Córdoba has an interesting history: in the 10th century it was the largest city in Europe with a population of half a million. It’s now one of the first choices for tourists looking to explore Spain beyond Madrid and Barcelona. Drawing the crowds is La Mezquita (the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba) and the 8th-century Alcazar – home to a castle, gardens and Moorish baths. There is a wide range of hotels in this Andalusian city, ranging from tiny boutique retreats to rooms in a former palace.
Palacio del Bailío should be your first choice if you want to combine a central location with cultural and historical importance. The 16th-century building in which this five-star hotel now sits was once a palace and, thanks to a faithful restoration, it retains many original features including fabulous frescos. The interior is made from limestone, adorned with greenery and aromatic flowers. Relax in the Arbequina restaurant and tapas bar or soak in the Bodyna Spa.
Leon Beckenham contributed additional reporting to this article.