palacio de viana cordoba, one of the best things to do in cordoba

Unmissable Things to Do in Cordoba, Spain (1 Day Itinerary)

Located in the north of Andalusia, Cordoba is a must-see destination. The city is well-known for its impressive Great Mosque, beautiful courtyards decorated with flowers and plants as well as its local cuisine.

It’s a less popular destination in Andalusia in comparison to Seville, Granada and even Malaga, but I am sure you’ll love this magical city.

Cordoba is a perfect day trip from Malaga and Seville due to its proximity. You can easily use public transport or drive to Cordoba and spend at least one day there.

If you’re planning to spend one day in this beautiful city, in this itinerary you’ll find all the best things to do in Cordoba, where to eat and where to stay in case you want to stay one night or a short weekend.

a one day itinerary for cordoba spain

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Things to Do in Cordoba in One Day Itinerary

Contemplate Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba

mosque-cathedral in cordoba

The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba is the city’s main monumental site that has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984 and is one of the most famous churches in Europe.

It’s unique in many ways – its impressive mixture of architecture (Islamic with Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine touches), art and religious importance. 

Before entering the mosque, wander its beautiful courtyard that is surrounded by orange trees, palm trees and cypress, and relax while contemplating the external view of the mosque and its tower. 

Inside, you’ll love discovering every corner of the mosque. It has plenty of architectural and religious features to contemplate and learn about.

You can easily spend over an hour inside the mosque, and if you have time, climb the Bell Tower to enjoy some of the best views of Cordoba city centre and Roman Bridge. The entrance to the tower is an extra 2 euros, and it runs every 30 minutes.

Visiting this mosque-cathedral is one of the best things to do in Cordoba!

Visit Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos

Unmissable Things to Do in Cordoba, Spain (1 Day Itinerary) Unmissable Things to Do in Cordoba, Spain (1 Day Itinerary)

A few minutes’ walk from the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, you’ll find another must-see monument in the city, the Alcázar of the Christian Monarchs.

This palace-fortress has been a World Heritage site by UNESCO since 1994, and it’s a very important building because it was the royal residence of the Christian monarchs, Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon.

However, the building was also the Courts of the Holy Offices, a civil prison, and lastly a military prison.

Not only will you want to visit it because of its rich history, but its outstanding gardens and courtyards where you can see beautiful ponds surrounded by orange trees and other flowers, statues of all the monarchs who were somehow connected with the palace-fortress among other features.

Most visits are in the morning, but it’s also worth checking Magical Nights in the Alcazar, a night tour that offers a unique experience with the lighting of different areas across the gardens. This night-time tour doesn’t always happen, but keep an eye on the website if you’re interested.

Cross Puente Romano

Unmissable Things to Do in Cordoba, Spain (1 Day Itinerary) Unmissable Things to Do in Cordoba, Spain (1 Day Itinerary)

Located in the heart of Cordoba, next to the Mosque-Cathedral and the Gate of the Bridge, the Roman bridge of Cordoba offers one of the most magical views of the city.

The bridge was initially built in the early 1st century BC across the Guadalquivir River, although it has been reconstructed a few times since then.

Go to Puente Romano at sunrise or sunset to enjoy an incredible sight of the city – the Mosque-Cathedral, the Gate of the Bridge, a distant view of the city buildings and the river.

Walking through this bridge is also one of the best things to do in Cordoba at night as the area is lightened.

Taste Cordoba local food

Unmissable Things to Do in Cordoba, Spain (1 Day Itinerary) Unmissable Things to Do in Cordoba, Spain (1 Day Itinerary)

If you’re a foodie, you can’t leave Cordoba without trying its cuisine. 

Some of the most popular local dishes include flamenquín (serrano ham wrapped with pork loin that is coated in breadcrumbs and then fried), salmorejo (a tomato cold soup, similar to gazpacho, topped with hard-boiled egg and ham), and rabo de toro (oxtail stew). 

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly restaurant, you must go to Taberna El Capricho. They offer two set menus for 10 and 15 euros that include Cordoba traditional dishes. I loved arroz cordobés (a paella style rice with peppers, mushrooms, and chicken).

If you’re looking for a top-notch restaurant, Restaurante Regadera is your best choice. They prepare all the food with fresh and high-quality ingredients. Not only can you find traditional dishes like rabo de toro but international dishes like tuna tartare.

Wander the Jewish Quarter

The Jewish Quarter is the most charming area in Cordoba – its cobblestoned streets, whitewashed buildings and important historical buildings and museums make it unmissable and unique.

Walking through the Jewish Quarter is the best free thing to do in Cordoba as takes you back to the medieval Islamic period in the city. The quarter has plenty of small streets and narrow alleys that are worth seeing. 

Every little corner is very picturesque, and you can find unique features that you won’t find in other parts of the city.

