Medina Azahara is one of the most amazing architectural complexes in the province of Cordoba. It is believed that its name means “Shining City” and is located about 7 km from the city center. It was built by Abderramán III around 936 in a strategic location at the foot of Sierra Morena where the Guadalquivir valley crosses. The orography was exploited to divide the palace complex into terraces, the lower ones corresponding to the city and the upper ones to the caliph’s residence and administrative buildings. Today, Medina Azahara is one of the summits of Islamic art and, as a result, it was declared a World Heritage Site in 2018.
There are several options to get to Medina Azahara. The most common is to go by your own vehicle to the obligatory parking lot where the museum and visitor reception are located. Secondly, take the shuttle bus from the parking lot to the site. Tickets can be purchased on the bus itself and cost 2.50 € for adults and 1.50 € for children from 5 to 12 years old and over 65 years old. The shuttle leaves approximately every 15 minutes.
Another alternative and perhaps the most comfortable is to take the bus that leaves from Glorieta Cruz Roja, right in front of the Eurostars Palace hotel. The price for adults is 9 €, for children from 5 to 12 years is 5 € and free for children under 5 years. This rate includes both the bus ride to the visitor center and the shuttle to the site. It is highly recommended to reserve bus seats in advance. Admission to the site is free for European Union citizens and 1.50 € for non-EU citizens.
Visiting Medina Azahara with children is not impossible, but it is important to consider the following tips so that children enjoy the experience as much as adults.
Medina Azahara is an open-air architectural complex, so try to avoid the hottest hours of the day, since shaded areas are scarce. Perhaps the best time to visit it is in the late afternoon, to appreciate its night illumination or early in the morning. It is highly recommended to wear comfortable clothes, a hat and comfortable shoes, since the ground is not completely paved. It is advised to bring enough water because it is not always possible to buy it at the site.Although there are some fountains dsitributed throughout the Medina, the water is not always fresh, especially in the hot season. Finally, do not forget to use sunscreen.
Before starting the visit, you can make a stop at the site’s bookstore and buy books with illustrations that will help children to understand more clearly and quickly the history and distribution of the site.
Strollers have difficulties to access some parts of the tour, so it is highly recommended to leave them in the museum lockers and, if you are going to do the tour with a baby, it may be more comfortable to have a baby carrier.
Another option for children to have fun while touring Medina Azahara is to book a guided tour and, especially, a guide specialized in children. In addition, sometimes dramatized visits are organized that can be very entertaining for the little ones. Furthermore, you can not miss our guided tour of The Mosque of Córdoba or any of our Free Tours in Córdoba.
Is there anything children love more than being able to turn any experience into a game? With your reservation number you have access to a game for children between 6 and 12 years old, free of charge, to use during the visit. Alternatively, you can also make your own games at home, here are some ideas:
Medina Azahara can boast of receiving more than 1,300,000 visitors a year. Therefore, if you do not want to be left without a place, it is essential to book in advance either by phone or email.
The visit to Medina Azahara has an approximate duration of 3 hours, also considering the transfers to and from Cordoba. That is the reason why, it is recommended that you have eaten lunch or breakfast before starting. In addition, it should be noted that the guided tour does not pause. In the visitor reception area, there is a cafeteria that only serves cold food. If you would like something more elaborate, you should leave the site and look for restaurants closer to the city, for instance.