Córdoba is one of the monumental cities of Andalucia.
It was once the world capital of the Umayyad Caliphate in the 8th Century. The city’s beautiful Muslim roots and culture are still proudly on display. Along with its Muslim roots, there are also highly visible Jewish and Christian influences in this small but mighty city. This seamless melding of cultures is what makes Córdoba such an alluring and wonderful destination in Spain.
HOW TO GET THERE
There’s no way to fly into Córdoba. The easiest way is to fly into Madrid or Seville then drive to Córdoba. There are numerous trains and buses that go to Córdoba every day from either Madrid or Seville. It takes 45 minutes from Seville to Córdoba by train and two hours by bus. From Madrid, it’s a two-hour train ride or a five-hour bus ride to get to Córdoba. Blablacar is a ride sharing service that’s a very popular way to travel in Spain for road trips. If you manage to hitch a ride or drive your own car, it’s a four-hour drive from Madrid and an hour-and-half drive from Seville.
There’s only one place to stay if you want to experience the magical sense of place of being in Córdoba, and that’s Las Casas de la Judería Boutique Hotel. Las Casas de la Judería is a collection of repurposed historic noble homes. It contains romantic Mudejar-style courtyards, lovely gardens, a tranquil swimming pool and quaint rooms done up in old-fashioned Cordovan style. The hotel has the most ideal location right at the mouth of the bustling Jewish Quarter, from which everything is a very short walk away. If you want to experience the full romance and flourish that is Córdoba, Las Casas de la Judería promises to provide that and so much more!
La Mezquita Catedral de Córdoba
La Mezquita is the crown jewel of Córdoba and one of the most cherished heritage sites in all of Spain. It’s a wondrous multicultural masterpiece which proudly puts the long, varied history of Córdoba on full display. Officially known as the Mosque Cathedral of Córdoba, the structure is exactly how it sounds: a grand cathedral housed inside of an even grander mosque. The Muslim Mezquita was converted into a cathedral when the Christian rulers took over Córdoba during the Reconquista.
La Mezquita is one of the most stunning architectural wonders you’ll ever see. The endless rows of striped red and white arches are an iconic sight. And the soaring Renaissance ceilings are breathtaking. There’s really no other place like it in the world with such a mix of grand religious influences under one roof.
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
The Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos is a grand fortress located at the edge of the historic center. Like all landmarks in Córdoba, the Alcázar displays discrete cultural influences, as the structure passed through the hands of multiple rulers. What started as a Visigoth fortress in medieval times became the royal palace of the Caliphate of Córdoba. Later on, it became a residence of Isabel and Fernando of Castile, hence the name “Palace of the Christian Kings.”
Inside the fortress walls, the attractions on display are just as motley as the history of the structure. The most striking feature of the Alcázar is the stunning Mudejar style garden with a pond that runs along the length of the Alcázar, similar to the Generalife gardens in the Alhambra. You’ll also find a Roman Sarcophagus, Baroque chapels, gothic cupolas, Roman mosaics and Arabic baths within the same four walls. The Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos is a mix and match of all the dynastic influences throughout Córdoba’s fascinating history, which is what makes it a must-see.
Baños Arabes (Arabic baths)
Something that you really cannot miss while in Córdoba is treating yourself to an indulgent session at the Arabic baths. The gorgeous authentic hammams are among the most exciting attractions unique to Córdoba. Recreating the traditional Islamic bathhouses, visitors can indulge in a deeply relaxing day at the Arabic baths.
The most popular one is the Baños Arabes de Córdoba. This one is the most popular because of its location right in the historic center and the expansive space with four different pools. It’s one of the biggest baths in Spain with an affordable spa menu of massages, scrubs and hot stone treatments.
Hammam al Andalus is the other crowd favorite, though it’s a bit smaller than Baños Arabes de Córdoba. This one is a bit more upscale with slightly more elaborate treatments and services for those looking for a truly luxurious escape.
Patios de Córdoba
Patios de Córdoba is a nationally-renowned festival that puts Córdoba on the map every May. Patios de Córdoba is a festival during which residents with decorate their patios with tons of colorful flowers, then open them to the public so that everyone can visit. Prizes are given out to those with the best patios. For two weeks, visitors can admire the pretty patios all over the city. The route of the patios stretches from the historic Jewish Quarter to San Pedro and San Basilio in the south. If you ever have a chance to visit Córdoba in May, be sure you don’t miss out on witnessing the joyful florals and festivities that make up Patios de Córdoba.
Tapas along the River
Getting tapas when in Córdoba is a must. Salmorejo cordobés is the most famous dish which Córdoba is known for. It’s a delicious savory soup made with tomato, garlic, olive oil and day-old bread that’s served cold. Make sure it’s the first thing you order when you sit down at a tapa restaurant. Other typical Cordovan tapas include mazamorra (another cold soup made with almonds) and berejenas con miel (fried eggplant with honey).
There are lots of restaurants along the river when you exit the Mezquita. Most of them have a terraza where you can eat and drink outside, making it a popular choice for both locals and tourists. On the weekends you’ll definitely need to make reservation if you want to eat anywhere on the river, as this area is one of the most active social hubs in the city.
Patio de la Juderia
Patio de la Judería is a historic institution in Córdoba, the reason being that the restaurant is also a flamenco tablao and has one of the prettiest patios to dine in. It’s a beautifully decorated space that brings together tradition, drama and romance. The restaurant serves traditional Andalusian fare, and you’ll find classic Cordovan dishes like salmorejo and flamenquin cordobés. At Patio de la Judería, you get dinner and a show as there’s a flamenco performance every night at 8:45 PM. Whenever you feel like experiencing the full Andalucian fantasy, Patio de la Judería is an optimal choice.
Located on a busy corner of the Jewish Quarter, Cashmere & Silk catches your eye thanks to all the bright, beautiful scarves on display. The shop has pure silk and cashmere scarves, pashminas and wraps. There are tons of prints and colors; everything from florals to hand painted to geometric prints in every color. If you’re looking for a gift or souvenir reminiscent of your trip to Córdoba, Cashmere & Silk is the best place to get it