Inexpensive Holidays to Spain? How About Cordoba and Seville?

Spain Square. Seville, Spain.

Spain Square. Seville, Spain.

The most memorable travels are not necessarily the most expensive. This time, I was planning to visit Andalusia with my son who is a student. Since I wanted him to study not only computer programming, but the art of living according to his budget, not mine, he was entrusted with organizing our cheap holiday in Spain, specifically, in Cordoba and Seville.

Spain is one of the most interesting travel destinations in Europe. It has 88 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and it is sunny and warm there most of the time. This climate can be an important obstacle for the unfortunate people of Northen Europe. When we enjoy continuous rains or mountains of snow in our countries, in Andalusia you can be surprised by ripe oranges on the city streets.

Spain Square. Seville, Spain.

Seville’s Metropol Parasol. Spain.

Seville’s Metropol Parasol is the world’s largest wooden structure

Spain Square. Seville, Spain.

Spain Square. Seville, Spain.

During one week, we were set to explore Seville with its colossal cathedral, by the way, the third largest in Europe; see the ruins of ancient Roman’s Italica not far from Seville; visit Cordoba, medieval city of great importance for European culture and science history; and to find a couple of medieval castles or Moorish fortresses.

Cordoba. Andalusia, Spain.

Cordoba. Andalusia, Spain.

Real Iglesia de San Pablo. Cordoba, Andalusia, Spain.

Real Iglesia de San Pablo in Cordoba

Andalusia is an ideal region for medium-distance travels in Spain. It is only an hour and a half from Seville to Cordoba, but you can get there without renting a car because there is a beautiful road-travel infrastructure in Spain. I will not hesitate to say it is one of the best in Europe. Bus is the cheapest way to travel here. For example, a return-ticket from Barcelona to Madrid costs 44 euros, but you will find the greatest comfort on the AVE trains. Note, when you buy a two-way ticket in Spain the return one will be cheaper by 40%. If you are prepared to travel in the low season, the transfers, hotels, and food will be very cheap.

Spain Square - Plaza de Espana. Seville, Spain.

Spain Square (Plaza de Espana). Seville, Spain.

View of Seville from the Cathedral. Spain.

View of Seville from the Cathedral

Seville. Andalusia, Spain.

Seville. Andalusia, Spain.

Looking back now, I can’t say for sure whether we made the right choice, going for a one-week trip around Andalusia. We built in two days for Seville and five for Cordoba. What determined such a choice? Well, in Seville we ought to see the burial place of Christopher Columbus, and Cordoba was preferred to Granada on the last gasp. The Great Mosque of Córdoba against Alhambra. Cordoba won – a small city with a dozen world-famous sightseeing venues located in the historic part of it.

Inside of Mezquita de Cordoba, Spain.

Inside of Mezquita de Cordoba, Spain.

Interior of Mezquita de Cordoba, Spain.

Interior of Mezquita de Cordoba, Spain.

House in Cordoba, Andalusia, Spain.

House in Cordoba

However, here is how things turned out: Cordoba is not bad at all, but it’s just the city of a single-day-visit type. Having read much of the enthusiastic feedback from the Internet, we, probably, made our choice in a hurry, but anyway we saw the Almodovar Castle. Nonetheless, for inexpensive holiday Andalusia is ideal.

Thanks to the rented car (they are also cheap in Andalusia), we moved from Seville to Cordoba with a dash, and on our way we even managed to view the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Italica (north of modern day Santiponce, 9 km NW of Seville, Spain).

At 5 p.m. we practically settled in the Mosque of Córdoba, – Mezquita – the hotel was right in front of the entry. This city is so tiny! No, I don’t mean it’s void of authenticity and a peculiar southern beauty. They cook gazpacho and steaks perfectly here, and the cafes where these steaks are served explicitly show that we are in the very center of the toreador’s native land.

Roman ruins in Cordoba. Spain.

Roman ruins in Cordoba

Notable houses with patios are all around; any minute now, there is an ancient chapel in the following one.

Santa Marina or Iglesia de Santa Marina. Cordoba, Spain.

Santa Marina or Iglesia de Santa Marina in Cordoba.

A simple by-street, but isn’t it beautiful? Traditional Andalusian house-fronts. Orange trees along the well-kept streets; seeing them laden with ripened fruit, is more pleasurable than seeing plane-trees or birches.

One of the Cordoba's street in February. Spain.

One of the Cordoba’s streets in February

Cordoba’s Roman Bridge is a surviving dinosaur of history. Sixteen arches of a 250-meter bridge were raised over the Guadalquivir river in the times of the Emperor Augustus in the beginning of the 1st century A.D. It is probably my favorite place in this city. Both early in the morning and late in the evening it is so good to walk along the bridge from one bank to another again and again, watching the water flowing away like time, and thinking your own thoughts.

Cordoba's Roman bridge. Cordoba, Andalusia, Spain.

Cordoba’s Roman Bridge

Here is the brutal-looking church Santa Marina or Iglesia de Santa Marina Cordoba and the famous toreador nearby.

Santa Marina or Iglesia de Santa Marina. Cordoba, Spain.

Santa Marina or Iglesia de Santa Marina in Cordoba

At last, Mezquita still remains a puzzle for me and creates an ambiguous impression. Have I not mentioned the local Alcázar? I’m afraid it is not possible to compare it with the Alcázar of Seville and one of the best Alcazars: the Alcázar of Segovia!

