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How to Spend a Day Exploring the Charms of Cordoba, Spain

Updated on May 13, 2020
Nella DiCarlo profile image

I like to share travel experiences and enjoy exploring new places for food and drink, hotels and sights.

Colorful and Captivating Street Architecture

Wandering the streets of Cordoba is a true delight. In a city with so many attractions to see, simply strolling is pleasant as well. There are beautiful buildings that just jump out at you and capture your attention. This is a striking and colorful coral example of Moorish architecture in the historic centre that brightened up an afternoon stroll on a cool January day.

Strolling the Jewish Quarter

The Jewish quarter (established from the 10th to 15th centuries) offered an interesting maze like walk on incredibly narrow cobblestone streets (so glad the light rain had stopped during this stroll!) This was the path for the short 10 minute walk from Plaza de las Tendillas to reach the Mosque-Cathedral, and is located in the historic centre. I would have loved to have more time to enjoy learning more of its unique history with a guided tour but was glad to have had a glimpse of this amazing area.

Seeing the Magnificent Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba

The Mosque-Cathedral is a must see for any visitor to Cordoba. This is an amazing example of Moorish and Renaissance architecture completed in the 16th century with a unique religious history.

It is one of the most interesting, cavernous and beautiful buildings I have ever seen. It has operated as a Cathedral since 1236 and prior to this it served as a Grand Mosque. The striped arches seem endless and are captivating to view, among many other renaissance era architectural features.

Checking out Calle de Las Flores

The super cute compact street full of hanging flower pots with geraniums is located on a side street close to the Mosque-Cathedral and is one of the most photographed stops in the city. The trade off in the month of January is that potted flowers aren't in their full bloom but it was wonderful to see this little street without crowds. I think the view of the flowers that were blooming was still lovely for a winter day. Displays of patio flowers are common throughout the city and there is even a Patios Festival held each May. It was sadly cancelled this year and will return in 2021.

A Snack Break, Spanish style

It is common in Spain to enjoy a bocadillo on the go from a cafe or tapas bar. It is essentially cold regional ham and cheese served on a baguette. More simple in style than our typical subs we have in North America. I even more so enjoyed the small cute paper cones filled with cheese or sausage. Definitely a fun and affordable snack to keep the energy going during an action packed day of exploring.

Wandering Across the Roman Bridge

This Roman bridge, originally built in 1st century BC, now features the mostly Moorish design from the 8th century (and has been restored extensively). It is a grand sight.

It really was a beautiful experience to stroll on this wide bridge overlooking the Guadalquivir River with the afternoon sun starting to come out to warm up the January day. The bridge walk leads to the Torre de la Calahorra, a fortified tower of Islamic origin featuring the informative and interesting Museo Vivo Al-Andalus, featuring history of Cordoba in the Islamic era. We unfortunately ran out of time to visit the highly recommended Alcazar of Cordoba, a medieval fortress and palace.

Pretty Plaza de Las Tendillas

I just love the look of European squares. This is the main square of the city, and the location of the hotel we stayed at, the highly recommended H10 Palacio Colomera. Modern, well appointed and an incredible value in the very low tourist season of mid winter, where the Andalusian region still offered moderate temperatures and minimal crowds. As social distancing is here to stay for the time being, if it does become safer to travel by next year, the winter off season is a great choice for this part of Europe.

But going back a few months remembering this view, I did have a brief moment of longing to experience a slightly warmer time of year in this area, to fully experience this broad open square with cafes and restaurants with outdoor patios a stones throw from the hotel. Note that patios are still open all year in Southern Spain, with heat lamps available for the chill in the air. Opting for an indoor seat at the bar, we enjoyed a wonderful Spanish Rioja wine selection at Gran Bar for a late afternoon wind down after sightseeing.

