A Guide To Obidos Portugal
(Why A Day Trip Is Not Enough)
The town of Óbidos in Portugal is one of the most beautiful Medieval towns in Europe. A visit to Obidos feels like stepping back in time; you can easily imagine the Portuguese royal family strolling through the cobbled alleys of this charming town in Central Portugal. There are so many things to do in Obidos that visiting it on a day trip is simply not enough. Our Obidos guide has everything you need to know to plan your visit to Obidos, Portugal. From things to do and recommended attractions to day trips, restaurants, hotels, tips, and more.
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Table of Contents
Where Is Obidos in Portugal
Obidos is located in Central Portugal, about 85 kilometers northwest of Lisbon. It is situated in the District of Leiria.
Reasons To Visit Obidos Portugal
We visited Obidos during our road trip from Lisbon to Porto, and we immediately fell in love with this adorable Portuguese town. We were glad we’d chosen to stay at Obidos instead of visiting it on a day trip from Lisbon. We spent one night in Obidos and wished we could spend at least one more night there. Here are some of the reasons you must visit this unique Medieval town:
- Obidos is a town fit for a queen! King Dinis presented Obidos as a wedding gift for his wife, Queen Isabel de Aragon Isabel, in the 13th century. Portugal’s royal families kept this tradition till the 19th century.
- Obidos is one of Europe’s most well-preserved medieval towns, a kind of an open-air museum town.
- Obidos is tiny but packed with attractions and unique things to see and do.
- Obidos is home to some of Portugal’s most instagrammable streets.
- There are many unique churches and stores in Obidos.
- Obidos is the perfect destination to stay for a few nights while exploring some of the charming Portuguese towns along the Atlantic Ocean.
- If you spend more than a few hours in Obidos, you’ll get a chance to interact with the local residents and discover a more traditional side of Portugal.
Obidos Portugal Travel Video
If you want to have a little taste of what Obidos and Central Portugal have to offer, check out our Portugal Road Trip Travel Video! We’d appreciate it if you could like it on YouTube 🙂
Best Way to Visit Obidos
Obidos is located very close to Lisbon, so you can just rent a car or hop on a bus. We don’t recommend taking the train since the journey is much longer and less convenient.
You’ll get from Lisbon to Obidos in just over an hour via A8/A1 with a car. You can also take the express bus from Lisbon, departing from the Campo Grande terminal. The bus is operated by Rodoviária do Oeste company (Verde Line), and it takes about an hour to get to Obidos. Check out the Verde Line’s departures.
Obidos Travel Tip: Since currently there is no possibility to buy a ticket in advance, make sure to come early in the busy season of the summer months or during local holidays.
Best Time To Visit Obidos
There is no bad season to visit Obidos, especially if you spend the night there. The problem with the summer months is that from about 10 am till the afternoon, the small town can be packed with day-trippers from Lisbon. It is one of the reasons we recommend spending at least one night in Obidos instead of visiting it on a day trip. During the Spring and Fall, the temperatures are pleasant, and fewer tourists roam the narrow streets of this small town. Check out the average temperatures and rainy days by month to help you plan your trip to Obidos, Portugal.
Top Things To Do In Obidos Portugal
Obidos is pretty tiny, but it is packed with attractions and things to do. Here are some of the top attractions in Obidos you must add to your itinerary:
Visit Óbidos Castle and Walk Along The Castle Walls
The town of Obidos is built within the walls of Castelo de Óbidos (one of Portugal’s Seven Wonders) and it is undoubtedly part of its charm. The Moors were responsible for the fortification of this Medieval town, but the castle, walls, battlements, and towers were reconstructed with some additions by various Portuguese kings throughout the years. The castle served both as a military stronghold and a royal palace. Obidos suffered significant damages during the 1755 earthquake, and the current layout is the result of extensive restoration work. A few years ago, after major restoration work, Óbidos Castle was turned into a Pousada (a government-run luxury hotel), so you can even spend the night here or have dinner at the restaurant.
Obidos Medieval castle is quite impressive to look at, but the main highlight is the panoramic views from the top of the castle’s walls. The walls encircle the entire town (a route of about 1.5 km) and can reach a height of 13 meters at some points. Since Obidos is perched on a hill in the middle of fertile agricultural land and close to the Atlantic Coast, the views are absolutely spectacular, especially during sunset. However, be aware that the stairs leading to the walls have seen better days, and since the route along Obidos walls is narrow and worn out at times, and there are no railings, you should be extremely careful. Nevertheless, if you are fit and not afraid of heights, you must include a walk along Obidos walls in your itinerary. Once you are up there, you will be mesmerized by the beautiful surrounding area of Obidos, filled with agricultural crops, vineyards, windmills, and more magnificent sights. You will also be able to admire the beautiful houses and picturesque streets of Obidos from a higher vantage point.
