Weekend Road Trip: Seville - Ronda - Cordoba
Seville, Spain is a beautiful city with lots to see and do. It’s also a great spot to use as a home base for short day or weekend trips. One such weekend trip we made was from Seville to Ronda to Corboda.
Road trips are one of our favorite things to do, but they can be tricky with kids. Looking at the scenery from the back seat just doesn’t seem to have the appeal to a 5 year old :)
So, to get Eleanor excited about this particular road trip, we had already laid the groundwork. Ronda, Spain served as the inspiration for the landscapes in the animated movie Ferdinand. We watched the movie once again before we left and also brought it along on the tablet for Eleanor to watch on the drive. It worked beautifully.
After booking our car through Holiday Autos, we picked it up on Friday morning and were on our way. Side note: always be sure to bring your passport when renting a car internationally. It might be common knowledge but there was a family ahead of us who hadn’t and were unable to rent the car.
As with any trip when the kids are along, you have to balance fun for you and fun for them. This might mean missing out on something you really wanted to see, or cutting short a visit for which you paid. In the end, everyone is happier if you just take it easy and know there’s probably something you’re going to miss.
Next to each site below, we mention if it’s Fun for You (FY), Fun for the Kids (FK), or Fun for Everyone (FE).
Day 1 - Ronda
Day 2 - Cordoba
Roman Bridge (FE)
Mercado Victoria (yum!) (FE)
Templo Romano (FY)
Day 3 - Cordoba
Day 1 - Ronda
Ronda is an easy day trip from Seville, so we decided we would stop there for a few hours to see the sites and then head straight on to Cordoba. The drive from Seville to Ronda is beautiful and takes just under 2 hours. If you’re there at the right time of year, as we were, the landscape is dominated by sunflower fields. We found a spot to stop off just south of El Coronil to get a few fun photos with the flowers.
Puente Nuevo (FE)
We arrived in Ronda and followed Google to the only parking garage it showed us. This turned out to be a bit far away and we passed other parking garages on our walk to the bridge. We suggest heading to this garage. It’s just down the street from the Mirador de Ronda which will be your first stop. You can’t really see the bridge from the viewpoint, but it’s a beautiful spot for some photos.
Continue along the cliffside past a few restaurants and as you turn the corner to the left you’ll see the bridge. Cross over, stopping for photos along the way. You’re making your way to the hiking path that takes you down closer to the bridge.
If you’re hungry, we suggest a stop at Casa Don Curro for a sandwich. It’s a small shop on the left just past Calle Tenorio with sandwiches and sweets. Grab a bottle of water (or 2) as well; the hike isn’t terribly long or strenuous, but it can be hot, especially if you’re there in the middle of June as we were.
Head back to Calle Tenorio and continue up to the park at the top. Just past the park on the right you’ll see the entrance to the hiking path. Head down as far as you’re comfortable. There are some scary signs warning of certain death, but it really isn’t that bad. Pro tip: just past the main stop off where you’ll see lots of people taking photos is another spot that’s as good or better and with fewer people. It’s where we snapped this photo:
After returning to the top, we were all longing for the air conditioning in the car. It was 95 degrees and we had gotten a lot of sun already. And we knew we had a 2 hour drive ahead of us to Cordoba. We would have liked to have seen the Arab Baths that are located not far from the sandwich shop we pointed you to earlier. If you have time, head past the shop and turn left on Calle Cuesta de Santo Domingo.
Otherwise, make your way back to the car and head toward Cordoba.
Bonus Stop for Game of Thrones Fans: Osuna
If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, you might want to stop at the Plaza de Toros in Osuna on your way through. It was used as the main fighting pit in Meereen and it’s where Khaleesi first rides a dragon. We didn’t know this was here until after our trip (boo!), so we can’t recommend from experience. But you’ll literally pass through Osuna on your way from Ronda to Cordoba, so it might be worth a look.
Arrival in Cordoba
Our arrival in Cordoba was a lesson in “don’t always go where Google Maps takes you”! We had booked a room at the Hostal Azahar located right next to the Mezquita in old town Cordoba. Following Google Map’s directions led us down some very narrow old streets that, quite honestly, we were lucky to get through. Map yourself to this bus stop and try to stay on the main roads. This is a parking garage we left the car in for the weekend and for which the hotel will validate (it’s reduced, not free).
