I’m so excited to be finally sharing my complete guide to Córdoba, Spain. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to visit this magical Andalucían city but when a chance opportunity came along I jumped at it. I booked this trip to Córdoba on a complete whim, only 2 days before. I spent 7 days in the city leaving my plenty of time to find the all the best bits of Córdoba. This is only my second Spain travel guide (Vejer de la Frontera took first place) but after this trip I plan on making many more trips to Spain.
Why Visit Córdoba?
Although Córdoba has been on my Spain ’To-Do’ list for a while there are many places I would usually choose before here. So how did I end up in Córdoba for 7 days? I’ve had a crazy few months and I needed a trip away from Portugal, but I didn’t want it to be stressful. Flying was off the cards because airports are notoriously hectic at the moment. I also needed to work so it was important I was somewhere with good connectivity (not in a remote village off the beaten path). I started looking at places I could reach by train or bus. I opened up my GoogleMaps to look at my saved places in Spain and up popped Córdoba. It’s been saved on my Maps for 5 years or so but for one reason or another (Seville, Barcelona etc) it has been overlooked. I checked FlixBus and found an overnight to Córdoba from Lisbon. Then, I had a quick peek at apartments and found sound great value ones in the centre. Sold!
Córdoba is a great stop if you are on a Spain trip but also totally suitable as a stand-alone holiday. It is easy to get to and navigate around. It has lots to marvel at and also a friendlier and more relaxed vibe than I’ve experienced in other Spanish cities. It’s also worth mentioning how safe I felt wandering at night at a solo female.
Getting to/ from/ around Córdoba
Córdoba is well served in terms of transport compared to some other places in Andalucía. Although it doesn’t have its own international airport it has two very close. It also has a train station and buses coming in and out of everywhere.
Flights to Córdoba
The closest international airports to Córdoba are Seville (1.5 hours) and Malaga (1 hour 45). Check SkyScanner for to find your closest airport and check prices.
Train to Córdoba
Córdoba is connected to much of the country via train including Seville, Malaga, Ronda and even Madrid. I always use Omio to narrow down trains and buses from location to location and that’s how I found my route this time.
Buses to Córdoba
I used Flixbus to travel from Lisbon which is one of many routes to Córdoba. It is also linked to Seville where you can travel further. I’ve used FlixBus in many countries including Portugal, Italy, France and Spain. The coaches are comfortable, fares good value and the app is useful too.
Car Rental in Córdoba
If you are just staying in Córdoba for a few days you don’t really need a car. However if you are staying longer or you are taking the trip from Seville I would consider hiring a car to make the most out of what’s around. I’m a huge fan of road trips ever since I took a 10-day road trip around Alentejo because you always get to see more than by public transport, not to mention the freedom it gives you. One place not to miss which can only really be reached by car is Zuheros. Believe me it’s worth the hire price! I usually rent using Zest and all my Portugal trips have been done using them. Their insurance is full comp and excellent and fuss free, plus they have great customer service too. They don’t work within Córdoba but there are loads of options in Seville through them.
As for getting around Córdoba; it’s an easy city to walk around, it’s mostly flat and I really enjoyed walking from plaza to plaza. There are also electric bikes and scooters for hire dotted around the city. I couldn’t find Uber in Córdoba but there are taxis that run by the meter. A taxi from the train/bus station to the centre is around €7.
When to visit Córdoba
Like much of Southern Europe temperatures can get kinda crazy in the middle of summer so shoulder season (May, June, September, October) would be a great time to visit Córdoba. If you do find yourself there in the middle of summer just take things a little slower.
Where to stay in Córdoba
There are plenty of options for places to stay in Córdoba including mega fancy hotels, budget dorm rooms and lovely apartments. I usually stay in apartments when I travel now, mostly because I usually working too and also because I enjoy having my own kitchen. While searching for this trip I found some really great apartments dotted around at a very reasonable rate 30 euro or less a night.
I loved my apartment in Córdoba. The two bedroom, spacious apartment overlooks a small plaza and was only a 10-15minute walk away from all the main attractions. It has air-con, a powerful shower, fully fitted kitchen and super comfy bed. I would 100% stay again.
Where I stayed in Córdoba >> El Balcon de la Axerquia
Worth noting…I had a specific list of requirements that many people wouldn’t need because I was working for the entirety of my stay. I was looking for an apartment fairly central with a kitchen, good natural light and excellent wifi. I found quite a few apartments and studios cheaper than where I stayed but the reviews for wifi were always dodgy. If you’re not working while you’re in Córdoba then many of these would be suitable.
