The Best Day Trips From Córdoba, Spain

The Alcazaba in Antequera is a must-see
The Alcazaba in Antequera is a must-see | © George Munday / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Mark Nayler
31 July 2020

If your stay in Córdoba is long enough for a day trip, several nearby destinations are well worth a visit, including some of the region’s most attractive whitewashed villages, a natural park full of rugged mountains and mysterious caves, and another famous and beautiful city. Read on for Culture Trip’s pick of the best day trips to take from Córdoba, Andalusia.

Antequera

Natural Feature, Architectural Landmark
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Andalusia, Antequera, town, Landscape, Malaga, Spain, Europe, Spring, architecture, castle, colourful, no people, panorama, pueb
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Antequera, one of the friendliest towns in southern Spain, is situated 115km (71mi) south of Córdoba, in the middle of the seared Andalusian countryside at the foot of El Torcal, among the most impressive karst landscapes in Europe. Learn about Antequera’s multilayered history with an audio tour of its hilltop fortress, the Alcazaba, for €6 (£5.40), and visit a few of its 30-odd churches before relaxing over tapas and drinks at La Cantina on the main drag or El Mercado on the market square. If you fancy heading off the beaten track, try Bar La Perdiz on Plaza Espíritu Santo, where it’ll be just you and the local people.

Priego de Córdoba

Natural Feature, Architectural Landmark
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From Córdoba, it’s just over an hour’s drive southeast to the olive-farming town of Priego de Córdoba, one of the prettiest pueblos blancos (white villages) in the province. It’s famous for its baroque churches and the narrow, flower-filled streets of its oldest quarter, Barrio de la Villa, where you’ll also find the Balcón del Adarve (Balcony of Adarve). From here, you can enjoy uninterrupted views of the olive groves and, beyond them, the dramatic landscapes of the Sierras Subbéticas Natural Park. Priego’s other key historical attractions are its 13th-century castle and the Carnicerías Reales, an elegant 16th-century building that once housed a market and slaughterhouse.

Sierras Subbéticas Natural Park

Park
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Greenway of the Subbetica (old railway line of the so-called "oil train") - viaduct, cyclists and rocky castle (9th century). Zuheros. Cordoba provinc
© Jose Lucas / Alamy Stock Photo
Priego de Córdoba and the Sierras Subbéticas Natural Park can be combined in a single day trip, as the quickest route to Priego takes you right through the middle of the park. Perfect for a day of hiking and a picnic, the Sierras Subbéticas is home to striking karst formations, 17 towns and La Tiñosa, the highest peak in Córdoba province at 1,568m (5,114ft). Also of note is the park’s collection of caves, the most important of which is the Cueva de Los Murciélagos (Bats’ Cave), where you’ll find Neolithic ruins, a Roman milestone considered to be the first-ever road sign, and several species of its eponymous winged inhabitant.

Castro del Río

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Keen hikers may also want to take a day trip to the attractive pueblo blanco of Castro del Río – a stopping point on the Camino Mozárabe de Santiago (a pilgrimage that leads to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, like the much more famous Camino Frances). From here, you can spend a day walking on the Camino itself or on a stretch of the Ruta del Califato, a historic trail that links Córdoba with Granada. Whichever you choose, you’ll have ample opportunity to admire Castro del Río’s surrounding countryside, which produces some of the finest olive oil and olive wood in Spain. The village is a 45-minute drive southeast of Córdoba.

Granada

Architectural Landmark
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The Alhambra, Granada - Moorish palace Andalucia, Spain
© Dave Zubraski / Alamy Stock Photo

If you don’t mind a slightly longer journey from Córdoba, take a two-hour drive or bus journey to Granada, another popular destination in southern Spain. Located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, the city was described by the 20th-century English writer Laurie Lee as “probably the most beautiful and haunting of all Spanish cities”. Must-sees include the old Arabic quarter of Albaicín, the flamenco gipsy barrio of Sacromonte and, of course, the mighty Alhambra, one of Spain’s most-visited historical sites. Among the best places to eat and drink are Plaza Larga in Albaicín, Bar Pibe in Sacromonte (for stunning views of the Alhambra), and old-school Bodegas Castañeda in the centre.

These recommendations were updated on July 31, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.