Córdoba (or "Qurṭubah" as it was known in Moorish times) is a history lover's dream. This beautiful Andalucian city boasts a wealth of Moorish and medieval sights, topped off by the extraordinary Mezquita, one of the world's greatest religious buildings.
Constructed in the 8th century, the Mezquita was Córdoba's main mosque. When the Spanish reconquered Andalucia, the jungle of columns and arches inside wasn't demolished (thankfully). Instead, they were integrated into a breathtaking cathedral that is unlike any other.
Córdoba's Old City dates back to the Roman era, but most of the most impressive sights were built under Muslim rule from around 750 AD to 1236. Join a tour to ensure that you don't miss a thing.
Every spring, Córdoba stages its "Feria". The longest of its type in Spain, this two-week spectacular is filled with bull fights, dancing, feasting and blazing color.
Córdoba is also a major international musical center. If you love classical or flamenco guitar, be there for the Festival Internacional de la Guitarra in July.
Córdoba's ancient history is being kept alive by its community of artisan ceramics producers. Head to workshops like Blas' for stunning pots and vases in an unique Córdovan style.
If you want to party with the locals, visit in late May for Feria. However, for sightseeing, April and early May are better, with fewer crowds. Summer is scorching hot, while the fall brings a little more rain, but is generally ideal for touring the sights.
The closest major airport is in Malaga, which has good European connections. From there, catch a train into Maria Zambrano Station, then tansfer to a Córdoba service (around EUR18).
Córdoba's station on the Avenida de America has links to Sevilla, Malaga, Barcelona and Madrid, and is located at the heart of town.
Take the E5 from Madrid or Seville, the A45 from Malaga or the A7 then the A45 from Barcelona.
Socibus services from Madrid run into central Córdoba (about 4 hours 50 minutes, EUR20).
Historical hotels like the Balcon De Córdoba and the Hotel Hospes Palacio del Bailío offer rooftop terraces and beautiful rooms. There are also high-quality modern options like the Hotel Eurostars Palace.
La Catedral - Córdoba's historical core, La Catedral is home to the Mezquita, so it's the first port of call for most visitors.
San Basilio - South of the city center, San Basilio is home to a gorgeous palace built by the Spanish conquerors and great tapas bars like La Viuda.
Centro - Córdoba's modern heart, Centro is packed with shops and lively bars like Glam or Jazz Cafe, as well as lovely green spaces like the Jardines de la Merced.
Aucorsa provides bus connections to most parts of town and charge EUR1.30 for a single ticket.
Expect taxis to charge around EUR5 for the first mile, then EUR2 per mile after that.
Car rental companies in the Córdoba area include Avis and Budget, who charge around EUR20 per day for smaller vehicles.
For the best shopping opportunities, head for Plaza de las Tendillas, where you'll find boutiques like Matilde Cano and La Ormiga. Check out Blas' Ceramics as well, for gorgeous pottery creations.
Local supermarkets include SuperAlCoop and Dia. Expect to pay around EUR1.80 for 12 eggs.
Córdoba is a great destination for tapas lovers. Check out Casa Mazal or La Fragua if you are near the Mezquita for some exceptional home-cooked Andalucian fare. Prices should be around EUR20 per head.