Visiting Cordoba's Patios

Feria De Los Patios De Cordoba 3

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Every year, in the first half of May the Festival of the Courtyards or Patios is held in Cordoba. All the owners participating in the contest open up their courtyards for the public to visit. The tradition which was declared a part of our Intangible World Heritage by UNESCO in 2012. The festival is a competition allows you to discover the most beautiful courtyards in the “historic quarter” city and also experience the streets full of colour, smell the scent of jasmine and orange blossom and hear the strains of flamenco.

History of the Patios in Cordoba

The verdant patios and courtyards of Córdoba arose out of necessity, due to the unbearable heat and dryness of the Andalusian summer. The ancient Roman and Greek inhabitants of Cordoba started building their houses with a central patio and decorated with water fountains or wells. During the time of the Moors, the patios would include plants and trees, which helped keep local homes even cooler and more sheltered from the hot sun.

Soon after, the patios started being decorated with flowers, which gave birth to the patios as we know nowadays. In 1918, the first Patios Festival took place in Cordoba, and in 2002 the UNESCO inserted it the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Types of Patios in Cordoba

There are usually two types of patios in Cordoba. The first one is the private patios which is owned and tended by a single family whose rooms are located around the patio.

The second, is a larger communal space called a neighbors house or casa de vecinos. Many years ago the large population of the city and growth in a short space of time made space become a premium. So families lived in these buildings and shared the patio, the central courtyard. These tend to be much larger and more elaborate, with long balconies, a communal wash room with adorable wood scrub boards and perhaps a fountain and decorative cobblestones.

With both types of patios they didn’t much space, so they made best use of the walls and decorated them with potted plants.

Guided tours and experiences 

Exploring with someone who knows the history and has experienced the culture of the courtyards is one of the best ways to understand and value it. There are different tour companies and organizations which offer multiple experiences and guided visits to patios throughout the year. Here are our recommended tours:

Patio Festival

Feria De Los Patios De Cordoba 4
CC BY-SA 1.0 / Dinkum

Obviously the best time to experience the patios of Córdoba is in the first few weeks in May, when the Festival is on.  During the festival there are more than 50 courtyards of  flower-filled oases, open to the public. This calm, pastoral visit of the city is also an opportunity to chat with the residents and gardeners, who get prepared all year round to offer the best sight of colorful flowers.

Alongside the competition, the Patios also host some free events. The most picturesque ones are undoubtedly those about the Flamenco traditions, which give birth to a “es la fiesta de los patios de Cordoba” or the party in the patios that lasts two weeks!

| Hours: 11am to 2pm and 6pm to 10pm. | Price: Admission is free but sometimes there's a container for donations. | Website
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Patio Interpretive Center

Cordoba Patios Festival Visitors Centre

You can experience Cordoba’s legendary courtyards all year round. One of the most beautiful Patios in town now harbors an interpretation center providing in-depth information about Cordoba’s beautiful Patios and the tradition of the famous Patio Festival.

Location: Interpretation Center of the Fiesta de los Patios Calle Trueque, 4 14002 Córdoba Spain | Hours: From September 1 to March 31 From 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Monday, Friday and Saturday: 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Sundays and holidays: 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. | Price: Free
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Palacio de Viana

Patio De Las Columnas Palacio De Viana, Cordoba
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Luis Rogelio HM

In the Plaza de Don Gome stands the traditional Andalusian Renaissance mansion known as Palacio de Viana, or Viana Palace. The palace not only harbors a museum, but has twelve magnificent courtyards or patios and is often called the Patio Museum. The different floral species decorate and perfume each corner of the beautiful museum.

Location: Plaza de Don Gómes, 2, 14001 Cordova, Spain | Hours: Tue - Sat: 10 am - 7 pm Sun: 10 am - 3 pm | Price: €8 | Website | Viana Palace Gardens and Patios Entry Ticket
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Zoco Municipal

Cordoba, Spain
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Wolfgang Manousek

El Zoco is a Crafts Market set in a 16th century manor house located in the heart of the Jewish quarter and is ope all year around. The souk is located on two floors around a traditional white rectangular patio with wall-flowers. This is a beautiful market with many amazing artisan stores.  It is a great attraction during the patios contest in May.

Location: Zoco Municipal de la Artesanía Calle Judíos, s/n 14004 Córdoba Spain | Hours: Everyday 10.00 - 20.00
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Palacio de Orive

Palacio De Orive,Cordoba
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Luis Rogelio HM

The Villalones Palace, also called Orive Palace, is an old Renaissance palace located in Orive Square in the San Andrés-San Pablo neighborhood of Córdoba. The building, designed by the architect Hernán Ruiz II, was built in 1560.

