Cordoba Spain Travel Guide: What to Do and Where to Stay in Cordoba Spain! Everything you need to know about visiting the historic centre of Cordoba from an expert travel writer in Spain. Includes recommendations for the best Cordoba Spain hotels, top attractions in Cordoba Spain, and everything you need to know before you travel to Cordoba Spain!

We created this guide in collaboration with guest author Rachel Webb, an expat in Andalusia. We’re so happy she agreed to share her insider knowledge of the city of Cordoba Spain, and help you choose the best place to stay in Cordoba Spain for your own unique trip!

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Get Inspired Before You Visit Cordoba Spain! An Introduction from Guest Contributor Rachel

Over my twenty-odd years of living in Jaen province, in the north part of Andalusia, I’ve popped over the border into Cordoba province and its lovely capital (also Cordoba) countless time. When we have friends or family visiting us in Spain, Cordoba, along with Granada, is one of our must-do trips to play tour guide in. I enjoy the gorgeous drive to the city, from the mountainous province of Jaen covered in an ocean of olive trees, to the flat plains of Cordoba filled with fields of head-turning yellow sunflowers. Whether it’s on a day trip to Cordoba, a shopping trip, or an overnight stay, I always enjoy my time in Cordoba! In fact, it would be at the top of my list if I had to choose an Andalusian city to live in, although I do love living in Spain’s glorious countryside, and being able to visit Cordoba whenever I want.

Best Hotels in Cordoba Spain City Center

 

mezquita cordoba spain at night with bridgePhoto credit: poperopop via Pixabay, CC0 licence

Where to Stay in Cordoba Spain

Getting Your Bearings: Finding the Best Area to Stay and Best Hotel in Cordoba Spain

Once a Roman provincial capital and Moorish city, Cordoba is today divided into 10 districts, with each district being further divided into barrios.

Centro and Poniente-Sur, which merge with the city to the north / north-east and the huge River Guadalquivir to the south, are the main areas of the city for tourists: this is where the majority of the historical monuments in Cordoba are found. Staying anywhere in these two districts means you’ll have easy access to the Mezquita and the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos (Castle of the Christian Monarchs), known more colloquially as the Royal Fortress.

Best Area to Stay in Cordoba Overall: Old Town and the Juderia

Great area for: ✓ Cordoba City & Historical Centre ✓ Main Monumental Area ✓ Visiting the Great Mosque in Cordoba and the Alcazar ✓ Walkable & Convenient ✓ Shopping & Dining

The Southern District, Distrito Sur, is where the main monumental area is, and is home to the Mezquita and the Alcazar. This part of the city is usually referred to as the Jewish Quarter or Juderia; it’s the heart of old Cordoba, and is one of the best places to stay in Cordoba Spain during your stay.

Affordable Boutique with Traditional Touches

9.5 / 10 on Booking.com

Hotel Madinat – A 4-star boutique-style property in the heart of Cordoba’s UNESCO-listed historic center, this hotel features two outdoor terraces offering panoramic views of the Mezquita of Cordoba, just 5 minutes’ walk from the hotel. All rooms have air-conditioning, flat screen TV and a private bathroom with bidet, hairdryer, toiletries, bathrobes and slippers, and some have a private balcony. Guests can use the on-site Turkish steam bath (additional charge) to ease sore sightseeing muscles, and enjoy the many historical sites, shops, restaurants and bars within walking distance.

Check Availability & Prices on
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Beautiful & Historic Boutique

9.2 / 10 on Booking.com

Las Casas de la Judería de Córdoba – Housed within restored 17th and 18th-century buildings minutes from the Grand Mezquita, this 4-star boutique-style property boasts and outdoor pool, sun terrace, beautiful grounds (with gardens and patios), a fitness center, and a bar. Comfortable rooms are equipped with air-conditioning, satellite TV, and modern bathrooms stocked with toiletries. Superior rooms have the added bonus of a spa tub. This hotel combines historic and authentic Andalusian elements with modern facilities, and includes lovely extras like the on-site tapas bar serving local dishes.

