A trip to Andalusia cannot leave anyone indifferent. And among the places to visit that are a must when heading south to Spain is the splendid region of Córdoba. This multifaceted territory with infinite treasures leads travellers to the heart of the eponymous capital, a city with exceptional architecture, culture and festive events. But the Cordoba region is also remarkable villages and legendary fortresses; a diverse nature to be explored on foot, by bicycle or on horseback; a gastronomy that delights the finest palates and many moments during the year when festivities and celebrations invade streets and alleys. These are the unmistakable characteristics of the Cordoba region, a sunny and exhilarating destination in many ways

Discover the city of Córdoba and its riches

Like Seville and Granada, Cordoba is a jewel of Andalusia. Whether you stroll there by day or by night, every moment is good to cross eras and influences and discover its incredible architecture. From the historic centre, where you take the time to walk through the streets and stop in front of the majestic mosque-cathedral built in the year 785 by a Muslim emir on the ruins of a church, you will reach the unmissable Jewish quarter, the Judería. Here you can enjoy strolling through charming narrow streets with white houses full of flowers, stopping in front of the patios, which are also decorated with flowers and have soothing fountains, and then going to the synagogue, a historic place that is quite simply unique in Andalusia.

On another day, combine history and architecture, starting with the discovery of the sculptures of great figures who have influenced the history of Cordoba, such as the painter Julio Romero de Torres and the renowned philosopher Maimonides. Then you will meet the other buildings that bear witness to the city's great diversity. How can you miss the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos, the residence of the Catholic Monarchs, which has beautiful gardens, a mosaic room, marble floors, stables and royal baths. Roman and Arab influences mix in the palace of Viana, when the Roman bridge with its beautiful stones that proudly spans the Guadalquivir reveals a very nice panorama of the city.

In Cordoba, shoppers enjoy browsing the boutiques and discovering Cordovan trends, how not to mention flamenco fashion, as well as entering the precious artisan shops, whose workshops showcase silver, silverware, leather, jewellery, ceramics and other musical instruments. Between two shops, the Plaza Corredera is a lively and popular place to relax over a drink, unless a moment at the Arab Baths is privileged to relieve sore ankles on long urban walks. In the evening, you should not hesitate to walk through the old town and contemplate the illuminated emblematic monuments, or take the Legends of Cordoba night-time route, an unusual and unpublished experience to get off the beaten track and dive into the mysterious Cordoba. The south of Spain is also the lively bars and clubs that are just waiting for the dancers, in the centre as well as in the Ribera or the Vial Norte area

Set out to conquer a region with fascinating villages and varied nature

In the Córdoba region, there are many experiences that attract visitors, starting with a visit to some of the most beautiful castles and fortifications offering a journey through time. Following the Córdoba Castle Route allows you to enter prestigious monuments such as Gahete Castle in Belalcázar, Ashar Castle in Iznájar and el Moral in Lucena. From the historic fortresses, we stop in villages set in the heart of a hilly nature and rich biodiversity. On the side of the Sierra Morena, Hornachuelos attracts the eye with its heritage, as does Almodóvar del Río with its high perched castle. In the Sierra de la Subbétican, it is the village of Zuheros that invites you to wander through its quiet streets with beautiful white houses. A tour of the villages should never take travellers past Priego de Córdoba, undoubtedly one of the most charming towns in the province of Córdoba. You will fall in love with it for its many baroque buildings and structures, as well as the many natural water springs that surround it.

In terms of nature, the Vias Verdes (Greenways) offer the opportunity to pass through a variety of landscapes that mix natural spaces and architecture. For example, La Vía Verde del Aceite passes through a wide expanse of olive groves and vineyards and unveils no less than thirteen 19th century metal viaducts. In a different atmosphere, the Vía Verde de La Minería combines mining archaeology with nature and the Vía Verde de La Maquinilla is an ideal option for travelling the old mining railway, by bicycle, on foot or on horseback. The Córdoba region is also a privileged playground for various physical activities. Cycling is especially popular on the gentle slopes of the Guadalquivir Valley, when the Hornachuelos Natural Park and Las Sierras Subbéticas Natural Park are recommended places for mountain sports enthusiasts, such as via ferrata, hiking and water sports. At nightfall, it is the skies of Sierra Morena and Los Pedroches that bring together astronomy enthusiasts. The Sierra Morena Starlight Reserve, with its many animals and the open summits of dense forests, invites you to look up into the deepest of silences. And in the northeastern end of the Cordoba region, the Los Pedroches region consists of vast fields from which it is pleasant to contemplate the stars and the movements in a sky spared from pollution.

Enjoying food and wine

Treat yourself to a stay in the Cordoba region is a new opportunity to enjoy a rich gastronomy and tasty wines. Gourmets will enjoy dishes prepared in exceptional olive oils in the municipalities of Baena, Montoro, Adamuz, Lucena and Priego de Córdoba, where you should remember to order a piñonate, a succulent and typical dessert made with olive oil, flour, eggs, almonds, honey, orange brandy and pine nuts. The northern part of the region is renowned for offering a variety of products derived from Iberian pigs, reared in a region where the quality of its food guarantees the Denomination of Origin "Los Pedroches". The Iberian Route must be followed to stop in the villages, to learn about the history of the designation and, of course, to taste the hams and other products. In Córdoba, or anywhere else in the region, it is impossible to leave without having tasted the local specialty, Salmorejo. This traditional cold soup, a cousin of gazpacho, is made with breadcrumbs, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, salt and tomatoes, to which shavings of Serrano ham and eggs are added. Alongside tapas, the combination is just perfect.

Oenology is another way to immerse yourself in all the best that the Cordoba region has to offer in terms of taste pleasures. And to make the most of it, the Montilla-Moriles Wine Route is ready to intoxicate holidaymakers with its flavours and aromas. The route takes you through a landscape of chalky hills, lush green vineyards and luminous olive groves. White villages and wineries inhabit these lands of southern Andalusia and the Pedro Ximénez grape gives these wines a generous character. They are made in the traditional way in oak barrels, contributing greatly to the high quality that characterises them. The Montilla-Moriles Wine Routeoffers memorable gustatory, cultural and fun experiences, revealing an unparalleled gastronomic wealth.

Enjoy the festivities all year round

If Spain no longer has anything to prove as a European country with many festivities throughout the year, this is of course also the case in the region of Cordoba, a territory that offers many opportunities for people to get together and experience intense moments. At Christmas, you can be tempted by the aniseed, liqueurs, chocolate, turrón and marzipan of the municipality of Rute, in shops and museums. Holy Week is also a magical moment to experience in Spain, with processions reputed to be silent in the Cordoba region. It is a special place to live this moment so much awaited by the faithful and in the region, thirteen celebrations are declared Festivals of National Tourist Interest in Andalusia, due to their originality. The festivities of Cabra, Buena and Puente Genil have been declared Festivals of National Tourist Interest.

In May, spring is the time of many ferias and festivals: lovers of happy moments and gatherings under the blue sky enjoy the Cañete de las Torres Flower Festival, the Feria Real de Fuente-Tójar, where, among other festive moments, dancers from San Isidro perform outstanding performances, or the Rincones y Flores initiative in Pozoblanco, which promotes the flowering of the municipality and the creation of green spaces. Flowers are always in the limelight at the Festival of Popular Patios, where home owners open their patios to residents and passers-by. A unique moment full of colour and the scent of orange blossoms and jasmine.

Content sponsored by the Andalusian Public Company for Tourism and Sport Management www.andalucia.org.

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