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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.
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.
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.
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.