Granada is the capital of the province of Granada in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain. One of the main tourist attractions in Granada is the Alhambra, a grand Moorish fortress with beautiful gardens and spectacular architecture.
Córdoba, located about three hours—124 miles (200 kilometers)—from Granada, is a recommended side trip. It is home to what was once the biggest mosque in the world, as well as a famous Jewish quarter and an old town that feels more like a village than a major city. If you are basing your explorations primarily in Granada, a single day in Córdoba would be enough to get a sense of this historic city.
When traveling to Córdoba from Granada, there isn't much difference between train and bus journey times, but the latter tends to be a lot cheaper, so many take the bus. There are no direct flights from Granada to Córdoba, so air travel is not an option.
However, if you have some extra time and flexibility, it would make the most sense to visit Córdoba from Seville, which is connected to the city by a high-speed AVE train (it takes just 45 minutes). This is all the more reason to stay in Seville rather than visit this pristine region for just a day.
How to Get From Granada to Córdoba
- Bus: 2 hours, 45 minutes, starting at $15 (cheapest)
- Train: 1 hour, 20 minutes, starting at $17 (best bang for your buck)
- Car: 2 hours, 30 minutes, 124 miles (200 kilometers)
The bus from Granada to Córdoba takes about two hours, 45 minutes and costs between $15 and $22. There are nine buses running to Córdoba each day. You can buy tickets from Movelia, ALSA, or GoEuro. While the bus and train stations are side-by-side in Córdoba, you might find that getting to the bus station in Granada is a bit of a feat, seeing as it's not in the immediate city center. The train turns out to be both faster and more convenient.
Depending on the train you take, traveling by railway can take one hour, 20 minutes or over two hours. Still, even the slowest of journeys is faster than the bus.
There are two trains: the Alta Velocidad Española (AVE), a high-speed train, and Media Distancia, a traditional network that takes a little longer. Tickets start at $17 and can cost up to $125, but you'll probably find that it's worth a little extra for a bit more comfort and a faster (also a more scenic) ride than the bus offers. There are at least four direct trains going from Granada to Córdoba per day, so you shouldn't have any trouble finding one that fits in with your schedule.
Driving from Granada to Cordoba takes about two and a half hours. The easiest route is to take the A-92 to the A-45 and follow it all the way up to Córdoba—one simple highway move makes the drive a breeze. It certainly isn't difficult to get your hands on a rental car in Granada and you'll probably find that having the freedom to explore along the way is a great perk.
If it's nature you crave, then this route follows along the outskirts of las Sierras Subbéticas, a forested national park offering tons of hiking and views. However, many say that taking the N-432 (while longer) is more scenic. On this route, you'll pass by Alcalá la Real, a Moorish fortress.
What to See in Córdoba
No matter how you arrive, one of the most popular sights to see in Córdoba is La Mezquita, an impressive mosque dating back to 784 A.D. and decorated with Byzantine mosaics. The mosque became a Catholic church in 1236, and a Renaissance-style nave was added during the 17th century. Once you've finished visiting the mosque, walk up through the labyrinth of handicraft shops that make up Old Town and then onto the famous Jewish Quarter, where you'll find the Synagogue in Calle de los Judios at its heart.
Córdoba is the perfect size for a walking tour. If you're only visiting for an afternoon, then you might consider hiring a guide to show you the most important sights in the city in under four hours. If you have time to meander, then take your time going between the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba, the Alcazar of the Christian Monarchs, and the Roman bridge of Córdoba, stopping periodically for croquettes and gazpacho along the way.
The bus station and train station are, again, side by side and from there it is a 15-minute walk to downtown. The main square where many of the commercial businesses are concentrated is called Plaza de las Tendillas.