My Córdoba Hotel Wish List
If I was visiting solely for holiday then I would consider one of these amazing hotels I found on my search.
Best experiences in Córdoba
Okay so worth noting that I don’t always mention all the most popular tourist attractions in my travel guides. Usually because they are already very obvious and there are already a million and one guides mentioning them. Or sometimes it’s just because I don’t rate them that much. An obvious “not to miss” attraction in Córdoba is the Mezquita de Córdoba – a spectacular mosque turned cathedral. I did climb the tower for the view (see below) but chose not to do the Mezquita tour. However check out the Official Mezquita de Córdoba website if you want to tick off the number 1 attraction to do in Córdoba.
Also in May they have a flower festival which looks amazing, so if you are going to be traveling then check out the event here.
These are the experiences that will stick with me…
Watch a Live Flamenco Performance
I feel like I lucked out on timing with this one as the city puts on a number of free authentic flamenco shows throughout the summer and I managed to get into one while I was there. If you are traveling o Córdoba in the summer keep a close eye on this website to see what events are on. The one I went to was part of a series called Flamenco en la Terrazza.
There are obviously a number of restaurants that offer live flamenco too but I can’t vouch for how authentic the shows are. From my little bit of research this restaurant has some encouraging reviews.
Early bird at Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos
Flamenco aside this was my favourite activity in Córdoba. Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos is a medieval palace with stunning gardens and entry is only €5. The colours and light are just beautiful first thing in the morning so book an early ticket here. You’ll also have the place almost to yourself.
Rooftop Drinks at H10
There is no shortage of outdoor drinking spots in Córdoba and lots with a lovely view too, but nothing quite compares to the rooftop at the H10 Palacio Colomera hotel. This is the perfect place to unwind after a day of sightseeing. The space is really well thought out and comfortable to spend an hour or two before dinner. The view over Plaza de la Tendillas is wonderful.
Tortilla at Bar Santos
This tiny bar, right next to the Mezquita is famous for one thing and one thing only – tortilla. Supposedly the best tortilla in Córdoba can be found at Bar Santos but to be honest for me it was all about the experience or cramming in the little bar and eating a tortilla right off the counter. It’s a fun experience and a super cheap lunch!
Puerta del Puente (Arc de Triumph) at sunset
The arch is the “gateway” between the grand Roman bridge and the city. You’ll find yourself passing through this area many times as you weave in and out of the city but if you come at dusk, hang around for a little while. It’s a magical place to watch the sunset colours above.
I’m not usually one to include souvenirs in my guides because most places tend to sell a load of crap made in china with the appropriate city/ region/ country written on it. Córdoba is no different, you can find all the usual souvenir suspects. However there are also some lovely boutique style shops selling jewellery and clothing, plus some ceramics too. I thought the jewellery in particular was unique and I bought myself a ring to remind myself of my week in Córdoba. I didn’t write down any names of the shops but wander the streets leading away from the Mezquita and you can’t go wrong.
Best View of Córdoba
If you’re anything like me you like to get up high somewhere so you can look out over the city. Most sities have something like this, think Eiffel tower in Paris, Dom Luis I bridge in Porto, The Shard in London, you get the idea. Córdobas great view is from the Mezquita bell tower, and what a view it is! Tickets are only €3 and can be bought here. I’ve said it many times, but the earlier you go the quieter it’ll be!
Best authentic eats in Córdoba
As with every European city there are dozens, if not hundreds of cafes, bars and restaurants to choose from which is overwhelming when you only have a short time. I find reviews can only be so helpful as a lot of it comes down to personal preference which only makes seeking out the “best” spots even harder.
Córdoba has the full range of restaurant types and I eat and drank at a mix of places I found online and places I just happened to stumble upon.
I have to admit nothing blew me away food wise while I was in Córdoba(apart from the churros, but maybe because I was comparing to Seville which is off the scale delicious for foodies. But that’s not to say I didn’t have some great food and drink experiences while staying in the city. There are several dishes and drinks you must try in Córdoba. I’ll share them below and tell you where to find them.
This cold tomato, garlic, bread and olive oil soup is specifically from Córdoba and is gazpacho’s creamier cousin. Typically served cold and topped with Serrano ham and boiled egg. I enjoyed my afternoon bowl of Salmorejo at Taverna El Porto, tapa style. You can get Salmorejo all over the city at various prices but in my humble opinion the cheap version is the most authentic way to eat it.