This building comprises two patios, around which are the many rooms of the house. Even though its floral decoration is not excessive the visitor can find most traditional plants of Córdoba such as geraniums, gypsies and pilasters.

Location: Palacio de Orive Plaza de Orive, 2 14002 Córdoba Spain | Hours: From Monday to Saturday: 10:00 to 14:00 and from 17:00 to 21:00 Sundays: 10:00 to 14:00 | Price: Free
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Casa Andalusí

Patio Casa Andalusi
CC BY-SA 42.0 / Miguel Luke

The Casa Andalusí is a house-museum  located in a restored 12th-century house in the Jewish Quarter. This building recreates an ambiance of caliphal times. A highlight is its central patio with a tinkling fountain. It also offers a variety of exhibits, mainly relating to Córdoba’s medieval Muslim culture, as well as a Roman mosaic in the cellar.

Location: Calle Judíos, 12, 14004 Córdoba, Spain | Hours: 10.30am-7.30pm Apr-Oct, 10am-7pm Nov-Mar | Price: €4 | Website
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15 Best things to see and do in Granada

Patio De Los Arrayanes With Torre De Comres Behind, Palcio De Comres 3
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Tuxyso

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Granada is a fascinating part of Spain with a rich history and culture. As with any city it is packed with attractions and monuments to explore – starting with the the amazing Alhambra fortress and the old Moorish neighborhood of Albaicín and Sacromonte, cracking street art, great tapas bars and a annual fiesta.

From the flamenco bars to the Alhambra palace, read ‘The Nomads Travel Guide‘ to the top sites and attractions this city has to offer.

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1. Alhambra

View Of Alhambra 3

The Alhambra Complex is Granada’s most popular attraction and one of its most iconic sights. It is the greatest surviving relic of southern Spain’s 800 years under Nasrid  and Moorish rule, which spanned from the 8th through to the  15th centuries. The sprawling complex sits on top of the La Sabika hill looking down on the Darro Valley, the snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada hover in the background. The original fortress of the Alcazaba dates back to the 9th century, and was extensively rebuilt in the 1200s by the Moorish Sultan Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar. Particularly beautiful are the Nasrid palaces; built by subsequent Nasrid Kings – the last Moorish Sultans of Al Andalus– during the 13th and 14th centuries, with its palaces, towers, royal apartments and gardens show the splendor of the time.

Location: Alhambra Calle Real de la Alhambra, s/n 18009 Granada Spain | Hours: 8.30am-8pm Apr–mid-Oct, to 6pm mid-Oct–Mar, night visits 10-11.30pm Tue & Sat Apr–mid-Oct, 8-9.30pm Fri & Sat mid-Oct–Mar | Price: Adult €14,12-15yr €8, under 12yr free, Generalife & Alcazaba only adult/under 12yr €7/free NB Advance ticket reservations are almost essential for admission to the best parts of the Alhambra. | Website | Full Alhambra Guided Tour with Skip-the-line Tickets Available!
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2. Generalife

The Court Of La Acequia,Generalife, Grenada 2

The Generalife was the Summer Palace of the Nasrid sultans of the Alhambra. Its exquisite gardens provided a cool haven for the sultans during the heat of Andalusian summers by using water as a central theme, with reflecting pools and fountains which offset the intense heat.

Narrow walks run alongside delicate flowing pools, whitewashed walls and flowerbeds and beneath elegant archways. The gardens provide stunning views of the old Arabic neighborhood of Albaicín.

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3. Albaicín

Albaicin, Granada, Seen From Alhambra
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Øyvind Holmstad

El Albaicín is the old Moorish quarter of the city and no visit to Granada is complete without walking along its narrow streets, winding cobbled streets, whitewashed houses and jasmine-scented squares. The hand-painted Moorish tiles adorning the walls here are very pretty and worth a close look.

It’s perched on a hill facing the Alhambra on the other side of the Darro River. The exertion required to walk to the top to find its most popular square, the Mirador San Nicolás,  with the views of the Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada ia well worth it.

There is also a flea market every Saturday morning on Plaza Larga, one of the barrio’s prettiest spaces.

