Visiting the Royal Stables and Andalusian Horses of Córdoba

Updated on March 22, 2019
bdegiulio profile image

Traveling has always been one of my passions. It exposes us to new cultures, experiences, and makes the world a better, more tolerant place.

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I’m willing to bet that most visitors who make a day trip to Cordoba do so for the sole purpose of seeing the amazing Mezquita. And rightfully so, as this is one of Spain’s most iconic and historic monuments to a bygone era. But, there is another very good reason to visit Cordoba, especially if you love horses and have a desire to see the legendary Andalusian Horses of Spain.

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Located just behind the Alcazar and a short walk from the Mezquita is the Royal Stables of Cordoba. The building was originally part of the Alcazar, built by King Philip II in 1570. It retains its military character and Moorish architecture and is located in a scenic setting in the historic district of Cordoba on the banks of the Guadalquivir River. The King was a real lover of horses, which explains his motivation for constructing the stables and setting out to create a purebred Spanish horse.

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Known worldwide as the Andalusian horse, they were first recognized as a distinct breed in the 15th century, however, their history goes back thousands of years on the Iberian Peninsula. Cave paintings in Spain have been found showing pictures of horses that date as far back as 30,000 BC. What distinguishes this breed is their long thick mane and tail, as well as their elegant yet robust build. Although found in many colors, gray is the most common coat color. Because of their extreme athleticism, the Andalusian horse has been used in the past as a war horse, as well as the preferred breed of nobility across Europe. Today, they can be found performing around the world in many equestrian activities, including dressage and show jumping.

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If you would like to see the Andalusian horses you have a couple of options while in Cordoba. You can attend one of the nightly shows that take place at the Royal Stables or you can watch the horses during their afternoon practice session. If you are staying in Cordoba I would highly recommend trying to attend the nightly show, called the Passion and ’Duende’ of the Andalusian Horse. Even though we did not have an opportunity to see the show, the reviews are excellent. However, if you are in Cordoba as a day trip, which many visitors are, then I would offer the practice session as a great alternative to experience these majestic creatures.

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Royal Stables Visitor Information

Nightly Show:​ Passion and Spirit of the Andalusian Horse

  • ​Days: Wednesday, Friday, Saturday
  • ​Hours: Show starts at 9 pm
  • ​Length: Approximately 90 minutes
  • Ticket Price:​ Adults – 15 euro, 20 euro for premium seating
  • ​​Children – 10 euro

Practice Session:

  • ​Days: Monday to Saturday
  • ​Hours:​ 10 am – 1:30 pm, 4 pm – 8 pm
  • ​Ticket Price:​ 5 euro

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Carriage Museum

Whether you are attending the show or the practice session, I would suggest starting your visit by touring the carriage museum that is located just to the left of the ticket booth as you enter the grounds. The museum contains a wonderful collection of historic carriages dating back centuries, and the arched columns and vaulted ceiling add an architectural flair to what was the stables for the horses at one time. It won’t take long to tour the carriage house, perhaps 15 to 20 minutes, but it’s definitely worth seeing.

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Lunch Tip

If you are looking for a great place for lunch while visiting Cordoba try Bodegas Mezquita. Great food, exceptional service, and located just north of the Mezquita on Calle Cespedes. Our waiter, Manolo, was the best!

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Practice Session

If you are attending the practice session you can wander the grounds as you please or just sit and watch the horses with their trainers and riders as they practice their routines. One of the things that we really enjoyed was the ability to interact with the horses up-close. I realize this certainly isn’t for everyone, but for us, it was a treat to be able to touch them and take photos of these beautiful creatures. Watching the horses come and go from their stalls, getting bathed, eating, and of course, performing is a real treat for anyone with a love for horses. On our visit to the practice session we wound up staying for about 2 hours, so there is no need to rush your visit. We leisurely toured the carriage house, spent an hour or so sitting in the stands watching the horses practice, and then roamed the grounds while meeting some of the horses. It all added up to an amazing experience and something that I highly recommend if you are visiting Cordoba.

Meet and greet
Meet and greet | Source

The Passion and Spirit of the Andalusian Horse

If attending the nightly show you can arrive an hour early, at 8 pm, and spend the time viewing the carriage museum and roaming the grounds. It really is a beautiful setting and once the sun sets and the grounds are illuminated it just adds to the ambiance. The show, which starts at 9 pm, will give you the opportunity to see the horses display their amazing athletic ability while marveling at the talented riders, music, traditional costumes, and flamenco dancers that all combine to make this show a magical event. Expect the show to last approximately 90 minutes.

