Looking for the best 2 days in Cordoba itinerary? I’ve got you covered!
Cordoba, Spain is an insanely cute and enchanting mid-sized city in Southern Spain, full of flowers, white and yellow streets, and of course, one of the most famous sites from the Moorish inhabitation of Andalucia.
In all of the places that we visited in Southern Spain, Cordoba actually was probably my favorite (it’s so hard to choose though!). I would go back in a heartbeat, and I’d definitely recommend you make time for Cordoba on your Spain itinerary.
While many people just do Cordoba in a day (even daytripping from nearby cities), I’d actually recommend two full days in Cordoba. There’s a lot to see and do and you can definitely spend two entire days here!
In this post, I’m going to walk you through what I believe is the ideal 2 day Cordoba itinerary, and exactly what you should see and do in those days in this super cute Spanish city.
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Short on Time?
If you’re short on trip-planning time, I’ve got you covered. These are some top rated excursions, tours, and hotels in Cordoba!
Top Excursions and Activities in Cordoba:
- Entry Ticket for the Mezquita Mosque Cathedral (definitely buy in advance)
- Guided Tour of the Mezquita (top rated tour)
- Bike Tour Around Cordoba (small group tour that bikes all over the city)
Top Hotel Options in Cordoba
- Mayflowers Hotel (lovely historic guesthouse on a quiet street)
Day 1 Cordoba Itinerary
Patio de Los Naranjos
Start your day in Cordoba in the Patio de Los Naranjos, located just outside of the Mezquita Cathedral Entrance. The lovely Patio of the Orange Trees is a courtyard filled with symmetrical rows of orange trees surrounded by pretty stone buildings, with the Mezquita bell tower on one end.
Depending on the time of year you visit, the orange trees may have the sweet fruit hanging on them. There are also cypress trees planted down the middle of the courtyard (cypress trees are the long, skinny evergreens), and an old fountain roughly in the patio center.
This is a beautiful courtyard worth spending a few minutes strolling around, and if you visit before the Mezquita opens at 10, crowds are much, much lower.
Mezquita Mosque Cathedral
You can’t come to Cordoba and not visit the Mezquita – the famous, massive mosque that is now a Christian cathedral.
Completed in 987, the Mezquita was the second largest mosque in the entire Islamic kingdom, and today, its size still blows you away – it is absolutely enormous. There are over 850 of these candy cane double arches in the mosque-cathedral, which extend as far as the eyes can see.
When the Christians re-conquered Cordoba from the Muslims in the mid-1200’s, the building was thankfully not demolished, but converted to a cathedral. Over the years, chapels were added to the exterior of the building, and a traditional nave and transept (the center spot and focal point of a traditional cathedral) were installed right in the center of the building.
Make sure you stop by the Parroquia del Sagrario chapel. This chapel is located kitty corner to the Mezquita entrance, and is absolutely enchanting with its painted arches that are practically murals.
Really, the pictures you see don’t truly capture just how sprawling the building is or how incredible the mix of Islamic and Christian architectural styles is.
But really, the most impressive part of the Mezquita are the rows and rows and rows of candy cane arches arranged in perfectly symmetrical rows and columns throughout the entire cathedral.
Tips for Visiting the Mezquita:
- Buy tickets online in advance. You do not want tickets to sell out.
- Most people congregate in the entrance area. Head to to the left hand side when you enter the building, and the area that is kitty corner from the entrance for the fewest people.
- The Mezquita is a good place for a guided tour, as there is a lot of history to this building and its influence in southern Spain. This tour is very highly rated, in English, and with a relatively small group.
Hours: 10am-7pm Mon-Sat, Sunday from 8:30-11:30am and 3-7pm
Torre Campanario (Mezquita Bell Tower)
The bell tower of the Mezquita, known as Torre Campanario, stands tall and proud over Cordoba, and is visible from several places in the city. You can climb to the top of the tower for views over the Mezquita, the river and old Roman Bridge, and the rest of the city of Cordoba.
Cost: 3 euro
Handmade ceramics are a very traditional handicraft made in Andalucia, and you can find shops selling beautiful, artisanal pieces throughout the region (you can also find plenty of pieces that feel a lot more mass-produced). Personally, I love picking up beautiful hand-crafted and hand-painted bowls and plates in my travels, so this was extremely fun for me.
I walked by several artisan ceramic shops in Cordoba, but I particularly liked the Artesania Los Patios, which is right across from the Mezquita. Despite its location in a prime tourist spot, the pieces in the shop were beautiful and high quality.
Address: 18, Calle Cardenal Herrero
Calleja de Las Flores
Calleja de Los Flores is an insanely adorable alleyway with white walls, geraniums in blue flower pots, arches, and a straight shot view of the Campanario Tower rising up between the streets. You really can’t get more picture perfect than this.
Unsurprisingly, Calleja de Los Flores can get busy, although I was surprised that there were some lulls when we visited during the middle of the day in March.
