Córdoba in one day: The City
Córdoba is in the autonomous community of Andalusia, in the South of Spain. It is the 12th largest city in the country with around 350,000 inhabitants. Visiting Córdoba in one day is great to include in your trip if you are staying in a bigger city close by. The city was originally a Roman settlement, like many cities in South European countries. The Visigoths took over the city, then the Muslim conquests took place in the 8th century. It became the capital of the Caliphate of Córdoba, an Islamic State which existed from 929 to 1031. This caliphate encompassed nearly all of Spain and Portugal and parts of North Africa. The Kingdom of Castile took Córdoba during the Christian Reconquista in the 13th century.
This diversity of cultures that settled in Córdoba one after the other explains the wide cultural heritage of the city. The whole historic center of Córdoba was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. In fact, Córdoba has more World Heritage Sites than any other city in the world, with a total of four. There are various architectural styles in the city, such as Roman and Moorish, which makes Córdoba unique.
In Córdoba, you will be able to discover all of these traces from the past, but not only that. The city also has multiple parks and gardens, museums, and you can witness some festivals throughout the year. Gastronomy is also a big part of the culture there, with some dishes that you have to try while you are there. For example, you will be able to try Salmorejo, a kind of gazpacho, and Berenjenas con miel which means eggplant with honey. To go with that you should also try a local wine from the province of Córdoba.
Córdoba in one day: Useful information
The best time to visit Córdoba would be in the spring or fall. Indeed, in the summer it can get as hot as 42°C. You cannot really appreciate the city if you have to find shade every five minutes. You could also go in the winter because it doesn’t get cold, but if you still want a lot of sun you should choose April, May or October.
In addition to the meteorological conditions, May also is the month when people in Córdoba celebrate several festivals. If you visit at this time of the year, there will be more tourists, but it may be worth it depending on your preferences. You might be able to celebrate Las Cruces de Mayo, where people decorate crosses with flowers and share regional food with typical music. There is also Los Patios de Córdoba when private patios in the historic center open their doors and compete for the most beautiful courtyard. You will also be able to attend the Feria de Córdoba, very similar to the fair taking place in Seville.
In terms of transport, you can come to Córdoba by train, by plane through the Seville Airport, or by car through the highway. In the city center, you can choose between buses and taxis. Keep in mind that taxis will be more expensive if you take them late at night or during the siesta hours (from around 2 pm to 5 pm).
Córdoba in one day: What you should do
1. The Mosque-Cathedral
The Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba is the most visited monument of the city. This is why you should start your tour there early in the morning so that you don’t have to wait in line for too long. The Mezquita is a must-see because of the interesting blend of architectural styles. Indeed, it was originally built as a mosque in the 8th century only to be converted into a cathedral during the Reconquista. You will be surprised by the enormous building, especially by the iconic bell tower, which used to be a minaret.
2. Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
Next, head to the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos. Like the Mosque-Cathedral, this monument is in the historic center of Córdoba. King Alfonso XI of Castile ordered the construction of this fortress in 1328. There is a lot to see in this Alcázar such as the Hall of Mosaics, the Courtyard of the Moriscos, or the impressive gardens of 55,000m². This garden is separated into three parts and you will be able to admire ponds, fountains, sculptures, and more.
3. Lunch on a nice terrace
After visiting these two sites, you will most certainly be hungry. Here is a link to the 10 best restaurants in Córdoba. Try to look for a restaurant that is not too far from the Mosque-Cathedral, because your next stop after lunch is only a 4 minutes walk from there. During your lunch break, you should try some of Córdoba’s traditional dishes and drinks. Once you have recharged, it’s time to head to the Roman Bridge.
4. Roman Bridge and Calahorra Tower
Only 300 meters from the Mosque-Cathedral is the Roman Bridge of Córdoba. It goes across the Guadalquivir River and only allows pedestrians and bicycles. The first time it was built was in the 1st century, but it was reconstructed many times. The current structure is mainly of Moorish style. At the end of this bridge, you will find the Calahorra tower. The Moors built it in order to protect the city in the Middle Ages.
5. Museo de Bellas Artes and Museo Arqueológico
You will only need to walk for 12 minutes from the Calahorra tower to get to the Museum of Fine Arts of Córdoba. And from there, the Archeological Museum is only 400 meters away. In the Museum of Fine Arts, you will discover the history of art in Córdoba. The main artists, the themes throughout the years, and more. The Archeological Museum offers 3 subgroups of items. It includes items of the Prehistory and Protohistory period, the Rome and Visigothic culture, and Islam and Mudéjar art. These two museums will allow you to discover what were the important themes according to artists across the centuries. This will conclude nicely your tour of Córdoba.
Now that you have visited the must-sees in Córdoba, you can finish the day off by strolling down the historic center’s streets. You can buy yourself some souvenirs, take a few pictures or even have a drink with some tapas before leaving the city.
To know more about Andalusian cities, click here to read about 10 things to do and see in Seville.