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Top Things to Do in Cordoba, Spain: A Guided Tour Experience

Top Things to Do in Cordoba, Spain: A Guided Tour Experience

SPAIN

Once the foremost city of the Western World, Córdoba was the greatest metropolis west of Constantinople and the seat of Europe’s first university. Today’s travelers love strolling the cobblestone streets, peeking through gates for glimpses of the many colorful trees, gardens and courtyards dripping with exotic foliage, blooms, and beautiful tiled fountains. Toma and Coe were my guides to this Andalusian jewel, introducing me to its dazzling historical treasures.

Half the size of Seville and smaller than Granada, the city on the river has a more intimate feel than its perhaps more dramatic neighbors. Most of the sights are within walking distance of each other, giving tourists the opportunity to explore the tempting tapas bars and Córdoba’s blossoming reputation as Spain’s gastronomic capital.

Cordoba Spain

The Guadalquivir, Andalucía’s major river, meanders below and the riverfront streets are home to a growing array of lively bars and restaurants making the most of the view.

The Guadalquivir, Cordoba Spain

The Mezquita

Córdoba was the center of medieval Europe and its beating heart was the mesmerizing and multi-arched Mezquita. It is also known as the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba. Undoubtedly one of the world’s foremost Islamic buildings, it remains a symbol of the worldly and sophisticated Islamic culture that flourished here more than a millennium ago when Córdoba was the capital of Islamic Spain, and Western Europe’s largest and most cultured city.  A visit to Córdoba isn’t complete without visiting the Mezquita so definitely take the time to do so!

Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba

Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba

Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba

Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba

Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba

Picturesque Neighborhoods – Old Jewish Quarter & Calleja de las Flores

The narrow streets of the old Jewish and Muslim quarters stretch out from the great mosque: some clogged with tourist traps; others delightfully peaceful. Calleja de las Flores, quite possibly the most stunning alley you’ll ever see, turns the dark, dank concept of narrow, urban thoroughfares inside out. Take time to enjoy the winding, shade-kissed cobblestones on your quest to truly get lost. The view from the end of this street is unforgettable and you’ll struggle to find a prettier corner of the planet. The life of the modern city focuses around Plaza de las Tendillas, a little further north, where a more lively and boisterous vibe dances in the midst of some excellent bars and restaurants. A short walk from here you can see the city’s Roman past at the ruined Roman temple.

Calleja de las Flores Cordoba Spain

Calleja de las Flores Cordoba Spain

The Synagogue 

At the center of the Jewish quarter is the Synagogue on Calle de los Judios. One of only three Spanish originals, this is the only one in Andalucía! Dating from 1315, it was converted to a church in the 16th century later becoming home of the Guild of Shoemakers until rediscovery in the 19th Century. The interior includes a gallery and plaster work bearing inscriptions from the Hebrew psalms and others with plant motifs. Its beautifully restored main wall has a semi-circular arch where a chest with the Torah Scrolls used to be kept. It’s incredibly detailed and beautiful, I absolutely loved admiring the ancient craftsmanship.

The Synagogue Cordoba Spain

The Synagogue Cordoba Spain

The Alcazar

Featuring delightful gardens and a Moorish bathhouse, the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos was where Christopher Columbus pitched his plan to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain to look for a Western route to the Indies. A portico stands out among the Gothic jewels in Córdoba, and inside, in the Romero de Torres hall, you can admire some remarkable 16th century frescoes. The Alcazar has always been an important place in Córdoba, located right next to the Guadalquivir River. It was once the residence of Roman governors and Moorish caliphs, and then it became the home of the Spanish kings from 1328 until being donated to the church to become the center for the dreaded Inquisition. In following centuries, the castle was used as a civil and later a military prison. Nowadays, the building is a Historical Monument, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a beautiful place for tourists to visit in Córdoba!

The Alcazar, Cordoba Spain

The Alcazar, Cordoba Spain

I really loved my time in Córdoba, and I’ll always remember it as a city of ancient cobblestone, where the scent of orange blossom mingles with the sounds of Spanish guitars.

