Our first impression of Cordoba was, “Wow, this city is big but empty and devoid of people. Where is everyone?” Luckily, the scene picked up after lunch. In ancient times, Cordoba was a famous city, even becoming the capital of an Islamic caliphate at one point. In fact, it is speculated that Cordoba was the most populous city in the world in the 10th century, and it was at this time that the city became the intellectual center of Europe.

The city is roughly a 50 minute ride from Malaga and costs about 45€ roundtrip. There are several trains throughout the day, and while some recommend two days for this city, we felt that one day was more than sufficient. This is also the place to get souvenirs from Andalusia. Postcards run from 0.35-0.50€ (similar to several other cities in the region), but several shops sell decently priced rings at 5€ or 2 for 9€ and table runners at 10-15€.

SIGHTS:
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos
The Great Mosque: La Mezquita
Torre de la Calahorra, Puente Romano
FOOD:
Bodegas Campos

view of cordoba
plaza

posters
cordoba quad

Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos

Admission:
Adults- 4€ (2€/for gardens)
Students- 2€
Free for children 17 and under

Translated as The Fortress of the Christian Kings, this popular sight features a castle, a ginormous garden and a Moorish bathhouse. A prime example of military architecture, it was governed by Ferdinand and Isabella as they prepared to reconquer Granada, the last Moorish stronghold in Spain. This was also the place where Isabella bid Columbus adieu as he set sail for the new world. Before the Spanish gained control of the fortress, it was the home of the Umayyad caliphs. You can also get a pretty decent view of the hilltops outside of Cordoba from the rooftop.

garden
sabrina loves the statue
view
sabrina + statues

landscape

The Great Mosque: La Mezquita

Website
Admission:
Adults- 8€ (no discount for students)
Children 10-14 years- 4€
Free for children under 10

The Mezquita, often known as the Great Mosque of Cordoba, is perhaps the most iconic sight in Cordoba. The mosque is rich with interesting history. Clearly, as the name would suggest, it’s a mosque, built by the Moors starting in 125 AD. A whole Gothic cathedral was then built right smack in the middle of the hall following the Inquisition in the early 1500s. The original mosque was built in four periods, with the most remarkable expansion during the second period in the late 900s, which lengthened the mosque by a whopping 12 bays.  Unlike most mosques, this one does not point to Mecca, which would be south-east of Cordoba. Instead, it points south.

This mosque is also recognized as one of the most accomplished monuments of Islamic architecture due to a number of innovations. Pay particular attention to the double arches, which serve both a decorative and functional purpose. The additional arch enabled the architects to raise the height of the building and create the visual effect of an elaborate ceiling. There are also four domes overseeing the mihrab, which allowed for additional decorative and expressive designs.

We came here on a Sunday, a day that still has services at 9am and 10:45am. At these times, the mosque is free. We took our time, choosing to come in the afternoon at 2pm, when there were less tourists. I’d suggest coming here either super early or later in the day on a Sunday. This place deserves to be viewed without bodies cramming into each other.

near the mezquita
mezquita
cordoba B&W
church + B&W
mezquita arches
mezquita components
ground
mezquita side
cordoba quad 2

Torre de la Calahorra, Puente Romano

Website
Admission:
Adults- 4,50 €
Students / Senior Citizens- 3 €
Free for children under 8 years old

For a gorgeous view of the Guadalquivir River and a spectacular view of the city, head across the Puente Romano (Roman Bridge) and into the Torre de la Calahorra. Although it’s an audio visual museum detailing life in Cordoba in the 10th century, there’s a tower that gives you prime access to views of the city.

bikee
view of mezquita
river

sabrinnaaa
palm treees

Bodegas Campos

Website
Calle Los Lineros 32
14002 Córdoba

We discovered this restaurant through Rick Steve’s recommendation in his Spain travel book. This is clearly a local favorite, given the massive garage space surrounding it for cars of patrons. We arrived a bit too early and had to saunter around a bit before the Taberna opened at 1pm. The place also has an upstairs restaurant, which is more expensive, so be sure to ask for seating at the Taberna if you’re looking for cheaper fare.

bodega campos
interior

chorizo

Chorizo Iberian Cular (9.70€)
Iberian Sausage 

The chorizo wasn’t anything special, but it hit the spot. It’s mild, but one can only eat so many slices without bread before getting sick of the meat. This would be a great appetizer to share for three or more people. Two was stretching it and we couldn’t finish it. It’s also one of the cheaper chorizo choices on the menu.

egg dish

Patatas Cortijeras con Picadillo de Chorizo, half ration (7.20€)
Potatoes with sausage hash and egg

This was our favorite dish of the meal. The potatoes were thinly sliced and crisp on the edges. I particularly loved the chorizo flavor that seeped into the potatoes. They must have been cooked with the oil from the chorizo. The egg was fried delicately so that the yolk ran all over the potatoes when punctured. In retrospect, we should have gotten a full ration, but we thought we were eating too many potatoes.

chorizo + egg
chicken

Flamenquín Tricolor de Pollo (10.80€)
 Chicken stuffed with prosciutto and tricolor peppers

This was, to put nicely, a big disappointment. We had no idea what Flamenquín was, but we knew it was a dish typical to Cordoba. When the dish came, we were slightly taken aback and proceeded with caution. This was by far the saltiest dish of all salty dishes we had in Spain. It was so salty we had to take out the stuffing (as salty as the chicken was, the prosciutto was infinitely saltier) to stomach the chicken. Even then, we could not finish it. The fries were a bit subpar and without ketchup, they were nothing but limp potato sticks coated in grease. By the end of the meal, we had to order another agua con gas, which runs at 1.50€ a bottle.

As you can infer from the picture, we later figured out that Flamenquín is a roll that consists of pieces of prosciutto rolled into a meat, which is then rolled in bread crumbs and then fried. It’s accompanied with mayo.

fried custard

Leche Frita con Helado (4.60€)
Fried custard with lime ice cream 

After the Flamenquín disaster, we decided dessert was a must. Before dessert even came, the server presented us with two complimentary glasses of port. I’m no expert of port, but I can tell you that it was sweet, syrupy and tasted like the last two ports I had in Australia. Informative, I know.

The fried custard was definitely unique. It was like biting into a warm egg tart. The pairing with lime ice cream was a bit odd on paper, but worked harmoniously well in practice. I’m not sure which part of the dessert I liked better, but together, it was like a wedding in my mouth.

Our total bill came out to 37.30€, a bit pricy given the quality. I wouldn’t not suggest this place, but I don’t expect I would ever go back.