Cordoba in 3 Days: a guidebook for getting the most out of your visit

One of the most charming Andalusian cities, Cordoba amazes visitors with its mix of cultures and rich past.

Nicolas Reffray

Nicolas Reffray

12 min read

Cordoba in 3 Days: a guidebook for getting the most out of your visit

Cordoba | ©deepfoto

There is truly a lot to see and do in Cordoba, as it is one of the most attractive and culturally rich cities in Spain. Its history, marked by the mixture of cultures (Muslim, Roman, Jewish and Catholic), can be seen in each of its streets. Not in vain, its historic center and the Alcázar de los Reyes de Córdoba were declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

In this 3-day tour of Cordoba I invite you to visit some of the unmissable places, those that will make you fall in love with the city, such as the Jewish quarter, the Calahorra tower, the Alcazar, its flamenco shows, its mosque converted into a cathedral, the Corredera square or the stone bridge of Roman origin.

1. Day Tourist bus, Mosque-Cathedral, Alcazar de los Reyes, Roman bridge and flamenco show at night

Alcazar of the Christian Kings of Cordoba| ©Paolo Trabattoni
Alcazar of the Christian Kings of Cordoba| ©Paolo Trabattoni

Along with Seville and Granada, Cordoba is one of the most important and most visited cities in the Andalusian region. With its picturesque appeal, touring the city is an absolutely unique experience.

Crossed by the Guadalquivir River, Cordoba can be perfectly known on foot, in fact it is one of the best ways to enjoy its magic, since every neighborhood and every corner is worth seeing.

Hop on a tourist bus

Start your first day with a touristic bus ride through the city of Cordoba. While it may be a generic option, I can assure you that there is no better way to get a map of the whole city.

You will be able to get a general idea of where the main attractions are located, as well as receive from your guide a small and very entertaining story about the history of the place.

You will have the opportunity to get to know in a short time those places that you will surely return to later on foot, to enjoy them much more in detail, and you will be able to discard those that do not excite you too much.

Book your tourist bus in Cordoba

Visit the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba

After your walk around the city, I suggest you start your walking tour in the very center of Cordoba. Among the many things you can see, one of the must-sees is the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba.

Over the years, this has become the most emblematic monument of the city. It is one of the most fascinating places of Islamic art in Andalusia.

Thanks to its great beauty, with the Christian conquest it was not demolished, but a cathedral was built in its center. The result is a beautiful mixture of architectures that coexist in harmony.

You can not fail to marvel at its impressive columns, with the detail of its interior and its orange garden. From the latter you can appreciate in all its splendor the beautiful bell tower, the tallest structure in Cordoba.

Tickets for the Mosque of Cordoba can be purchased online, without queues or wasting time, something essential if you only have 3 days to visit this charming city.

  • Location: C. Cardenal Herrero, 1, Córdoba
  • Price: from 11 Euros approximately
  • Hours: Monday to Sunday from 10am to 7pm

Book your visit to the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba

Alcazar of the Christian Kings of Cordoba

A few meters from the mosque-cathedral, on the banks of the Guadalquivir, is another must-see of any visit to the city of Cordoba: the Alcazar of the Christian Monarchs.

Former residence of the Catholic kings and later prison, it is a real jewel of Mudejar architecture, with Romanesque details and tiles, built in the fourteenth century.

Walking through its interior, you can feel part of the history of Andalusia. With its Gothic-style towers and walls, from which you can see the Guadalquivir and much of the city, this is one of the key points of Cordoba's multicultural past.

Tickets for the Alcazar de los Reyes de Cordoba can also be obtained online, which is ideal, since it is one of the most popular monuments and receives more visitors throughout the year.

  • Location: Plaza Campo Santo de los Mártires, Cordoba
  • Price: from 16 Euros approximately
  • Hours: Tuesday to Friday from 8:30 am to 8:45 pm, Saturdays from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm and Sundays from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm.

Buy your ticket for the Alcazar of the Kings of Cordoba

Cross the Roman Bridge and visit the Calahorra Tower

Calahorra Tower| ©-JvL-
Calahorra Tower| ©-JvL-

Continuing our tour of the city, barely 200 meters from the Alcazar you will find the famous Roman Bridge. An impressive stone bridge built in the first century BC.

This structure goes from one side of the Guadalquivir to the other, thus connecting the neighborhood where the Campo de la Verdad is located with the Cathedral neighborhood.

If you are a fan of the TV series Game of Thrones, you will surely recognize it, since it was recently used as the setting for one of its last seasons. At one end you can find the Calahorra Tower, a defensive turret from the Muslim period, declared a National Historic Monument.

This is definitely an ideal tour to do with children in Cordoba, the city is full of stories and scenarios that allow you to imagine knights in shining armor, so the little ones will be fascinated.

Visit a tapas bar

Before closing the day and night falls, I recommend you take a moment to visit one of the many tapas bars in the city of Cordoba.

