not only the largest mosque in the world, but the world’s largest temple of any kind. Córdoba is located in the breathtaking Andalusia region of Spain, which is located in the southern region of the country. Andalusia is well-known for its rich bullfighting history, delicious tapas, large olive plantations, stunning beaches, and flamboyant flamenco dancing. As the third largest city in Andalusia, Córdoba attracts a large number of tourists each year to tour its history, enjoy its food and beaches, and to immerse themselves in its rich and diverse culture.

In my Córdoba travel guide, I am going to give you all of the information you need to plan a successful trip to Córdoba, Spain. I cover the best times to visit and the best ways to get there so that you can maximize what you are able to see and do on your trip.  In addition, I outline the top things to see and do while you are there and where the best places to stay and eat are.  With this information in hand, you can be confident that your trip to Córdoba will be one that you remember for the rest of your life.

At A Glance
Top Things to See
How to Get There
Best Time to Visit
Where to Stay
Where to Eat
Recommended Tours and Excursions
Photo Gallery

At a Glance

Before you start making any travel plans, you will want to make sure to take care of all of the passport, VISA, and immunization requirements for your trip.   In addition, you will want to make sure you have a clear understanding of what language they speak in Spain and what currency they use so that you can plan any translation needs you might have for your trip and exchange currency before your trip if necessary.  I have included some of this key information in my Córdoba travel guide below for you to review as you start to make your travel plans.

Passport requirements exist. See below for details.
Immunization recommendations are listed below.
The official language in Spain is Spanish.
The official currency in Spain is the Euro.

Passport, VISA, Customs, and Immunization Requirements

In order to assist you in navigating the legal requirements for visiting Spain, I have included a link to my Spain Passport, VISA, Customs, and Immunization Requirements for Visitors Guide as well as some information on the EU’s new ETIAS VISA requirements below for you to review.  These guides will give you all of the information that you will need to meet the VISA, passport, customs, and immunizations requirements and recommendations for visiting Spain.

READ MORE:
Travel VISA
New Visa Requirements for Americans to Visit Europe Starting in 2021
READ MORE:
Passport Map
Spain Passport, VISA, Customs, and Immunization Requirements for Visitors

Travel Immunizations

Before you leave for your trip to Spain, you need to make sure you have all of the proper vaccinations.  Not only to protect yourself but to protect others.  If you have questions on what immunizations you will need and what to look out for when you go to get them, I have included in my Córdoba travel guide below some general guidelines I can pass on to you from experience.

  • Most specialized travel clinics will not accept insurance so you will have to pay for your travel consultation and immunizations and then request reimbursement from your insurance company later.
  • Some immunizations aren’t accepted by every insurance company, so check with your insurance provider before getting your immunizations.
  • Check with your regular doctor first, as often they can do a travel consultation for you and write you the necessary prescriptions for your immunizations, even if they aren’t able to give them to you.  This way you can ensure that at least your travel consultant will be covered by your insurance up-front.
  • Check with Walgreens or other drug stores that give flu shots to see if they have any of the immunization shots that you require before going to a specialized clinic that doesn’t accept insurance to get them.  Walgreens can give you many of the immunizations necessary for international travel, and they accept insurance up-front.
  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website can be a great resource for answering any travel immunization questions that you have.

In case you are unsure of what travel vaccinations you might need, I have compiled a list below of some of what you might expect your physician to recommend.

  • Hepatitis A & B (if you haven’t had them).
  • Tetanus (if you aren’t current).
  • Transderm SCōP Patch (for motion sickness) or at minimum Dramamine pills if you get motion sickness easily and you plan on getting out on the water or doing adventure activities.
  • Flu Shot

Packing Tips

Outside of taking care of the passport, visa, and immunization requirements so that you can get into Spain and don’t get sick, there is no more important pre-travel planning task than making sure you pack the right clothing and gear for your trip.  To help make sure you are properly packed and prepared, I have included links to some of my packing resources for you to review in my Córdoba travel guide below.

