Cordoba is the second largest and most important city in Argentina, and is located in the centre of the country. It is the capital of the Cordoba province, and lies at the foothills of the Sierras Chicas on the Suquia River. Situated in a valley and surrounded by an area of mountains and moorland, Cordoba city attracts tourists from far and wide due to its fantastic cultural and historical offerings.
Cordoba is home to the National University of Cordoba, which is the oldest university in the country. The student population adds a youthful vibe to the city, and once-dilapidated neighbourhoods are now being regenerated into bohemian barrios, where you can discover fashionable bars and boutiques. Cordoba has an interesting mix between old and new, with many historical sites from the Spanish colonial times, and a number of famous buildings from the Roman Catholic Church to be found here. The Jesuit block is a UNESCO world heritage site, and one of the more historical parts of the city. There are also several art galleries to visit - all in all making Cordoba an alluring cultural city. Below is our Cordoba travel guide with information on all the best things to do, places to go and what not to miss.
PASEO DEL BUEN PASTOR – Constructed in 1901, this cultural centre was originally built as a combination of a chapel, monastery and women’s prison. It was re-inaugurated in 2007 and now showcases art work by young and upcoming artists. It has a beautiful café at its centre that makes for a great spot to relax. The desanctified chapel area now hosts live music performances.
MUSEO PROVINCIAL DE BELLAS ARTES EMILIO CARAFFA – This building was constructed by the architect Juan Kronfuss as a museum, and was inaugurated in 1916. It has some of the best exhibits of modern art in the city, and they rotate the exhibits monthly.
MANZAN JESUITICA – This beautiful Jesuit block of the city originally was associated with the Jesuit order, and is now a world heritage site. It is quite the beautiful part of the city to visit.
MUSEO SUPERIOR DE BELLAS ARTES EVITA – This is one of the more brilliant displays of architecture in Cordoba. The Palacio Ferrerya was constructed in 1914, and Ernest Sanson was the designer of the building. The palace was recently converted into a fine art museum that now holds over 400 different pieces of work. Whether you see the building or the artwork, it is of the more beautiful things to do in Cordoba.
CRIPTA JESUITICA – The crypt was built at the beginning of the 18th century by the Jesuits. The original design of the building was for a novitiate, but later it was converted into a crypt and crematorium. When the Jesuits were expelled from Argentina, the building was abandoned, eventually destroyed, and built again in 1829. The building was completely forgotten for a time, but in 1989 was rediscovered when a company was installing telephone lines underneath the city. It has since been restored and is now used for musical and theatrical performances.
MUSEO DE LA MEMORIA – This museum testifies to the atrocities committed by the Argentinean dictatorship, and is situated in the former detention and torture centre of the prior Department of Intelligence. They were a specialized group that were in charge of detaining and torturing political agitators, as well as reassigning their children to other families. This place has an eerie feeling to it, as you can see photos of people who went missing thirty years ago, and still have not been found.
IGLESIA DE LA COMPANIA DE JESUS – This church dates back to 1645, but construction was not completed until 1671. The architect Lemaire was a former boat builder, and designed the cedar wood roof to resemble a ship’s hull, making the the church’s structure quite impressive.
MUSEO HISTORICO PROVINCIAL MARQUES DE SOMBREMONTE – One of the most important museums in the country, this institution is held within a beautiful colonial style building. It dates to the 18th century, and was former home to Rafael Nunez, the former governor of Cordoba and viceroy of Rio de la Plata. The structure is magnificent, with 26 rooms, several interior patios, as well a beautiful balcony.
UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE CORDOBA – This is the country’s oldest university and contains many national historical treasures, including the historic museum of the university, and parts of the Jesuit’s grand library. You can see beautifully preserved documents and books. The only way to visit is through the guided tours that are offered.
IGLESIA CATEDRAL – Construction on this cathedral began in 1577 but took more than two centuries to be completed. It was worked on by several different architects, and this lack of unity is notable in the architecture. Despite this, the building is still beautiful to see.
*** WHAT NOT TO MISS ***
Cordoba has such a fantastic history and some beautiful colonial style buildings. There is a lot of history to the city, so go out and learn about the Spanish and Jesuit history of the area. The cultural life in Cordoba is also very rich - there are so many different places to witness live music and performances.
Cordoba provides many different options for dining all around the city. Cerro de las Rosas, Avenida Colon and Nueva Cordoba are some of the better places to look for good meal options. Meat is one of the very popular foods in Argentina and can be found in most restaurants. You can find fast food places and stands throughout the city, or you can enjoy some of the more beautiful places to sit and dine.
San Honorato (Pringles esquina 25 de Mayo) is a traditional Argentinian restaurant, with a nice, rustic atmosphere. It’s a bit pricey but the food is well worth it, and you can visit the wine cellar here for a drink and some delicious nibbles. Other options include Marfer (Laprida 280), for the best sandwiches where you can choose your own filling. If you fancy pizza, head to Pizza Italia (Juan Antonio Lavalleja 1388), or for a more local experience, visit Mercado Norte (Oncativo 50) for fresh, local, produce, and try one of the tasty empanadas.
The nightlife in Cordoba is very lively, with places that cater to all tastes. You can find your traditional tango, enjoy theatre performances, or head to an alternative music night. There are tons of places that have live music groups of different genres, and usually perform a few times a week. The nightlife does calm down a bit during the holiday time, as most of the students go home for a break. There are also “Bailes”, these often occur and are usually in the sports halls with live music. These can sometimes get a bit aggressive and violent, so unless you know a local it is best to avoid these. Some of the main areas for nightlife can be found in Nueva Cordoba, Ex-Abasto and Chateau Carreras.
For a laid-back and friendly bar, try Milk – it has a great cocktail list, and a stylish decor. If you fancy clubbing, go to Studio Theatre (Rosario de Santa Fe 272) – this is a stunning nightclub, set in an old theatre. For a younger crowd, go to Mr Robinson (Constitucion 629). If you fancy something more cultured, at Teatro del Libertador General San Martín you can enjoy live shows, and it has a beautiful exterior and interior.
From November to March it’s the warmer time of the year in Cordoba, with average temperatures around 20 – 25 degrees Celsius, and it is common to see days reach 30 degrees Celsius. During this time of the year thunderstorms are common. In the cooler months from April to October, the temperature is normally around 12 – 15 degrees Celsius, but can drop below 10 degrees Celsius. Rain is experienced all year round, and the rainy season runs from October to April.
There are flights to some of the main cities in Argentina, and internationally to Lima, Chile, Sao Paulo, and even Madrid. The bus service is a good option and will take you to the main cites and tourist spots in Argentina. From Buenos Aires to Cordoba, it will take about 10 hours, and from Mendoza it’s 12 hours by bus. The other option is by train from Buenos Aires.
Most of the places to stay are found in the centre of the city, and you can find lower budget places by the bus terminal. There are also options of nicer and quieter resorts that are just outside of the city. In Cordoba, you can be sure to find the type of lodging that you are looking for, as there are a wide range of places, from lower budget hostels to resorts and nicer hotels.
If you’re looking for a backpacker’s hostel, try Turning Point Hostel (Entre Rios 435) which is centrally located, and has a social, party atmosphere. For a more independent and quieter stay, go to Apart Costa Rivera (Calle Mendoza 716) – it’s just outside the historical centre, but close to the main amenities you’ll need.
Always stay safe and be aware when you are out walking the streets. Petty theft is common, so when you are out make sure to stick to the main areas of the city and try not to wander too much at night-time.