Get Lost in the Cobbled Alleys of Obidos
One of the best things to do in Obidos is to explore the picturesque alleys of this charming town. Wandering around the cobbled alleys of this ancient walled city feels like stepping back in time. The whitewashed houses are decorated with strips of yellow and blue, potted plants, bougainvillea, and hand-painted tiles. There are so many beautiful spots off the main streets, so make sure to follow the tiny alleys and narrow staircases that will lead you up and down Obidos’ streets to some of the most beautiful spots in town.
Obidos Travel Tip: If you’d like to take pictures without the crowd of day-trippers, make sure to take a stroll through Obidos streets in the early morning hours
Visit Obidos' Churches and Chapels
Obidos has many churches inside and outside of its walls. You must visit at least a couple of them during your visit to Obidos. Here are some of our favorite ones:
Porta da Vila
Porta da Vila is one of the most stunning places in Obidos and should be at the top of your Obidos bucket list. It is actually the main gateway to Obidos, but it is also a tiny chapel. The structure itself is made from two low-rise gateways, and in between, there’s a small balcony, beautifully decorated with white and blue azulejo tiles and a painted ceiling.
Igreja de Santa Maria
The Church of Saint Mary is Obidos’ main church. It is believed that there used to be a Visigoth temple and later a mosque on these grounds. However, during the 12th century, the structure was turned into a church. The current Renaissance-style architecture and embellishments date back to the 16th-17th century, when the building was restored following the 1535 earthquake.
Igreja de Santa Maria is located at Praça de Santa Maria, and opposite the church, you’ll find a traditional Portuguese pillory (decorated stone column) and a water fountain. Inside the church, you’ll find lavishly decorated ceilings and walls, a beautifully painted altar, and the tomb of João de Noronha (a local nobleman) that is viewed as a masterpiece from the Portuguese Renaissance era.
Senhor Jesus da Pedra
The Santuário do Senhor Jesus da Pedra is located outside the city walls, about one kilometer north of Obidos. It was constructed in the 18th century as a memorial to King João V. The church’s most prominent feature is its hexagonal shape. It looks pretty impressive from the outside. Inside the church, there is a crucifix made of stone from the 2nd century!
Igreja de Sao Tiago / Livraria Santiago
This small church is located just near Obidos Castle, and it used to serve the Royal family. The church dates back to the 12th century; however, it was rebuilt after the 1755 earthquake. In recent years, Literary lovers and entrepreneurs from Lisbon turned it into a bookstore. Inside you’ll find a collection of books in multiple languages. This unique bookshop is just a small representative of the literary and arts movement in the village of Obidos.
Learn about the Unique Bookstores and Arts movement of Obidos
Obidos was named a Creative City of Literature and is part of UNESCO’s City of Literature program and Creative Cities Network, focusing on honoring creative cities around the world. The cultural association, Vila Literária de Óbidos, was established to focus on literature, art, photography, and design. Therefore, during your time in Obidos, you must visit some of the unique bookshops, art stores, and museums. Besides Livraria Santiago, which we’ve mentioned before, make sure to stop by Mercado Biologico de Óbidos. This one-of-a-kind shop operates as an organic market and a bookstore specializing in rare books on travel, gastronomy, and wines. There are many other literary-related places to visit in Obidos, including museums, galleries and more. If you are a book-lover, a great place to stay at Obidos is the Literary Man Hotel, which has an impressive collection of books.
Visit Óbidos Municipal Museum
The Museu Municipal de Óbidos is located near Igreja de Santa Maria on Rua Direita. Inside you’ll find a collection of art pieces, including the work of a local painter, Josefa de Óbidos, who was one of the most prolific Baroque artists in Portugal. In addition to the collection of artworks, the museum hosts a small exhibition of historical pieces such as Roman artifacts and weapons from the Napoleonic Wars. If you love museums, you might want to check out some of the other museums of Obidos.
Visit the Shops along Rua Direita
One of the top things to do in Obidos is to discover the special stores of this small town. Stroll along Rua Direita, where you’ll find an array of restaurants, bars, and unique shops. Buy some souvenirs, locally made arts and crafts, and regional food items. Don’t forget to try some of the regional pastries and local sweets at the local pastelarias and coffee shops. You will also find beautiful shops in the smaller alleys near the main street, so make sure to wander off Rua Direita. Two shops that are especially worth mentioning are Mercearia de Ideias and Olaria São Pedro, but there are many more charming shops in Obidos, and part of the fun is to discover them by yourself.
Obidos Travel Tip: When you visit one of the local bakery shops, ask for pão-de-ló, a Portuguese sponge cake that is made only with three main ingredients (eggs, sugar, and flour) but comes in different variations. This addictive Portuguese cake has appeared numerous times in the paintings of Josefa d’Óbidos.