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4. Granada Cathedral

Main Nave Of The Granada Cathedral.
CC BY-SA 4.0 / FDominec

Granada’s Cathedral is located at the center of old city and was built on top of it’s mosque at the start of the 16th century. This magnificent building is Spain’s second-largest cathedral. It was erected during a transition in architectural design, so the foundations are Gothic while the main structure and interior are Baroque.

Work began in 1518 and it took over 180 years to build, although it’s still not completely finished as out of the two 80-meter towers which were originally planned, only one was ever finished.

The glass windows of the upper part add light and color to the whole. Medrano and Mena sculpted the statues of the Catholic Monarchs and Alonso Cano the busts of Adam and Eve. The side chapels contain marvellous works of art. In the sacristy, there is a figure of Christ by Martinez Montañes, an Annunciation and a valued image of the Virgin Mary by Alonso Cano, together with other valuable objects of the Cathedral Museum and Treasure.

A visit to the interior of Granada Cathedral: you’ll see the main chapel, several smaller chapels, two 18th century pipe organs, stained glass windows, sculptures and paintings on the sides.

| Hours: Monday - Saturday: 10:15 - 18:30 Sunday: 11:00 - 18:00 | Price: € 5, Up to 10 years: free / 65+ and students: € 3.50 | Website
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5. Royal Chapel

Tombs Of The Catholic Monarchs At The Royal Chapel Of Granada
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Javi Guerra Hernando

The Royal Chapel or Capilla Real is located between Granada Cathedral, the old Fish Market and the Church of Sagrario. Its construction was ordered by the Catholic Monarchs in 1504 as a place of burial for their bodies although they dies before it was complete. Their bodies rested in the convent of San Francisco de la Alhambra until the Royal Chapel was completed, then they were moved here. Their beautiful alabaster tomb was designed by the Italian sculptor Domenico Fancelli.

The chapel also contains the tombs of their, successors Joanna of Castile and Philip I, as well as their grandson, Miguel da Paz, the Prince of Portugal who died in infancy.

Location: Royal Chapel, Gran Via de Colon 5, 18001 Granada. | Hours: 10:15 - 18:30 (Monday - Saturday); 11:00 - 18:00 (Sunday & holidays) | Price: 5€ (adults), 3.50€ (students, disabled, children), 0€ (children under 12) | Website
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6. Arab Baths

Arab Baths Of Granada 2
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Martin Furtschegger

The Banuelo dates from around the 11th century and its elegant Moorish archways and domed ceilings are still amazingly intact after a thousand years. About halfway along the Carrera del Darro, tucked away underneath a private house, are the oldest and best-preserved Arabic baths in Spain.

The baths were used by the moors to cleanse and purify their bodies before entering the Mosque. The puritanical Christians believed this to be decadent and heathen behavior, so after the reconquest destroyed many of these buildings.

The columns supporting the arches inside have capitals that once belonged to Visigoth and Roman buildings. All the chambers have star-shaped openings in their ceilings, creating eerie shafts of sunlight.

Location: Arab Baths, 31 Carrera del Darro, Granada, Spain | Hours: September 15th - April 30th: Daily from 10:00 - 17:00 May 1st - September 14th: Daily from 9:30 - 14:30 and 17:00 - 20:30 | Price: € 2.50
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7. Dar-al-Horra palace

View Of Dar Al Horra Palace, Granada
CC BY-SA 1.0 / Pepepitos

The Dar-al-Horra Palace is located high up in the Albayzín. It is a 15th-century Nasrid palace, which was home to the was the home of sultana Aixa, the mother of Boabdil, the last King of Granada. The palace is surprisingly intimate, like most Nasrid palaces its rooms are set around a central courtyard with fabulous views across the surrounding neighborhood and over to the Alhambra.

On the other side of the patio, there is a Christian chapel, with a beautiful wooden ceiling.

Location: Callejón Ladrón del Agua, 8 in Granada | Price: €5, Sun free | Website
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8. La Cartuja Monastery

Granada Charterhouse, View From The East. Granada, Spain
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Ввласенко

The La Cartuja Monastery is located on a panoramic hilltop two miles from the city center, it was built 16th and 18th centuries by the monks themselves. This monastery features an imposing sandstone exterior and some incredibly lavish baroque decor.

One of the highlights is the sagrario behind the main altar in the church, which has a ensemble of colored marble, columns and sculpture capped by a beautiful frescoed cupola.

The La Cartuja Monastery is one of Spain’s baroque masterpieces, with eruptions of lush decoration that will leave most visitors awestruck.

