Historic Córdoba, view from Hotel Hesperia, Andalucia, Spain

Captivating Córdoba, Spain – With Kids

Córdoba is an absolutely captivating city.  Beautiful whitewashed buildings, narrow winding streets, a very relaxed atmosphere and of course the ultimate on your itinerary, the mesmerising Meztiqua  (or cathedral mosque of) Córdoba.

Here are our top five highlights of places to visit:

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1. Mezquita-Catedral (Cathedral-Mosque) Free if you enter between 08.30-09.30, 10am-6/7pm €8

Is truly the jewel of the city of Córdoba and a must see if you visit the city.  The site began as a Roman Temple, then a Visigothic Basilica.  By the 8th century when Córdoba was a muslim city the site was shared between the catholics and muslims.  Sharing a religious space together, something that seems almost incomprehensible in today’s society.  After the site was subsequently purchased from the catholics it was further developed and redeveloped into an elaboratetly decorated mosque.

From the 13th century when the Christians reconquered the city the Mezquita was again used as a place for Christian worship.  Despite the change in religion the mosque remained largely intact but was modified in the most unusual manner; what makes the Mezquita unique is the 16th century renaissance cathedral nave plonked right in the middle!  A mosque with a cathedral inside it…where else in the world can you see such a phenomenon!

The Patio de los Naranjos, which is the orange tree filled courtyard in front of the entrance is a great place to let the kids run around after being in the dark interior of the Mezquita.  The Puerta del Perdon, at the base of the bell tower has the grandest entrance and the ticket office is just inside.  You can now pay an extra to climb the 54m bell tower (Torre del Alminar) but they have scheduled tours and with two toddlers who had already spent an hour in inside we weren’t hanging around any further, or those on a budget there are similar views to be had from the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos.

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See more of our Mezquita visit here.

2. Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos – Alcazar of the Christian Monarchs (Fortress Gardens) –  €4.50 before 2.30pm, €7 after including water, light & sound show

The Alcazar was the castle and royal residence of Cordoba, inhabited by the caliphs in Islamic times, and later by the Spanish royalty.  Built in the 14th century the Palace fortress is a wonderful place to visit with kids.  Climb up spiral stone staircases to see  panoramic views of the city and explore the terraced gardens full of mazes, fish ponds and gorgeous trees and flowers where you can let the kids play hide and seek and run free.  This was by far Chaos and Mayhem’s favourite place in Cordoba, they were so excited searching for the knights and playing in the gardens!   The nearby Molino de la Albolafia Waterwheel on the Guadalquivir River dates from medieval times, and provided water for the luscious Alcazar gardens, as well as being used to mill flour.

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3. Córdoba Juderia – Jewish Quarter

At the heart of Córdoba’s historic centre lies the network of medieval winding lanes, which is the Jewish quarter.  If you have imaged Cordoba’s white stone buildings, narrow alleyways and winding streets, this is probably the area your vision has come from.  There is something almost magical about the Jewish Quarter, you really do feel as though you are walking in the footsteps where thousands have gone before.  This was our favourite area of Córdoba to wander around.

Here you will find the synagogue, which is in great condition despite the Jewish population of Córdoba being expelled in the 15th century.  The synagogue was rediscovered and restored in the 19th Century. It is free to enter but you need to read through the information signs to understand what the stunning plasterwork carvings from Hebrew psalms represent.  The House of Sefarad (€4), opposite the Synagogue,  explains much more Córdoba’s rich Jewish history.  If you enter, or leave the Jewish Quarter through the entrance gate La Puerta de Almodovar make sure you pop into Bodegas Guzmán a classic and atmospheric spot for a quick vino and tapa.  Have a look at the bullfighting memorabilia and take a trip back in time!

4. Panoramic Plazas  

Córdoba, like most Spanish cities, does not let you down with it’s spectacular Plazas.  Our favourite was Plaza de la Corredera, an architectural gem, with arched porticos, formerly used as a bullring, home to the inquisition process, public executions, markets and festivals.  A great place to soak up the atmosphere, root through the antique shops and have a drink at the hip bars and cafés.

Plaza de las Tendillas is another must visit at the very centre of Córdoba.  Even though we visited in November we were lucky enough to find a Christmas market in the square, a great place to sample some artisan products.  The Great Captain statue, a famous knight at the time of the Christan Monarchs graces the plaza’s fountain.  It very strangly has a white head that urban legend says actually belonged to a completely different statue of a bullfighter but was mysteriously replaced!