READ MORE:
Suitcase Travel  
The Ultimate Travel Packing Check List  
READ MORE:
Overhead Bin Airplane  
The Essential Carry-On Checklist  

Top Things to See and Do

For those travelers who are visiting Córdoba to learn about its history, immerse themselves in the city’s diverse culture, and enjoy the city’s breathtakingly beautiful structures, gardens, and buildings, then Córdoba will not disappoint. There is no shortage of fun and amazing things to see an do for travelers of all interests. If you are starting to fill out your travel itinerary and would like some suggestions on what to see and do in Córdoba, I have included in my Córdoba travel guide a list of the top things that I would recommend that you see and do for you to review.

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Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba
Plaza De La Corredera
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
Roman Bridge
Calahorra Tower
San Lorenzo Church
Patio De Los Naranjos
Templo Romano
Palacio de la Merced
Iglesia de San Francisco

Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba

Also known as the Mezquita of Córdoba, the Great Mosque of Córdoba is one of the most important historical sites and most popular tourist attractions in the city. With some of the most amazing Mujedar architecture that can be found anywhere in Andalusia, the mosque is one of the most beautiful buildings inside of Spain. Its detailed carvings, breathtaking mosaics, and variety of beautiful stonework that includes marbles, jasper, pophyry, and even gold will leave you speechless.

The mosque was believed to have been built nearly 2,000 years ago on the site of a Roman temple dedicated to the Roman God Janus and converted to a Visigoth church. When the city fell into Moorish rule, the structure was converted into a Muslim temple that its rulers hoped would rival the great mosques of Damascus and Baghdad. However, when Córdoba fell to Ferdinand the 3rd in 1538 and came back under Christian rule, the structure was converted into the cathedral that you see today. If you want to visit the Great Mosque-Cathedral, you can purchase a ticket on the day of your visit, or book a tour in advance. Entrance is limited to 20-25 people every 30 minute time slot to avoid over-crowding, so I would suggest planning ahead.

Plaza De La Corredera

The beautiful city of Córdoba is in no short supply of stunning plazas, and the amazing Plaza De La Corredera is certainly no exception. Constructed in the 17th Century, the square has often been the site of many public spectacles including bull fights and inquisition burnings. Today, the plaza is home to a wide array of popular shops, cafes, and restaurants. It is also the site of the ever-popular Mercado de la Corredera, which is a busy morning food market that sells a variety of fresh produce and other goods. If you are in the mood for some shopping and food, the Plaza De La Corredera is a great place to stop.

Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos

Arguably my favorite thing to see in the city of Córdoba that I am outlining in my Córdoba travel guide is the breathtaking Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos. Also referred to as the Alcázar of Córdoba, it is medieval alcázar located in the historic centre of Córdoba near the Grand Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba. If you love to walk thru absolutely drop-dead gorgeous gardens with beautiful flowers, surrounded by some of the most stunning architecture in the city, then the Alcázar will be right up your alley. Not only is it beautiful, but there is a lot of history behind the Alcázar as well. At one time, it was the primary residence of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon. If you want to visit the Alcázar, I would suggest getting there right when it opens to avoid the large crowds that it attracts daily.

The Roman Bridge

One of the most amazing and historical structures that I recommend in my Córdoba travel guide is the amazing Roman Bridge that dominates the landscape in Córdoba’s historical area of town. Built to cross the Guadalquivir river, the bridge was originally constructed all the way back in the 1st Century, but has been reconstructed several times since then. It is a beautiful foot bridge that attracts thousands of visitors each year. If you are a fan of the infamous HBO miniseries Game of Thrones, you will probably recognize the bridge as it was featured prominently in that show.

Calahorra Tower

If you walk the Roman Bridge while in Córdoba, at the end of the bridge on the left bank of the Guadalquivir River you will find the beautiful Calahorra Tower. This impressive gate was built by the Almohad Caliphate in the 12th Century to protect access to the bridge and the center of the city. The tower was restored in 1360 by King Henry II of Castile and declared a national historical monument in 1931 because of its beauty and historical significance. No stroll across the Roman Bridge is complete without visiting this amazing tower.

