A Day Trip From Seville to Cordoba, Spain
Before the sun started to rise, we were down the stairs and pushing through the massive wooden front doors of our Airbnb. It was a little over a mile walk to the Sevilla Santa Justa Train Station. We purchased our tickets months before at omio.com. However, it turns out we bought the wrong tickets…
As we found our seat and watched the first few stops pass us by, the train conductor in a very strong Spanish dialect said we were on the wrong train or we bought the wrong tickets. Looking very confused at eachother, we franticly got our tickets out of our bag.
We could only understand the gist of what he was saying but he got very angry, very quickly, as if we were breaking the law or trying to get a free ride. This guy was so mad I thought he was going to try to kick us off at the next stop, mad. A nearby passenger was nice enough to translate for us both. Long story short, we ultimately had to re-buy tickets again. Luckily, they were not very expensive, about 15€, but the experience was not a good one. With that being said, I do not advise buying train tickets on omio.com.
The train ride itself was relaxing and went without a hiccup. What I love about the transportation system in Europe is, time after time, it’s always running consistently and on time. We arrived at the Cordoba train station just before 9am and stopped at the nearest tourist stand to look at a map right outside of the terminal doors.
Since we only had a day, we thought the best way to see a bunch of things was to take the hop-on-hop-off bus tour. essentially, we could hop off the bus and see what we wanted to see and then wait for the next bus, ship stops we didn’t want to see and get off at the next stop we wanted. pretty explanatory. I can’t express enough how much time and money this saved us from renting a car, walking or using a taxi service.
Traveler Tip: The train station is in the business district of Cordoba and there is nothing to see so walking to any historic site or place of interest is not possible.
A bus tour is generally not something I would sign up for but we couldn’t beat the transportation costs. For roughly $23 each, we got on and off the bus at over five different stops throughout the day.
Cordoba Spain has been a Roman outpost, an Arab capital, and a city eventually conquered by the Catholic Kingdom of Castile in the 1200s. Throughout southern Spain’s Andalusia region, the blending of these cultures and religions reveals itself in the architecture, the artwork, and the traditional dishes served across the area.
The first stop of the day was at the famous Roman Bridge. Originally built in the 1st century B.C by the Romans, this bridge still stretches across the Guadalquivir River and into Cordoba’s historic center. The bridge has undergone several changes and restorations over its long history. When you visit today, you’re mostly looking at the changes made by the Moors in the 8th century.
Alcazar de Los Reyes Cristianos
As our heat-soaked sun-kissed sun tan was in full effect, we crossed back over the Roman Bridge and made our way to Alcazar de Los Reyes Cristianos. The Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos, also known as the Alcázar of Córdoba, is a medieval castle located in the historic center of Córdoba. It’s location next to the Guadalquivir River which makes it an ideal location to defend from intruders in the era of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon.
The alcazar was a sight to see in general but the highlight included walking around the magnificent gardens. Flowers in full bloom, the bushes and tree’s perfectly manicured. I enjoyed wandering through the fortress halls and exploring all the different rooms too. We opted to go without a guide during our time at the alcazar do to the increase in price but I would’ve liked to have known more about each area of the fortress.
Just a few blocks down was the outside of the famous Mezquita. We did not opt to pay the fee and go inside because we paid the 4,50€ (around $5US) entrance fee to the alcazar and were trying to stay on budget. However, I’ve read that there is an incredible scene inside and if you have the time and the budget to fit it in, I would suggest going inside.
Before we hit the old Jewish Quarter in La Juderia, we walked under the Almodovar Gate.
Cordoba’s Patio Festival
One of the more beautiful areas in Cordoba is the patio gardens. Every Spring the town celebrates the Patio Festival. The Patio Festival in Cordoba Spain is a tradition that began in 1918. However, during the Spanish civil war it had been interrupted and became reintroduced in the 1950s. The festival is intended to make hidden treasures available to the public. Furthermore, it is to honor the residents’ efforts to retain these traditional places.
Since 2012, the Cordoba Patios have been part of the world cultural heritage and the area was deemed an UNESCO world heritage site. During the festival, people are welcome to enjoy courtyards of incomparable beauty, packed with trees and flowers, fountains and accessories.
While we didn’t get to see the patio festival itself, there were still clues and beautiful patios all around town. Some were more extravagant than others and maybe that was premeditated or maybe some flowers on other patios had died off throughout the summers heat. Either way, the Cordoba Patio Festival is just one of the many reasons to come to Spain and Cordoba.
The Mercado Victoria or Victoria Market in English was our last stop of the day. If the Victoria Market were in the US, it would be an upscale food court in a mall. but a much better version. Fresh cold cuts, fish, and tapas a plenty. The vibe was energetic and this seemed like a great spot to grab a bite to eat and drink after work.
Consisting of mostly locals dressed to dine attire, the market became a hotspot shortly after we arrived. It was cool to see how the locals do and it gave a nice perspective of “normal life” in España.
The bus station happened to be right outside of the market so as we watched the time, we made sure to grab the last bus of the day to head back to the train station. The train ride home didn’t pose any excitement besides for the gelato I bought just before getting on board. It was mostly quiet and after a long day we ended up passing out until almost our stop back in Seville.