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About the author

Carmen Edelson is the Founder and Senior Editor of Carmen’s Luxury Travel. Carmen has been traveling the world for over a decade. Our travels allows her the opportunity to pursuit her itch to travel to the best luxury destinations, and experience those first class tastes from around the world.

20 Comments

  1. melody pittman
    July 20, 2017 at 8:38 am
    Reply

    The architecture is exquisite in Cordoba. We have had so many friends flocking to Spain. Must be the in place to live right now for expats. 😉

    • Carmen Edelson
      July 22, 2017 at 3:58 pm

      It’s great and affordable! Portugal too.

  2. Francesca
    July 21, 2017 at 12:40 am
    Reply

    I really knew nothing about Cordoba so I found this very interesting. Love the history and the architecture. The Mezquita reminds me of some of the places I visited in Istanbul.

    • Carmen Edelson
      July 22, 2017 at 3:59 pm

      Yes, very similar! It’s one of my favorite cities in Spain for sure.

  3. Mindi Hirsch
    July 21, 2017 at 12:05 pm
    Reply

    I must admit that I had never heard about Cordoba until now. It looks like a fascinating city filled with history and color. I hope to visit one day to experience it all for myself.

    • Carmen Edelson
      July 22, 2017 at 4:00 pm

      You’d love it, Mindi! The food, weather, architecture, people…. all fabulous.

  4. Natasha
    July 21, 2017 at 9:33 pm
    Reply

    WOW! How have I never heard of this place? What stunning architecture. I’m in love with all those different types of arches and decore and the walkway with all the plants. Just wow!

    • Carmen Edelson
      July 22, 2017 at 4:00 pm

      I’m surprised most people haven’t heard of it! I guess people flock to Barclona, Madrid, and Seville. Cordoba is definitely worth seeing though 🙂

  5. Lara Dunning
    July 21, 2017 at 11:31 pm
    Reply

    I went to Cordoba years and years ago. Would love to go back with fresh eyes and appreciate all the sights.

    • Carmen Edelson
      July 22, 2017 at 4:01 pm

      How fun! I hope you make it back there soon.

  6. Beth Jarrett
    July 23, 2017 at 12:50 am
    Reply

    Wow! Your photos are absolutely incredible and it captures such an amazing city! The architecture is exquisite! I hadn’t put Cordoba on my must see list in Spain, but I think it needs to be there!

    • Carmen Edelson
      July 23, 2017 at 2:44 pm

      It definitely needs to be there, Beth! Thanks.

  7. Danik
    July 23, 2017 at 6:16 am
    Reply

    I still can’t believe I drove passed this town and not stopped in it! Now reading this and seeing your photos Carmen, I am thinking of a road trip back to Spain! Dam you! 😀 😀 😀 – great post and loving the photos. Safe travels 🙂

    • Carmen Edelson
      July 23, 2017 at 2:44 pm

      Ha, now you definitely have a reason to return 🙂

  8. Punita Malhotra
    July 23, 2017 at 9:35 am
    Reply

    Cordoba is one of Spain’s must-see towns and gives perfect insight into the culture, heritage, history and architecture from the medieval times. We loved it.

    • Carmen Edelson
      July 23, 2017 at 2:45 pm

      I couldn’t agree more, Punita!

  9. Herry @ Agra trip
    August 5, 2017 at 1:58 am
    Reply

    Wow!! In this blog, There are many different and attractive pictures. Thanks for your guide tour experience.

    • Carmen Edelson
      August 5, 2017 at 2:28 am

      Thank you for reading, Herry!

  10. Cacinda Maloney
    August 12, 2017 at 4:17 pm
    Reply

    I was searching for things to do in Spain, when I came across your lovely article, now that I think about, didn’t I meet you there? in Barcelona? anyway, nice article!

    • Carmen Edelson
      August 13, 2017 at 4:42 pm

      Yes, we were on a tour together in Barcelona during TBEX. I love Barcelona, it’s such a great city.

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