Cordoba is doomed to leave you bewitched by its beauty, medieval charm, picturesque patios, and the unique fusion of religions and cultures that have left their mark on the city since pre-historic times.
Looking for the best things to do in Cordoba, Spain, can be a hard task as the city is jam-packed with UNESCO World Heritage sites, vibrant restaurants, and bars, lavish palaces, and flower-draped streets and courtyards.
If you spend one day in Cordoba, you will get the chance to see some of the most prominent sites. If you spend 2 days in Cordoba, you can explore the most famous attractions.
But if you spend just a few more days you can really immerse yourself in the deep warren streets, have coffee at small coffee shops in hidden alleyways, and sit under the shade of orange trees taking in the sweet sensation of what Cordoba is all about.
It is safe to say that I think Cordoba is a highly underestimated city in Andalucia that truly deserves time. That said, there are a whole lot of exciting things to do that you could add to your bucket list!
And this post will let you in on what to do in Cordoba, Spain so that you can start planning your vacation without missing out on the highlights.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. That means that if you make a purchase through one of those links, I will get a small commission at no extra cost to you.
I’m Linn Haglund, the face behind Amused by Andalucia! I’ve been based in Andalucia, Spain for the last 10+ years, mainly in Seville and Costa del Sol while exploring the region extensively. Since 2022, I’ve slow-traveled in my van with my fiancee and dog, spending significant time in each place to truly get to know all the hidden corners of this exciting and diverse region. I’m here to help you uncover Andalucia too!
- Where to stay in Cordoba
- Cordoba Patio Tour
- Most beautiful patios in Cordoba
- Cordoba Patio Festival
- Top guided tours in Cordoba
- How to get tickets for the Mosque-Cathedral
- One day in Cordoba
- Best day trips from Cordoba
Table of Contents
Best things to do in Cordoba Spain
Visit the Mosque-Cathedral
One of the first things you’ll want to do when visiting Cordoba is to get tickets for the Mosque-Cathedral. If there’s one attraction you must see, it’s this.
The Mosque-Cathedral has been a place of worship for Christians and Muslims throughout the years and is the only mosque that wasn’t demolished after the reconquest, instead, the basilica was built inside it.
The site is magnificent and it’s impossible not to be in awe when entering the grand building. The intricate Islamic details are still intact while the Christian altarpiece is nothing but astounding.
I highly recommend taking a guided tour of the Mosque-Cathedral to get the most out of it.
Explore the patios of Cordoba
The magnificent patios are one of the main reasons to visit Cordoba for many travelers. So it might not come as a surprise that I’ve included it as a must-see in Cordoba. Spain might be famous for its patios, but Cordoba is the jewel when it comes to beautiful courtyards.
The most popular neighborhood is San Basilio where most of the award-winning private courtyards are found. Make sure you join a walking tour of the patios to ensure you see the best ones.
Stroll around the historic center
Cordoba’s historic center is also protected by UNESCO and it’s easy to understand why. The historic walls speak to you as you meander through the maze of cobblestoned streets and narrow alleys.
Colorful potplants decorate the whitewashed walls and small boutique shops invite you to step inside. Hidden tea shops and flamenco joints hide inside old doors and there are beautiful churches and small squares to explore.
The most famous alleyway is Calleja de Las Flores and while it can get busy, it’s worth the wait for the iconic picture (below.)
Visit The Alcazar de Los Reyes Cristianos
Another must-see attraction is the Alcazar de Los Reyes Cristianos which represents the reconquest of Cordoba Spain. Things to do and see inside the castle and fortress include visiting the museum, where you can see some incredible Roman mosaics among other things.
Walk along the castle walls and climb the towers for sweeping city views. But the most spectacular are the gardens. With large waterscapes, fountains, groomed cypress trees, and colorful flowers, they’re truly a king and a queen worthy.
Attend the Patio Festival
The Patio Festival started as a way to maintain the old Moorish courtyards at the beginning of the 1900s and is now protected by UNESCO.
Over the years, it’s become the city’s biggest pride. Music, colors, and dance fill the streets, and neighbors open their colorful and impeccably cared-for courtyards to the public.
It’s held the first 2 weeks in May and is truly one of the most unique times of the year to be in Cordoba.
I highly recommend joining this tour of the patios during the festival to get the most out of it including an understanding of the history of the festivals and the beautiful patios. If you’re not sure it’s worth it, I wrote a review of the patio tour you might want to read first.