5. Puente Romano – The Roman Bridge

Originally built by the Romans in 1st century and surprisingly so, this small bridge was the only gateway to the city up until 2005.  A wonderful place for views of the city, including the nearby waterwheel, people watching, photographs of the city at night and for soaking up riverlife.

At the historic centre end of the bridge is the Puerta del Puente – Bridge Gate, a renaissance gate transformed into an triumphal arch. There is also the Triunfo de San Rafael – Triumph of Saint Raphael, a large 18th Century monument in the Rococo style with a column upon which Saint Raphael resides.

On the South side of the river, the Milaflores district, you will find the Torre de la Calahorra – Calahorra Tower, originally Moorish but adapted into a Christian stronghold in the 15th century, now a museum.  The Museo Vivo de Al-Andaluz depitcs how life was around the 10 Century AD when the three cultures of Christianity, Muslim and Judaism lived side by side. Entrance €4.50.

Other places of mention that we visited:

Concurs de Patios Cordobeses – The Courtyard Patios of San Basilio €5 for seven patios

San Basilio is a famous neighbourhood because most the houses in this area were built for Catholics but respected the original muslim style and were built with an enclosed courtyard or patio.  The patios are a traditional inclusion within moorish architecture designed to be an area of cool calm serenity, to escape from the fierce heat of the day.  There is a Patios fiesta in the first half of May, but there are seven patios open to view all year, but beware of siesta closing times!

The Palace of Flowers – Viana Palace

We visited the free centre for the interpretation of Cordovan Patios rather than paying €8 each to visit the manor house and it’s 12 patios and gardens.  The patio was very pretty but it was raining quite heavily and we didn’t really feel the vibe.

Hotel Hesperia

Just a short walk over the Roman bridge on the South side of the river opposite the historic centre in the Milaflores district, you can visit the hotel’s rooftop bar for a wonderful panoramic view of the Mezquita and the river.  The panoramic bar is open in the afternoon, or if you forget the times and are very lucky, go in the morning and a nice maintenance man will unlock the door for you!

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Córdoba with Kids

Córdoba is a fantastic city for kids of all ages, simply because there is so much to see and do and in our experience the Spanish really do love children and always try to include them in everything.  We have three and two year old boys and they had an awesome time!

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Plentiful Parks:

There are so many wonderful outdoor play parks, there literally seemed to be a new park around every corner.  Córdoba even has a whole area called Children’s city, with over 30 different types of equipment, including a skate park, set over 4 hectares (Avda. Menéndez Pidal).  We found a wonderful pirate ship park just next to the Torre de la Calahorra- Calahorra Tower on the south side of the Roman bridge.

Córdoba - Pirate Ship Playground, Milaflores

Eating out:

Eating out is a problem if you are not accustomed to ‘Spanish time’.  Most places serve Desayuno (breakfast) of tostada con tomate y azeite (toasted baguette with tomato and olive oil) or butter, or Jamon or pate from early until midday.  Comida (lunch) begins from 2pm until around 4pm then most places close fr siesta.  Cena (dinner) is usually from 8pm, you may be lucky to find somewhere open slightly earlier in the main tourist areas.  We can highly recommend Mercado Victoria – Victoria Markets unusually open from 10am – 2am!  A covered gastro-market full of different stalls serving a variety of foods from Hot Dogs, Pizza and Paella to Sushi, Tapas and Oysters.  The eatery is also in the middle of a huge parks area with loads of outdoor play parks for the kids to enjoy.

Even though we now live in Spain, our boys bedtime remains 7pm and they really struggle to stay awake past this time.  We did eat out late on the last night to celebrate hubbies birthday, we went to a rather overpriced tourist restaurant and ate at 7.30pm and suffered the next morning with a 5.30am wake up, as the boys just weren’t used to a 9pm bedtime!  What we found worked of us was to eat a light picnic lunch at around 11am (not too difficult when you get up with the kids so early) and then have an early big dinner from 3-4pm.  If anyone (hubbie) is hungry later, there is always a cafe or a bar open that serves tapas (savoury snacks).

Getting around:

Many of the streets are narrow, cobbled and often crowded.  If you have a pram/buggy make sure it is sturdy enough to withstand the bumpy paths.  We always use carriers with our kids as we find we can take them anywhere we can go, they are at eye level and see much more and therefore get less bored!  We found Córdoba really easy to navigate around and never got lost.  It is easy to walk everywhere and you can easily see all the city’s main highlights by foot.  You will definitely not need a car!