Discover Casa Andalusí

Casa Andalusí, located in the Jewish Quarter, takes you back to Caliphate times. This house museum is a charming place where you can experience a mixture of eastern styles, music, aromas, and colours.

As you enter Casa Andalusí, you’ll walk through a beautiful and cosy courtyard with a fountain in the middle and plants on the side. In its different rooms, you can find a collection of ancient coins and an example of the first machines for making paper that aimed to reach the western world.

The entry to Casa Andalusí is 4 euros, but you can also buy a combined ticket that includes entry to Museo de la Alquimia (The Museum of Alchemy) for 8 euros.

Admire Cordoba Synagogue

Unmissable Things to Do in Cordoba, Spain (1 Day Itinerary) Unmissable Things to Do in Cordoba, Spain (1 Day Itinerary)

Located in the heart of the Jewish Quarter and next to Casa Andalusí is Cordoba Synagogue. 

Although the synagogue is small, it’s worth visiting because it’s one of the three best-preserved Medieval synagogues in Spain, and it was declared a National Monument in the 19th century.

As you enter, you’ll see a small patio decorated with plants hanging on the wall and as you turn right, you’ll find a narrow entrance hall and the room where you can contemplate the beautiful arches decorated with impressive plasterwork.

The entry to Cordoba Synagogue is free, but you’re likely to have to wait a few minutes to get in.

Windowshop in the Old Town

Whether you love shopping or buying souvenirs for yourself or others, Cordoba Old Town is home to numerous independent and small shops where you can get unique gifts.

Cordoba is a very artistic Andalusian city, and this is reflected in the shops too. You can find anything from ceramic flamenco figures to pots and wooden instruments.

At the same time, you can also see the Moorish influence in Cordoba in some shops. One of my favourite shops in Cordoba is Delicias del Califato. I absolutely love how the different Moroccan teas are displayed.

Another hidden gem is Arko, a unique instrument shop that faces a small patio.

Explore Palacio de Viana

Palacio de Viana is a must-see attraction in Cordoba. It consists of 12 beautiful courtyards (patios) and a palace that immerses you in the Andalusian culture.

Each patio is decorated with plant pots and beds that have colourful flowers hanging on the walls and placed in different areas of the courtyards. 

Patio de Los Naranjos and Patio de Columnas are absolutely my favourites. The first one takes you back to the Muslim time in Cordoba and to a scented orange journey. The second one includes a beautiful small fountain in the middle of the courtyard where you can relax listen to the sound of the water and wander around the spacious patio decorated with bright flowers.

No matter which patio you’re walking through, each one has something unique that will amaze you.

Although the best time to visit Palacio de Viana is in spring because the flowers blossom, you can visit it all year round.

📌 TIP: Buy combined tickets (courtyards + palace) rather than buy single tickets for each space to save money.

Extra activities for a second day in Cordoba

If you’re spending more than a day in Cordoba or you have spare time, add the following activities to your itinerary:

Explore Patios San Basilio

If you feel like you want to explore more patios after your visit to Palacio de Viana, then you must go to Patios San Basilio.

Patios San Basilio consists of a group of three beautiful courtyards situated in the Alcázar Viejo area. 

When you book your visit, the ticket also includes a guided visit, entrance to the Ethnographic Museum, and wine tasting.

These patios are open almost all year round, except the month of July.

Seeing Templo Romano

Unmissable Things to Do in Cordoba, Spain (1 Day Itinerary) Unmissable Things to Do in Cordoba, Spain (1 Day Itinerary)

If you’re walking to Palacio de Viana, you can easily stop by the ruins of an old Roman Temple which were discovered in the 50s during the restoration and expansion of Cordoba City Hall.

Visiting Palacio de la Merced

Not very far from Plaza de Colon, you’ll find Palacio de la Merced, a beautiful palace that stands out because of its Baroque-style facade. 

Inside the palace, there is the main patio where national and international exhibitions sometimes take place.

Explore Jardines de la Agricultura

Unmissable Things to Do in Cordoba, Spain (1 Day Itinerary) Unmissable Things to Do in Cordoba, Spain (1 Day Itinerary)

This public garden, popularly known as the Garden of the Ducks, is a lovely green space to relax and walk through as you make your way to the heart of the city, especially if you come from the train station.

It is home to many varieties of plants, including the rarest ginkgo, and monuments to honour local artists.

Where to stay in Cordoba

Are you looking for a hotel in the city centre of Cordoba? Here is my top recommendation:

NH Collection Amistad Córdoba

This 4-star hotel is located in the Jewish Quarter, next to incredible historical buildings such as Cordoba Synagogue, Casa Andalusí and the Bullfighting Museum of Cordoba.

Not only is the location convenient for anyone who wants to make the most of the few days in Cordoba, but the design is outstanding.

All the rooms are beautifully decorated and have views of the picturesque hotel patios and Plaza Maimonides. Each room is also equipped with a flat-screen TV, comfortable beds, Wi-Fi, kettle and coffee facilities among other features.

