Here are my favorite fully-packed four days in Andalucia’s most charming city.
12 pm: Welcome to CÃ³rdoba! Arriving by train into the railway station at Plaza de las Tres Culturas, head to Hostal Santa Ana, in the heart of La JuderÃa, the old Jewish section of the city, with a distinct Moorish flair.
2 pm: After check-in, grab a map of the city and head out to familiarize yourself with the area before meeting for dinner. For great coffee and the best ice cream in the city, try RoldÃ¡n, on Calle del CaÃ±o, 8.
• Use this time to acquaint yourself with the city. If you’re a Spanish
speaker, notice the difference in the Andalucian accent—no “s” or “t”
pronounced here. Try talking to people, CÃ³rdobans are very warm,
and are always happy to help. Don’t let the excessively high noise level among
locals intimidate you; Andalucians are generally much louder and uninhibited
than those of the North.
• On a side note…don’t eat the oranges that you’ll either find on the trees or
covering the roads—beautiful, but bitter!
10 pm: Dinner will be late, as it always is in Spain (often times much later than 10!). El Churrasco, CÃ³rdoba’s most famous restaurant, located in an old Jewish house on Calle Romero of La JuderÃa is a great spot for a first night in the city. The restaurant has a huge menu, famous especially for its seafood paella and carnes a la brasa (grilled meats). Meals tend to be very, very long in Spain, so prepare to be awake later than usual, you’re on Spanish time!
10 am: Have a quick breakfast at the hostal (Spanish breakfast is very basic—bread, olive oil, yogurt, coffee) before starting the day.
11 am: First, we’ll head to the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos (the Castle of the Christian Monarchs). Once a Muslim Alcazar, now an Episcopal palace, the castle has some of the most beautiful gardens in the city, Moorish in design with fountains, ponds and lemon trees.
1 pm: On to the Mezquita! CÃ³rdoba, once the capital of the Muslim empire al-Andalus, is home to the Mezquita, originally built as a mosque around 900 AD and one of Europe’s most impressive monuments. So impressed by the mosque’s beauty upon their reconquest of the city in 1236, the Christians built a Roman Catholic Church within and around the mosque, leaving it intact.
3 pm: Time for lunch at Solera Pepin, by far the city’s most popular tapas bar. Until the dramatic increase in food prices as a result of the entrance of the euro in 2001, tapas were served free with a drink in most Spanish bars—Solera Pepin is one of the few remaining bars that continue to serve free tapas. Berenjenas con miel (fried eggplant with honey), jamÃ³n ibÃ©rico (top quality Iberian ham), salmorejo (cold cream tomato, bread, and olive oil soup), you’ll try all of Andalucia’s local cuisine.
4:30 pm: Siesta, free time to explore, whatever your heart desires!
• If you haven’t already, check out the new section of the city.
Plaza Tendillas is modern, but very charming as it is surrounded by
orange trees and horse-drawn carriages.
• Plaza Corredera, lined with Spanish bars, is the traditional plaza of
9 pm: Light dinner at the hostal, everyone will still be full from lunch!
10:30 pm: Make your way to Tablao Cardenal, for the most authentic flamenco performance in town. Directly across from the Mezquita, CÃ³rdoba’s most famous guitar players, singers, and flamenco dancers perform two nights a week at Tablao Cardenal…you’re lucky enough to be in CÃ³rdoba one of theses nights!
10:30 am: Quick breakfast at the hostal, or wherever you choose.
12:30 pm: Board the bus that will take you to Medina Azahara–once a medieval Muslim town Medina Azahara is now an excavated and restored ruins site, only 5 km outside of CÃ³rdoba. The town flourished for eighty years beginning in 936 AD, and its ruins were discovered only ninety years ago.
2-3 pm: Break for lunch at Medina Azahara, ham, cheese, and tortilla bocadillos!
4 pm: Back to the hostal for siesta, time to relax.
6 pm: The University of CÃ³rdoba, located in the juderÃa, is where you’ll take Sevillanas dance lessons! Sevillanas is the folk music of Andalucia, extremely popular among both the older and younger generations alike—at any given celebration in Andalucia, you’re bound to see 5 year-old children dancing Sevillanas alongside their grandparents. A flamenco-style dance, anyone in Andalucia will definitely be at an advantage knowing how to dance Sevillanas.
9 pm: Dinner at the restaurant of your choice. A few recommendations: El Caballo Rojo on Calle Cardenal Herrero, 28, FederaciÃ³n de PeÃ±as Cordobesas on Calle Conde Luque, 8.
10 am: Breakfast at Soho Rivera, an outdoor bar and restaurant with some of the best views of the city.
11:30 am: A former hospital houses what is now the Museo Julio Romero de Torres. Romero de Torres is a revered local painter, who specialized in sensual portraits of CÃ³rdoban women.
1 pm: Take a trip to the baÃ±os arabes, CÃ³rdoba’s famous arab baths! For an hour and a half, wander through the hot, cold, steam and hot stone rooms, followed by a massage for only 20 euro! Anyone who chooses not to visit the baths can use this time to do any last minute things in CÃ³rdoba—shopping, lounging in one of the many beautiful parks throughout the city, having a coffee in a part of the city you haven’t explored (such as Ciudad JardÃn, the area of the city where most university students live).
3:30 pm: Saving the best for last…your final lunch in CÃ³rdoba at MesÃ³n de la Luna, situated right along the walls separating the juderÃa from the new city. Treat yourself to a long and relaxing lunch, before checking out of the hostal and boarding the train to your next desintation….Sevilla!
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