Grab an ice cream at Plaza de la Corredera
Plaza de la Corredera is one of Cordoba’s highlights and should not be missed. The square has been a busy place back in Roman times until the present and was even used as a bullring at one point.
These days, the arched porticos are home to several bars and restaurants making it the perfect place for an ice cream and some people-watching.
The square is one of my favorite places to take a break when sightseeing in Cordoba and kind of reminds me of Plaza Mayor in Madrid.
Wander the courtyards of the Viana Palace
When visiting Cordoba, things to do and see are so many that it can be hard to choose. But if you’re going to visit just one palace, make sure you make it the Viana Palace.
Not only are the opulent rooms of the palace incredible, but the 12 courtyards are well worth the ticket price.
The palace dates back to the 16th century but is mostly known for housing King Alfonso XIII of Bourbon (King of Spain from 1902 to 1931.) And my is this place a king worthy!
I highly recommend getting this tour of the Viana Palace and its patios.
Visit the only remaining Synagogue in Andalucia
When considering what to see in Cordoba Spain, don’t miss out on the Synagogue. Located in the Jewish Quarter of Cordoba, it’s the only remaining Synagogue in Andalucia and of of three synagogues in Spain that date back to the 14th century before the Jews were chased out of Spain.
The best way to visit it is on this guided tour of the Jewish Quarter.
Let yourself get lost in the narrow streets of the Jewish Quarter
Strolling around the Jewish Quarter is one of the top things to do in Cordoba. The old neighborhood is full of little squares, narrow streets, and interesting sites like Casa Andalusí and Casa Sefarad.
There is so much history to this area that I highly recommend taking this guided tour to get the most out of it.
Stroll across the Roman Bridge
Among the top things to see in Cordoba, is the 10th century Roman Bridge. It connects the historical center with the Torre de la Calamorra on each side of the Guadalquivir River.
A stroll across the bridge is a must. It’s always full of life with tourists and locals crossing, chatting, and snapping pictures. There are often buskers along the bridge too creating a lovely atmosphere.
Shopaholics will enjoy Cordoba’s shopping scene. From small shops with handmade goods and souvenirs in the old town to upscale boutique shops, shopping in Cordoba is a lot of fun.
Downtown Cordoba is the best place to shop from reputable brands like Zara and Pull & Bear, as well as exclusive boutique shops. Calle Cruz Conde is one of the most famous shopping streets, but in my opinion, the entire area is great.
There are also a number of shopping malls surrounding the city where you can spend rainy afternoons and grab a bite to eat at one of the cafes and restaurants inside the mall.
Take a tour of Medina Azahara
Only a 10-minute drive outside Cordoba, you find some of the most impressive archaeological sites in Andalucia. Dating back to the mid-10th century, Medina Azahara was thriving during the Umayyad Dynasty as the seat of the Caliphate of Cordoba.
During the civil war that found place in 1009-1010, the Caliphate fell and the city was soon forgotten. It wasn’t until the year 2000 that the site was rediscovered and it opened to the public a few years later.
In recent years, a museum has popped up too. The visit includes a visit to the museum first which includes a video that they also show in English. The museum is free for EU residents and costs 1.50 Euros for others.
Then, you must take a shuttle bus to the archaeological site. This costs 13 Euros and must be paid in cash on the bus. I actually do recommend going on a guided tour from Cordoba to Medina Azahara for ease, but also to get the most out of the visit.
If you prefer the convenience of a private tour with pick-up and drop-off directly at your hotel, this tour is a great option.
Go on a day trip to Almodovar del Rio Castle
The Game of Thrones filming site, Almodovar del Rio Castle is one of the coolest castles in Andalucia. It definitely deserves a visit as one of my favorite day trips from Cordoba.
The town of Almodovar del Rio is also nice to see with a handful of things to explore like the Archaeological Museum and a small walk along the river to some Roman ruins.
But the main draw to the village is no doubt the castle. It’s one of the best-preserved medieval castles I’ve visited in Spain and any hardcore GOT fan will go crazy recognizing different scenes from the famous series.
While it’s far from the fairytale castles in Germany and Luxembourg, it’s surely one of the castles in Europe that catch your eye.
Reflections on what to do in Cordoba Spain
Summing up what to do in Cordoba Spain, the city is jam-packed with history and culture. To me, it’s incomprehensive that it’s not receiving more attention.
With Cordoba’s best things to do on your list, I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time visiting the UNESCO City and are very likely to fall in love with it just as much as I have.