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Euro City Guides: Córdoba

Updated: Oct 8, 2020

Cordoba was my first trip to Andalusia, and and it was there when I began to fall in love with the south of Spain. This small city gives off the feel of a beach town, despite being completely landlocked. Being one of the oldest cities in Spain, it's rich and unique history makes it a joy to explore. The city used to be the capital of the Al-Andalus empire, which can be shown through it's history of Judaism, Christianity and Islam coexisting peacefully together and living through times of conflict, which can be seen through the architecture and monuments in the city today. It's a very small city, and everything is within walking distance. Wander the streets here and get lost, you'll find some pretty incredible stuff. The Airbnb I stayed in was very centrally located, but tucked away into a small plaza. It was a couple minutes from the Roman Bridge and the mosque-cathedral.


Cordoba's location in Andalusia, as well as it's reasonably close proximity to Madrid makes it an easy stop on any Spain trip. Especially if you are spending some time in Andalusia, definitely don't skip Cordoba. While it can be done in a day, a weekend was perfect because there is so much to see.


The sunny, beachy feel of this city gives it a very laid-back vibe. It's super easygoing, and life is just slower here. It's insanely beautiful, and like I've said before, it really would be such a shame to skip it if you're going to be spending time in Andalusia.


Transit:

Cordoba itself is extremely walkable, and you won't need to get a taxi or take public transit anywhere except to or from the train or bus station. I am not sure what their public transportation situation is, but I never needed to use it. There are bus lines that run all across Spain where you can access Cordoba via bus, but I took the train since it was the fastest and easiest option. The Renfe Media-Distancia leaves from Atocha Station in Madrid multiple times a day, and it's only a 1hr50min ride.


Sightseeing:

  • Roman Bridge: This ancient bridge crosses the only river that goes through the city. It's a nice walk, and gives you good views of the city from the other side. It looks like there may be a museum on the other side of the bridge, but I didn't go inside so I'm not sure. The architecture of the bridge itself is really cool, and I recommend checking it out, it is one of the top sights to see in Cordoba! Price: Free.

  • Mosque-Cathedral: This is THE site that makes Cordoba famous. The number one must-go when visiting! With it's incredible mix of both the early Islamic architecture as well as the Catholic additions, you can clearly see the mix of two distinct cultures and religions. The famous arches are almost unreal when you see them in person, and pictures do not do it justice. It feels like going back in time, and I would plan a trip to Cordoba exclusively to see this. Price: 6€-21.50€.

  • Patios de San Basilio: Wander through the cute, picturesque neighborhood of San Basilio where you'll find lots of cool little patios and treasures. There are plenty of people all over old town trying to sell you tours of the patios, but just wander around the neighborhood and you'll find them. Go inside to escape the heat, enjoy the beautiful plants and fountains inside, and get some good pictures! Price: Free.

  • Templo Romano: These are the impressive ruins of an ancient Roman temple. I had never seen Roman ruins before Cordoba, so this was pretty incredible to see. The stone pillars are still perfectly intact, and the rest of it is just impressive to see. You can't go inside and walk around in the ruins, but you can see pretty much everything from the street, so walk by and take a look. Price: Free.

  • Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos: Besides the mosque-cathedral, this was one of the highlights of my trip to Cordoba. This old palace is beautiful to walk around and explore. Inside you can find the ruins of ancient Roman baths, but the definite highlight was the gardens. These elaborate gardens and pool are part of a huge complex, so get lost here wandering around! Price: 5€.

  • Sinagoga: In the old Jewish Quarter you can find the original synagogue of Cordoba. It's quite small, but very beautiful inside and worth checking out! The architecture is very impressive. Price: Free.

Food:

I had some great food in Cordoba. Andalusian food is a bit healthier and move veggie-heavy than the rest of Spain, which was perfect for me as a vegetarian. I usually just have to go with some bread and a manchego cheese board at a typical Spanish restaurant (not that I'm complaining), but here I could walk in anywhere and find some more veggie-friendly options.

  • Amaltea: This cute, colorful vegetarian restaurant is hands-down one of my favorite places in Spain. The food was incredible, and a lot of it had Mediterranean influence. https://amaltea.es/

  • Breakfast Club & Co.: While they do more than just breakfast, stopping here for a breakfast/brunch was the right move. They have tons of both healthy and not so healthy options, and the smoothie bowl I had was great. https://breakfast-club.co/

  • Bodegas Mezquita: I ended up going back to this spot a few times, and I believe they have multiple locations throughout the city. The interior was nice and they had tons of different wines and tapas to choose from. They are also open all day, so if everything else is closed for siesta and you're hungry, come here! https://www.bodegasmezquita.com/en/

  • Restaurante La Boca: This retro-style restaurant was a great place to grab dinner. Tucked in a quiet street, this cozy spot serves a lot of great vegetarian-friendly food as well as a great wine selection (try the Lavelo!). https://www.facebook.com/restaurante.laboca

  • Maddow Coffee Shop: This cool two-story coffee shop has a cool, beachy vibe and serves some good breakfast food in a great atmosphere. https://www.instagram.com/explore/locations/1835648616461739/maddow-cordoba-coffee-shop/

Drink:

In many of the patios across the city you'll find people hanging out late into the night and early into the morning. Just find a square with a bar somewhere in the old town and hangout there! I did find a couple great spots though that are worth checking out.

  • El Baron: I saw this bar outside my Airbnb window and thought it looked cool, so I checked it out. Everyone sits outside in the plaza and drinks, it's a cool place to sit outside and experience Spanish culture and enjoy Cordoba's weather as the alleged warmest city in Europe. They had a great wine and beer selection!

  • Califa Cerveceria: One of Cordoba's local breweries, this spot is great, especially if you're into craft beer. They have all types of brews, and they brew it right there in the city. They also had some good imports from northern Europe. You can buy bottles to take home with you as well as tastings. I suggest the amber ale! https://cervezascalifa.com/

Have I convinced you yet that you need to visit Cordoba? Because you should definitely visit Cordoba. While each city I've visited holds a special place in my heart, these smaller cities that people often miss on their trips are often the best places to visit, and you'll experience a bit more of the local culture as well.


For more pictures of beautiful places, check out my Flickr.


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