At the height of its powers as the capital of a vast region, Cordoba was very much the cultural, administrative and social centre of the area. That may have been 1,100 years ago when the Andalucian city was the largest in Europe and considered the Mecca of the West as the capital of Spain under the Moors but some of that swagger remains.
As it is located on the Costa del Sol coast tourists have a choice of booking cheap flights to Malaga or cheap flights to Madrid, from both of which travel to Cordoba is simple. Spain's modern-day capital, Cordoba is nestled in the valley of the Guadalquivir river and enjoys a pleasant though at times more extreme climate than that of nearby coastal cities with winter temperatures approaching freezing and summertime highs sometimes reaching into the blistering 40 degree range.
Much of Cordoba's rich history is on display in the old town located at the centre of the city with the extraordinary Mezquita of Cordoba occupying a place of honour. Once the mosque of the city, it has since been converted into a cathedral to reflect the change in the region's ruling class. Travellers would once arrive from flights to Spain to view the the biggest mosque in the world, though the distinction has now changed to make it the largest temple in the world. Its size is staggering and its architecture breathtaking with the structure incorporating more than 800 columns of a variety of materials including marble and granite.
Upon seeing the Mezquita it starts to become apparent why Cordoba is also known as the Constantinople of the Occident or the Pearl of Moorish Spain, indeed more straightforward superlatives start springing to mind.
A short jaunt along the river brings up Judeira, Cordoba's former Jewish quarter and site of a synagogue, one of only a handful in Spain. Here time appears to have stood still as locals go about their daily business in the close-knit and narrow alleyways that make up the maze of streets in the area. Many of the local whitewashed houses feature balconies windowsills overflowing with colourful flower displays.
Other attractions in the area include the Arabian baths, a museum dedicated to bullfighting, a Moorish market and a Roman Bridge all relatively close together making the area ideal for sightseeing on foot.
Of course it goes without saying that the area is liberally sprinkled with tapas bars, restaurants and taverns ensuring that neither the local population nor the visitors will go hungry or thirsty here.
As the one-time home of a variety of cultures, Jewish, Muslim and Christian relics of the city's history are on display throughout the town and give it an air of antiquity and time gone by but there is no mistaking its place in modern Spain. Local pastimes and by extension attractions include bullfighting and flamenco dancing, displays of which are well worth seeking out for an authentic Spanish experience.
For an overview of other worthwhile Iberian Peninsula destinations be sure to check out the travel guide to Spain.