Location: Monasterio de la Cartuja, Paseo de Cartuja, Granada | Hours: Summer: 10:00-13:00 and 16:00-20:00 Winter: 10:00-13:00 and 15:00-18:00 | Price: €5.00, Up to 12 years free / students up to 25 years € 3.50 | Website
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9. Watch Flamenco in Sacromonte

Sacromonte Granada
CC BY-SA 21.0 / PerryPlanet

Scramble ever higher up the hill above the Albaícin district and you reach Sacromonte, home to the city’s gypsy community and the heartland of flamenco.

Many residents still live in cave houses, burrowed into the rock, and the main street has lots of flamenco shows to choose from.

If you arrive in Sacromonte at duck it will be at the right time to enjoy the breathtaking views over the Albaícin and the Alhambra, before soak up the vibes at one of the nearby flamenco shows.

| Hours: 24 Hours | Price: Free | Flamenco Show at Cuevas Los Tarantos Tickets Available
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10. Corral del Carbon

Granada, Corral Del Carbon
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Palickap

The Corral del Carbon was a corn exchange built in the fourteenth century by Yusuf I, and was a public building for hosting merchants and their products were to be sold at an auction.

It changed to be a coal exchange after the Christian conquest and changed its name to that. Later in the sixteenth century, Christians adapted it for stage performances.

The construction consists of a beautiful double-arched gate and an inner body with a courtyard surrounded by galleries and craft rooms. Today the courtyard occasionally hosts plays and flamenco shows on summer evenings.

Location: Calle Mariana Pineda, 8 Granada | Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00 - 19:00 Saturday and Sunday 10:00 - 14:00 | Price: Free
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11. Granada Science Museum

Parque De Las Ciencias Granada
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Peterfh

Granada’s Science Museum is located just a 15-minute walk south of the center of the city. It is probably the most stimulating museum for children in Andalucia.

The museum covers topics such as how to better understand the world we live in, physical phenomena such as gravity and the movement of the Earth. There are two main buildings: The Macroscopio has a diversity of exhibits including a “Journey into the Human Body” and installations that recount the achievements of Al-Andalus’ Islamic scientists and the Pendulum Building which covers physics, chemistry and mechanics and also holds the planetarium.

Location: Avda. de la Ciencia, s/n Granada | Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 10:00 - 19:00 Sunday and public holidays 10:00 - 15:00 Closed on Mondays 1st of January, 1st of May and December 25th closed Times of the planetarium are available daily at the ticket office. Approximately every hour a session. | Price: Regular tickets: € 7 / planetarium € 2.50 65+ and under 18: € 6 / planetarium € 2 | Website
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12. Alcaicería

Alcaiceria Granada
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Kolforn

The Alcaicería market was the Original Moorish silk market covering a range of streets between the Plaza Nueva and Plaza Bib-Rambla. It was filled with Arab silk stalls, spices and other valuable goods, now however the only remaining part is the Calle Alcaicería. It is a collection of narrow lanes of local shops selling a variety of Arabic and Spanish crafts from traditionally painted ceramics, inlaid wood and stained glass lamps.

Location: Calle Alcaicería, 1 Granada | Hours: Open daily from 10:00 to 21:00. During the months of June and July closed on Sunday from 15:00. Closed on sunday from January 6th to March 19th. | Price: Free | Website
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13. Carmen de los Mártires

Pool, Carmen De Los Mártires
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Palickap

The Carmen de los Mártires are peaceful gardens, located on the hillside to the south of the Alhambra. These romantic looking gardens sprawl around a restored 19th-century mansion. The space has views of the city and surrounding mountains. Over the years the site has been a Moorish Proson, a chapel, a convent and a summer house.

Location: Calle de Antequeruela Alta, Granada, España | Hours: From April 1 to October 14: From Monday to Friday from 10:00 am. to 14:00 pm. and 18:00 pm. to 20:00 pm. Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 10:00 am. to 20:00 pm. From October 15 to March 31: From Monday to Friday from 10:00 am. to 14:00 pm. and 16:00 pm. to 18:00 pm. Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 10:00 am. to 18:00 pm.| Price: Free | Website
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14. Visit an Emperor's Palace

Patio Palacio Carlos V In Alhambra
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Ra-smit

The Palace of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor is a huge Renaissance palace placed in the middle of the Alhambra.  The palace, begun in 1527 by Pedro Machuca, an architect from Toledo who studied under Michelangelo. The building has never been a home to a monarch and stood roofless until 1957

Inside are two museums: the ground-floor Museo de la Alhambra or Museum of Alhambra and, upstairs, the Museo de Bellas Artes or the Fine Arts Museum.