Check Availability & Prices on
Booking.com

4-Star Boutique Style Chain

8.9 / 10 on Booking.com

NH Collection Amistad Córdoba – This 4-star boutique-style property is situated within a restored 18th-century mansion in an excellent location near the Cathedral, Jewish Quarter, and city wall. Offering private parking, this is also a great choice if you’re traveling by car. Comfortable rooms feature air-conditioning, a Nespresso coffee machine, flat screen TV, a pillow menu and a bathroom with rain shower. The hotel offers fitness facilities, a seasonal outdoor pool for adults (and a kids pool in an adjacent building), an open air courtyard café and bar, all within a beautiful setting.

Check Availability & Prices on
Booking.com

Modern & Affordable

9.0 / 10 on Booking.com

Hotel Boutique Caireles – Opposite the Mezquita de Cordoba, this modern and well-rated 2-star offers free WiFi, a communal terrace and TV-lounge, a 24h front desk, and bike/car rental services. Rooms have air-conditioning, flat screen TVs with satellite, and updated bathrooms with free toiletries and hair dryer. Some rooms have an additional sitting area and great views! Guests can enjoy a free fruit basket and welcome drink upon arrival, with a minibar in-room. The hotel has a 24h front desk, and daily breakfast is available for a fee.

Check Availability & Prices on
Booking.com

3-Star Traditional

9.3 / 10 on Booking.com

La llave de la Judería – A 3-star property with a homey, traditional feel to it, this hotel is next to the Jewish Quarter and just a few minutes’ walk from the Mezquita. Rooms and the hotel at large have an updated but traditional look and feel to them, with rooms featuring air-conditioning, satellite TV, minibars, bathrooms with either a shower or bath, hair dryer and free toiletries. If you’re traveling with a pet or a car, this hotel is a good choice, as it’s pet friendly and offers parking. Past guests mention the staff as particularly helpful and welcoming.

Check Availability & Prices on
Booking.com

Affordable Mid-Range

8.5 / 10 on Booking.com

Eurostars Maimonides – Facing the Mezquita de Cordoba in the middle of the lovely Jewish Quarter, this affordable choice is central and convenient! With a characteristic Andalusian-style patio, on-site restaurant serving Andalusian dishes, and clean and comfortable rooms, this hotel is a top pick for a 3-star in Cordoba. Rooms feature air-conditioning and satellite TV, a safe, minibar, and modern bathrooms, and some offer views of the Mesquita. Parking can be arranged in advance, but don’t show up without a parking reservation!

Check Availability & Prices on
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Things to Do in Cordoba Spain in One Day

Staying in the historical center of Cordoba means you won’t be short on things to do and explore, starting with the impressive Great Mosque of Cordoba Spain (Mezquita). The sheer size of the Mezquita is breathtaking, and I suggest you walk around the entire exterior of the complex to admire the architecture and take in its vastness, before you venture inside. If you can, plan to visit the interior first thing when it opens in the morning, or just before closing when it is quieter, and there are fewer visitors. While incredible at any time of day, the Mezquita is most impressive when you don’t have to share it with too many people.

When you’re finished in the Mezquita, spend a few hours wandering the narrow, cobbled streets of the Jewish Quarter. Tiny plazas, gorgeous ancient window bars, and the lack of traffic means not much has changed in 1,000 years. Step back in time at the Alcazar, with its glorious gardens, and visit the Royal Stables (Caballerizas Reales), with its cross-vaulted roof and individual stables, where you can see Andalusian horses. They also have horse shows here, which are very good, and worth catching if you can.

In the afternoon, take a Segway tour, which is a great way to become acquainted with some of Cordoba’s most beautiful corners. I recommend joining a tour to get an overview of some of the prettiest spots, and then returning on your own to explore more leisurely, at your own pace!

After enjoying a siesta and some food, catch a Flamenco show at the Arabian Baths to finish up a fantastic day in Cordoba!

