Explore Spain’s Golden Triangle:
Seville, Cordoba & Granada

Find out about the Andalusia Pass
The Mezquita, Cordoba

Spain’s Golden Triangle

Many travellers choose to incorporate their visit to Granada into a wider tour of Andalucía or Spain.

The ‘Golden Triangle’ in Spain refers to the three Andalucían cities of Seville, Granada, and Córdoba. Located in the southern region of Spain, these cities are hugely popular with visitors from all over the world.

Known for their rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant culture, these cities were once major centres of Islamic and Jewish culture dating back to the Middle Ages. To this day they still retain many of their ancient traditions and monuments, including the Alhambra in Granada, the Mezquita in Córdoba, and the Cathedral and Giralda in Seville.

If you are planning a trip to Spain during the spring or summer months, the Golden Triangle makes an excellent itinerary. The summer months in Spain are hot and dry, with temperatures often reaching over 35 °C. However, this is also the time of year when the cities come alive with festivals and cultural events, making it an exciting time to visit.

Seville

Real Alcazar Palace in Seville

Seville is the capital city of Andalucía and is famous for its stunning architecture, beautiful gardens, and lively culture. The city is home to some of the most famous landmarks in Spain, including the Alcazar, the Cathedral, and the Plaza de Espana.

The Alcazar

A must-visit attraction, this beautiful palace was built by the Moors in the 10th century and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The palace is known for its stunning architecture, intricate tile work, and beautiful gardens. The gardens are particularly stunning during the summer months when the flowers are in full bloom.

The Cathedral and Giralda

Another Seville highlight is the massive cathedral, the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, which houses the tomb of Christopher Columbus. The cathedral is also home to the famous Giralda, a bell tower that was once the minaret of a mosque. 

Exterior of the Cathedral of Seville and Giralda, Spain

Plaza de España

The famous Plaza de España (which features in Game of Thrones) is arguably Seville’s most iconic square. Situated in the Maria-Luisa Park, it features a collection of buildings conceived by Aníbal González in the distinctive Spanish Renaissance style for the Ibero-American exhibition of 1929. The purpose of the exhibition was Spain’s symbolic gesture of reconciliation with its former American colonies.

Culture

During the spring and summer, Seville is home to several festivals and cultural events. The most famous of these is the Feria de Abril, which takes place in late April or early May. This festival is a celebration of Andalucian culture and is known for its flamenco music, dancing, and bullfighting.

After a long day of exploring, be sure to visit El Rinconcillo, one of the oldest tapas bars in Seville, for a taste of their famous spinach and chickpea stew.

Seville on the river

Find a hotel in the iconic city of Seville

Choose between historic atmosphere of Santa Cruz, in the heart of the city, or the local, artistic vibe of Triana. Both neighborhoods offer a wide range of accommodation options, from luxury and boutique hotels to charming guesthouses and apartments.

You can start your search here.

Booking.com

Seville highlights

Córdoba

The Mezquita, Córdoba

Córdoba is a beautiful city located on the banks of the Guadalquivir River. The city is known for its stunning architecture, beautiful gardens, and vibrant culture. The most famous landmark in Córdoba is the Mezquita, a mosque that was converted into a cathedral during the Christian conquest of Spain.

The Mezquita

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Córdoba’s Mezquita – mosque-cathedral – is one of the most beautiful and unique buildings in Spain. The mosque is known for its stunning architecture, intricate tile work, and beautiful arches. The cathedral that was built inside the mosque is an incredible sight to see.

The Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos

Another must-see monument in Córdoba is the Alcazar, a 14th century Christian fortress, which features a stunning palace, beautiful gardens, fountains and a moorish bathhouse. The gardens are particularly beautiful during the summer months when all the flowers are out.

Culture

For a taste of Córdoba’s culture, visit the city during the Patio Festival Fiesta de los Patios in May, when the city’s stunning courtyards are filled with flowers and open to the public.

After a long day of sightseeing, head to Taberna Luque, a cozy tapas bar that serves up delicious dishes like salmorejo (a traditional Andalucían soup made of tomato, bread, extra virgin olive oil and garlic, served cold) and berenjenas con miel (thin sliced and fried aubergine drizzled with honey or molasses).

Patio in annual exhibition in Cordoba. Spain.
Judería - picturesque Cordoba jewish quarter.

Find a hotel in Córdoba

When choosing a place to stay in Córdoba, Spain, consider the Old Town, renowned for its historic landmarks like the Mezquita-Catedral and the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos. The Jewish Quarter (Judería) offers a charming medieval atmosphere with narrow streets and white-washed buildings, while the City Centre (Centro) provides a mix of modern amenities. San Basilio, near the Mezquita, is known for its beautiful courtyards, and the Guadalquivir Riverfront offers a peaceful setting with scenic views. If you prefer a more modern environment, Avenida de Gran Capitán is a good option.

You can start your search here.

Booking.com

Córdoba highlights

Granada

The Court of Lions in the Nazrid Palaces at the Alhambra, Granada

Granada is a wonderful city located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The city is also known for its stunning architecture, vibrant culture, and the famous Alhambra palace.

