The City of Cordoba in Andalucía Spain is an interesting place to visit at any time of the year, but even more so in the first two weeks of May when it celebrates “The Cordoba May Patio Festival”.
During these two weeks the inhabitants of Cordoba throw open the gates and doors of their private patios to reveal the courtyards decorated with hundreds of colourful flowers and plants within.
For my visit I took advantage of “Rosas Coaches” that organised a three-day trip via coach on a Bed and Breakfast basis for 165 euro.
The pick-up in La Zenia was on Sunday 6th May at 7.30 am and after two, 45-minute stops along the way for breakfast and lunch, we arrived at the Sercotel Selu Hotel, our home for the next 2 nights, by 3 pm.
There are six different patio routes in different parts of the city set out in different colours on a special map that can be obtained from the Tourist Information offices for only one (1) euro and times to visit are between 11 am and 2 pm and later at 6 pm until 10 pm. All patios are free to enter but small donations are appreciated by the owners towards the upkeep of the Patios.
Cordoba is also home to the amazing “Mesquita” which is both a Mosque and Cathedral and the Alcazar Gardens of the Christian Monarchs both set close to the bridge across The Guadalquivir River.
This was my third visit to Cordoba, although my first to see the Patios and so first the first night we decided to take in a one of the free, Tablao Flamenco shows that are available for diners in the restaurants that populate the narrow lanes in the Jewish Area.
We booked a table at our choice of restaurant, Pagina: Federation De Penas Cordobesas, for 8.30 pm where the set menu with a glass of wine or small beer was only 14.95 euro.
The show started at 9 pm and went on until 11.30 pm with the performers taking a 30 minute break between performances.
The next day, after the buffet breakfast, we spent exploring the various patios around the city interrupted only when the heavens opened for a short spell.
The final evening meal was taken in one of the many establishments along the riverside followed by a walk to see the Bridge and The Mesquita lit up at night.
There are always queues to enter The Mesquita and so, the next morning we arrived early and paid the 10 Euro entry fee. Entry is through the grounds open to the public where orange trees abound, planted in rows along the irrigation channels, through the main door and into the original Mosque which different rulers expanded on until 1236 when the Catholics conquered Cordoba for the last time and King Carlos gave permission to construct a cathedral in the heart of the mosque.
A ten-minute walk will bring you to The Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos, be prepared to queue for up to 20 minutes after which you can take as long as you like inside
Our coach was due to leave from back at the hotel at 1.30 pm and so we had to cut short our visit, at the very least you will need one hour to see everything.
As I mentioned at the beginning this was my third time in Cordoba and The Patio Festival a great excuse to revisit. Another good time to visit is later in the month of May (2018 between 19th and 26th) when Feria de Mayo takes place.
For me there is never a bad reason to visit Cordoba and I would recommend on your first time buy a day ticket for the tour bus shown in the picture at the beginning and just go all the round the route marking off on the free map the places to return to on the next time round as it is a hop on hop off bus and the ticket lasts all day and late into the night.