Search for the Best Cordoba Tickets & Tours on Get Your Guide

Plan Your Cordoba Trip with These Tickets and Tours

Where to Stay in Cordoba Outside the Historical Center: Zona Central / Modern Cordoba

Look for Hotels and Apartments Around: ✓ Plaza de las Tendillas ✓ Plaza de la Corredera

Plaza de las Tendillas

The bustling Plaza de las Tendillas, a lovely square, is a good base if you want to be in the commercial centre of the city, with good public transport across the city. It is also an easy walk into the Jewish Quarter from Plaza de las Tendillas, making it convenient for all sorts of travelers. Even if you don’t stay around Plaza de las Tendillas, it’s worth visiting for a look around; take a break from the historical city, and have coffee or a meal in the large square.

Bright, Airy & Modern

9.4 / 10 on Booking.com

Apartamentos Tendillas  Bright, comfortable holiday apartments just off of the busy Plaza de las Tendillas, guests can walk to Cordoba Cathedral in about 5 minutes, and the Roman ruins in even less. Apartments are equipped with WiFi, air-conditioning, towels, free toiletries and a hair dryer, and the kitchens have a dishwasher, coffee machine, microwave, kettle and toaster. Depending on the unit you book, they feature dining area, sitting area and/or a terrace. Some past guests have mentioned a bit of noise from the bar downstairs – worth considering if you’re a light sleeper!

Check Availability & Prices on
Booking.com

Modern 2-Bedroom

9.3 / 10 on Booking.com

CONDE DE GONDOMAR 1 – Another modern apartment option just off Plaza de las Tendillas, this one fits max. 6 people, with 2 bedrooms (1 featuring a Queen bed, and 1 featuring 2 singles) and a double sofa bed in the living room. In addition to the bedrooms, the 90 sq. meter (970 sq. feet) unit has 2 bathrooms, a kitchen with small dining area, and living room. The apartment offers air-conditioning, free WiFi, a basic but well-stocked kitchen (no oven), flat screen TV and DVD player. The host, Fernando, is happy to share his must-sees and must-do’s in the city, if you need some more ideas!

Check Availability & Prices on
Booking.com

Traditional & Affordable 2-Star

8.9 / 10 on Booking.com

Hotel Conde de Cárdenas – A charming 2-star hotel with a traditional look and feel to it, this property is just a few minutes’ walk from Plaza de las Tendillas, and just under 10 minutes to the Mezquita/Jewish Quarter. Housed within an Andalusian-style building, the hotel has nice touches, such as a courtyard terrace and pretty azulejo tile details. Clean, comfortable rooms are attractive, and offer air-conditioning, TV, free WiFi, and a private bathroom with a bathtub in all rooms. Past guests mention the friendly staff and great value of this property as being standout features.

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Plaza de la Corredera

Zona Plaza de la Corredera is another great spot to base yourself. It takes its name from the enormous 17th-century Castilian-style square; this arched square, once the scene of bullfights and other public events, is now a calm spot for admiring the beauty of the building, or checking out some of the stalls and markets that take place within the enclosed plaza.

When the weather is nice, the amazingly large Plaza de la Corredera is one of my favourite spots for coffee!

Highly-Rated Holiday Apartments

9.7 / 10 on Booking.com

ApartaSuites Alberca Deluxe – Well-reviewed apartment/suites in a quiet part of the historic city center, you can walk to the Mezquita in about 10 minutes from here. There are multiple units available for either 2 or 4 guests, all within the restored historic house of the owner’s grandparents! The building has a central patio with a fountain and free WiFi, and the apartments have air-conditioning, a living area, flat screen TV, dining area and kitchen. Some apartments also have a terrace. The apartments are cleaned daily, with plenty of restaurants, bars and a lively atmosphere at nearby Plaza de la Corredera!

Check Availability & Prices on
Booking.com

Charming and Affordable

8.8 / 10 on Booking.com

Hotel Casa de los Azulejos –An affordable small hotel a short walk from Plaza de la Corredera, this property is just over 10 minutes’ walk from the Mosque/Mezquita. With a quiet patio/garden, a terrace, lounge and library for relaxing, and an outdoor plunge pool, there are plenty of common areas to enjoy here. Rooms are clean and basic, with air-conditioning, cable TV and a private bathroom with hair dryer, and the room rate includes a daily breakfast. Not surprisingly, given the name, traditional decorative tiles are featured throughout the hotel!