San Lorenzo Church

The Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba isn’t the only beautiful place of worship in the city. In fact, the city of Córdoba has many beautiful cathedrals and churches that attract visitors from around the world each year. One of my favorite churches in the city is the San Lorenzo Church. Located in the historical center of Córdoba, it was one of twelve holy buildings that were commissioned by kind Ferdinand III of Castile after he retook the city of Córdoba from the Moors in the early 13th century. One of my favorite things about the church are the 14th century paintings of the life of Jesus inside the church. If you are in the historical center of Córdoba, the San Lorenzo Church should definitely be on your itinerary.

Patio De Los Naranjos

If the beautiful Mezquita is on your list of places to visit while in Córdoba, then you won’t want to miss out on visiting the Patio De Los Naranjos while you are there. Located adjacent to the world-renown Great Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba, the Patio De Los Naranjos is a stunning rectangular garden that features a grid of irrigation channels, stone lined trees, and absolutely stunning orange trees that were planted all the way back in the 15th century. Walking thru the maze of trees on the patio on a beautiful day is a great way to momentarily escape the crowds inside the Mezquita and enjoy the beauty of the the historical center of the city.

Templo Romano

One of the most fascinating pieces of history in the city of Córdoba that you can tour is undoubtedly the remnants of an ancient Roman temple. Construction on the Templo Romano, as it is called locally, was started in the second half of the first century during the reign of the Emperor Claudius (41-54AD), but wasn’t finished until the reign of Domitian (81-96AD). Built of primarily marble, this temple would have been a magnificent sight to behold in the days of the Roman empire. The very fact that so much of this ancient temple exists to this day for tourists to view is a testament to how well the Romans constructed their buildings. No visit to the historical center of Córdoba is complete without visiting these amazing Roman ruins.

Palacio de la Merced

A part from perhaps the Grand Mosque-Cathedral, I don’t think there is a more beautiful building in the city of Córdoba than the Palacio de la Merced. That is why this breathtaking palace has made it onto my list of the top things to see when you visit Córdoba. While it was once home to the convent of La Merced Calzada, and at one point in its history was a monastery of Mercedarian monks, the palace building is today used as the headquarters for the Provincial Government of Córdoba. Visiting the palace is well worth the time if you are able, and especially so considering entrance is free.

Iglesia de San Francisco

While the outside of the Iglesia de San Francisco in the historical area of Córdoba may not be much to look at, the inside of the church is a whole different story. Personally, I love the look of this beautiful old church from the outside. It is modest and appealing, which is something I admire about it. However, the inside of the church can be characterized as anything other than modest or bland. With an absolutely breathtaking alter and a beautiful Our Virgin of Protection statue, you will be awe-struck by how beautiful this humble little church is on the inside. The church isn’t as accessible to tour as some of the other churches in Córdoba, so make sure you double-check the current hours of operations before you plan your visit.

How to Get There

If you are visiting Córdoba from outside of Spain, there are a number of ways that you can get there.  For those visiting from outside of Europe, the easiest way to get to Córdoba is to fly into the Córdoba Airport (ODB).  If you are visiting from elsewhere in Europe and have the time, an attractive alternative to flying into Córdoba would be to take the rail system.  The rail system in Europe is quite advanced, and the rail system within Spain is no exception.  In fact, taking the train can save you time versus driving if you are heading to Córdoba from other locations within Spain as well.  If you are traveling to Córdoba from another location within Spain and would like more information on travel times by train and by car, I have included a map in my Córdoba travel guide below for you to review.