Day 2 - Cordoba
Roman Bridge (FE)
The location of the hotel was fantastic with most of the sites within easy walking distance. We got up bright and early to start our day with a visit to the Roman Bridge. We strolled slowly, stopping to watch the birds or the people walk by. When we arrived at the end, we considered going in the Torre de Calahorra, but decided to pick our battles as it didn’t look terribly impressive. But of course have a look if you’re interested.
Playground Time (FK)
What we did see was a large playground just off the bridge to the left when looking at the Torre. We are always looking for opportunities to get out some energy and to keep Eleanor interested in what we’re doing. It’s important with children to balance sightseeing with playing whenever possible.
Side note: Cordoba has a paid children’s playground called Children’s City. We didn’t go because it didn’t open until 11am on Saturday morning (?!) and was a bit far to walk. It looks nice though, so if your kids are itching to play, it might be worth a visit. However, in our opinion, the playground next to the Roman Bridge is very nice, big enough, open 24 hours, and it’s free. You can’t beat free :)
After 45 minutes of play time, we moved on to the Royal Alcazar of Cordoba (Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos). There was a bit of a line, so Deanna and Eleanor went off to find some water and a snack while I waited.
Compared to the Alcazar in Seville, the one in Cordoba isn’t quite as impressive. It’s certainly worth checking out and we recommend allowing anywhere from 1 to 2 hours to explore the building and grounds. We buzzed through rather quickly as Eleanor was getting hungry. So, after about an hour we went off in search of lunch.
Mercado Victoria (FE)
About a 15 minute walk from the Alcazar is Mercado Victoria. It’s a perfect lunch spot and clearly used by the locals. It’s like a food court but better. Lots of different counter-service options to choose from. Eleanor had a pizza and we opted for the Mexican burrito place…delicious.
Templo Romano (FY)
Just north of Mercado Victoria you’ll find Calle Concepcion across the street on the right. It’s a main shopping street and perfect for the approximately 15 minute walk to Templo Romano, the ruins of a Roman temple. Given it was over 90 degrees at that point, we decided to stop for ice cream across the street from the ruins before checking them out. The museum wasn’t open at the time but the ruins are mostly outside anyway.
Our last stop for the day was Plaza de la Corredera. It’s Cordoba’s answer to St Mark’s Square in Venice. It was so hot none of the restaurants had seating in the square. So we snapped a few photos and started the walk back to the hotel.
Day 3 - Cordoba
Mezquita de Cordoba (FY)
We started day 3 by getting to the Mezquita de Cordoba bright and early. It’s a very unique religious site to see, with a cathedral in the center surrounded by a mosque. The dichotomy in the architecture is something we had never seen before. It’s definitely worth an hour or so of your time.
Medina Azahara (FY - Maybe FE)
Since we had a car, we decided to visit the muslim ruins on the outskirts of Cordoba. Getting there was easy enough, and when you’re there we suggest just getting the bus ticket for the actual ruins. The museum had a few interesting items and a relief of the whole site, but it didn’t feel worth the extra cost.
The Medina itself was very interesting and had a beautiful view over the Spanish countryside. Keep in mind when you visit there is very little shade. It was super hot in the middle of June! We didn’t stay very long because of the heat and because Eleanor fell down and scraped her knee rather early in the visit.
This one was a happy coincidence. Given our location outside of Cordoba at that point, it didn’t make sense to drive back in to catch the main highway. So we took a side road to start and happened upon this beautiful castle up on the hill. We said to each other, “that looks like a legit castle, let’s check it out!” We were not disappointed.
As it happens, the castle was used as Highgarden in Game of Thrones. There are shots from the show placed around the castle to give you an idea of what it looked like for filming. But even if you’re not GoT fans, it’s still a very well preserved castle and worth a visit. Also, on Sunday evening, we had the place mostly to ourselves. Eleanor loved exploring and was very happy we stopped after her experience at the Medina.
Back to Seville
From the castle it’s about an hour and twenty minute drive back to Seville. We packed a lot into just a few days, and felt like we had seen and done a lot.
Let us know if you followed our itinerary and enjoyed it (or didn’t :) Also let us know if you’ve been to these places and feel like we missed something awesome!
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