A Cordoba street under the looming Bell Tower of the Mezquita
Cordoba is a mid-sized city of 350,000 inhabitants and the capital of the province of Cordoba, situated in the center of Andalucia in Spain. A great cultural reference point in Europe, this ancient city has been declared a World Heritage Site and contains a mixture of the diverse cultures that have settled it throughout history.
Very few places in the world can boast of having been the capital of a Roman province (Hispania Ulterior), the capital of an Arab State (Al-Andalus, a highly civilized state in Southern Europe) and a Caliphate. Such splendor is palpable in the intellectual wealth of this center of wisdom and knowledge, that has seen the birth of figures like Seneca, Averroes, and Maimonides.
The historic quarter of Cordoba is a beautiful network of small streets, alleys, squares and whitewashed courtyards arranged around the Mosque-Cathedral, which reflects the city's prominent place in the Islamic world during medieval times.
Córdoba is also a modern city, well connected to other Andalusian cities by the high speed train (AVE) and a very extensive rail network linking it to the major Spanish cities such as Madrid and Seville. Inside the city, it is very easy and fast to reach your destination due to an efficient public transport system.
Cordoba is also synonymous with art, culture and leisure, thanks to a myriad of cultural events that are organised here throughout the year: Flamenco festivals, concerts, ballet and other activities. These events are complemented by a number of museums and an exciting nightlife.
Outside the city are very beautiful villages like Priego de Córdoba, an example of Spanish baroque; Zuheros, the typical white Andalusian village with an impressive castle built on a rock; and Montilla. 'Parque Nacional de la Sierra de Hornachuelos' in Hornachuelos and 'Parque Natural de las Sierras Subbéticas' in Cardeña are interesting nature reserves.
Cordoba's modern train station is location in Avenida de America, at the northern end of the central district. To get to the old town and the Mezquita, you can catch a taxi (about 6€), take the #3 bus to the San Fernando stop, or just walk about 25 minutes (head along Avenida de America and turn right on Avenida del Gran Capitan).
AVE, Spain's high-speed rail network, offers very fast and comfortable train service to Cordoba, but it is a bit more expensive compared to bus train services. AVE trains run hourly from Madrid (1 hour 45 minutes), Seville (45 minutes) and Malaga (50 minutes). There are also two daily AVE services to Barcelona (about five hours). Additionally, there is a very cheap sleeping train option from Cordoba to Barcelona (Andalucía Express).
As an alternative to the AVE there are also cheaper RENFE trains, such us the Lanzaderas to Seville and Malaga (for around 15-20€) or the Altaria and the Alivia trains going to Granada (2 hours 30 minutes) and Madrid (2 hours 30 minutes). For schedules, prices and tickets, check the Renfe website .
Cordoba's bus station is just across the street from the train station. Regular bus service is available from almost every town in Andalucia as well as from Madrid departing from the "Estación Sur" (around 6 buses per day). For bus info try these sites: , .
Cordoba lacks an airport. The closest major airports are in Seville, Málaga and Madrid; from there a train or a bus to Cordoba takes but a few hours.
The area with the most to see is around the Old City. Everything is in walking distance, (train station, bus station, shopping area, tourist sites, restaurants, bars, etc).
The typical tourist can do with the standard tourist map which can be obtained from the tourist offices (one on the east side of the Mezquita-Cathedral and the other between the Alcázar and the city walls). Orientation is provided by the river, Plaza de las Tendillas and Passeo de la Victoria.
The area around the Mezquita-Cathedral is crammed with places to stay, eat and buy souvenirs.However, many visitors find it a bit too touristy, with more interesting things found wandering to the east of the Mezquita-Cathedral. On Sunday mornings you can watch a procession after the Catholic mass. Exercise caution when walking around the area near the Mezquita: beggers will try to sucker you for some money and they often work in teams. You may find yourself being charged 40 Euro for a palm reading, or having your money snatched by a little kid working together with the supposed palm reader. Just keep an eye on your things and don't get caught up with their scams.
 - The Mosque with a Cathedral built inside. More than 20,000 people could pray inside. A huge 'column's forest', an impressing atmosphere. A must see.(8 Euro, free entrance! from 8:30AM to 10AM).
The Old Center
Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos - Close to the Mezquita. Castle-fortress of the Christian Monarchs with beautiful gardens and historical heritage.
Calleja de las Flores - Very close to the Mezquita, at the tower side. Beautiful narrow street, full of flower with a wonderful tiny square at the end and amazing sights of the Mezquita's Tower.