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Best Time to Visit

Average Temperature (°F)

Because it is located in the southern part of Spain, the temperatures in Córdoba typically don’t drop below freezing, even during the winter months.  However, that doesn’t mean that temperatures don’t get a little chilly during the months of December thru February.  If you are looking for warm weather when you visit, you will want to target the months of May thru September.  During these months of the year, there will typically be high temperatures in the upper 70s or even 80s and low temperatures that don’t get much cooler than the upper 50s.  The summer months of June thru August are typically the busiest tourism months in Córdoba, so the shoulder months of May and September may be your best options overall.

Average Precipitation (Inches)

If you are planning on spending a lot of time outside when you visit, then you will want to target one of the months where the weather is typically the driest in Córdoba.  The summer months of June thru August are the driest months, but as I said above, they are also typically the busiest tourism months in Córdoba.  If you don’t mind larger crowds, then you should plan your visit during the summer.  However, if you prefer not to have to navigate larger crowds around the city, then the shoulder months of May and September may be better options.

Where to Stay

One of the most important decisions you are going to have to make when planning your trip to Córdoba is where you will stay.  When you travel, the accommodations you choose are oftentimes amongst the biggest expenditures for your trip.  So not only do you need to be comfortable where you are staying, but you also need to be comfortable with how much you are paying to stay there.  Finding the right accommodations for your trip involves looking at the amenities, the location, and most importantly, the price.  If you are starting to plan your trip to Córdoba and want some hotel and hostel suggestions, I have included some great options at different price points in my Córdoba travel guide below for you to review.  As always, don’t be afraid to expand your search to room sharing sites such as Airbnb or VRBO if you aren’t finding a hotel or hostel that meets your needs.

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Backpacker Al-Katre ($)
Hostal Almanzor ($)
Hotel Córdoba Center ($$)
Hotel Macia Alfaros ($$)
Hotel NH Collection Amistad Córdoba ($$$)
Hotel Eurostars Patios de Córdoba ($$$)
Las Casas de la Judería de Córdoba ($$$$)
Hotel Hospes Palacio del Bailío ($$$$)
Hotel Madinat ($$$$$)
Balcon De Cordoba ($$$$$)

Where to Eat

When most people plan a trip, the primary focus is one how to get there, where to stay, and what is on the list of things to see and do.  What many travelers neglect to plan, is where to eat when you are there.  Granted, it is sometimes fun to be spontaneous when choosing a restaurant while traveling, and it is always smart to get recommendations when you arrive.  However, it can also be advantageous to have some ideas of restaurants you would like to try during your trip written down beforehand as well.  This way you can be assured that you won’t miss out on a highly recommended culinary experience that you will regret.  To help you decide on some restaurants in Córdoba to add to your list, I have included a list of some highly recommended options in my Córdoba travel guide for you to review below.

Córdoba Restaurant Recommendations
Restaurant Cuisine Price
Bodegas Mezquita Ribera Mediterranean, Spanish, Healthy $$-$$$
Bodegas Mezquita Cruz del Rastro Mediterranean, Spanish, Healthy $$-$$$
ReComiendo Mediterranean, European, Spanish $$$$
La Fuente 12 International, Mediterranean, European $$-$$$
Taberna La Cuarta Mediterranean, European, Spanish $$-$$$
Noor Restaurant Mediterranean, Spanish, Veggie $$$$

There is an abundance of amazing things to see and do in the Córdoba area and one of the best ways to experience those things is on a tour.  If you are looking for fun tours and excursions to fill out your trip, I have included some category links to recommended tours and excursions in my Córdoba travel guide you can review below.

Cultural Tours
Historical Tours
Walking and Biking Tours
Day Trips and Excursions
Architecture Tours
Art Tours

If you are visiting my Córdoba travel guide to see pictures of Córdoba, you will find some of my very favorite images I took of this beautiful city in the gallery below. Please feel free to browse the gallery and comment on which photographs you like best.

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2 replies »

  1. The entrance to the mosque in Cordoba remains one of my most memorable travel memories. Going from the blinding sun to the half-light, from the agitation of the outside to the inside calm, suddenly discovering this forest of fine columns, it took me a moment to analyse the unexpected visual shock I felt.

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