Technicolor Córdoba: The Colorful Little Sister City

Córdoba is the kind of city that seems to hold secrets, whisperings under a lock and key that mirrors the one guarding the enormous mosque. Narrow callejas open into plazas stacked high with clay pots and perky flowers, the scent of olive oil from fryers heavy in the air. I’ve traveled to the city a mere hour’s train ride away from Seville half a dozen times, and while it’s gotten under my skin, I don’t think I’ve discovered the city’s heart.

The Caliphate City is vibrant, full of color, and delicious, from the heavier andalú accent in which the cordobeses serve you your caña or toast, to the glare of the sunshine off of the Guadalquivir that flows down river to my adopted town and out to the Atlantic. Seville and Granada get all of the love when it comes to Andalusian cities of renombre, but Códoba’s quiet presence make it a city that has become a secret favorite of mine.

On my latest visit in early March, the colors of the city against the whitewashed buildings that make up the historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, popped out. Muted reds, mustard yellows and the clear, blue sky of my most memorable days in Andalusia blend together to create a laid-back capital with history por un tubo.

Reds // Rojito // horseshoe arches. creamy salmorejo. street art.

yellows // amarillo // views of the mezquita bell tower. ancient city walls. the cathedral from the roman bridge.

blue // azules // azulejo tiles. flowerpots on calleja de las flores. a pop of purple on a backstreet.

Have you ever been to Cordoba? Has a city ever tried to keep its secrets from you?

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About Cat Gaa

As a beef-loving Chicago girl living amongst pigs, bullfighters, and a whole lotta canis, Cat Gaa writes about expat life in Seville, Spain. When not cavorting with adorable Spanish grandpas or struggling with Spanish prepositions, she works in higher education at an American university in Madrid and freelances with other publications, like Rough Guides and The Spain Scoop.


  1. Only 45 minutes from our casa in the campo. Wonderful city! It has everything we need and wished for. Thank you for sharing this post about it.

  2. Beautiful photos! Cordoba is a favorite place to explore.
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  3. Love the creativity behind this post. I never made it to Cordoba in my 3 years in Andalusia…such a shame, I know!
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  4. One day, your blog will make me actually book a ticket to southern spain!
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  5. I loved walking around Cordoba, its so compact and intimate but filled with color and lots of beautiful areas. Your pics really give a great sense and flavor to this vibrant city.
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  6. #SpainIs…colourful Cordoba
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  7. It’s a city I love. Just one look at that bridge and I’m sold. Some day I’ll make the patio festival. :)
    Johanna Bradley recently posted..An extraordinary, but delicious, affairMy Profile

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      I’ve always wanted to go, too! That time of the year is so busy with festivals, that I had the Feria de Jerez and the Romeria of my boyfriend’s pueblo the same weekend!

  8. This is such a beautiful post, both your words and your photos. I spent a wonderful afternoon in Córdoba last spring and am dying to go back. I definitely got the feeling that the city was guarding many treasures, but I didn’t have the time to dig for them. Next time! x
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  9. Been to Cordoba three times and I only ever seem to visit the mezquita. It’s one of those places that if you are doing a group tour, you get dragged to the mezquita for about an hour and a half and then they give you an hour of free time. I would love to go back once without visiting the mezquita–it’s great but 3 times is enough!

    I know the double horseshoe arches are called arcos polilobulados in Spanish. It is the one thing I remembered from my architecture class when I studied abroad in Malaga, mostly because the students in my class were obsessed with the word and repeated it as a chant. I will never forget arcos polilobulados. It’s the first thing I think of when I see a picture of the mezquita!
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    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      I’ve been loads of times since it’s so close to Seville, and each time try and do something a bit different (and convince people not to pay for the Alcazar de los Reyes Magos, jiji!). And well done with the buzzword – you really do learn something new everyday!

