72h in Cordoba
My return to Cordoba this Summer was wonderful. Although I´ve been several times before its a place I love to visit over again.
This three day break in the city of Cordoba was going to be at the hottest time of the year. So I chose a well located hotel with a swimming pool. Las Casas de la Juderia. This period building is opposite the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos and amongst the streets of the Juderia of Cordoba. Perfectly situated so I wouldn’t have far to walk if I needed a dip in the pool.
What to see in Cordoba
So what did I plan for three days in Cordoba?
Here´s my itinerary so that you don´t have to workout the timings yourself.
I would recommend that as soon as you reach Cordoba that you get an updated timetable of the monuments and museums from Tourist Information. Although I have put the details here they do change according to season and restoration works.
The Tourist Information office is next to the Roman Bridge. Set inside a modern glass Building on one side of the grand archway. Here they sell tickets for the Medina Azahara bus and will help with any questions.
- Mondays to Thursdays 9.30am – 7.30pm
- Sat, Sun and Holidays 9.30am – 3pm
Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos
The stunning gardens of this fortress will stay in your mind long after you visit. This is one of three UNESCO World Heritage sites on this Cordoba itinerary. This site was the Caliph´s palace. Later when the Christian monarchs won the city of Cordoba they used it as their royal residence. It was also the courts of the Holy offices and later a prison too. There are statues of the relevant monarchs at the time which are set along a grand walkway through the gardens.
Plan your visit according to the opening times. They only open in the mornings from 8.30am until 3pm. If you want to avoid the heat go when they open first thing. As much of the visit is outside best to avoid the midday heat.
Depending on how many photos you take and your interest in the history and architecture of this site I would expect around 2 hours for your visit.
Book Tickets to Cordoba´s Alcazar
Baños del Alcazar Califal
After visiting the Alcazar, find the Caliphs bathhouse opposite in the gardens. This doesn´t close until 3pm so you should have time to pop in before lunchtime. These baths would have been the largest in Cordoba at the time.
The building date back to 11th -12th centuries.. Only some of its surface area can be visited, they were actually bigger than the space we see today.
Entrance fee 2.50 euros.
You can also soak away in your own Hammam when in Cordoba. The interior is just stunning, probably my favourite Hammam in the company (they have others in Madrid, Granada..) In Cordoba it´s located right in city centre below the Mezquita.
Try booking a bath session at Hammam Al Andalus
Calleja de las Flores
Before you pop into the Mezquita look at the Callejon de las Flores which is opposite . This busy street is popular as you have a perspective from a small square to the Belltower of the Cathderal.
Visiting the Mezquita Cathedral is the main draw for many visitors to Cordoba. Open both mornings and afternoons I would recommend visiting this in the afternoon. Many monuments are only open in Cordoba from 10-2pm so it is best to plan to make the most of those which can be seen in the afternoon.
Guided Tour of Cordoba´s Mosque/Cathedral
Cordoba Mezquita Tickets
Dating back from 784 A.D this huge building boasts an enormous prayer hall with its distinctive columns which see infinite as your eyes look inside. This was extended three times during the Caliphate as the population of Cordoba grew. In the 10th century Cordoba was the largest economic and cultural city in the western world. At that time the three cultures lived together in the city, Christian, Jews and Muslims.
This site centuries before the Cordoba Caliphate had a Visigoth place of worship called St Vincents Church. Around the year 500 when they were a dominant power in the Iberian Peninsula. So this site has been religious for as long as we have records.
Inside the Mezquita Cathedral in the 17th century a grand altar and cathedral was built at the centre of the building which is why is it known as the Cathedral of Cordoba rather than the Mosque. Most guides and signs name it as Mezquita Cathedral.
Depending on if you go up to the bell tower or not you will need quite some time to see this monument. I would allow 2 hours for the visit. If you go up the tower allow extra time for this. (40 mins aprox to get up and down the tower)
There is a night tour which is just one hour but I prefer the full tour in the daytime as you see the building in more detail.
Entrance Tickets from the tourist office or at the main door of the monument. No online bookings can be made directly. To plan ahead and arrange online
Visit the UNESCO World Heritage site on a guided tour daily Monday to Saturday.
Click & Book here> Online Tickets for Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba
Where to eat in Cordoba Spain
I wrote this guide from a previous visit. Restaurants to try in Cordoba with some new discoveries from this recent visit. Typical dishes are Fried Aubergines in honey, the Flamenquin fried dish and for meat lovers dishes made from Oxtail.
Local wines such a Montilla Moriles are worth tasting while you are there too.
Judería and Patios of Córdoba
Palacio de Viana
The patios of Cordoba are well known and they are not located on only one area. Find them in some private hotels and homes. In the Barrio del Alcazar Viejo and also at the Palacio de Viana. This stunning 16th century building has twelve patios. Almost more gardens than building. I visited this on my previous trip.
