Is Cordoba Spain Worth Visiting in 2024?

If you’ve asked yourself this question: “Is Cordoba Spain worth visiting?” you’re in the right place. Sometimes it feels overwhelming trying to decide which destinations to add to your itinerary.

I totally understand why you’re here because Cordoba is living in the shadows of Malaga and Seville. And not to mention Granada with its impressive Alhambra fortress.

It’s natural to wonder. Is Cordoba worth visiting when there are so many other impressive destinations nearby? Maybe you only have a few days or a week in Andalucia and you want to spend that time wisely.

First of all, I want to highlight one thing. I absolutely love Cordoba. I think it’s one of the most underrated cities in Andalucia.

It’s got 4 UNESCO sites, a religious and architectural history like no other place, and its award-winning patios are absolutely breathtaking. I’ve spent months in the city and province while slow-traveling Andalucia, so I can say I know the city well.

But I’m not here to convince you, I’m here to guide you to your own decision. So read on to get your questions answered.

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visiting Cordoba Spain

Is Cordoba Spain worth visiting?

So, you’re here because you’re wondering why visit Cordoba Spain. Before I dive deeper into all the reasons to visit Cordoba, I’ll list some of the main things Cordoba has to offer so you can get a feel of the city as a whole and if it’s worth it for you to keep reading or not.

  • Cordoba has 4 UNESCO listed sites/events which is more than any other city in Spain
  • Cordoba is home to the unique Mosque-Cathedral – where both religions have been practiced side by side
  • Cordoba hosts a fabulous Patio Festival and has some of the prettiest patios in Spain
  • Roman, Moorish, Jewish, and Christian architecture and remains are found throughout the city
  • There are several epic Flamenco joints in the city
  • The city is walkable
  • There’s free parking at only a 20-minute walk from the historic center (also for RV)
  • There is great shopping in Cordoba
  • Cordoba is home to many opulent palaces
  • Great train and bus connection to other Andalusian cities

There are also some downsides to Cordoba:

  • Together with Seville, Cordoba gets the hottest summers in Spain with unbearable temperatures above 50 degrees Celsius making it one of the worst places to visit in summer.
  • It’s inland, so no beaches
  • There’s no airport in Cordoba, so you’ll have to fly into either Seville or Malaga

Now that you’ve got an idea of whether you think Cordoba is a good addition to your itinerary, I’ll get into more detail about the reasons to visit Cordoba Spain.

Is Cordoba worth visiting

Reasons to visit Cordoba Spain

The Great Mosque-Cathedral

The Mosque-Cathedral is one of the city’s incredible UNESCO sites and going on a guided tour of the monument to get the most out of it is by far one of the best things to do in Cordoba.

The place of worship has been back and forth between the Christians and the Muslims and was even divided into two parts for a period where both Christians and Muslims prayed side by side.

But this hasn’t been the case the whole time and there are some very interesting stories behind the building. Yet, it’s the only Mosque that wasn’t demolished after the reconquest, but instead, a church was incorporated into the magnificent mosque.

is Cordoba Spain worth visiting

The Patio Festival

The Patio Festival of Cordoba is protected by UNESCO and is one of the most unique experiences in Andalucia.

There are hundreds of patios entering the competition for the most beautiful patios and private homes open their colorful patios to the public.

Music and dance fill the streets and the energy level in the historic parts of Cordoba rises to another level.

All the patios in the contest are free to enter, but I still recommend joining a guided patio tour to learn more about the history of the patios and why they’re so integral in the Cordobese culture.

If you’re not quite sure if it’s worth a tour, you can check out my Cordoba Patio Tour review where I also include my experience of taking a guided tour during the festival.

travel to Cordoba Spain - Patio Festival

Home to the only 14th-century Synagogue in Andalucia

The Synagogue in Cordoba is one of three 14th-century synagogues that remain in Spain and the only one in Andalucia.

While I think it could be better looked after, it’s still a fantastic monument and reminder of the Jewish culture that once thrived in Andalucia.

It’s located amidst the Jewish Quarter of Cordoba and I highly recommend joining a walking tour of the neighborhood to learn more about the city’s Jewish history.

Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos

Explore the fortress and palace of the Christian Monarchs, which boasts beautiful gardens, impressive towers, and historic significance as the site where Christopher Columbus met with the Catholic Monarchs.

I highly recommend booking a guided tour of the complex as getting Cordoba Alcazar tickets on-site can result in long queues and waiting.

visit Cordoba - gardens of Alcazar

The magnificent Roman Bridge

Stroll across the Roman Bridge spanning the Guadalquivir River, offering stunning views of the Mosque-Cathedral and the city skyline.

It’s one of the most iconic landmarks of Cordoba, originally built in the 1st century, though it’s been reconstructed over the centuries. The best views of the bridge are from the Torre de Calahorra.

Roman Bridge Cordoba

Picturesque alleyways

Cordoba Old Town is jam-packed with picturesque streets and alleyways with colorful potplants on the whitewashed walls and hidden tea houses. The historic center is protected by UNESCO and once you step foot there it’s easy to understand why.

The most photographed is Calleja de las Flores where you can see the Mosque-Cathedral clock tower at the end once you reach the end of the alleyway and turn around.

why visit Cordoba Spain
Calleja de Las Flores

Incredible palaces

Cordoba is home to a magnitude of lavish palaces from the centuries after the reconquest. If you can only visit one, it has to be the Viana Palace. Its grandeur is amazing and it has 12 magnificent courtyards.

The Viana Palace is best visited on a guided tour so that you can learn about the history of the palace and its gardens.

Other opulent palaces worth visiting are Palacio de la Merced, Palacio del Bailio (now a hotel), and Casa Andalusí.

Viana Palace patio
Viana Palace patio

Beautiful patios and courtyards

Cordoba is famous for its courtyards for a reason. Not only the ones that open their doors to the public during the festival, but many stunning patios in Cordoba are open most of the year, both private and publicly owned.

The best way to see them is to book a guided patio tour of the ones in San Basilio which are among the award/winning patios and without a doubt the most stunning.

the patios of Cordoba

The ancient ruins of Medina Azahara

A lot of travelers miss out on this impressive archaeological site right outside the city center, another UNESCO site. Especially those visiting Cordoba in only one day.

But this is actually the site that impressed me the most the first time I traveled to Cordoba back in 2003. Maybe because I once had a dream of becoming an archaeologist, I’m a sucker for old ruins.

The old city was built by the Umayyad dynasty in the 10th century AD and was the seat of the Caliphate of Cordoba.

During the Civil War and the end of the Caliphate in the years 1009-1010, it was forgotten until excavations started in the beginning of the 1900s.

The best way to visit the site is by a guided tour from Cordoba. If you prefer the benefits of a private tour, this is a great option.

Medina Azahara

Interesting museums

Cordoba is also home to several interesting museums like the Julio Romero de Torres Museum and the Fine Arts Museum which are both great for art lovers.

History buffs will love the Archaeological Museum while the Casa Sefarad gives an incredible insight into the Jewish period of Cordoba.

Hose Museums like Casa Andalusí and the Viana Palace give an incredible visual picture of the past.

Julio Romero de Torres Museum
Julio Romero de Torres Museum

Conclusion: Is Cordoba worth visiting?

So, is Cordoba Spain worth visiting? I hope this post has given you more clarity to the question. There are so many reasons to visit, but if you’re looking for a beach destination or you travel in July-August, the city might not be the right fit for you.

If you’re still intrigued, you might opt for a day trip from Malaga to Cordoba or other places on the coast so that you can get an introduction to the city while still enjoying days on the beach.

Happy travels!