Access to the Palacio de Carlos V is free.

Location: Palacio de Carlos V, Calle Real de la Alhambra, Granada, Spain | Hours: 8.30am-8pm Apr–mid-Oct, to 6pm mid-Oct–Mar, night visits 10-11.30pm Tue-Sat Apr–mid-Oct, 8-9.30pm Fri & Sat mid-Oct–Mar | Price: Access to the Palacio de Carlos V is free via the Puerta de la Justicia on the southern side of the Alhambra. | Website
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15. Visit the Old Jewish Quarter - Realejo

Barrio Del Realejo San Matias
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Hector Garcia

The Realejo of Granada was the old Jewish neighborhood of Muslim Granada. Spread out between Granada’s two rivers—the Darro and the Genil, it is a labyrinth of steep and narrow streets.

| Hours: 24 Hour | Price: Free
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15 Best Things To Do In Granada
15 Best Things To Do In Granada 2
15 Best Things To Do In Granada 3

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6 Hours in Ronda

Ronda Malaga

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Ronda is one of the most beautiful places in Andalusia. It is located on a rocky promontory. Divided in two by the Guadalevin River It’s famous for the Puente Nuevo, the bridge linking the two sides of the El Tajo Canyon.

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Puente Nuevo and Museum

Puente Nuevo And Museum, Ronda

We have seen this iconic bridge so many times in photographs and we wanted to see it for ourselves.

Construction started in 1734 and the first attempt to span the gorge was completed with one span, but it was not strong enough to withstand the stresses  and in 1741 the bridge collapsed killing 50 people. Construction commenced on the current bridge in 1759, standing 98m from base to top and taking 34 years to build.

An interpretation museum is inside the bridge, in a room under the road. 

During the Civil War both sides used the prison as a torture chamber and some unfortunate prisoners were thrown over the bridge into the gorge below!

Location: Puente Nuevo Calle Armiñán, s/n 29400 Ronda Málaga Spain | Hours: Monday to Friday: 10 am – 7 pm Saturday, Sunday and Festive: 10 am – 3 pm | Price: €2 | Website
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La Cas Del Dulce

Casa Del Dulce, Ronda
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Passing the bakery we couldn’t resist the freshly baked mantecada biscuits. A delicious almond biscuit baked by the nuns.

House of the Moorish King

Casa Del Rey Moro Ronda
CC BY-SA 2.0 / cloudsoup

Not far away from Ronda’s Puente Nuevo is ‘La Casa del Rey Moro’ – allegedly the house of a Moorish King – hence its name. However, the current building is an 18th century palace so its claims seem slightly exaggerated!  with beautiful gardens designed by Forestier, the famous French garden designer.

We did explore the water mine that were in the gardens which were fascinating. Apparently originally powered by Christian Slaves!

Location: La Casa del Rey Moro, Calle Cuesta de Santo Domingo, 9 29400 Ronda Málaga Spain | Hours: 10am-9.30pm May-Sep, to 8pm Oct-Apr | Price: €6 | Website
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Moorish Baths

Arab Baths Ronda 4
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Aldo Ardetti

These 13th century thermal baths are the best preserved in Spain. Situated close to the river in the artisans and tanners quarter. An excellent film explains what they were like in ancient times. The walk toward the town center has the most amazing views. We left the baths and turned left and went up a staircase to the mudejar gate into Ronda.

Close by is a water wheel still intact that dates from the Moorish era.

Location: Baños Arabes, Yacimiento Arqueológico, Calle Molino de Alarcón, s/n 29400 Ronda Málaga Spain | Hours: Monday to Friday: 10 am – 7 pm Saturday, Sunday and Festive: 10 am – 3 pm | Price: €3.50, Free Tue | Website
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Jardines de Cuenca

Jardines De Cuenca, Ronda 2

We walked back up the hill on the other side of the gorge through the hanging gardens. There were beautiful views of the bridges and the gorge, and also plenty of benches to sit down rest on!

Location: Jardines De Cuenca, Calle Escolleras, 1 29400 Ronda Málaga Spain | Hours: 8am-7pm | Price: N/A
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Plaza de Toros de Ronda

Ronda Bullring

This was recognized as the first purpose built bullring in Spain. Built in 1785 it can host 5,000 people. We saw the bulls pens and the riding school.