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Booking.com

Elegant 4-Star

8.6 / 10 on Booking.com

Eurostars Patios de Cordoba – A stylish 4-star with a boutique feel to it, this property hotel is situated within the Jewish Quarter and next to the ruins of the Roman temple, a 5-minute walk each from Plaza de la Corredera and Mezquita. With 5 gorgeous patios and Andalusian-style architecture that incorporates historical elements, this property has plenty of outdoor space to enjoy. The rooms have a modern interior with wood floor, flat screen TV, and air-conditioning, and modern bathrooms offer toiletries and a hair dryer. The hotel has limited parking facilities, but is willing to pick up your car from a nearby parking lot if you’ve got wheels!

Check Availability & Prices on
Booking.com

Exterior of the Alcazar in Cordoba. The Alcazar is one of the top 10 attractions in cordoba spainPhoto Credit: Pixels4Free via Pixabay, CC0 licence

Traveling on the Cheap? These are our Suggestions for a Hostel Cordoba Spain

 

Cordoba Hostels with Female-Only Dorms: May Flowers Hostel (4-Bed Female Dorm Rated 9.6/10) I Osio Backpackers (6-Bed Female Dorm Rated 8.5/10)

Cheapest Hostels in Cordoba (Dorms from Less than $20 per Night): Osio Backpackers (Dorms Starting at $14) / Funky Cordoba (Dorms Starting at $14) / Cordoba Bed and Be (Dorms Starting at $16) / Option Be Cordoba Hostel (Dorms Starting at $16)

Top Rated Hostels with Private Rooms: Hostal La Fuente (Privates Starting at $43) / Casa Turistica La Torre B&B (Privates Starting at $55) / Osio Backpackers (3-Person Privates Starting at $80) / Funky Cordoba (Privates Starting at $50)

Search for the Best Cordoba Spain Hostels!

What to Do in Cordoba Spain

Top 10 Things to Do in Cordoba Spain

Wandering around Cordoba’s whitewashed old town, it’s easy to imagine a time when this was one of the greatest cities in the world. Although today it has a quieter, more relaxed vibe to it, there is still plenty worth doing and exploring. Rachel has done her best to answer the burning question at the tip of your tongue, What to see in Cordoba Spain?

the great mosque of cordoba spain ceiling interior

Photo Credit: bogitw via Pixabay, CC0 licence


Catch The Most Impressive View in the City of the Great Mosque Cordoba: Opposite to the main monumental area, across the river and on the other side of the bridge, you’ll find a great view as you walk across the Roman bridge spanning the River Guadalquivir. Although called the ‘Roman bridge,’ what we see today is mostly an Islamic re-construction built on the ruins of the 1st century Roman Bridge. As you pass over the 9 metre wide, 247 metre long bridge into historical Cordoba, you’ll get your first glimpse of the incredible Mezquita in Cordoba Spain – one of the most impressive and significant monuments in Cordoba. Along with the mosque, in front you, you’ll also see the Royal Fortress (or Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos – Castle of the Christian Monarchs – to use its full name) to your left.


Enjoy a Peaceful Moment at the Mezquita: The Mezquita, an enormous Islamic Mosque has a huge orange-tree-filled courtyard with a minaret tower and an enormous prayer hall. If you can, go at the beginning or the end of the day to appreciate its size and splendour in near solitude. No matter what time of day you can get there, whatever you do, don’t leave without visiting what is one of the top must-see places to visit in Cordoba Spain! 


Visit the Alcazar Fortress and Palace: With beautiful Moorish design gardens and a great many Roman mosaics recovered from the Plaza de la Corredera, the Alcazar is a lovely stop on your tour of the city, and probably second only after the mosque in terms of Cordoba Spain attractions.


Watch Andalusian Horses in Action: Adjacent to the Alcazar fortress in the Royal Stables, you’ll find Andalusian horse shows are regular features. Do try and see one if you can. Horse lover or not, these shows are incredible displays of human-animal interaction which I thoroughly enjoyed on my visit to Cordoba!


Enjoy the Spectacular Cordoba Patios: For garden lovers, the Cordoba Patio or Courtyard Competition at the beginning of May, is a glorious riot of colours, and a great time to visit. Many private patios are open to the public for two weeks while the competition is on, but some are open year-round. I recommend joining a guided tour instead of trying to find them yourself with a map.