Top Tip:

The historic centre of Córdoba is wonderfully picturesque but awful to drive around.  If you are driving to Córdoba bear this in mind.  We booked an apartment through Airbnb on the other side of the Guadalquivir river (South side), just near the Torre de la Calahorra in the Miraflores district.  Parking is free on the street and it is very easy to drive to and from, no traffic jams in narrow streets!  Use this link for £25 travel credit with Airbnb and we get a little something off our next booking too, enjoy!

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Post Author: Topsy Turvy Tribe

57 thoughts on “Captivating Córdoba, Spain – With Kids

    Wandermust mummy

    (November 17, 2016 - 8:50 am)

    I would love to go to Córdoba and it’s great to get a family perspective #farawayfiles

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (November 18, 2016 - 10:42 pm)

      Cordoba is a beautiful city, a wonderful place for anyone to visit.

    Clare Thomson

    (November 17, 2016 - 9:16 am)

    Cordoba sounds utterly entrancing and definitely somewhere I’ll be putting on my Spanish wishlist. Your tips for travelling with children are brilliant – the Alcazar sounds like the perfect place for letting kids’ imaginations run wild. Thanks so much for linking up with #FarawayFiles

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (November 18, 2016 - 10:47 pm)

      Thanks for the lovely comment, Cordoba truly is a must a see destination and should be part of your Spanish wishlist. We loved taking the kids to Cordoba to spur their imaginations!

    katy@untoldmorsels

    (November 17, 2016 - 9:49 am)

    You’ve just popped Cordoba on my must see list of places in Spain. Looks like a great place to explore with kids. I know mine would love the Mercado Victoria. Thanks for sharing this beautiful city with us on #FarawayFiles Andrea

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (November 18, 2016 - 10:51 pm)

      Thanks, the Mercado Vicoria was great. It was hard to decide what to choose, the displays of food are all really tempting. There was a great pizza counter, he also gave us scratch cards which gave us free beers!

    afamilydayout

    (November 17, 2016 - 5:49 pm)

    I’ve never really thought of visiting Cordoba before but it looks amazing, particularly the Mezquita. I haven’t visited much of Spain, but I agree with your kids – I really would find the evening meal times very hard if I lived there! #Farawayfiles

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (November 21, 2016 - 9:12 pm)

      Yes the meal times are certainly a challenge but you can always get tapas at anytime. Even when all the shops shut for siesta there is always a few bars open! There is so much more to Spain then the Costa and Córdoba is a great example of this!

    daisythebus

    (November 17, 2016 - 9:46 pm)

    What strikes me most reading this is the abundance of open spaces. It seems like there is always a park, garden or courtyard nearby in which the kids can let off some steam, not to mention the “children’s city”. Wonderful! Gotta love “Spanish time” though; worse than any jet lag ;o)

    Greetings from Luxembourg #FarawayFiles

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (November 21, 2016 - 9:15 pm)

      Ha ha, yes Spanish time is definitely worse than jet-leg! We are trying our best to get used to it and falling so far! Córdoba really is a beautiful city with loads of green spaces, which makes it so ideal for kids!

    Alex Muir

    (November 17, 2016 - 10:13 pm)

    I loved your Cordoba pictures on Instagram so I’m pleased I finally got around to reading the post – it looks gorgeous and so full of history. There are often cheap flights to Malaga from East Mids so I’m going to earmark this post as a reminder! Thanks.

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (November 21, 2016 - 9:21 pm)

      Thank you Alex, there was so much to do and see in Córdoba it took us a while to finally write the post! If you can get a cheap flight it really is worth the journey. You could also fit in Ronda, we are off there tomorrow so will be writing about it soon too, watch this space…thanks for following us!

        Alex Muir

        (November 21, 2016 - 9:31 pm)

        Yes Ive heard about Ronda. Sounds like a great weekend break!

    youngandundecided

    (November 18, 2016 - 6:51 pm)

    Cordoba looks incredible! Definitely on my bucket list now! pictures are beautidul #farawayfiles

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (November 21, 2016 - 9:22 pm)

      Thank you so much, it really is a picturesque city and week with a visit!

    travelsewhere

    (November 19, 2016 - 1:49 pm)

    Cordoba is one of my favourite places I visited in Spain, it’s just fantastic. You’ve captured the best spots here really well, terrific photos. Glad you and your kids enjoyed it too. #TheWeeklyPostcard

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (November 21, 2016 - 9:24 pm)

      We really did have a fantastic time in Córdoba, glad you liked our post and photos, thanks for your lovely comment!

    galanda23

    (November 19, 2016 - 9:53 pm)

    I’d love to visit Cordoba. I’ve been Sevilla and I enjoyed it a lot. Your pictures captured the town’s atmosphere very well. It must have been difficult to visit all these sites with small children. I remember the times when we traveled with our young son. It was not easy, but it was fun. #TheWeeklyPostcard.

