Day trip to Cordoba from Seville: The Best Things to Do

Day trip to Cordoba from Seville: The Best Things to Do

In Andalusia, the south of Spain, you can visit the gorgeous town of Cordoba. Cordoba has a very interesting history: several different cultures have ruled over the city and have left their marks. A day trip to Cordoba is a must when you’re visiting the south of Spain. The most important attraction of Cordoba is, of course, its Mezquita. However, there are many more things to do when you’re one day in Cordoba.

How to get to Cordoba from Seville

You can easily get to Cordoba from Seville for a day trip. Cordoba is 140 kilometres from Seville by car. Moreover, public transport is also a very convenient way to visit Cordoba. The train takes about 45 minutes. You can book your train tickets here. However, it’s a 20-minute walk from the train station in Cordoba to the Mezquita. You can also decide to book an organised tour to Cordoba.

The Mezquita of Cordoba
The Mezquita of Cordoba

What to see on a day trip to Cordoba

The Mezquita

The most famous (and special) attraction of Cordoba is probably its Mezquita. I would recommend starting your day trip to Cordoba at the Mezquita. This building originally started as a church. However, when the Moors invaded Spain, it became a mosque. The Christians converted the Mezquita back into a church in the 13th-century when they reconquered the region. This turbulent history of the Mezquita results in a building where several architectural styles and different ways of belief seem to coexist in a certain harmony.

Moorish influences in the Mezquita

When you enter the building, the first thing that you’ll notice are the many columns. You can count 856 columns in the cathedral. They were made from pieces of Roman buildings, among others of a Roman temple that had stood on this site previously. The arches between the columns are painted a striking red and white.

Interior of the Mezquita
Interior of the Mezquita

Also worth visiting in the Mezquita is the mihrab. A mihrab is a niche in the wall of a mosque at the point nearest to Mecca. It is towards this point that the congregation faces when they pray. In Cordoba, the mihrab is an architectural masterpiece. You can discover geometric designs, flowers, and Arabic inscriptions.

Mezquita Interior
Mihrab

As you might have gathered by now, the Moorish influences are much more dominant than the Christian art. During my trip to Seville and Cordoba, I saw Moorish architecture and art for the first time in my life. Needless to say, I was blown away by the beauty of it all. When you look at those intricate patterns and beautiful arches, you cannot but admire the people who build this. It’s only when you enter the altar of the church and when you visit some of the chapels that you realise that Christians have used this building as their church for the last couple of centuries.

Gorgeous ceiling of the Mezquita
In my opinion, the Mezquita in Cordoba has more the appearance of a mosque than of a church

After you’ve visited the interior of the Mezquita, I would recommend that you walk around the walls of the site as well. Only then you can realise the enormous scale of this building. Moreover, the streets surrounding the Mezquita are very lovely.

Calleja de las Flores

The Calleja de las Flores is one of the prettiest streets in Cordoba, and also very popular with tourists. When you visit the narrow passageway with elegant arches and the flowerpots that give colour to the place, you’ll easily understand why. From this street, you’ll have a lovely view of the Mezquita. You can easily fit this alley into your day trip to Cordoba.

Calleja de las Flores (source)

Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos: The Alcázar of Cordoba

Sevilla’s Alcázar might be more famous, but Cordoba also has an Alcázar. It is often named the castle of “the Christian Kings” (los Reyes Cristianos). It’s a military building from medieval times. They built it more as a fortress than as a luxurious palace because Alfonso XI of Castile began building the present fortress at the time of the Christian Reconquest in Cordoba. Furthermore, it was in this Alcázar that Christopher Columbus met the Spanish monarchs when he was preparing his voyage to the Americas.

Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos in Cordoba
Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos (source)

When you visit the Alcázar, you can visit several of the towers. Moreover, there is a Mosaic Hall where they have exhibited Roman mosaics from the 2nd and 3rd century AD. Lastly, the gardens of the Alcázar are a must-visit.

Roman ruins

In 206BC, the Romans conquered Cordoba and named the city Corduba. The famous Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger and his nephew, the poet Lucan, were born in Cordoba. Nowadays, you can still explore various Roman in Cordoba. On a day trip to Cordoba, you should at least walk past some of these ruins to get a feel for the long history of this city.

The Roman Bridge

You can find the Roman Bridge south of the Mezquita. It was originally built in the 1st century BC across the Guadalquivir river. However, most of the current bridge dates from the Moorish reconstruction that took place in the 8th century. On one side of the bridge, you can find the Calahorra Tower. This tower is of Islamic origin. It’s possible to visit the tower. On the other side of the bridge, they have built the Puerta del Puente, a Renaissance gate.

Roman bridge of Cordoba
Roman bridge of Cordoba

Roman Temple

When the City Hall was expanded in the 1950s, they discovered the remains of a Roman temple in Cordoba. You can find the remains of the temple at the Calle Capitulares. Although it was not the only temple in the Roman city, it was possibly the most important temple in Cordoba. Moreover, it’s the only temple nowadays known by archaeological excavation.

Roman temple at the Calle Capitulares
Roman temple at the Calle Capitulares

The building of the temple began in the first century AD. Probably, it was dedicated to the imperial cult, but this is not certain.

Interested in the Romans? Read more about the Roman ruins of Italica, another day trip from Seville.

Roman Mausoleum

You can find this Roman Mausoleum at the Jardines de la Victoria. During archaeological excavations in 1993, this funerary monument was discovered. It dates from the 1st century AD.

Old fortifications of Cordoba

After the Romans had conquered Cordoba, they built a city wall. However, the fortifications that are still standing date from the Arab times. Near the Puerta de Almodóvar, you can admire both the fortification walls and a statue of the Stoic Philosopher Seneca, who was born in Cordoba.

Medieval wall of Cordoba and the statue of Seneca the Younger
Medieval wall of Cordoba and the statue of Seneca the Younger

Plaza de la Corredera

The Plaza de la Corredera is a 17th-century square. On this spot, you used to be able to watch bullfights and Inquisition burnings. Nowadays, this is the perfect place if you’re looking for a cafe or restaurant. The Mercado de la Corredera, a food market, can be found here in the morning.

Plaza de la Corredera in Cordoba
Plaza de la Corredera (source)

Where to stay in Cordoba

While I stayed in The Nomad Hostel in Seville and visited Cordoba on a day trip to Cordoba, you can also decide to spend the night in Cordoba. There are definitely enough things to do in Cordoba to extend your day trip to Cordoba to two or maybe even three days. Top rated hostels in Cordoba include BedAndBe and OptionBe.

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