Córdoba had been on my list of potential things to see in Andalusia, but it wasn’t until I saw photos of the famed flower patios that I moved it into a ‘must visit’ slot for our four day road trip.
Yes, the Mezquite-Cathedral, a Roman Catholic church which was previously a mosque and the Alcazar fortress interested me. But, the first time I saw photos of the flower patios, my jaw dropped.
The patios have been around since the Mesopotamic era, built by the Romans to offer reprieve from the hot, sunny days. In later years, the Moors transformed the patios into the fairytale versions you can visit today.
Over time, the patios became a place for neighbours to congregate. Still today, you may hear locals chatting with each other at sunset or popping over to see each other in the morning.
Most patios are private, but can be visited with a tour. After looking at guided tour options (priced +15 euros per person) or a self-walking visit (priced 5 euros per person), we decided to do a self-tour and see five patios.
If you’re visiting Córdoba during May, try to time your visit for the patio festival, a tradition that began in 1918 and resumed after the Spanish Civil War in the 1950s. The festival seeks to both provide more access to the public to visit the gorgeous patios and honour the residents who commit to maintaining them.
Each a miniature oasis, the patios are incredible. Bright flowers, flowing water fountains, wicker furniture, cacti and tropical plants, and the scene of orange blossom wafting in the breeze. It’s the epitome of serene.
If you do the self guided tour as we did, you’ll have a chance to talk with the residents of each one and learn more about that specific patio. On our visit, we asked a few questions about upkeep and learned residents spend many, many hours to caring for their patios.
We timed our visit for sunset, thinking the light would be a bit dimmer and thus better for taking photos and enjoying the spaces than the harsh mid-day sun. It took us just over an hour to visit all five patios (they’re no more than 2-4 minutes apart from each other).
After you visit the patios, continue exploring the old quarter. You’ll see a few more patios from the street, and although they’re private to enter, they’re still beautiful to observe. And, the streets of old town are charming enough to warrant a wander as the sun sinks below the horizon.
Would you visit the flower patios? Have you ever been somewhere that took your breathe away?
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