An Evening of Tapas and Jazz

One of the things I loved most about Cordoba, was how easy it was to explore the historic centre because of its compact layout. Therefore an evening out did not require much planning or effort. We wanted some Tapas, and some low key entertainment for the evening. Both could be found within a five minute walk. The Taberna San Miguel "El Pisto" was a spontaneous stop that turned out to be an authentic and historical local meeting place. Founded in 1880, this bar is filled with character and features bullfighting history adorning the walls. A selection of affordable and interesting tapas were enjoyed. In the mood for live music, the casual Jazz Cafe with its eclectic decor, neon glow and a laid back vibe featuring entertaining local talent rounded out the evening of a great experience in Cordoba.

This city captivated my senses and I long to return to enjoy a few more days of leisure and exploring its charms.

© 2020 Nella DiCarlo

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    • Nella DiCarlo profile imageAUTHOR

      Nella DiCarlo 

      4 days ago from Guelph, Ontario

      Thanks Peggy , I would love to spend more time in Spain as well. Seville and Malaga were the other two cities for this winter trip

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      4 days ago from Houston, Texas

      Thanks for showcasing your day spent in Cordoba. That looks like a beautiful part of Spain to visit. We have only seen parts of Madrid, Barcelona, Toldeo, and Mallorca. We would love to spend more time in Spain.

    • Nella DiCarlo profile imageAUTHOR

      Nella DiCarlo 

      4 days ago from Guelph, Ontario

      Thanks Jo, glad to share ! I certainly miss the food and atmosphere.

    • jo miller profile image

      Jo Miller 

      5 days ago from Tennessee

      Thanks for sharing your adventure with us. Loved Spain, but didn't make it to Cordoba. One of our favorite parts was the food and your piece brings back some memories--which is about all we have of travel right now.

    • Nella DiCarlo profile imageAUTHOR

      Nella DiCarlo 

      9 days ago from Guelph, Ontario

      Thanks Donna, glad to share! I love those colorful buildings too.

    • Nella DiCarlo profile imageAUTHOR

      Nella DiCarlo 

      9 days ago from Guelph, Ontario

      Thanks Pamela, I think you would too!

    • Donna-Rayne profile image

      Donna Rayne 

      10 days ago from Greenwood, In

      Nella, thank you for taking us on a trip to Spain. I wish the US had bright colored buildings, seeing those colors just brings me so much joy!

      Blessings,

      Donna Rayne

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      11 days ago from Sunny Florida

      This is obviourly a wonderful place to visit and as I have never been to Spain I think I would love it.

    • Nella DiCarlo profile imageAUTHOR

      Nella DiCarlo 

      11 days ago from Guelph, Ontario

      Thanks Mary, it does have such interesting history that I would enjoy learning more about. and a great place to just hang out as well.

    • Nella DiCarlo profile imageAUTHOR

      Nella DiCarlo 

      11 days ago from Guelph, Ontario

      Thanks Liz, it is an easy place to enjoy for sure.

    • Nella DiCarlo profile imageAUTHOR

      Nella DiCarlo 

      11 days ago from Guelph, Ontario

      Thank you Lorna, you are fortunate to have visited this area frequently. I hope to return to see more of this lovely area.

    • Nella DiCarlo profile imageAUTHOR

      Nella DiCarlo 

      11 days ago from Guelph, Ontario

      Thanks Umesh!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      11 days ago from Ontario, Canada

      Just like you, I love Cordoba and everything it has to offer. It’s history is so interesting.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      11 days ago from UK

      You have reminded me of how much we liked Cordoba when we visited 12 years ago. It is a great place to spend a day in.

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      11 days ago

      I love this part of Spain and frequently travel to this part to visit old friends. There is a wonderful mixture of culture which I always enjoy, not to mention the tapas bars with live music. Thank you Nella for taking me there once again with your wonderful article which showcases the best of this region.

    • bhattuc profile image

      Umesh Chandra Bhatt 

      12 days ago from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India

      Good article. Well illustrated. Thanks.

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