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Because we were visiting Cordoba as a day trip from Seville we could not stay to see the evening show. But, getting the opportunity to spend a couple of hours at the stables and watching these beautiful creatures was a wonderful experience and one that I highly recommend for anyone visiting Cordoba. The Mezquita is not the only “must see” in Cordoba, add the Royal Stables to your list and you will not be disappointed.

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Questions & Answers

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      • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill De Giulio 

        2 months ago from Massachusetts

        Thank you Linda. They certainly are. We very much enjoyed getting the opportunity to see them. Have a great day.

      • AliciaC profile image

        Linda Crampton 

        2 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        The horses are beautiful. I would definitely visit them if I was in the area. Thanks for sharing the information and your experience, Bill.

      • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill De Giulio 

        2 months ago from Massachusetts

        Hi Flourish. Oh my, yes he does. Too funny. I love that last photo also. I can just imagine what he must have been thinking? Reminded me a little of Mr. Ed.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image

        FlourishAnyway 

        2 months ago from USA

        They are such gorgeous animals, and I like both your lunch tip and alternative to the nightly show. Those photos are darn good, too. The trainer in the first photo looks like he's wet his pants, and the horse in the last photo looks like he could be saying to you, "Whaaaat??"

      • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill De Giulio 

        2 months ago from Massachusetts

        Thank you Rhanee. We really enjoyed Spain, especially seeing the Andalusian horses.

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        Rhanee 

        2 months ago

        Wonderful trip, Bill. I love the pictures and commentary.

      • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill De Giulio 

        2 months ago from Massachusetts

        Thank you Heidi. Yes, I have recently upgraded my camera, it takes great action shots, which certainly came in handy with the horses. Thanks for stopping by, have a great week also.

      • heidithorne profile image

        Heidi Thorne 

        2 months ago from Chicago Area

        You definitely have a fast camera to get those horse action shots! I have difficulty getting my dogs to stand or sit still for a nanosecond. :)

        Gorgeous photos, as always. Have a great week!

      • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill De Giulio 

        2 months ago from Massachusetts

        Thank you Lorna. Definitely worth seeing if you ever get back to Cordoba. Have a wonderful day.

      • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill De Giulio 

        2 months ago from Massachusetts

        Thank you Bronwen. We stumbled across this just prior to leaving for Spain and thought it would be a nice thing to do while in Cordoba. I must say we thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks you for the comments, have a nice day.

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        Lorna Lamon 

        2 months ago

        Great article and lovely photos - would definitely visit next time.

      • BlossomSB profile image

        Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

        2 months ago from Victoria, Australia

        Thank you for a delightful visit. We went to Spain with friends, toured around for about a week and and saw many interesting places and sampled lots of tasty food, but somehow we did not see the andalusian horses. Obviously they are something we should have looked for. Thank you for the lovely photos and armchair visit.

      • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill De Giulio 

        2 months ago from Massachusetts

        Thank you Liz. Definitely worth seeing if you ever return. Have a great day.

      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        2 months ago from UK

        Having read your article, I thonk I need to put a return trip to Cordoba on my list, as this is something we missed on our first visit there.

      • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill De Giulio 

        2 months ago from Massachusetts

        Thanks Bill. My wife and I both love horses also, so this was a great way to spend the afternoon while we were in Cordoba. A great week to you also.

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        2 months ago from Olympia, WA

        That is one trip I would love. I love horses...such majestic, beautiful animals. Thanks for the tour, Bill. Have a great week, and stay warm.

      • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill De Giulio 

        2 months ago from Massachusetts

        Thanks, Mike. We really enjoyed the opportunity to see the horses practicing. Beautiful animals.

      • Readmikenow profile image

        Readmikenow 

        2 months ago

        Good article. I enjoyed reading it and the pictures are also excellent.

      • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill De Giulio 

        2 months ago from Massachusetts

        Hi John. The Mezquita is the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, famous for its Moorish architecture and specifically its 856 red and white marble columns. It's an amazing place.

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 

        2 months ago from Queensland Australia

        I love horses, Bill, and the Andalusian's are certainly one of the most beautiful breeds. It does sound like a wonderful place to visit. I know I am ignorant, being on the other side of the world, but what is The Mezquita? Thanks for sharing.

      • bdegiulio profile imageAUTHOR

        Bill De Giulio 

        2 months ago from Massachusetts

        Thank you. We really enjoyed seeing the horses practicing and getting the opportunity to interact with them.

      • L.M. Hosler profile image

        L.M. Hosler 

        2 months ago

        Beautiful horses and I loved the other pictures. This would be something I would love to see.

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