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (November 21, 2016 - 9:29 pm)

      Thank you for your comment. To be honest it wasn’t that difficult at all the children really loved visiting Córdoba and sightseeing. The only slightly bad part of the trip was a 5.30am wake up after a late night! Kids do love their bedtime routine but they also love to explore!

    Over Heaven's Hill

    (November 19, 2016 - 10:59 pm)

    Cordoba is an absolutely incredible place. My parents have an apartment in Spain and insisted on bringing me there when I was visiting them one year. I was blown away by its beauty and history. Definitely a hidden gem #kcacols

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (November 21, 2016 - 9:31 pm)

      Thanks for your comment, I totally agree and feel lucky that we have been able to visit Córdoba as, despite its unique beauty, it really isn’t that touristy!

    MummyTamTam

    (November 19, 2016 - 11:05 pm)

    I love Spain but I have never been to Cordoba, but I would definitely love to go there when my girls are a little bit older 🙂 #KCACOLS

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (November 21, 2016 - 9:34 pm)

      Our boys are only 2 and 3 and really liked it. Traveling with little ones is possible at any age as long as you are organised! Córdoba really us a beautiful place I hope you get the chance to visit one day, thanks for your comment.

    Ruth

    (November 20, 2016 - 4:36 am)

    I am so amazed at your photos! Cordoba is pure magic! I have never been but have plans to visit soon since I love Spain. #TheWeeklyPostcard

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (November 21, 2016 - 9:35 pm)

      Thank you for your lovely comment. Spain really is underrated I hope you can visit soon to enjoy it’s beauty.

    differentshoresblog

    (November 21, 2016 - 11:50 am)

    You’re right, Cordoba is absolutely captivating. Your post is lovely and really captures the spirit of the place. Your pictures are gorgeous #TheWeeklyPostcard

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (November 21, 2016 - 9:07 pm)

      Thank you so much, so pleased you liked our post and photos. Córdoba really is a beautiful place to visit!

    oregongirlaroundtheworld

    (November 21, 2016 - 1:03 pm)

    I really want to visit Cordoba – I love the idea of such communal religious history. Thank you for sharing and great tips for those with littles in tow! Cheers from Copenhagen and thanks for linking with #FarawayFiles – an excellent addition! Erin

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (November 21, 2016 - 9:05 pm)

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment Erin. It really is a spectacular place to visit and like no other. I agree the fact that the religions once lived in harmony is fantastic and really does make it a special place.

    fifi + hop

    (November 21, 2016 - 9:13 pm)

    It’s been many years since I’ve been to Cordoba – lived in Spain during college – and am hoping to take my girls sometime soon. Great list as well as tips. I can only imagine the Spaniard time being such a challenge with kids. I remember it took me weeks to adjust as a twenty something! #farwayfiles

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (November 21, 2016 - 9:37 pm)

      Yes Spanish time is really hard with kids but thank goodness for tapas! I hope you get the chance to bring your girls here soon. I’m sure they will love it just as much as our boys do!

    malaysianmeanders

    (November 21, 2016 - 10:56 pm)

    Thanks for the list. Even though my kids are older, I think we’d still appreciate the playgrounds and Mercado Victoria. I’m particularly keen to see the Mezquita-Catedral. Your photos of it are stunning with its mix of architecture. I’d like to see the courtyards, too.

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (November 29, 2016 - 8:15 pm)

      Thank you! The Mezquita is so fascinating and simply stunning. It is well worth the trip to Córdoba alone!

    Becster

    (November 23, 2016 - 10:15 pm)

    Looks like such an amazing place! The raised gardens look lovely! Oh my word, dinner starts being served at 8pm?! That’s bedtime for us! 😀 We could make an exception whilst on holiday though!

    Thanks for linking up with #KCACOLS and hope to see you again soon x

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (November 29, 2016 - 8:08 pm)

      It really does take a little getting used to Spanish time. Bedtime is normally 7 in our house so even staying up a little late for dinner and the boys were wiped out! At least it meant they both had a good siesta though!

