Situated in the center of Andalucía, Córdoba was once the capital of Islamic Spain
. This ancient city is a perfect destination to explore by bicycle or on foot. Mesmerizing Moorish heritage can be found along the Gualdalquivir, Andalucía’s major river. Whether you are looking for gastronomy or historical experiences, you do not want to miss these eight places.
The Mezquita-Catedral (Mosque-Cathedral) is arguably the must-visit building in Córdoba. Built between the 8th and 10th centuries, this lustrous architecture was once the home of the Muslims, Jews and Christians. Approaching the Puerta de Las Palmas, or Door of the Palms, 850 marble and granite columns make way for the mosque. Make sure to see the Mezquita‘s beautiful jewel, the mihrab, on the opposite room from the entrance. The mosque opens from 8:30 am to 7 pm Monday to Saturday, or from 8:30 am to 11:30 am, and 3 pm to 7 pm on Sunday. Tickets cost 8 euros. However, you can get free entrance if you visit the mosque between 8:30 am and 9:30 am.
Mezquita-Cathedral, Calle Cardenal Herrero 1, Córdoba, Spain, +34 957 470 512
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
The Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos, or the alcázar of the Christian Monarchs, is located near the Mezquita-Catedral in the Old Town of Córdoba. This outstanding castle features a Moorish royal bath and beautiful 55,000 square meter gardens. The gardens are worth visiting in spring, with their palm trees, orange and lemon trees, and a wide-ranging variety of plants. Make sure to climb the circular tower, which offers a delightful view of the Guadalquivir river. The entrance costs 4.50 euros (free entrance at 8.30 am to 9:30 am). The alcázar opens from 8:30 am to 8:45 pm Tuesday to Sunday during winter time, and from 8:30 am to 3 pm in the summer.
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos, Plaza Campo Santo de los Mártires, Córdoba, Spain, +34 957 420 151
Madinat Al-Zahra, or Medina Azahara, is located eight kilometers west from Córdoba. It was once a magnificent palace city built at the foot of Sierra Morena. The location was chosen for its magnificent landscape. The palace city was distributed into three terraces, with the Royal Castle located in the highest and middle levels of the city. The two lower terraces were constructed to support the Islamic gardens. Tickets cost 1.50 euros (free entrance for E.U. citizens) and it opens from 9 am to 6:30 pm Tuesday to Sunday.
Madinat Al-Zahra, Carretera Palma del Río, km 5.5, Córdoba, Spain, +34 957 103 637
Visiting Córdoba would not be complete without passing through the Roman Bridge, or Puente Romano. It provides a gorgeous view of the Mezquita-Catedral at the end, which you can gaze at while enjoying the breeze coming from the Guadalquivir. The bridge was first built in the 1st century, but it has been rebuilt various times since then. The best time to visit the bridge is definitely at dusk, when the last sun rays linger on the stone surfaces, turning them golden-red.
Roman Bridge, Córdoba, Spain
Palacio de La Merced
Palacio de La Merced was once the home of La Merced Calzada (Mercedarian Monks). It is now the home of the Provincial Government of Córdoba, which hosts various national and international exhibitions. Built in the 18th century, the palace consists of 2 different parts. Each displays remarkable decorative plaster work. The palace is open to the public at no charge Monday to Friday from 7 am to 3 pm.
Palacio de La Merced, Plaza Colón, Córdoba, Spain, +34 957 201 774
Plaza del Potro
Plaza del Potro is situated just a few minutes’ walk from the Mezquita-Catedral. The square is named after a 16th-century fountain (1577), an octagonal structure featuring a balancing horse at the top of the vase. Next to the plaza, you can also visit the Museum of Fine Arts and Museum Julio Romero de Torres, Córdoba’s most famous painter. The entrance ticket for Museum Julio Romero de Torres costs 4.5o euros. Both museums are open Tuesday to Sunday from 8:30 am to 8:45 pm.
Plaza del Potro, Córdoba, Spain
The Archaeological Museum of Córdoba, or Museo Arqueológico, houses a wide-ranging collection from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages. A special section was built to preserve either prehistory or local archaeology items from Roman, Iberian, Muslim and Visigoth cultures. The museum consists of 8 different rooms and 3 courtyards to display various archaeological remains found in Córdoba. Tickets cost 5 euros (free entrance for E.U. citizens). The museum opens from 9 am to 7:30 pm Tuesday to Saturday, and from 9 am to 3:15 pm on Sunday.
Museo Arqueológico, Plaza de Jerónimo Páez, 7, Córdoba, Spain, +34 957 355 517
Plaza de la Corredera
If you are looking for a great place to relax and sip some good, tasty wine, make sure to visit Plaza de la Corredera. This rectangular square was once used as a bullring, before it was surrounded by balconied apartments, cafés and restaurants. If you visit Córdoba in January, you can enjoy a Medieval Market in this 17th-century square.
Plaza de la Corredera, Córdoba, Spain