See the post here: My visit to the Palacio de Viana, Cordoba
Opening times from 9am to 3pm (closed on Mondays)
Visit this first as it´s slightly off the beaten track at the top of the city. (1.4km from Mezquita)
Cordoba Patios Festival
Once you have seen the Palacio de Viana head to the group of Patios known as the Patios del Alcazar Viejo. These are people’s homes with colourful patios inside. You get a ticket to visit all of them and pop in and out of the different houses along the street until you have seen them all.
The opening times vary according to the time of year. When the Patios festival is on in May it does get very busy and there are long queues.
Synagogue de Cordoba
The only remaining Synagogue in Andalusia is in Cordoba. Built in 1315 you can visit this building and see the remaining murals inside. Over the centuries not much has remained of this temple as it was used a school and even as a Shoemakers circle at one point. Open from 9h -3.30pm (closed on Mondays)
Opposite the Synagogue is the Sephardic house which is open from 10am to 6pm. This 14th Century house has five rooms which explain the history of the Jewish community in Cordoba. Allow 30 mins to 45 mins for the visit.
Nearby on Calle Judios is the Casa Andalusi. A home recreated to give you the feel of a house at the time of Al Andalus. Open from 10am to 7pm they also have a paper museum inside with the history of the production of the scrolls at the time of the Caliphate.
Zoco Municipal de Cordoba
An open air market in the Juderia which is open from 10am to 8pm. Find charming artisan stalls selling handmade goods such as leather and silverware. A charming patio with an old well is at the entrance and the courtyard is lined with plantpots too.
The Royal Stables have shows on three times a week. 15 euros per person. The stables are free to go into although there isn´t much to see as the horses are not on public view.
Head over to the Caballerizas to buy tickets here ahead of the show.
Flamenco in Cordoba
Another option for nighttime enterntainment in Cordoba is a Flamenco Show. Click for more details and showtimes> Flamenco in Cordoba
The show is called Flamenco and Passion in Cordoba, it last 90 minutes and ticket includes one drink per person. In an absolutely stunning histoical setting, this is a great way to get the essence of Andalusia during tyour stay in Cordoba.
The real reason for my return to Cordoba was to visit the Medina Azahara. This monument was declared UNESCO World Heritage site recently. I visited when I moved to Andalucia back in 2007. Then have returned this year.
Medina Azahara is an archaeological site a short drive out of the city on the surrounding hills. A palatial city built in 936-940 this was built by the Caliph of Cordoba as a symbol of power. This space had aristocratic residences, bath houses, administrative buildings, large garden spaces and a ceremonial mosque.
Only 10% of the area has been excavated and restored, it´s the main area of the city. But with 112 hectares of land in total there still could be some surprises undiscovered.
Book a Guided Tour of Medina Azahara
I booked my bus tickets at tourist information office. The bus leaves from Glorieta Cruz Roja, a roundabout just below the Paseo de la Victoria. The bus picks up and drops off at this point. It takes you to the Medina Azahara which is free to go inside.
If you want a guided tour usually there are tour guides on the bus or at the bus stop offering their tour.
Staying in Cordoba
In Cordoba the summer temperatures are extreme. In August I had planned my days to begin early and end at lunchtime. Between 3pm and 6pm I would rest during the hottest part of the day or read beside one of the fontains in the hotel.
Then in the early evening around 6.30pm I would venture out to visit what I had left to see. Air conditioning is necessary in summer months.
Hotels in Cordoba
Over the years I have stayed in many different hotels in Cordoba.
Here are my recommendations based on personal experience
Hospes Hotel Palacio del Bailio Probably the most luxurious option in Cordoba, this hotel is not in the city centre. Its a short walk from the Roman Temple. With a swimming pool set in the garden and its own archaelogical ruin below the breakfast room. It´s a perfect stay. I stayed here twice already.
Hotel Madinat This charming boutique hotel is close to the Ribera (river) and tucked into a side street close to Plaza del Potro. Each room has its own design and it feels very homely. The staff here are a delight. Breakfast has lots of local flavour. If you want good wifi/internet tell them when you book. Some rooms have old walls that limit the connection : )
Las Casas de la Juderia This hotel is right next to the Royal Stables and Alcazar in the Juderia quarter. With its own pool it is a boutique property will lots of patio gardens.
Hotel Patio del Posadero This small hotel has lots of character and charm. All the rooms come off the main patio and have their own unique design. This is a good option for couples. Breakfast is carefully served by the owners with lots of personal touches.
Hotel Eurostars Conquistador This hotel is directly opposite the Mosque of Cordoba. Some rooms actually have views of the intricate Mosque walls. Breakfast is varied and there is also a patio café too.
Hotel Sercotel Selu Located close to the Mecado Victoria and a short walk from the Juderia. This large hotel is a comfortable option. It was refurbished in 2018. I stayed here two or three times already. Breakfast is very basic so I prefer to get room only and have breakfast in Panea (inside the Market opposite)