The Alhambra

This stunning palace-fortress, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984, represents the last bastion of al-Andalus in Spain (Moorish rule that, at its zenith, claimed nearly the entire Iberian Peninsular) and once home to Catherine of Aragon. It was in 1492 that her parents King Fernando and Queen Isobel finally forced the Moors out of Granada and Spain.

The Alhambra is one of the most famous landmarks in Spain and is known for its intricate tile work, beautiful gardens, and stunning architecture. The palace is particularly beautiful during the summer months when the gardens are in full bloom.

No visit to Granada could be said to be complete without a trip to this fabulous monument, but it does require a bit of planning. And you definitely need to book your tickets in advance.

For more information on buying tickets, how to get there, where to stay and how to get the most out of your visit, check out our GranadaSpain Insider Guide to the Alhambra.

Cathedral and Royal Chapel

The Gothic Royal Chapel Capilla Real at Granada Cathedral, which is the mausoleum of Catholic Kings Reyes Católicos, is one of the city’s most important monuments. Visitors can enter the huge Renaissance Cathedral, once the Great Mosque of Granada, for free but will find that access is limited when services are in progress.

Housed in the adjacent offices of the Sacristy is a little museum displaying 15th-century religious paintings, tapestries, and some fascinating personal items left by the Catholic Kings.

Culture

The city of Granada is also known for its vibrant culture. Visit the city at Easter or during the Corpus Christi festival, which takes place in June. This lively festival is known for its colourful processions and flamenco music. 

And when you need to take a rest from sightseeing, head to Bar Los Diamantes, one of Granada’s most famous tapas bars that has been serving up delicious dishes for over 70 years.

Albayzin old town seen from the Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Find a hotel in the historic city of Granada

Whether you choose to be in the historic centre, the Realejo district, close to the Alhambra itself or overlooking it from the ancient barrio of El Albayzín, you’ll find many hotels housed in some of Granada’s most beautiful historic buildings.

You can start your search here.

Booking.com

Granada highlights

Buy an Andalusia Pass

If you want to save some time booking separate tickets to the top three Golden Triangle sites, you can visit them all with just one ticket. The Andalusia Pass includes entry to the Alcazar of Seville, the Alhambra and Nasrid Palaces, and the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba!

Alcázar of Seville: Skip The Line Ticket

Explore the UNESCO World Heritage palace of Spain’s royal family, dating back to the Moors where Mudéjar architecture blends with Gothic and Renaissance influences.

Alhambra & Nasrid Palaces: Skip The Line Ticket

Experience 600-year-old the Alhambra and Nasrid Palaces (also a UNESCO World Heritage Site).  A fusion of Islamic art and Iberian culture.

Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba: Guided Tour

Join your guide for a 60-minute tour and learn about the cathedral’s origins as an Islamic place of worship.

City Tour of Seville and Granada

The City Tour of Seville and City Tour of Granada come as audio guide apps that you can download to your smartphone. Both include maps, walking routes and fun, podcast-style commentary by city experts.

 

How long should you spend in each city?

The short answer: as long as you can… but that’s not very helpful.

If your trip is part of a larger tour of Spain and your time is limited in Andalucía, you should consider allocating a minimum of two nights in Seville, one night in Córdoba, and at least three nights in Granada.

Seville boasts numerous attractions that can be covered in a single day, but for a more laid back experience two days would be preferable.

Given that exploring the Alhambra alone takes at least half a day it is recommended to plan for your stay for at least two nights in Granada. Allow for even more time if you want to venture out to the Alpujarras or make it down to the coast while in Granada.

The more intimate, compact city of Córdoba allows for a shorter visit. And you can book day trips to Córdoba from Granada and from Seville which include the Mezquita.

However, you will want to stay for at least one night especially if your visit coincides with the Patio Festival in May.

Getting Around

The best way to explore the Golden Triangle is by car, as it gives you the flexibility to visit all three cities at your own pace. The roads are well-maintained, and driving in Spain is relatively easy, although parking in the city centres can be challenging.

What order you visit the three cities will depend on your entry point to Spain and the other destinations on your intinerary. That said, Córdoba is almost equidistant between Granada and Seville and make as a natural mid-way point.

If you are flying into Málaga, the nearest city is Granada, so it might make sense to start there.

If you are coming from Madrid then it would make sense to visit Córdoba first as it is the nearest of the three cities.

See the map below.

Drive times:

Granada – Córdoba: 175km approx 2 -2.5 hours
Córdoba – Seville: 140km approx 1 hour 45 mins
Seville – Granada: 250km approx 2.5-3 hours

If you prefer not to drive, there are also trains and buses that connect these three wonderful cities, allowing you to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Spanish countryside. Granada, Seville and Córdoba are all relatively small, so once you’ve arrived you can easily explore on foot, by taxi or public transport.

Visiting the Golden Triangle in the Summer

If you are planning a trip to Andalucía’s Golden Triangle during the summer months, there are a few things to keep in mind.

The temperatures can get pretty high, so it is important to bring plenty of sunscreen, water to drink, and wear light clothing, hats and sunglasses when visiting the sites. And sensible footwear for long days in your feet.

Despite the heat, summer is a great time to visit, as the cities come alive with festivals and cultural events. In addition to the festivals, the summer months are also a great time to enjoy the outdoor attractions in these three cities, including the parks which are a great place to relax and enjoy the warm weather.

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