Cordoba was once considered Europe’s brightest city where scholars would come to study ancient texts. Today, the city is vibrant and colorful and especially so during the Cordoba Patio Festival in early May when residents open their floral-swathed patios to the public. The walls are covered with “little Gypsies,” more commonly known as geraniums along with a variety of other flowers. Sponsored by the Cordoba City Hall, the patio festival began in 1918 and the competition draws visitors from around the world. The hosts are usually on hand to greet you and will even tell you about their green thumbs if you ask. Be sure to get a free map of the festival routes from one of the tourist kiosks near La Mezquita. It is customary to leave a few coins in the tip tray near each doorway. The collection is used for festival upkeep and to support a local charity.