I had mixed feelings about visiting the bullring with the cruelty and certain death of the tortured  bull. However, reading the history of bullfighting, seeing the matador costumes and a collection of paintings were very interesting. We saw a collection of the Royal House of Orleons. 

Location: Plaza de Toros de Ronda, 15 Calle Virgen de la Paz, Ronda, Spain, | Hours: Mo-Sun: 10 am – 8 pm Free entrance (for EU citizens): Monday (8 am – 10 am), Tuesday and Wednesday (9 am – 10 am) | Price: €8 (€9.50 with audioguide | Website
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Although you can see Ronda in a day we spent far too long marvelling at the views from the bridge, so missed out several interesting parts.

Ronda now is yet another place on our wish list to return to in the future!


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12 Hours in Seville - Best things to see!

Plaza Espana Seville

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Seville is an exciting city, situated on the banks of the Guadalquivir River. We have visited it twice before, once in springtime when the jacaranda trees were in full bloom, massive trees with beautiful purple flowers. The other time we sailed a boat up the river, which was a brilliant way to arrive.

This time when we visited the Seville it was too early for the blossom but it is still an amazing place to spend a few days being famous for its cathedral, beautiful parks, palaces, the Triana area’s flamenco dancing and tapas bars.

Now the capital of Andalusia, Seville was built during the Moorish Almohad dynasty and later became a 16th century metropolis. Seville usually has good weather with approximately 300 days of sunshine per year.

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Alcazar of Seville

Real Alcazar Of Seville

This was built for King Peter of Castillo on the site of an Albadid Muslim fortress 

The King of Spain still stays there in the upper part of the castle and for an extra fee you can visit this part of the castle. We didn’t because there was enough to see in this amazing palace with the limited time we had to spare. We bought a ticket on line at the official website to save queuing. If we had gone on Monday afternoon it would have been free entry.

We walked from courtyard to beautiful courtyard, spending a long time looking at the carved celings. The domed ceiling in the Ambassadors Hall is stunning. We walked through a maze of tile covered rooms, we even got  lost at one point in the warren of rooms!

We enjoyed the garden even more than the palatial castle, the orange blossom smelt amazing! There were typical Muslim style pools and fountains, pavilions, statues; in the English garden we sat and watched the peacocks and luckily they don’t peck at you as do the Seville pidgeons.

We were glad that we arrived early at 9.30am before the massive crowds who arrive for the tours that start at 11am.

Location: Patio de Banderas, s/n 41004 Sevilla Spain | Hours: From October to March: 9.30 am – 5 pm From April to September: 9.30 am – 7 pm Closed: January 1st and 6th, Good Friday and on December 25th | Price: €11.50 | Website
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The Seville Cathedral

Seville Cathedral Spain

Seville’s cathedral is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and is recognised as UNESCO World Heritage. The building is 126 metres long and 83 metres wide with a ceiling height of 37 metres. The construction lasted over a century from 1401 to 1506. 

The basilica is over the ruins of the Aljama mosque which was destroyed by an earthquake in 1356. The mosque was built in the 12th century by the Almohads, the ruling Moorish dynasty, the only remaining parts are the Patio de los Naranjas, a large courtyard. A large portal (door of Pardon) leads to the patio. The stone fountain in the centre may even be from the Roman era. The other building remaining after the earthquake is the lower section of the Bell tower, the Giralda.

The most spectacular part of the interior is the main altar piece. Designed by Piere Dancart who worked for over 40 years, starting in 1482. It has the largest altarpiece in the world depicting scenes from the old testament and the lives of saints. In the centre is a statue of Santa Maria de la Sede.

Location: Av. de la Constitución, s/n 41004 Sevilla Spain | Hours: Tue-Sat: 11am-3.30pm Mon, to 5pm, Sun: 2.30-6pmJuly and August Monday from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (box office until 3:30 p.m.) From Tuesday to Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (box office until 5:00 p.m.) Sundays from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. * (box office until 6:00 p.m.) | Price: 10€ (Does not include an audio guide, the price being € 4 if requested) | Website
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The Tomb of Christopher Columbus

Tomb Of Christopher Columbus In Seville, Spain 5
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Raffaele pagani

The Cathedral is also the burial place of Christopher Columbus and his son Diego. Just inside the Cathedral door stands a monument to him and his tomb which is held aloft by four allegorical figures representing the four kingdoms of Spain during his life, Castille, Aragon, Navara and Leon.

