A day trip to Córdoba

Córdoba is only 45 minutes by high speed train from Seville, so it made the perfect day trip for us on our second visit to Andalucía.

Córdoba is home to the Mezquita, now a cathedral but initially a mosque and still retaining lots of its original features (no, this is not a Rightmove listing).

On arrival it’s a short walk to the old town and then to the Mezquita. We arrived early which made the place feel a bit like a theme park – the streets improbably old and windy like some sort of UNESCO Disneyland.

The Mezquita is a huge building in the middle of it all, and it’s well worth walking the perimeter to see the intricately decorated doors and facades (one of these is apparently the oldest surviving example of Arabic decoration in Europe).

Once inside, the building underwhelmed me slightly at first. But it unfurls as you explore, full of hidden corners and mishmashes of cultures. The contrast between the light-flooded cathedral at the centre and the gloomy and atmospheric arches is sublime.

Arches in the mezquita

After emerging from the Mezquita we took a stroll across the Puente Romano, which gives you great views from the other side of the river.

It’s a short stroll to another of Córdoba’s main sites – the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos, or Palace of the Christian Kings. It was here that Christopher Columbus persuaded Spain’s monarchs to fund his geographically questionable quest to find a western route to India, resulting in the ‘discovery’ of the americas.

Since we were short on time and keen to make the most of the February sun, we only explored the gardens of the alcázar. They are a beautiful place to while away some time amongst the foliage and beautiful water.

Fading by this time, we made our way back towards the centre of the old town and installed ourselves at a table in a little square for some perfectly serviceable tapas. I’m not sure many locals eat Salmorejo (a type of gazpacho native to Córdoba) in February, but we certainly did!

Our final stop was the Salon de Té, a nod to the Arabic influence we had spent our morning absorbing. The cafe is set in the cute internal courtyard of a building (it looks like you’re indoors, but who needs a roof in Andalucía?) and has an extensive menu of teas, coffees and sweet treats.

Our time in Córdoba was fleeting and I would love to go back. There are so many places I would love to visit in this part of Spain – you could easily take a longer trip and visit several of them.

Have you ever been to Córdoba, or are you a fan of a day trip? This is one I highly recommend!

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