Churros con chocolate
Now here is something I can rave about. The churros con chocolate at Don Pepe’s are insane. Fresh, crispy churros and hot, thick chocolate I am still dreaming about now. Top tip, churros are typically a breakfast food and that’s when locals eat them. I literally got shooed away from a cafe when I tried to order them at 2pm.
Tinto de Verano
This is more of a Spain thing than a Córdoba but I found it replaced my usual sangria. It’s a cheaper less flavourful version (basically cheap red wine and soda water) but hits the spot every time on a boiling hot summer’s afternoon in Andalucía. I don’t want to know how many litres of this I knocked back in a week. You can get it all over the city and you’ll often have a choice of plain soda water or flavoured. I very much enjoyed my evening glass at Gran Bar.
Make no doubt about it, I am a wine lover. I’ve spent lots of my travels on wine tasting missions, but I’m still not totally sold on fino. However fino is fairly local so you should definitely sip a glass or two.
Berenjenas Con Miel (fried eggplant with honey)
I believe you can get good versions of this all over the city but please order them at Bar La Cavea because it was my favourite restaurant experience in Córdoba. The setting is gorgeous and there is a really chilled out vibe.
Tostada con tomate y azeite
Literally any cafe all over the city. For a cheap and cheerful version head to Plaza Correda.
Another restaurant worth mentioning is Horno San Luis. I found it was a tiny bit overpriced BUT worth it because it has a really fantastic rooftop and good vibes. I went for dinner but if I were to go again I would go for a sunset cocktail instead.
Some places on my foodie wishlist that I didn’t get to visit… if you go, tell me how it is?!
Best bars Córdoba
There are is no shortage of bars in Córdoba and there is always somewhere to grab a cerveza or tinto de verano. These were my favourite hang outs.
Tendido 7 El Puerto
In amongst the busiest plaza in Córdoba (Plaza de las Tendillas) this bar served up the perfect selection of tapas and cold beers to match. Great afternoon spot.
I found this bar by accident when I made the mistake of venturing outside at 4pm in August heat. It was 42c and El Baron appeared like a mirage. I’ve never enjoyed a glass of cold sangria as much as I did here. Indoor and outdoor seating available. I caught a glimpse of the Salmorejo and it looked excellent!
Taberna La Chiquita de Quini
Slightly too “touristy” for me, however there is no denying the patio is a beautiful place to have a drink or two. It’s cool and a welcome break from the busier bars on the main drag.
Horno San Luis
As mentioned above this restaurant is also a cocktail bar and has a unique rooftop view and neon pink lighting.
Finding good coffee in Córdoba
I struggled to find good coffee in Córdoba. When I say good coffee I mean speciality coffee, that is made from quality beans. If it exists, it is well hidden. The one exception is The Club on the other side of the river. This brunch and burger bar has excellent speciality coffee and all the standard hipster breakfast options if you’re craving avo toast. It also doubles as a cocktail bar and although I didn’t visit at night it looks like it would be a really fun vibe.
Of course standard coffee is everywhere, and I very much enjoyed my morning cafe con leche served in a little glass.
Best Plazas in Córdoba
Córdoba is home to so many plazas. From the teeny tiny ones to the huge ones, the one thing they all have in common is they are a great place to sit and watch the world go by, either on a bench with your thoughts or at a cafe with a drink in hand. The biggest is probably Plaza de las Tendillas which is busy from morning to evening but comes alive late night (after 10pm). Then you have the “famous” Plaza de la Corredera which is stunning to look at and the perfect spot to enjoy breakfast. Also check out Plaza de Jerónimo Páez which is unbelievably pretty. Don’t stop there though – go get lost and find your very own plaza! There are so many plazas to stumble upon.
Money in Córdoba
The majority of places accept card even for small amounts but to be on the safe side it’s always best to carry a bit of cash for those smaller purchases. Unless you already have a Euro bank account I highly recommend getting a Wise Card. This will allow you to hold and exchange multiple currencies at the best possible rate. There is no charge for withdrawing or using your card to pay. I’ve been living in Portugal since 2016 and I use Wise as my primary bank card here.
Top tip: Avoid Multi Currency machines (usually set up outside souvenir shops etc) as they charge you 3 or 4 euro to withdraw. Always use actual bank ATM’s to withdraw money.
So there you have it, a complete guide to Córdoba, Spain. I hope my week of wandering has come in handy and that this guide can help you plan the perfect trip to Córdoba.
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