    The Speed Bump

    (November 25, 2016 - 10:06 am)

    Wow, how beautiful! I remember visiting Madrid and being captivated by the Spanish architecture, it must be some of the best in the world! #KCACOLS

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (November 29, 2016 - 8:07 pm)

      Spain really does have some wonderful architecture and is so much more than just beaches and sunshine!

    Sharon M Parry

    (November 25, 2016 - 1:45 pm)

    This is a great guide to what looks like a stunning place. Would love to visit some day. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday

    Emma

    (November 25, 2016 - 9:36 pm)

    Wow what an amazing trip! I remember visiting Cordoba when I was 15 on a school trip and I remember visiting the cathedral but that’s about it. the parks look fab and I know my little one would love the Spanish tortilla and churros 🙂 #KCACOLS

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (November 29, 2016 - 8:05 pm)

      Thanks Emma. Wow what a great place to visit on a school trip! The tortilla and churros are definite hits with out boys too !

    California Globetrotter

    (November 28, 2016 - 12:19 pm)

    Cordoba and Ronda are definitely on my Andalusia road trip bucket list I hope to do within the next year! Your trip looks like it was just as amazing as I’ve dreamed it would be! #MondayEscapes

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (November 29, 2016 - 10:05 am)

      Were just back from Ronda it was amazing too. Just going through the tonnes of photos before we can write out next post! I hour you get the chance to visit both places they are truly amazing!

    Notmyyearoff

    (November 28, 2016 - 12:39 pm)

    I’ve loved all your posts on Córdoba and all your photos on Instagram. There’s so much more to see there than I initially thought and I’d love to do all these places soon. I might have to suggest it to the husband!

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (November 29, 2016 - 10:00 am)

      Thank you so much, it us a wonderful place to visit, we loved it. How you can persuade the hubby!

    Wandermust mummy

    (December 6, 2016 - 9:48 am)

    Always wanted to visit and your photos make it even more appealing #citytripping

    MummyTravels

    (December 7, 2016 - 7:13 am)

    I always fancied the idea of a mini Spanish road trip visiting Seville, Granada and Córdoba- I didn’t quite manage that and have only been to Granada so far but would still love to see the other two. So as I’ll have a 4yo with me, these are great tips – such a family friendly country for sure. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (January 3, 2017 - 7:41 pm)

      Your road trip idea sounds fab, we are taking things slowing and Seville and Granada are next on our lists!

    mini travellers

    (December 7, 2016 - 9:47 am)

    This article is brilliant and really informative. I did a road trip through Spain before the kids but I would love to do a mother with them on board. Fab tips and places to eat. thanks for linking up to #MondayEscapes

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (January 3, 2017 - 7:42 pm)

      Thank you, Spain is so child friendly it’s a great place to visit with kids, definitely come back for another go with them in tow!

    Trish @ Mum's Gone To

    (December 8, 2016 - 8:00 am)

    Absolutely stunning – Now I’ve tried Seville I must return and go to Cordoba. We did think of going for a day trip but in the end decided it merited a longer visit.
    #citytripping

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (January 3, 2017 - 7:43 pm)

      Cordoba is beautiful but definitely worth a whole weekend at least, so much to see and do, hope you make it there this year!

    Alex Muir

    (December 8, 2016 - 8:12 am)

    Yup, all your posts and pics are definitely making me keep an eye on flight prices from east mids to Malaga. Can’t wait to see it all! Especially that bridge! #citytripping

    WanderMum

    (December 8, 2016 - 1:32 pm)

    What an amazing mix of cultures and history in one place. Cordoba is another Spanish city to add to my list. I agree with your on the eating scenario…so difficult to get the children fed at a decent hour! #citytripping

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (December 9, 2016 - 9:06 pm)

      Thanks for hosting and commenting. Córdoba is definitely a place to add to your travel list. We absolutely loved it there!

    Monday Escapes #49 - Travel Loving Family

    (December 12, 2016 - 7:00 am)

    […] Topsy Turby Tribe’s post about Córdoba with kids was selected by Karen because she loved the top tips highlighted for making the most of a visit with a family. […]

    […] Portugal’s River Beaches, Porto (Oporto) with kids, Frigiliana, Captivating Córdoba, Spain – With Kids and Top 5 Reasons to Visit Ronda, […]

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