You can go early in the day and have the alleyway to yourself, but I did find that the lighting in the morning was tricky (if you’re trying to get a great picture). The tower was a lot more washed out in the early morning light. This is definitely one of the best photo spots in Cordoba.
La Juderia is the historic Jewish neighborhood located right around the Mezquita. It has some of the prettiest streets in the city, with narrow, cobblestoned lanes, flower pots hanging outside of windows and doors, and white walls with colorful accents.
It is a touristy area, but there’s also no denying its also incredibly charming. You can find plenty of shops, restaurants, cafes, and gelato shops in this neighborhood.
The Roman Bridge dates all the way back to the 1st century BC – making it one of the oldest structures in the city. This scenic bridge has the Puerta del Puente (or “Bridge Gate”) on one side, which was the main gate to the city, and the Torre de Calahorra (Calahorra Tower) on the other.
On the tower side of the bridge, there is a sidewalk running parallel to the river which gives fantastic views of the arches under the bridge and a view to the old town (including the Mezquita in the background).
Tower de Calahorra
The Torre de Calahorra, or Tower of Calahorra, sits on the far side of the Roman Bridge. Entrance to the tower includes the viewpoint at the top, the museum inside the tower, and an audioguide for the museum exhibits. The museum is actually decently interesting, and has some cool models of the different Roman and Moorish structures in the area.
But even if you aren’t interested in the museum, there are great views looking back over the bridge, river, and the city from the top that are worth the price of admission.
- Cost: 4.50 euro, which includes the audioguide.
- Hours: 10am-7pm, daily
Palacio de Viana
The Palacio de Viana is a gorgeous 14th century palace, that was originally named the Palacio de las Rejas de Don Gome, after the original owner. Over the following centuries, the palace has been expanded and redesigned many times. In the mid-1800’s, the palace belonged to the Marquis de Viana (who the palace today is named after), who did substantial restorations, bringing the palace into its splendor of today.
Fun Fact: The two times that the Spanish dictator of the 20th century, Fransisco Franco, visited Cordoba, he stayed at the Palacio de Viana.
Today, the Palacio de Viana is a National Monument, and has 12 named patios with different themes to wander through and delight in. The patios are all unique, and are really just stunning with their fountains and greenery, flowers galore, arches and pretty floor tilework.
- Hours: 10am-7pm Tues-Sat, 10am-3pm Sun, closed Monday
- Cost: 7 euro
The Roman temple is the ruins of an ancient temple that was both very grand and, archeologists believe, very important in the city of Cordoba, but was also only discovered in the 1950’s. The ruins were discovered during the process of excavation for the planned expansion of the City Hall.
Today, you can only walk by and admire the temple ruins, as there is no entrance into the actual site. Still, it’s a very striking structure to just suddenly pass in the middle of the white-washed city streets.
Depending on your interests, I would recommend stopping by either the Palacio de la Merced or some of the churches of Cordoba next. If you still have plenty of time, you can do both!
Palacio de la Merced
Palacio de la Merced used to be a convent and is now used as a governmental building in Cordoba. Today, you can admire the impressive Baroque exterior façade or visit the patios inside.
Entrance is from the right side of the building (when looking at it), and the patio pictured above is the second patio you’ll walk through in the building.
With its large marble courtyard and distinctive orange, cream, and green arches, doors, and ornamentation, Palacio de la Merced is a beautiful gem in Cordoba.
Churches on the Fernandine Churches Route
If you enjoy visiting old churches, Cordoba has an entire Fernandine Church Route through the city. When Ferdinand III re-conquered Cordoba in 1236, Catholicism replaced Islam as the dominant religion in the city, and to really reinforce that change, he commissioned many churches to be built throughout the city.
The first church that you visit on the Fernandine church route will give you a very well-designed booklet with information about all the churches that you can visit, and the most prominent and important features of each church or convent.
The following are four churches from the Route that I would definitely recommend you visit:
- Iglesia de San Pablo (pictured above)
- Iglesia de San Francisco y San Eulogio
- Real Iglesia Conventual de San Agustín
- Parish of San Lorenzo Martir
- Entrance Fee: Your ticket to the Mezquita provides free entrance to all the churches.
- Hours: Monday-Friday 10am-2pm, 3-6pm
Day 2 Cordoba Itinerary:
Alcazar of the Christian Kings
While the palace part of the Alcazar isn’t the most impressive palace in the Andalusia region (it’s a Christian palace, and not nearly as grand and ornate as the Moorish ones), the palace complex is still worth visiting, even if just for the gardens.
The gardens are absolutely lovely – with a long water basin that extends for several levels, and lush flower beds, pathways, and carefully groomed trees lining the sides of the basin.
The palace area has several other features, too: there are ruins currently being excavated, a courtyard, rooms in the palace to walk through, and towers to climb.