The range, style, design and flowers of these unique patios are stunning, and even my non-gardening, flower-ignorant hubby enjoyed it! Some of these historical patios give a glimpse into the past: looking at the tiny patios, wells, and communal washrooms, it’s easy to imagine neighbours sitting out in the cool of the night singing and dancing flamenco in years past.

In recent years, some of the patios have opened over Christmas and New Years, too, making the patios one of the most popular tourist attractions in Cordoba Spain throughout the year!

Take a Segway Tour or Sightseeing Bus: Some parts of Cordoba can only be properly seen on foot or by Segway. I have done a Segway tour myself, and found it to be great fun…at least once you learn how to stop!

I also tried a sightseeing bus tour, which we took when we just did not want to walk anymore! I recommend both but enjoyed the segway tour more, as we went through the narrow streets (only just avoiding tourists!) and saw interesting corners and buildings, which we re-visited on foot afterwards. I found it to be a great way to get an overview of the city and get my bearings, and can recommend you do the same!

Check Prices and Availability: Segway Tour I Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus

Don’t Miss the Viana Palace: In my opinion, one of the best places to visit in Cordoba Spain is the Palacio de Marquises de Viana, or Viana Palace. It’s a gorgeous house/museum dating from the 14th century with lovely patios! In fact, there are twelve unique patios ranging from Roman and Arabic to Renaissance style, and the museum is interesting, too.

Indulge in Cordoban Gastronomy:  If you like Spanish-style tortilla then you’ll love the enormous ones made in a tiny little bar near the Mezquita. Bar Taberna Los Santos is famous for their tortillas, which are made from 30 eggs and five kilos of potatoes! Stop here for a tortilla tapa and a fino wine, if only to see the sheer size of the tortillas and snap a photo!

Another great place to eat in Cordoba is the gastromarket Mercado Victoria, housed in a lovely old forged metal structure dating from 1877. Around 30 stalls provide tapas and rations – anything from oysters to T-bone steaks. Buy your drinks from one stall and food from another (or many others!) – it’s a great way to try lots of different dishes, and incorporate different meats, fishes, and other dishes into your meal, all with a lively and fun atmosphere. I prefer visiting at lunchtime, as the evenings tend to attract a younger crowd and can be much noisier.


Catch the Festivals in May: Cordoba is a fabulous spot to visit any time of year, but May is the most festive month, which makes it an even better choice.

If you can, time your visit to coincide with the Fiesta de la Cruz, the May Crosses Festival, at the beginning of the month, during which crosses made of flowers are found in abundance across the city. After Fiesta de la Cruz, Patio Fiesta begins, with private and public patios across the city opening for public viewing and the best patio competition. Toward the end of the month is the Cordoba Fair, a loud and lively time of music, singing and dancing in traditional costumes on the fairground near the River Guadalquivir.

Three great reasons to stay in Distrito Sur and to visit Cordoba in May!

Popular Cordoba Tours & Activities

Day Trips from Cordoba Spain

Two Easy & Interesting Day Trips from Cordoba

Rachel suggests these two easy-to-access day trips as some of the most interesting places to visit near Cordoba Spain: Medina Azahara and Castillo Almodovar del Rio.


Medina Azahara: About 6 km to the west of Cordoba lies Medina Azahara, UNESCO-listed ruins of an Arab palace that are more like a ruined city, built by Abd-ar-Rahman between 912 and 961, at enormous cost and effort for the time. The site’s restoration is ongoing, and a visit is an incredible eye-opener to understanding the lifestyle and wealth of the times. The on-site museum holds many treasures discovered on site, and is the first port of call. From the museum, visitors then take a bus up to the ruined city itself. You can park at the museum, but can’t take cars up to the ruins. As such, a bus runs constantly between the two.

There are also buses that run from Cordoba city to the site, several times per day, as well as guided tours available from Cordoba.