Next to the Mosque-Cathedral you have three of the best: Bar Santos, El Abanico and Caballo Andaluz. You can rest and enjoy the best tapas of the city.

Fried anchovies, patatas bravas, an omelette or even hamburgers are some of the tapas you can try with your cold beer. Don't miss out on experiencing the flavors of Cordoba.

Enjoy a traditional flamenco show

As the evening approaches, I recommend that you close your first day in this amazing Spanish city with a traditional flamenco show. You can be sure that here you will find some of the best flamenco tablaos in all of Andalusia.

Attending flamenco shows in Cordoba is without a doubt an experience without comparison. You will be able to enjoy the gypsy candor while tasting some tapas or traditional dishes of the region in a place with history. Flamenco was born in Andalusia, a product of this mix of cultures.

Some of the best flamenco shows in Cordoba are found around the area of the Alcazar and the Mosque-Cathedral, since this is the center of the city and the place where most of the main activities in Cordoba take place.

2. Day Visit Medina Azahara, La Juderia, the courtyards of Cordoba, the Plaza de la Corredera and a night out drinking

The Jewish Quarter of Cordoba| ©Joan Carles Doria
The Jewish Quarter of Cordoba| ©Joan Carles Doria

Getting lost in the streets of this beautiful city is the best way to get to know it. Strolling through some of its famous courtyards, full of flowers and colorful vegetation.

Like everything in this beautiful city, its streets are also full of traces of the different cultures that passed through here. I invite you to discover the most photographable corners of Cordoba.

Visit the charming Medina Azahara

For this second day I propose you to have breakfast at the Cafeteria Don Pepe, one of the classics of the city. It has two branches in the center of Cordoba, one near the palace of Vaina and the other near the synagogue. Tip, try the churros, they are a delight.

Then get ready for an excursion to one of the most important sites of the region's Muslim past, which is only 15 minutes from Cordoba. I am referring of course to Medina Azahara. This ancient palace city was built as the seat of the Caliphate's government back in the 10th century.

By booking one of the tours to Medina Azahara from Cordoba you will have the chance to enjoy a 3 hour guided walk through the Muslim past of this area of Andalusia.

From the city center you will be driven in a comfortable minibus to Medina Azahara, where your local guide will tell you all about this wonderful place.

Medina Azahara is an archaeological site recognized by UNESCO as part of the Cultural Heritage of the region, a truly magical place worth visiting.

You will be able to see the Palace of Yafar, the museum, where a large number of ancient pieces are preserved that will allow you to learn more about the time when Cordoba belonged to the Muslim empire.

Book your excursion to Medina Azahara from Córdoba

Visit the Jewish quarter of Cordoba, the Jewish quarter of Cordoba

After visiting part of Cordoba's Muslim past, I suggest you walk the streets of La Juderia, the traditional Jewish quarter.

This is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city. Its labyrinthine streets and alleys are located within the historic center, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1994.

You can walk through what was once one of the most important Jewish neighborhoods in Spain. In 2008 a pedestrian signage was implemented linking it with other Jewish quarters in Spain, so that all visitors can walk through this neighborhood, according to the proposed circuit.

You can visit the beautiful synagogue, located next to the old wall of the Muslim medina. Its Mudejar style is of incomparable exquisiteness. Built in the 14th century, it was declared a National Monument in 1885. One of the access doors to the Jewish Quarter is the Almodóvar door, where you can see the sculpture of the philosopher Seneca.

If you want to know more in detail its secrets and history, you can hire one of the tours through the Jewish quarter of Cordoba, with which you will learn all about the history of the Jewish community in Cordoba and this incredible place.

Take advantage of this moment to have lunch or a snack in one of the many restaurants in the Jewish quarter. For sure this is one of the best places in Cordoba.

Get lost in search of the patios of Cordoba

Calleja del Pañuelo| ©Xavier Estruch
Calleja del Pañuelo| ©Xavier Estruch

After enjoying La Judería, I suggest you go out in search of the most beautiful courtyards of the city. In some of them you must pay admission, but others are free.

One of the most typical tourist attractions of the city of Cordoba, its colorful courtyards full of plants and flowers, are a beauty where you can stop to take some incredible pictures.

Near the synagogue is the Calleja de las Flores, one of the most popular. Here you can find on the white walls a large number of plants and flowers that give a very picturesque image to the place.

You should arm yourself with patience because it is always full of tourists who like you come in search of the most beautiful corners of Cordoba. Another must is the Calleja del Pañuelo, winding and narrow but full of charm.

Some of the most beautiful patios are found in this area, such as those along Calle de San Basilio, and if you are lucky enough to visit the city during the second half of May, you can enjoy the Festival de los patios cordobeses, a festival in which everyone opens the doors to their flowered courtyards for the public to enjoy.

Book a tour of the courtyards of San Basilio in Cordoba

Drinks at the Corredera Square

From here walk about 10 to 15 minutes towards the center. End your day in the Plaza de la Corredera, where you can enjoy a drink or dine at one of its many terraces.