  10. Love, love, love these beautiful pictures. I was a little disappointed when I first visited Córdoba in December, but (despite my killer allergies) really fell in love with the city in when I came for the patios in May. Definitely one of my favorites in all Spain!
    Trevor Huxham recently posted..7 Ways to Discover Almería, Southern Spain’s Best-Kept SecretMy Profile

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      Ah, you’re a far better person than I! If I don’t like a place, I tend not to go back! The only reason I’d go back to Santander is to do another stretch of the Camino, ha!

  11. I’ve never been but your photos are inspiring!

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      Thank you!! It’s a city that’s worth a day, definitely, and their festivals are fun!

  12. I have not been to Cordoba, but it looks like yet another place I must see! I love the colors and the Moorish influence. So beautiful.

  13. Ahh I love your photos, and they’re great grouped by color. Córdoba is definitely one of my favorites in the south. I’ve got to get to the flower thing one year – have you been?
    Jessica of HolaYessica recently posted..New Interviews and Travel PlansMy Profile

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      Nope, haven’t been able to go. There’s always so much going on during that time of the year throughout the region, from fairs to romerías to festivals to trips to the beach! Will try and make a point of it next year, though I’ve heard they’re requiring people to pay to visit the patios now!

  14. Beautiful photos! Now I wish we’d stop by Córdoba when we were in Spain…
    Micki recently posted..How to do Istanbul in Six HoursMy Profile

  15. Great angle on the photo of the cathedral! I love Cordoba and hope to go back to Spain one day. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos.
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    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      Thanks, Mary! I feel like I finally got the angles, colors and photos I’ve wanted to get in Córdoba. It’s a really great city, and definitely worth a day!

  16. these pics are unreal cat. wow. i love them. can’t even begin to tell you which i love most for each one is divine. thank you for making want to go there too. god, i’ll never get to it all. ok, but still, i must say i love the tower photo taken from the gate pattern as a frame. and that blue tiled sign in the stone. thank you.
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    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      Thanks, love! It’s an easy city to photograph because of the colors, and the overcast day meant getting rich tones rather than something overexposed. It was magical!

  17. LOVE these photos. They are so colorful!
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  18. I love finding the lesser-known spots, whether an entire city or just a tucked-away spot in a popular town. I will put Cordoba on my list for when I return to Spain!
    Larissa recently posted..The Basilica Cistern: A cool oasis under the streets of IstanbulMy Profile

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      I’ll head there with you! I’m tempted to go back when my mom visits this weekend…

  19. Those colors are intense! Love the photos!
    Sandra Foyt recently posted..Golden Arrow In Lake Placid; Green and Family-Friendly TooMy Profile

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      Thank you! It’s a lovely place, and Spain has really brought out my love of photography.

  20. I’m desperately trying to convince Franca that a summer in Spain should be on the cards and this article should help do the trick.
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    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      Just make sure you’re in the North or near a coast – it gets toasty in July and August!

  21. Cordoba looks pretty. The only time we’ve really spent in Spain has been in the Costa Brava.
    Jennifer recently posted..Wine Wednesday: Steeped in History at CastelvecchioMy Profile

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      The Costa Brava is nice, but as you can tell, I’m especially partial to Southern Spain! Thanks for weighing, J!

  22. I can just *feel* the warmth of Spain coming through these pictures. Great job Cat!
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  23. Wow, I didn’t realize Cordoba is this gorgeous. I was in Cordoba Argentina, completely not impressed with that one.
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  24. I totally agree! I loved my visit to Cordoba 2 years ago. The Mezquita is totally mesmerizing! Beautiful photos you have there.
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  25. Beautiful photos Cat! Eye popping and makes me yearn to go back to Cordoba!
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  26. I just got back two months ago after having lived two of the most beautiful years of my life in that amazing city, and this entry took my breath away. I oftentimes find it really difficult to put into words what it is that makes Cordoba so special, and you have done it perfectly. What nostalgia!
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    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      Why thank you! I think it’s a city that is definitely worth a lot more tourism and acclaim – it’s pretty special!


  1. […] Technicolor Córdoba: The Colorful Little Sister City […]

  2. […] the Vía Verde, I usually send other visitors to Córdoba. A 45-minute train ride straight to a quainter version of Seville and home to as Spanish of a corn dog as you can get, the […]

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