   

A half-day tour from Cordoba city, this trip will delve into the history of the site, and include a guided visit of the Medina itself, a stop in the visitor’s centre, and a free beer and tapa to refresh yourself! The tour price includes round-trip transportation from Cordoba, entrance tickets, the guide, and the beer/tapa bonus. Tours are available in English and Spanish. Check Availability and Prices


Castillo Almodovar del Rio: A bit further afield is the fabulous castle of Castillo Almodovar del Rio, one of the many Game of Thrones filming sites throughout Spain. At 22 km from Cordoba city, this Roman fort turned Moorish castle can be seen well before arriving. Even if you’re not heading that way, it’s worth the detour for historians, castle lovers, and anyone who loves great views. The town itself deserves a wander, but is not really worth staying overnight.

Need to Know: FAQs & Helpful Info

Arriving in Cordoba

Most people arrive in Cordoba by train, bus, or car. Although Cordoba has a small airport, the nearest functional airport for international connections is Seville, a 1.5 hour drive from Cordoba.

Bus and Train Station Cordoba Spain

Both the bus and train station are in the north of the modern part of the city. If you’re arriving by train, the bus station is opposite and there are frequent buses running to the historical centre, as well as taxis. If you choose to take the bus, easy-to-read maps outline the route, and you can pay the driver upon boarding the bus. The number 3 and 13 bus go to the city centre, although I recommend double checking the destination, as they do change at times. Taxis are abundant, and are always white and with the taxi number on the door.

Walking from Cordoba station is also possible and relatively easy: Cordoba is a flat city, and walking is a great way to get your bearings. It takes about 20 minutes to walk from the bus/train station to the city center, but we recommend making a detour to Huerta del Rey-Vallelano district and the Mercado Victoria gastro-market, where you can grab lunch, dinner, or a drink, or simply for an excellent introduction to Cordoba’s wonderful gastronomy.


Car Parking in Cordoba Spain

If you’re arriving by car on the E5/A4, take the Historical Centre Exit and head for Districto Sur, staying on the southern side of the river where there is plenty of free on-street parking. To get to the historical centre, you can simply walk across the Roman Bridge on the River Guadalquivir, which is a great start to your visit as the incredible Mezquita will be in front you and the Alcazar to your left.

If you’re staying overnight, many of the hotels in Cordoba offer parking – just be sure to alert them in advance that you’ll be traveling by car and want to reserve a spot!

Day Trip to Cordoba from Seville, Malaga or Granada

Multiple companies run organized all-in day trips to Granada from other cities in Andalusia, which you can find and book in advance on tour aggregator websites such as GetYourGuide (a German start-up that we like to use on our trips) and Viator (which is owned by Trip Advisor).

Day Trip from Seville to Cordoba: Full-day tour includes round-trip transportation and a guide. The tour stops in the village of Carmona on the way to Cordoba. In Cordoba, you’ll visit the Mosque (via audioguide), the Royal Stables, the Synagogue, and more, as well as enjoy some free time. Check Prices and Availability

Day Trip from Malaga to Cordoba: Full-day tour includes round-trip transportation, a guide, the Mosque-Cathedral, Jewish Quarter and Synagogue, Roman Bridge, and Andalusian patios and gardens. Check Prices and Availability

Day Trip from Granada to Cordoba: Private full-day tour includes round-trip transportation, a guide, and visits to the Mosque-Cathedral and Jewish Quarter. Check Prices and Availability

 

Thanks to Rachel, our Local Expert in Andalusia, for Sharing her Knowledge and Tips!

We created this guide in collaboration with Rachel Webb, a British expat living in Andalusia and the blogger behind Andalucia Explorer, Luxury Spain Travel and Only Spain ~ Boutique Hotels. Rachel  has lived in Andalusia for over 2 decades, and we’re thrilled she agreed to share her tips about Granada!

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Our guide to a perfect day in Seville Spain

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Where to Stay in Cordoba Spain + Cordoba Spain Travel Guide II If you're heading to Andalusia, don't miss lovely Cordoba! In this guide, an expat in Andalusia shares the best things to do in Cordoba, where to eat in Cordoba, and where to stay, too! Click to Read our Guide. Cordoba Spain I Cordoba Spain Travel I Cordoba Spain Things to Do In I