Location: Tumba de Cristobal Colon, 41004 Sevilla Spain | Hours: 11am-3.30pm Mon, to 5pm Tue-Sat, 2.30-6pm Sun | Price: €9 | Website
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The Cathedral Bell Tower

Giralda Sevilla Catherdral

We found the view from the Bell Tower stunning. Our guide was very knowledgeable and did a great job of entertaining us as well as guiding us. The climb up the tiny narrow staircase was quite difficult unless you are very fit. I will probably not do this again in the near future!

Between the Cathedral, Tomb and Bell Tower I was surprised we were in the cathedral complex for nearly three hours, there was so much to see.

Location: La Giralda Av. de la Constitución, s/n 41004 Sevilla Spain | Hours: Monday: 11:00 to 15:30 (16:30 to 18:00 free audioguide when reserved in advance) Tuesday to Saturday: 11:00 to 17:00 Sunday: 14:30 to 18:00 | Price: €10 / €5 | Website
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Plaza de Espana

Plaza Espana Seville

We headed to the Parque De Maria Luisa, but the Plaza Espana was so close we decided to pop over and have a look. 

The Plaza de España was built in the 1920’s on the edge of the Parque de María Luisa for the Ibero-American World’s Fair held in 1929. The main attraction here is, of course, the imposing half-circle structure made up of pavilions and galleries and towers, all surrounded by a moat with bridges connecting it to the giant square and fountain on the other side.

One of the highlights of the Plaza was discovering the alcoves that represent each of the provinces of Spain. Each one is colorfully decorated with painted tiles depicting scenes from that area’s history, alongside each bench is a bookcase where people can leave books about that area.

Location: Plaza de España, s/n. 41013 Seville | Hours: 24 Hour | Price: Free | Website
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Parque De Maria Luisa

Parque De María Luisa, Seville
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Gzzz

A 100 acre Park that stretches along the Guadalquivir River and was created in 1911 and redesigned for the 1929 Ibero American exposition. A large and well known park, it has everything, with flowers, fountains, statues and lots of shady trees for shelter from the summer heat.

We walked through the Parque De Maria Luisa and into the adjacent Plaza of Americans.

Location: Paseo de las Delicias, s/n 41013 Sevilla Spain | Hours: Nov 01 to Mar 31: 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM Apr 01 to Oct 31: 8:00 AM to 12:00 AM | Price: Free | Website
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Plaza de America

Pigeons Plaza De América, Seville
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Barcex

We found a man selling bird seed and spent an enjoyable afternoon feeding the birds. I did end up with a few scratches from some rather aggressive pigeons and was a bit wary when they landed on my head, but on the whole it was great fun.

The Park teemed with wild birds. We spent a long time just wandering around watching the parakeets and the ducks. This was a great place to chill out after a few days looking at the famous museums and palaces.

After enjoying the wildlife we decided to stop at one of the bars in the park for some refreshing drinks.

Location: Plaza de América 41013 Seville Seville, Andalusia | Price: Free | Website
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Las Teresas

LasTeresas, Seville
© Las Teresas

When we are in Spain we love visiting tapas bars. Las Teresas was opened in 1870. It is close to the Giralda Tower and the Santa Cruz Church in the Jewish quarter. We went there on a Friday night but should have known better because it is their busiest time and the service can be erratic. However, the atmosphere was good and the Iberian ham and spinach with chickpeas that we chose was well worth waiting for.

Baraka Sala Famenca

Baraka Sala Famenca
© Baraka Sala Famenca

A visit to Seville would not have been complete without a visit to a flamenco show. We chose the Baraka Sala Famenca to give us a taste of Triana. The fabulous show was definitely worth the money and we were glad that we had chosen their smaller, more intimate setting. Our last evening was magical; the show was amazing with superb dancing, singing, clapping and guitar playing.


Two of the major festivals are Easter Week and the Feria de Abril. We have decided that when we visit the  city again it will be in April. The city is filled with music, food dancing and entertainment. The women all wear flamenco dresses, so it only leaves me to buy a new flamenco dress before next April and we will be there!


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A Day in Cádiz

A Day In Cadiz, Cadiz Cathedral

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Occupying a tiny peninsula on the south coast of Spain, Cádiz is a beautiful old city that is well worth a visit. The old town is on the tip of the peninsula and is steeped in history. In 1493 Christopher Columbus set off on his second voyage to the New World from this port.  In the 16th century it was the home of the Spanish Navy. In 1587 Francis Drake led a raid on this port and destroyed 30 ships. It has more than 100 watchtowers and was the base for exploration and trade.

