At 8:45 AM this past Saturday morning – camera and tostada in hand – I hopped on a 2-hour bus ride through rolling hills and rural towns to the one and only Córdoba, Spain. I have been DYING to visit this small yet historically rich city, and found it to be the perfect day trip from Seville (as are most places in Andalucía). Here are the things you have to do while in Córdoba – even if it’s just for a day!
Tour La Mezquita–Catedral
The moment I stepped off the bus, I didn’t waste any time, heading straight to the iconic Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba. This incredible monument represents Spain’s deep religious history and centuries of conflict between Christians and Muslims. Just by observing the aging rock and contrasting designs, you can easily see the passing years and transitioning religions.
Originally a small church, it was transformed into the Great Mosque in 784, expanded upon by later Muslim rulers, and eventually reconquered by the Christians in 1236 who built the Córdoba Cathedral in the very center.
If there is one thing you visit while in Córdoba, it is this. It’s normally 10 euros an hour, but you can get in for free Monday through Saturday from 8:30 to 9:30 AM (they’re closed on Sundays).
Explore the Jewish Quarter (“Judería”)
Córdoba’s Jewish Quarter is a vibrant and unique area worth the time of a leisurely explore. Around the 10th century, Muslim, Christian and Jewish folks were living in harmony in Córdoba, creating a powerful economic hub. Historians still marvel over how the three religions coexisted peacefully for so long.
For nearly 500 years, Jewish people lived along the streets of Judíos, Tomás Conde, Romero and several others that now make up a significant portion of Córdoba’s historic district, which was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.
Simply walking through these whitewashed winding streets was an incredible experience in and of itself (be sure to stop by Calleja de las Flores), but there are also other significant monuments you can stop by, including the Synagogue and Bullfighting Museum.
Eat eat eat!
What would a proper trip be without some good eats?! In Córdoba, they are famous for several traditional dishes, but you seriously HAVE to try at least these three:
- Salmorejo – This is hands down one of my favorite Spanish dishes; I literally had a whole bowl of it to myself while in Córdoba. It’s a creamy tomato-based soup made with breadcrumbs, olive oil, garlic and red pepper, and usually topped with a chopped boiled egg and jamón Iberico. Salmorejo from Cordoba is known for its thick creamy texture and salty acidic flavors. It’s seriously to die for!
- Flamenquín – This dish was actually created in Córdoba and, to be honest, should only be eaten by the ultimate meat lovers. It’s jamón serrano wrapped in pork loin, coated in egg and breadcrumbs, then deep-fried until golden-brown. Mine was served in a way that resembled a fried sausage, but presentation varies by restaurant. Definitely don’t try to eat this by yourself – it’s super rich!
- Tortilla de Patatas – Also known as a “Spanish omelette”, this dish is made of potatoes, eggs and onions, fried in oil, and served cold. It is extremely common all throughout Spain and you can find it in just about any city around the country. However, Córdoba is home to the famous Bar Santos that prides itself on making the biggest tortillas in all of Córdoba. Definitely make a pit stop here after La Mezquita – it’s right outside of it!
Can you stay longer?
If you have more time than just a day trip, there is much more to see in this beautiful small city. I will be back later this month and will be looking for the Palacio de Viana, also known as the Museo de los Patios, with twelve beautiful patios in a 17th century palace. Also on my list is the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos, an ancient fortress that was home to Christian monarchs in the 15th century.
While I will love diving into the history of the Alcazar, the real highlight is the beautiful garden. It is right by the Cathedral, too. And of course, I will be back for more delicious dining!