Perhaps it is because of its rectangular structure and arcades, but everything about it is reminiscent of the Plaza Mayor. One of the most classic meeting points of the city for centuries.

It is one of the few Castilian squares in the Andalusian region, and an ideal place to hang out and close this second day in this magnificent city.

With plenty of bars, cafes and restaurants, you can relax and appreciate the beauty of this square, which begins to light up as the sun goes down.

3. Day Visit the Arab baths, the royal stables, the palace of Viana, the Archaeological Museum and dinner at the Red Horse

Arab Bath of Cordoba| ©Monica Duran
Arab Bath of Cordoba| ©Monica Duran

As you may have noticed, Cordoba is such an interesting city that it is very difficult to select just a few attractions. Get ready to make the most of this last day in the city of Cordoba.

Relax in the Arab baths Hammam Al Ándalus

For this last day I propose you to start relaxing in one of the most incredible Arab baths you can imagine. This is not just another spa, but a unique experience, from which you will leave refreshed.

The Hammam Al Ándalus is one of the best Arab baths in Cordoba, and is located a few meters from the Roman Bridge, almost on the banks of the Guadalquivir.

If you do not know what an Arab bath is, it is something similar to what we would know today as a spa, although it is worth saying that the experience is much richer.

Based mainly on the use of large pools with water at different temperatures, and a series of massages, infusions, aromas and others, they offer absolute relaxation.

In times of Muslim occupation they were very popular and that is why today there are several Arab baths in the city. However, many of them are preserved as museums or as archaeological finds, instead of fulfilling their original function.

Such is the case of the Arab baths of the Pescadería, the Caliphal baths, discovered at the beginning of the 20th century, or the Arab baths of Santa María.

  • Location: C. Corregidor Luis de la Cerda, 51, Córdoba
  • Price: from 35 Euros approximately
  • Hours: Monday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 0hs.

Visit the Royal Stables

After being treated as you deserve in the Arab baths, I suggest you to visit the incredible royal stables. Located next to the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos. These are the stables founded in 1572 by King Philip II.

Here, besides being able to admire the stables and the beautiful facilities where the best Andalusian horses were bred for centuries, you can enjoy some of the most amazing equestrian shows.

It is totally worth visiting this place, especially if you are traveling with children, they will not cease to marvel at the tests performed by the horses.

Nearby there is a wide range of restaurants, so you can take a break and replenish your energy with a good Andalusian meal.

  • Location: next to the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos, Cordoba.
  • Price: from 16,50 Euros for adults and 11,50 Euros for children over 3 years old.
  • Hours: Wednesday to Saturday from 10 am to 1 pm and from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm

Tour the beautiful Viana Palace

Just a 20-minute walk from here, heading north, you will come across the Palacio de Viana, a beautiful palace-museum declared an Asset of Cultural Interest, built in the 15th century. One of its main attractions is undoubtedly its twelve gardens and courtyards.

Visiting this place is a must on any trip to the city of Cordoba. You can see the Patio de los Gatos, the Patio de Recibo, the Patio de las Rejas, the Patio de Madame, among others. Each one more beautiful than the last, they are perfect for colorful photographs.

Its interior is also of great beauty, places like the Mosaic Hall, the Gallery of Tiles or the Gallery of Battles will guide you through the past of Andalusia, and its collection of paintings will not leave you indifferent. You can enjoy some works by Goya and Brueghel, among others.

The bedroom section is a journey through time, with furniture and decorations from the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. An exciting journey through Cordoba's past.

  • Location: Plaza de Don Gome, Cordoba
  • Price: from 6 Euros
  • Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 9am to 3pm

A visit to the Archaeological Museum of Cordoba

Archaeological Museum of Córdoba| ©JamesNarmer
Archaeological Museum of Córdoba| ©JamesNarmer

Almost to finish these 3 days in Cordoba, I propose you to visit the archaeological museum of the city. This 16th century palace is located a few meters from the Calleja de las Flores.

It is an extremely interesting place, where you can learn all about the history of the region, with a large number of pieces ranging from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages.

Admission is free for residents of the European Union. In its two levels you can enjoy, for example, the remains of the Roman theater and some very interesting audiovisuals.

  • Location: Plaza Jerónimo Páez, 7. 14003. Córdoba.
  • Price: Free
  • Hours: from September 16 to June 15: Tuesday to Saturday from 9 to 20hs and Sundays from 9 to 15hs. Mondays is closed. From June 16 to September 15:
    Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10am to 5pm and Sundays from 10am to 5pm.

Dinner at the Caballo Rojo

Finish this third and last day in the city of Cordoba with a dinner at one of the most renowned and award-winning restaurants in Andalusia.

Located in the heart of the Jewish Quarter, the Caballo Rojo has a varied drinks area, and a restaurant, with a truly delicious menu of Mediterranean and European food.

The place is almost hidden, inside a house, next to the Mosque-Cathedral. I assure you there is no better way to say goodbye to Cordoba.