So if you have another free day to spend in Andalusia, the sightseeing of Cordoba is a good choice to occupy this day, but even a week won’t be enough in order to take in all the sightes of Cordoba. Thanks to this trip we saw Almodovar Castle, Castillo de los Sotomayor de Belalcazar, and the ruins of Zuheros Castle and Montefrio. We simply didn’t have time to reach Teatro Romano de Mérida (Roman Theater) and the Templars’ Castillo de Capilla, located in Badajoz, but we have a good reason to come back to the best region of Spain: Andalusia.

Castillo de los Sotomayor de Belalcazar. Cordoba, Andalusia, Spain.

Castillo de los Sotomayor de Belalcazar near Cordoba (‘belalcazar’ means ‘beautiful fortress’)

Castillo de los Sotomayor de Belalcazar. Cordoba, Andalusia, Spain.

Zuheros Castle - Castillo Palacio de Zuheros. Andalusia, Spain.

Zuheros Castle – Castillo Palacio de Zuheros

Montefrio Castle. Granada, Spain.

Montefrio Castle in Granada.

Montefrio town. Granada, Spain.

Montefrio town in Granada

More about Spain:

Parador Duques de Cardona Hotel: You Are in Medieval Spain Today
5 World Famous Sights of Spanish Segovia in 5 Days
Isla La Gomera or Сhristopher Columbus’s Love Story

39 Responses to “Inexpensive Holidays to Spain? How About Cordoba and Seville?”

  1. annetbell Says:

    Two lovely places. . . .

    Like

  2. Lavish Living Says:

    Beautiful! We are considering our next trip to Spain so this was really timely for me! Thank you!

    Like

  3. wordsfromanneli Says:

    Fantastic history. I love the castle built right into the rock. The Roman bridge is amazing too. Just the fact that it’s still there!

    Like

  4. followsummergreg Says:

    Lovely…spent some great time there, in both cities..

    Like

  5. Andrew Petcher Says:

    Nice post Victor and good pictures. I think I agree with you – 5 days in Cordoba is too long! I need to go back to go to Granada. ‘South of Granada’ by Gerald Brenan is a good book to read before visiting this part of Andalusia.

    Like

  6. Indonesia in my pocket Says:

    I’ve always wanted to go to Seville, maybe next year. What is cheap ? how much should the hotel cost generally?

    Like

  7. Chau Wu Says:

    Beautiful photos Victor and I totally agree. Having just gotten back from Spain, we loved Seville and Cordoba just as much as Granada if not more. In September at least, we felt like we got a respite from the crowds of tourists at the Alhambra. Having been to both, the Mezquita in Cordoba is just as exquisite as the Alhambra. Working on my Alhambra post now and Seville and Cordoba photos are coming up soon :-).

    Like

    • Victor Tribunsky Says:

      It is cool, Chau Wu. Good luck.
      Is it possible to take a tripod to Alhambra during the night visit?

      Like

      • Chau Wu Says:

        I am not sure about the night visit. We did a day visit and my husband had a tripod and we didnt have any problems although we were told by another visitor who had a special pass to take photos for a book project that you’re not supposed to use a tripod. We didnt see any posting on the website or anywhere that it’s prohibited. I suggesting buying the entrance tickets online, before you go, because they sell out very quickly and the visit to the Nasrid palace is for a set time (I think they are every hour or half hour) and I would recommend getting there early for that because that’s the best part of the Alhambra.
        ~Chau

        Like

  8. Michael Evans Photographer Says:

    Just excellent shots Victor, really inspiring! Now I really must get to Spain in the near future!!

    Like

  9. thejealous Says:

    I totally agree with you Spain is the most beautiful country in europe ,, I been there few months ago and I visit Madraid and Granada … what i really loved about Spain is how you can see two culture mixing up to be one .. Muslims and Christian.

    I highly recommend you to check the Alhambra next time.

    Cheers

    Like

  10. Sreejith Nair Says:

    Stunning shots Victor, I really enjoyed this post.

    Like

  11. Maria Falvey Says:

    Great eye for pattern and texture. Thanks for such a wonderful treat

    Like

  12. jinfanti Says:

    Beautiful photos! I’m planning on a side trip to Seville and Cordoba in a few weeks. Looking forward to it!

    Like

  13. restlessjo Says:

    I haven’t yet seen the Parasol, Victor, so must make an effort next time I’m in the area. Love that image of Zuheros Castle. My very favourite of them is Cordoba, though. I’d love to go back for the Patio Festival in May.

    Like

  14. Amanda Hamilton Says:

    LOVE Cordoba – lived there for nearly 5 years! Can I promote our small village near Iznajar too? I write about the area quite a lot as my gorgeous B&B is still there but as a rental so would love to give it a bit of air time here with you Victor – http://www.amanda-hamilton.com/clc/eight-reasons-why-your-inspiration-will-be-lifted-by-casa-la-celada/ I hope it inspires someone 🙂

    Like

  15. BBQboy Says:

    We’re in Sevilla right now, for the next 7 weeks or so. So I had to check out this post.
    Great photos as usual, we’ll make sure to visit Cordoba. We were in Sevilla’s Alcazar a few days ago and that moorish architecture is just incredible. Cordoba’s looks just as amazing.

    Frank (bbqboy)

    Liked by 1 person


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