La Sinagoga - Judios street. One of the 3 remaining synagogues in Spain. Very small but special place. Free entrance.
Puente Romano - Old Roman bridge over the Guadalquivir.
Torre de la Calahorra - At the opposite end of the Roman Bridge. Historical city Museum.
Plaza del Potro - A small old square where Don Quijote de la Macha stayed in one of his adventures. You can find there a nice fountain with a small horse and a 'Triunfo de San Rafael'. Julio Romero de Torres local painter Museum and Fine Arts Museum are also located in this place.
Plaza de la Corredera - The only 'Plaza Mayor cerrada' (closed main square) in Andalucía.
Iglesias Fernandinas - A set of 14 old churches in the city center, sometimes built above old mosques. The best ones: San Lorenzo, San Miguel, San Nicolás.
Outside the Old Center
Plaza del Cristo de los Faroles Cuesta del Bailio (Close to Alfaros street). The most impressive square, the best time to go there is the sunset or night (see picture). A Christ in the Cross statue adorned with lot of old lanterns, candles and flowers in a very quiet atmosphere.
Viana Palace - former residence of the Marquise of Viana, is an impressive museum featuring furniture, tapestries, porcelain, tiles, paintings, leatherwork, muskets, a 7000-volume library and extensive gardens spread out over 14 patios.
Medina Azahara - Carretera de Palma del Rio. Ruins of the capital of the Western Caliphate, built beginning in 940. Huge archeological interest, a beautiful and very special walk. Approximately 5km west of town. (Free entrance for EU-citizens, very cheap for non-EU. The tourism office currently runs a bus at 10:15AM / 5PM for 7 Euro. )
May - ¡Mayo!. The best time to visit the city. 'The Month of Córdoba'.
Feria de Córdoba - Last week in May, a huge fair of drinking, dancing, eating, and not working. Flamenco and salsa music. A great time!
Cruces de Mayo - 1st week of May. Very fun, a lot of public squares in the city center, the old city, with big crosses flower-made, with music and drinks full of people having fun!
Cata de Vino-Montilla Moriles Cordovan Wine tasting fair. Very good wine selection and music in a huge tent in the city center.
Festival de Patios - About 2 weeks during May. People living in the ancient districts of Cordoba are proud to open their courtyards to visitors and participate in a contest in which colourful plants and different elements invite to contemplate the beauty of traditional style houses.
Semana Santa (The Week Before Easter) - Processions throughout town involving scenes from the life of Christ, bands, and penitents. Very nice exhibition of the city's culture. Approximately six processions each night from 6 p.m. to midnight.
Festival Internacional de la Guitarra - The city become the world Guitar Capital during two weeks full of concerts featuring the top world guitar players and bands ranging from Jazz/Blues, Classical, and of course, Flamenco. Excellent music and dance seminars, music courses, and conferences about guitar.
Carnaval A typical Andalusian carnival (not as huge as Cadiz's festival, but a great time neverthless). The city center is full of people in costumes during the weekend, funny songs are sang throughout city squares.
During the year
Hammam - Arabic baths - Just 5 minutes walking distance west of the mosque there is a modern Arabic bath that recreates the ones used during the Moorish era. During the golden times of the western caliphate Cordoba was said to have more than 400 hundreds baths. The site offers a session of two hours (including a massage).
Drive an electric car to discover one of the largest historical downtowns in Europe. The electric car is equipped with a GPS touristic assistant which gives audio tours on the monuments within 100 meter. Descriptions available in Spanish, English, and French. Besides, there are 10 exclusive parking spots to park the electric car. From 14.5€ per hour 2 seats and 4 seats cars available.
Take a Segway Tour in Cordoba, passing by places which are normally missed by the visitor. English spoken tours. From 15€ per person.
Vision Walking Tours - An excellent walking tour of the old city, Alcázar, Synagogue, and Mezquita. The set price is steep - €27- but worth it. (The price includes entry to buildings).
The main shopping area is around the Plaza de las Tendillas: Concepción street, Cruz Conde street, Gran Capitán boulevard, Ronda de los Tejares avenue...
Sukia - cocktail shop, Cuesta Luján 4. (between Plaza de las Tendillas and San Fernado), 95749051, Really cool shop. Its sells Kitch, be it in clothes, music, decorations form, if its Kitch from the 50's 60's or 70's its here.
One of the traditional craftwork in Cordoba is jewellery. Good value jewels, specially gold, can be found around the city. However, it is advisable to buy far from touristic sites as they are the most expensive places to buy that. One place to check it is around Jesus Rescatado avenue.