The hotel also has a lovely communal swimming pool and gym. 

One of my favourite parts of the hotel is the cafe and restaurant located on their patio which offers traditional Andalusian dishes. It’s the perfect spot to relax while enjoying some delicious food.

You can find cheaper hotels than NH Collection Amistad Córdoba, but it’s absolutely worth staying in this hotel because of its location and excellent treat.

How to get to Cordoba

By plane

If you’re flying to Spain, here are the closest international airports:

  • Seville Airport (125 kilometres).
  • Málaga Airport (175 kilometres). 
  • Madrid Airport (400 kilometres).

By car

If you’re renting a car, these are the distances and approximate times from the cities mentioned above:

Seville to Cordoba

Distance: 140 kilometres via A-4 motorway.

Time: 1 hour and 40 minutes

Malaga to Cordoba

Distance: 158 kilometres via A-45 motorway.

Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes

Madrid to Cordoba

Distance: 394 kilometres via A-4 motorway.

Time: 4 hours 

Where to park in Cordoba

If you’re driving to Cordoba and you’re worried about finding a parking space. I highly recommend checking the Visit Cordoba website where you can see all the shopping centres, attractions and outdoor parking and their location.

By train

Travelling by train to Cordoba is very convenient and fast.

  • Seville to Cordoba: 40 minutes.
  • Malaga to Cordoba: 50 minutes. 
  • Madrid to Cordoba: 1 hour 40 minutes.

By coach

There are plenty of coaches that travel to Cordoba. However, it’s the slowest way to get to the city.

Cordoba coach station is located 25 minutes’ walk from the heart of the city and its main attractions.

Have a look at coaches to Cordoba below:

So, what’s the best way to get to Cordoba?

I went to Cordoba by train from Malaga and the journey took just over an hour (bear in mind there were faster trains but they were more expensive). 

If you can get the train, I highly recommend taking it. It’s very regular, faster than the coach and car, convenient, and you don’t need to worry about parking!

The downside of travelling to Cordoba by train is its price. Getting the train is definitely more expensive than the coach, however, you can sometimes find deals.

When to visit Cordoba

The best time to visit Cordoba is in spring – the flowers blossom, the smell of jasmine and oranges, and the pleasant weather among other reasons.

May is doubtless the best month because you can experience the city’s best events like Feria de Los Patios (The Courtyards Festival) in which the courtyard owners decorate their houses with flowers planted in beds and pots and these are hung from the walls.

Owners try to win the prestigious award offered by Cordoba Town Hall. On top of this, the festival also offers concerts and delicious traditional tapas.

The worst time to visit Cordoba is in the summer, especially during July and August, due to its high temperatures (37°C or more).

These temperatures make sightseeing very difficult, and that’s why you won’t see many locals during the afternoon. They’ll be having a siesta instead!

I went to Cordoba in winter, and it was quite cold in comparison to Malaga. I wasn’t very lucky with the weather because it rained and it was foggy.

Although you’ll mostly enjoy sunny and clear days in Cordoba, be prepared for the cold, especially in the early morning and evening.


Which Cordoba attractions are you adding to your itinerary? Let me know in the comments below!

If you have any questions about travelling to Southern Spain, email me or send me a DM on Instagram. I’d be very happy to help you plan your trip to Cordoba.

Safe adventures!

Cristina xx

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Things to do before visiting Cordoba, Spain

Frequently asked questions about visiting Cordoba

Why should I visit Cordoba?

Cordoba is a unique destination rich in history, art, culture, and gastronomy. It has several UNESCO World Heritage Sites and beautiful courtyards that you won’t find anywhere else in Andalusia. It’s a great day trip and weekend getaway as there are many things to see in Cordoba.

Is Cordoba a day trip?

Cordoba is the perfect place to visit for a day or a short weekend because there are plenty of things to do and see, it’s well-connected to other Andalusian cities and it’s very walkable.

How many days do I need in Cordoba?

I went on a day trip to Cordoba, and I had enough time to visit all the main attractions. However, if you want a more relaxing experience I highly recommend visiting the city for two days.

Is Cordoba worth visiting?

Absolutely! Cordoba is a charming city that you don’t want to miss during your trip to Southern Spain, especially if you love history and art.

By visiting Cordoba, you’ll explore several important historical buildings in Andalusia and Spain and discover more about the Andalusian culture.

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3 Comments

  1. I would love to explore Cordoba. Looks like the perfect day trip from Malaga and Seville.

  2. I love Cordoba and was in awe when I entered La Mezquita. The Jewish Quarter was amazing as well as the Alcazar. I liked touring the streets at night.

  3. Travel A-Broads says:

    I’ve never been to Spain, and I’d actually never heard of Cordoba before, but it looks so beautiful from your photos! I hope I can visit one day. Thanks for opening my eyes to something new 😊. Xx Sara

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