- Entrance fee: 5 euro – you can buy your tickets on-site, no need to buy in advance
- Hours: 8:15am-8pm Tues-Fri, 9:30am-6pm Sat, 8:15am-2:45pm Sun, closed Monday
Besides the Mezquita, Cordoba is known for her flower-filled, picture perfect patios. Many of these patios, or courtyards, are in private residences that open their doors to the public.
Hours vary – some of the patios are open in the morning, take a break midday, and then open again mid-afternoon, while others are only open from 10-2. Many of these patios are closed on Tuesdays.
De Patio Tour
The De Patios Tour is a series of 5 patios that you can enter on one ticket as a self-guided tour. Tickets can be bought at 14 Calle de San Basilio. You will be given a map of the five patios you can visit in the neighborhood, which are all a short walk from each other.
The actual location of 14, San Basilio is a little funky (it’s not where I thought it would be based on the rest of the street numbers on San Basilio), so definitely look at the map at the end of this post to see the location of the ticket office.
All of these patios are small, intimate, and serene oases, filled with flowers, greenery, flowerpots, arches, fountains, staircases, ladders, and other accents and features.
You are welcomed to each patio by the owner, and if you speak Spanish, they will tell you about the flowers and arrangements. Whether you speak Spanish or not, most owners will offer to take pictures for you in the patios, which is really nice!
- Hours: 10am-2pm, 5pm-8pm Monday to Saturday (closed Tuesday), 10am-2pm Sunday
- Entrance Fee: 6 euro
Patio at 44, Calle de San Basilio
Number 44, Calle de San Basilio is one of Cordoba’s famed private patios that open their doors to visitors. This patio was free to visit and literally took my breath away with the flowers cascading down over the walkway and arches.
- Hours: 10:30am-2pm, 5-7:30pm Mon-Sat, 10:30-2 Sunday, closed Tuesday
- Entrance Fee: Free
Patio on 2, Calle de Martin de Roa
This patio is just around the corner from the DE Patios ticket office, has lovely blue flower pots, a beautiful flower design on the floor tilework, and a cute, tall, blue ladder around the corner.
Entrance Fee: None, though a donation plate was out
Synagogue of Cordoba
The synagogue of Cordoba is a small site, but it has some beautiful details and is very culturally significant. Built in 1315, this is one of only three synagogues left in all of Spain after the expulsion of the Jews in 1492. Today, it is a National Monument, free to visit, and worth the quick stop.
Hours: 9am-9pm Tues-Sat, 9am-3pm Sunday, closed Monday
I don’t even want to call these day trips because both are within 30 minutes of the city and only take a couple hours to visit. But they are both really cool sites and worth the time to explore!
Medina Azahara is the ruins of a grand, important city that was inhabited during the 900’s AD by the Moors. Today, you can visit the archeological site and explore the ruins, which include some well-preserved archways and walls, as well as stables, gardens, government buildings, and smaller, private rooms.
Visiting Medina Azahara takes about 2-3 hours total and is an easy trip from Cordoba.
Castillo de Almodovar del Rio
Castillo de Almodovar del Rio is a pretty awesome castle perched right on the top of a hill, just 30 minutes from Cordoba. It’s filled with tours and turrets, jousting grounds, historical objects (old swords and weaponry, coinage, chainmail, etc), and receiving rooms, chapels, and lots of other spots to explore.
It’s one of the most aesthetically “stereotypical” castles I’ve ever visited, and I mean that in the absolute best way.
Castillo de Almodovar del Rio is just 30 minutes from Cordoba and just a little bit past Medina Azahara. Plan for about 1.5 hours to visit the entire site.
Where to Eat in Cordoba
I wish I had more recommendations here, but a few of the places that we ate at were misses for me, unfortunately. Still, two delicious spots I did love were:
Churro Bar Marta
Churro Bar Marta is a little bit north of most of the tourist sites in Cordoba (it’s right by Palacio de la Merced, however), but this café serves up excellent, hot fried churros and thick, creamy hot chocolate. Bonus – this meal was only 2.70 euro.
Manolas serves “Cordoban empanadas,” and these little pastries are actually really good. The dough is flaky and crispy, and the fillings are savory and flavorful. The takeaway restaurant is located on 8, Calle de Cardenal Herrero, right by the Mezquita walls, and I can confirm that enjoying this little flaky pastry while sitting on the steps under the bell tower is a great way to enjoy an afternoon snack.
Sit Down Restaurants
While there are a lot of great restaurants in Cordoba, many with beautiful patios, unfortunately the two that I went to were both misses, and I can’t recommend them. I can say that I would avoid eating at Agora Mezquita, and Restaurante Los Patios.
Spending Two Days in Cordoba – The Wrap Up
Even after spending an entire two days in Cordoba, I was still so sad to leave – this city is just enchanting. There are so many vibrant colors, a deep, complex history to explore, and beautiful architecture, and plenty of things to do to fill a two day itinerary. You will love you time in Cordoba!