If you're staying in the Andalusia region, free up a morning for a day trip to Cordoba. Cordoba is only an hour train ride from Seville making it a convenient destination. If you're interested in art and history and appreciate charming streets, Cordoba is the place for you.
This Roman city and major Islamic center is home to the second biggest mosque in the world, the Mezquita. Be sure to purchase tickets ahead of time because they do sell out. The doors open only at the designated times but there will be a long line to enter so arrive early.
There are several sections inside the mosque including the Royal Chapel, the Villaviciosa Chapel, the Mihrab and more. To say that the Mezquita is a unique building is a complete understatement.
Interestingly, the mosque has since been converted into a Catholic church in 1236. In the center of the mosque, you will find a black cathedral signifying the change. Our tour guide in Madrid described it as being strange but I found it quite beautiful.
If you happen to have some free time, visit the bell tower located right next to the Mezquita for views of the city. You can also buy admission tickets for the bell tower in advance.
Continue your day trip to Cordoba with a stop to the popular tourist street, Calleja de la Flores. Located right around the corner from the Mezquita, this small alley lined with flowers making it a charming little corner. Plus you just can't beat that view of the mosque, am I right?
There are many restaurants around the mosque including Restaurante Qurtubah. If you need a change of pace from the tapas lifestyle, this is the place for you. This Moroccan restaurant serves everything from hummus platters to kebabs to assorted teas. I thoroughly enjoyed every single dish we ordered and left very satisfied.
Now that your belly is full, it's time to walk off the calories by exploring the rest of Cordoba. Walk towards the Cordoba Roman bridge for views of the river and the city. For all of the Game of Throne fans out there, the Roman Bridge was featured in season 5 as the Long Bridge.
On the other side of the bridge, you will find Calahorra Tower, the oldest defense building in Cordoba. It now serves as a museum showcasing artifacts and documents of Cordoban history.
For more site, check out the Alcazar of the Christian Monarchs, the Plaza de la Corredera, or Palacia de Viana.