Patios de Córdoba – Flower Festival in Spain
If you haven’t already, add the Patios Flower Festival in Córdoba, Spain, to your travel bucket list. Go ahead, do it now. I’ll wait.
Did you do it? Good. This festival is amazing and absolutely stunning. So much color and life. All of the beauty that nature has to offer wrapped up into one little festival. I highly recommend it. There is just something about a ton of flowers everywhere that makes me really happy.
The first and second week of May is the best time to visit Córdoba, Spain. The whole month of May actually. There is something flower related going on during the whole month. It starts off with a parade called, The Battle of the Flowers, where they launch into their spring celebrations. The first week of the month is the May Crosses festival where people decorate giant Christian cross with flowers to display to the community. We didn’t get a chance to attend this, but that’s ok. It will just be another reason to come back to Córdoba in the future! The next two weeks after this is the Patios Flower Festival (this is the part we attended) and then the month ends with the city’s annual fair. I think I want to live in Córdoba during the whole month of May from now on. Sign me up please.
The Patios Flower Festival started in 1918 and is sponsored by the local City Hall. About 50 different homes participate in the patio competition every year. Each of these participants open their homes to the public to enter and tour as they please. It reminds me of the American Parade of Homes that I love going to in the United States, except for instead of looking at appliances and floorpan layouts, I am looking at flower arrangements and fountains. They have spent months and months prepping and preparing for this big event. Their flower displays are so meticulous and well thought out, every flower perfectly in line. Bright colors are everywhere – lots of reds, pinks, and blues. There is so much to see and look at all at once that it definitely is a sensory overload at times, not knowing where to look first. So much eye candy, it’s crazy. And the smell! Wow. It smells so wonderful and so sweet. That perfect spring smell completely surrounding you.
I loved walking around the streets of Córdoba, following the designated route on my festival map and finding each new flower display, one after the other. I felt like I was a kid on a treasure hunt. It was fun roaming around ordinary streets and neighborhoods that maybe normally you wouldn’t ever go to as a typical tourist, but because of this festival my route took me there. I enjoyed the roaming and walking between each flower display almost as much as I did seeing the actual displays.
To understand this festival, you first have to understand the architecture of traditional Córdoba homes. The homes look like nothing fancy from the outside, which makes the inside even more surprising. Homes in Córdoba are built with a central patio on the inside, which helps to keep the homes cool. The festival started because someone finally realized what a shame it was that the beauty of these patios wasn’t being seen by the public eye, but were hidden away behind closed doors. This festival allowed the public to finally enjoy the beauty of all of the patios for themselves, but only once a year.
My dad is an avid gardener and grows an amazing garden every year of fruits and vegetables as well as flowers. His backyard is a relaxing haven that I love going to during the warm summer days in Northern Idaho. His perennial garden is exquisite. So many colors and so many different types of flowers. When I visited this festival, I thought of my dad and how much he would enjoy seeing it for himself. Or hey, better yet, if he lived in Córdoba, he could enter and probably win!
Another great part is, the whole festival is free. There is no charge to enter the homes and see all the flowers. Occasionally there will be a donation bowl if you’d like to help out in that way, but otherwise, no charge. All of the patios are open from 11 AM- 2 PM and then again from 6 PM- 10 PM. The patio owners like to take a break during the day to water and care for their plants as well as take a siesta themselves before reopening again to the public. Some patios stay open later on Friday and Saturday evenings.
The bad thing about this festival is that it is TOO BEAUTIFUL and becoming SO POPULAR that it can be very VERY crowded. When we first arrived we attempted to visit the top three homes who won the whole festival, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, but the lines were so horrendous and completely impossible to stand in, that we left and went to some lesser known patios instead. If we didn’t have Jimmy with us we might have considered waiting, but waiting with a toddler in a long line for a couple of hours didn’t seem worth it to us. It seemed more like a nightmare. I have never seen so many tour buses in one place in my whole life. Tourists were flooding in from all directions to go and see the flowers. It was kind of insane. We went on the very last day of the festival, on a Sunday, so maybe visiting during the week would be less crowded. I would recommend not going on the weekend so that you can see more homes in a shorter amount of time instead of wasting your time standing in line.
Besides all of the flowers, there are other things going on during these two weeks. Check the festival map for times and locations of Flamenco performances and live music as well as other fun things. These activities change from year to year. For more information, click here and here.
So there you have it! The Patio Flower Festival in Córdoba, Spain. I hope you love it! And as always, comment below with any questions or comments. I'm always happy to help.