In the first half of May you'll notice 'patio' signs in the streets and alleyways, which means that you're invited to enter and view what are for the rest of the year closed to the outside world. At this time of year the patios are at their prettiest, and many are entered in an annual competition, the Concurso de Patios Cordobeses.
A map of patios open for viewing is available from the tourist office. Some of the best patios are on and around Calle San Basilio, about 400m southwest of the Mezquita. During the competition, the patios are generally open from 17:00 to 24:00 Monday to Friday, and 12:00 to 24:00 Saturday and Sunday. Admission is usually free but sometimes there's a container for donations.