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Cadiz Museum

Museum Of Cádiz 9
© Turismo Cadiz

We started our day with a visit to the Cadiz Museum.  This was founded in 1970 after the merger of the Museum of Fine Arts with the Museum of Archaeology. We enjoyed looking around this museum where there were interesting historical pieces from both Phoeician and Roman times and the old marionette puppets were really interesting. This museum depicts the history of Cádiz from the stone age to colonial times.

The museum is on one of the lively squares, where there are plenty of bars to find some refreshments or early morning coffee!

Location: Plaza de Mina, s/n, 11004, Cádiz. | Hours: Tuesdays to Saturdays from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM; Sundays and public holidays from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Closed on Mondays. | Price: Free | Website
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Torre Tavira

Torre Tavira Cadiz, Spain
© Cadiz Turismo

Next on our agenda was the 18th century watch tower set in the heart of Cádiz old town. This tower is a long climb with 10 flights of stairs, but when you reach the top you are rewarded with the best views of the city. But I would have second thoughts about walking up all those stairs again. Also in the tower is a darkened room where you can get a live tour of the city through the lens of a camera mounted on top of the tower.

Location: Torre Tavira, Calle Marqués del Real Tesoro, 10 11001 Cádiz Spain | Hours: October – april: 10.00 – 18.00 hrs. May – september: 10.00 – 20.00 hrs. | Price: 7 Euro | Website
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Central Market

Mercado Central Cadiz 2
© Turismo Cadiz

As with many Spanish coastal towns the market is well worth a look in. There are crabs, oysters, in fact, every type of shellfish imaginable. There are also many cheap bars that serve refreshing cold beers and perfectly cooked fish.

Location: Plaza de la Libertad, S/N 11005 Cádiz Spain | Hours: Central Market Hours: Monday to Saturday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm Gastronomic Corner Hours: Monday: 9:00 am to 4:00 pm Tuesday to Friday: from 9:00 a.m. at 3.30 pm and from 19.00. at 00.00 Saturday: From 09.00. at 4:00 pm and from 8:00 pm at 01.00 | Price: Free
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Anca Lidia

Ancalidia Cadiz
© Cadiz Centro Comercial

A small bar/restaurant in the centre of Cádiz, just next door to the Central Market, with tables in the street. An ideal stop off for a light snack. Great atmosphere and the food was excellent. The staff were very friendly and helpful. We tried a number of shellfish dishes with patata bravas. A fabulous place to eat.

Cadiz Cathedral

Cupola Of Cádiz Cathedral
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Harlock20

From the tower we took a short walk to the Catedral de Cádiz. The walk took us via the conveniently placed Plaza de Las Flores, one of the most colorful and lively squares in the
city of Cádiz.

This beautiful golden, domed cathedral in the heart of the Old Town and viewed from almost anywhere in the city. It was constructed in the Baroque style and later completed in the neoclassical style. We thought it was well worth going up the Bell Tower to enjoy the amazing views over the city and the sea.

Location: Plaza de la Catedral, s/n 11005 Cádiz Spain | Hours: Tue-Sat 10am-4:30pm
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Roman Theatre

Roman Theathre Cadiz 2

A little theatre tucked away between buildings . The site was only discovered in the 1980’s and I can understand why because although we walked around the building it took us a while to find the entrance even using Google location! An interesting place to visit with a viewing area of the remains of the theatre and also a room with a reproduction of what the theatre looked like in Roman times.

Location: Calle Mesón, 11-13, 11005 Cádiz, Spain | Price: Free
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Gates of the Earth

Puerta Tierra Cádiz 1
CC BY-SA 3.0 / TheOm3ga

We moved from the old town and new part of Cádiz via the impressively title “Gates of the Earth”. These were a large 18th century gate in the city walls. We stopped off here to explore them and there was plenty of information about their history available in English.

Location: Plaza de la Constitución, s/n, 11004, Cádiz | Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am. to 2:30 pm. and from 6 pm. to 9:30 pm. Until July 14, guided visits: Saturdays and Sundays at 11 am. and 8 pm. Mondays is closed. | Price: Free
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Victoria Beach and the Cadiz surf Centre

Sunset Victoria Beach Cadiz

This is a long stretch of beach with lovely white sand and waves rolling in. There are also several beach bars for refreshments. We decided to end the day drinking a well earned beer while watching the sunset. We thought surfing was too energetic for us, but we met some people at the bar who had taken the surf classes for beginners earlier in the day – they said it was great, the instructor was very good and they were eager to return again to try surfing again!

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