In May, Cordoba is in full festival mode. The big highlight is the week-long Cordoba Fair towards the end of the month. But before then, there is the Festival of May Crosses, a Patio Festival and the Battle of the Flowers. Here’s our guide to Cordoba festivals in May.
Located about two hours drive north of Malaga, Cordoba is a beautiful city that is rich in history. Formerly a Roman settlement, the city became an important capital in Islamic Iberia before it fell to Christian rule during the Reconquista.
The city’s star attraction is the stunning Mosque-Cathedral. Originally built in AD987, the mosque was later converted to a cathedral and still functions as one today. Whilst many of the original Islamic features remain intact, one of the most significant developments since it became a church is a Renaissance nave in the middle of the sprawling prayer hall. Other highlights of the city include the charming historic quarter and the city views you can enjoy from across Guadalquivir River.
Cordoba festivals in May involve a lot of flower power
If you’ve never been before, then May is the best time to visit the city. The city is in full-blown festival mode to welcome the Spring. But with temperatures already in the mid-20s, it already feels like Summer in the city. As you might expect from festivities celebrating Spring, flowers are a major theme.
Cordoba festival season kicks off with the Battle of the Flowers and the May Crosses. Celebrations continue with the Patio Festival and the Cordoba Fair. And alongside them all, there is music, dancing and plenty of food and drink.
Battle of the Flowers
The Battle of the Flowers usually takes place on the last Sunday of April. The festival features a parade of over 20 floats, which are extravagantly decorated with paper and material flowers. The floats make their way along Paseo de la Victoria and Avenida de la Republica Argentina. And around midday, the women on the floats throw 140,000 carnations to the crowd whilst accompanied by a live band.
In 2018, the Battle of the Flowers takes place on 29 April.
The May CrossesThe May Crosses continues the flower theme and takes place towards the end of April or start of May. The mini festival involves over 40 large crosses decorated with flowers located all around the city. You can pick up a leaflet with a listing of all the locations at the Tourist Office. There is also a competition with the best crosses awarded prizes by the city council.
In 2018, the May Crosses is celebrated between 27 April and 1 May. For more information, visit: turismocordoba.org.
Next on the calendar is the Patio Festival. This unique festival offers a fantastic insight into Cordoba architecture where many homes have a central patio with either a fountain or well in the centre. It’s a perspective that many visitors only get to enjoy during the festival as locals open up their doors to allow you into their patios all spectacularly in full bloom. The best neighbourhoods to visit are Alcazar Viejo, Santa Marina, San Lorenzo, La Magdalena and in the Jewish Quarter. As with the May Crosses, there is competition for the best patio. There is also a competition for the best balcony.
In 2018, the Patio Festival takes place between 1 and 13 May. Visiting hours for the patios are 11.00am to 2.00pm and 6.00pm to 10.00pm. You can pick up a leaflet with information about where all the patios you can visit from the tourist office or by visiting: turismodecordoba.org.
And then there’s the big one: the Fair (La Feria). Like Seville’s April Fair and the Jerez Horse Fair, the Cordoba Fair celebrates Andalucia. So, in addition to a big fairground, you can expect to see lots of people in traditional outfits. That means gypsy (or flamenco) dress for the ladies and wide brimmed hats for the gents. There are also lots of temporary bars set up called casetas. Each one serves food and drink. There is usually some traditional live music and flamenco dancing too. Head to one (or more) of the casetas to party with the locals.The Cordoba Fair is held in honour of the feast of Our Lady of la Salud (Health). It takes place on El Arenal fairground, which is located by the Nuevo Arcangel Stadium. It usually takes place in the last week of May. The fairground including the casetas are free to enter.
In 2018, the Cordoba Fair happens between 19 and 26 May. If you’re in town during this week, do as the locals do and conserve your energy in the afternoons (lots of businesses close then anyway) and save it for the fair in the evenings. For more information, visit: turismodecordoba.org.
Getting to Cordoba
Cordoba is 140 kms from Seville, 160 kms from Malaga and 200 kms from Granada. You can reach it with a low-cost car hire from Seville Airport, Malaga Airport or Granada Airport. Still need to book your car hire? Use our search tool below to find and compare prices from the top suppliers in Spain.