Cerveceria La Peseta C/ La Radio. Vial Norte, near to Hotel AC cordoba Center. Free tapas with each drink!! Beer 1.5€ Glass of local white wine 1€. Homemade traditional tapas, including local delicacies, such as salmorejo,pisto, croquetas or patatas bravas. Very busy during breakfast and lunch time.
Bodegas Campos, Los Lineros, 32 San Pedro, 14002 Cordoba . Open traditional Spanish hours. Classic Cordoba place to eat. Historical building and famous for people who have visited. Food is fantastic, very recommended!
Castillo de la Albaida A refurbish Castle settled in the Córdoba sierra's slope, 10 minutes from city center by car. Very good Cordoban food with splendid city sights.
El Churrasco Romero 16, 14003 Cordoba +34-957 290 819. With amazing meat dishes and much more. Very close to the Mezquita.
Taberna San Miguel "El Pisto" Plaza San Miguel, 1, Cordoba, 14002. Great place to try some typical Tapas. The best 'Pisto' in the world!
La Gusa, C/ Diario de Córdoba, 18 (Near ruins of the Roman temple), 957491123 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Every Day 2PM-1AM. A refreshing twist on traditional Spanish cooking. Relaxed cool atmosphere and unusual flavours.
Amore Bona Pasta, C/ Reyes Catolicos, 17, 14001 Cordoba, +34 957484848 . Fantastic pizza and pasta at $-$$ prices. Try the Pasta Carbonara, very nice. Pizza was great as well.
La Fragua Cja. Los Arcos, 2 (off C/Tomás Conde) Phone: (+34) 957 48 45 72. Delicious home made food and traditional cooking with a modern and personal style. Enjoyable meals in an authentic 16th century charming courtyard accompanied by flamenco ambient music. It is also possible to try tapas and drinks for a very reasonable price. Relaxed atmosphere.
Taberna La Lechuga C/Tomás Conde, 12 +34 204 311. Cordoban Traditional style food. Try their brand name tasty specialty, seasoned "lettuce sprouts", served with garlic. They serve a wide range of traditional dishes. Don't forget their "Croquetas", but to be sure about their daily recommendations just try and ask their friendly staff.
Plaza de la Corredera Plaza de la Corredera. A lot of bars in this beautiful place, nice enviroment and nice people.
Vial Norte (Paseo de Córdoba) Paseo de Córdoba (aka Vial Norte). A lot of modern bars in the newest part of the city. Cute people and fancy pubs.
El Brillante, el Tablero Avenida del Brillante. For summertime, fancy bars, fancy people in those rich neighborhoods. From June to September.
Chinales, polígono industrial Polígono industrial de Chinales (Chinales, industrial park). Very close to the city center (5-10 min. by car,4€ by taxi). Clubs/Discos: Maná, Silos, Kenia, Go...
Ciudad Jardín neighborhood Alderetes street, Julio Pellicer street. A lot of small but very fun places to dance, drink....to have fun! From October to May.
Hotel Maciá Alfaros, . Great hotel with old town central location. Walking distance to central plaza, shopping, archeology sites, drinks. Reasonable rates, excellent for business travel. ****
Hotel AC Córdoba Excellent hotel in a modern environment set a block from the bus and train stations, very close to the city center.****
Hotel Córdoba Center The newest hotel in the city, 5 minutes walking distance from Train/Bus station and city center.****
Hotel Hospes Palacio del Bailío, the first and only 5 star hotel in town. Centrally located. Recently inaugurated. Incredible old city palace from the 16th Century. Respecting both Roman and Moorish architectural influences. 53 rooms, restaurant and Spa. The new essence of Hospes Palacio del Bailío tells an old story, its architecture speaks of history in the old quarter of the city, next to the Cristo de ls Faroles square and 10 minutes from the Mosque.
Hotel NH Amistad Plaza de Maimónides, 3, 14004, E-mail: email@example.com Tel: +34 95 7420335 Fax: +34 95 7420365. In the heart of the old town, 5 minutes walking from the Mezquita. Settled in the old city walls, inside a beautiful palace.**** There is another NH hotel right next door- the NH Califa .
Hostal Lineros 38 A very nice place to relax. Beautiful Andalusí (Islamic from souther Spain) architecture.
Hostal el Triunfo Cheap and quite nice hostel in from of the Mezquita.
Youth hostel In the old town, a very good one.
The Terrace Backpacers (Pension Pilar del Potro), Calle Lucano, 12, ☎ +34 957 492966, . Good location. Clean affordable privates and dorms. Air-conditioning.
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