Most days out in Córdoba include the visit to the wonders that are the Mosque-Cathedral or the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos. Some even venture outside of the city to reach Medina Azahara. But Córdoba is much more: it is a province full of marvels worth discovering, many within reach of travellers spending a few days in the city. In fact, some of the most beautiful villages in Córdoba are right in the outskirts, only a few kilometres away from the city. There are also noteworthy routes and natural areas to get to know other facets of this Andalusian province. An hour, or a little over an hour in some cases, is enough to reach them. These are the best places to visit near Córdoba in Andalusia.
This village is a necessary stop in the outskirts of Córdoba, the main reason being its fantastic castle in the Gothic-Mudejar style, a very cinematic fortress that has even been one of the filming locations of Game of Thrones. If the sight of it from afar is magnificent, the views of the Córdoba countryside from its terraces are spectacular.
Almodóvar del Río has other charms too, such as the church of the Immaculate Conception or the Charity Hospital. It is also worth visiting the Breña reservoir, a perfect place to go cycling, paddle surfing or even swimming. All of this only 25 kilometres from the city of Córdoba.
Zuheros is a little further, 80 kilometres away, but it is one of the must-see places to visit in Córdoba. It is a white village with streets as narrow as they are serpentine, perched on a crag in the Subbética mountains. And, at the top, it has a castle that recalls its Muslim origins. This is not its only attraction: the church of Los Remedios, the Archaeological Museum and its lookouts are also worth a stop.
But you have to leave the town centre to discover another of Zuheros’ treasures: the Cueva de los Murciélagos, or Bats Cave. Not only is it one of the largest caves in the province of Córdoba, but cave paintings of great value have also been discovered here. There is reason enough to include Zuheros in your plans for the area around Córdoba and round off your trip to the city.
In the territory of Cabra you can find one of the most singular places to visit in Córdoba: the “Balcony of Andalusia”. It is, in fact, the summit of the Cabra mountain range. From its more than 1,200 metres above sea level there are magnificent views of the Subbética mountain range, an area of such geological importance that it has been made a UNESCO Geopark. And, at the foot of this summit, you can find one of the most mysterious places in the province of Córdoba: a deep chasm that has been said to be the gateway to hell.
But Cabra, 75 kilometres from Córdoba, offers much more than landscapes of great beauty. Its historic quarter is a little gem with corners that are steeped in history. One should not miss its medieval quarter, the castle of the Counts of Cabra, the parish church of Asunción, the Jewish quarter and the Archaeological Museum.
In the outskirts of Córdoba, only 30 minutes from the capital, Fernán Núñez is a surprise to all visitors. This village has a magnificent neoclassical ducal palace from the 17th century that does not go unnoticed due to its red facade. The parish church of Santa Marina de Aguas Santas is another of its architectural landmarks.
But Fernán Núñez also deserves mention for something else. Surrounded by vineyards, it is the perfect starting point to explore the Montilla-Moriles Wine Route. A route to discover wineries that produce excellent wines with designated origins: wines, especially young wines, fine amontillados and olorosos, as well as Pedro Ximénez.
If there is one thing that makes Baena special, it is its Roman past. A past of which countless vestiges have been preserved. One of its greatest treasures is the Torreparedones Archaeological Park. Here it is possible to go back four thousand years in time, as there were Neolithic and Iberian settlements in the area. But, most importantly, you can find the remains of the old Roman city.
Part of what was found in the excavations can be seen in the Baena Archaeological Museum. You should also visit places of interest such as the Town Hall, the Castle, the Countess’s House and the Church of Santa María la Mayor.
Montoro is another must-see village in Córdoba. Its location, in the middle of the countryside and on a meander of the Guadalquivir, makes for a magnificent postcard. Once you have reached it through the bridge of Las Doncellas, it is worthwhile to stroll through it at leisure and discover its magnificent buildings, such as the church of San Bartolomé Apóstol or the Old Hospital of Jesús Nazareno.
But Montoro is also the gateway to one of the most beautiful natural areas in the province of Córdoba, a gem for nature lovers: the Sierra de Cardeña y Montoro Nature Reserve. Here you can follow various trails through pastures, pine forests and Mediterranean woodlands that are home to a very special tenant: the Iberian lynx.
This is one of the most entertaining getaways from Córdoba to enjoy with the whole family. The starting point is the town of Hornachuelos. From here it is possible to go into the mountains to enjoy a territory populated by holm oaks, wild olive trees and cork oaks. And, with a bit of luck, it is possible to watch vultures, eagles and black storks flying out.
But in Hornachuelos there is also a fun adventure park with a series of zip-lines that will delight old and young people alike. One of the routes even links several zip lines that fly over the river Bembézar. For the less brave there are more relaxed alternatives, such as kayaking through the river.
This is one of the places to see in Córdoba that have something unique but are not very well known. The natural space known as the Popea Baths features small waterfalls and pools hidden among the vegetation that lines the course of the Molino stream. There is also a small hiking route of little difficulty that allows you to enjoy this environment even with the little ones. Nearby, you can discover another treasure: the ancient chalcopyrite mines that date back to Roman times.
This greenway runs for almost 130 kilometres, following the route of the old railway that linked Jaén with Puente Genil, now in Córdoba. It crosses several metal viaducts, tunnels and endless stretches of olive groves and vineyards, as well as some of the most beautiful villages in Córdoba. Puente Genil is a good place to walk at least a part of the route. And not only to enjoy the scenery, but also to discover a town with other charms, such as the Roman Villa of Fuente Álamo, the stone bridge and several noble houses that have passed the test of time. Nor should we forget its Holy Week, one of the most unique in Andalusia because the processions are populated by locals dressed as biblical characters.