Try Obidos's Famous Ginja Liqueur
If you’re coming from Lisbon, chances are you’ve already tried this delicious Portuguese liqueur. However, Ginja or Ginjinha, is a specialty of Obidos should be on your daily list of things to do in Obidos. Scratch that, more like three times a day! Ginja is made from sour cherries (ginja berries), alcohol, sugar, and spices such as cinnamon and cloves. Obidos ginja is made from locally-grown cherries that have been marinated for a year! In Obidos, ginja is served in a tiny chocolate cup, the perfect companion to this delicious liqueur. Rua Direita is lined with cute Ginja bars, so make sure to stop at some of them!
Aqueduct of Obidos
Obidos Aqueduct or Aqueduto de Usseira was built during the 16th century and is located very close to Obidos. It was used to transfer water from a nearby spring to the water fountains of Obidos. It is located just across the town’s main gate near a big parking lot.
The residents of Obidos know how to throw a good fair. There are numerous festivals and fairs in Obidos throughout the year. Here are some of the major ones:
Mercado Medieval (Óbidos Medieval Fair)
Obidos Medieval Market is the most famous festival of Obidos. It lasts for a couple of consecutive weekends, usually around July. Visiting Obidos at this time feels like going back to the Middle Ages. The streets are decorated to fit the event, and so are the people. Many visitors and residents are dressed the part, and you might even see knights in chain mail. Men wear gowns or tunics made from sackcloth, and women wear floor-length dresses and skirts with flowers in their hair. The cobbled streets of Obidos are filled with stalls and piles of straws, theater and music performances, and even food stalls with Medieval-inspired fare. You must purchase a ticket to enter the event and the town.
Obidos Chocolate Festival
Festival do Chocolate Obidos takes place every Spring around April or May. During the festival, Obidos is filled with chocolate lovers from all over the world. The festival-goers can taste chocolate from different countries, take part in one of the many chocolate-related activities, enjoy cooking demonstrations by professional chefs or join the numerous workshops and contests around Obidos
FOLIO - International Literary Festival Of Óbidos
The first edition of the Óbidos International Literature Festival took place in 2015 when UNESCO classified the town as a Creative City of Literature. It has been gaining more fans over recent years. During the days of the festival, writers, artists, musicians, and book lovers meet up to exchange ideas and participate in a variety of literary and art-related activities.
Visit Obidos Lagoon & Nearby Beaches
One of Obidos’ best-kept secrets is the Obidos Lagoon. The lagoon stretches over approximately 6.9 square kilometers and reaches an average depth of 2 meters. The mix of fresh and salty water yields rich biodiversity of ecosystems and fauna, and it is also a heaven for bird lovers. You can spend a whole day here, hiking along the coast, trying some watersport activities, or just relaxing at the nearby beaches, Foz do Arelho and Bom Sucesso. Take a look at Obidos’ beaches on the map.
Obidos Travel Tip: If you want to tour around the beautiful Obidos Lagoon with a bike, check out this cycling tour around the lagoon.
Day Trips from Obidos
If you choose to spend a few days in Obidos, here are some recommendations for day trips from Obidos you can take at a leisurely pace:
- Peniche – You can visit Peniche and Cabo Carvoeiro which are located just south of Obidos. This little fishing village has excellent viewpoints of the Silver Coast of Central Portugal as well as beautiful beaches. You can visit the small historic center and the port or check out the several stunning viewpoints along the cliff, including the famous Cabo Carvoeiro. To learn more about Peniche, check out our Central Portugal Itinerary.
Distance from Obidos: 27 Km
- Berlengas Archipelago – This group of small islands is located close to the coast of Peniche and is on UNESCO’s Biosphere Reserve list. You can go beach hopping, hiking, birdwatching, diving, and more. If you want a guided tour with a visit to the caves and hiking the island with a guide, check out this Berlengas ISLAND TOUR. You can also enjoy snorkeling around the main island with this recommended SNORKELING TOUR. However, if you want to relax and take your time, just book your round-trip ticket on the ferry.
- Alcobaça Monastery – This stunning Medieval Monastery was built by the first Portuguese king, King Alfonso I. The complex features a church, various tombs of Kings and Queens, a cloister, a library, and more. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1989. Check out the Alcobaça Monastery VIRTUAL TOUR to see how stunning it is!
Distance from Obidos: 41 km | Tickets € 6 | Opening hours
Obidos Travel Tip: You must visit the Pastelaria Alcoa just opposite the monastery for some traditional Portuguese sweets! You will also find a branch in Lisbon at Garrett street no. 37.
- Batalha Monastery – This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of Portugal’s most famous landmarks and is certainly worth a day trip from Obidos. The architecture is a mix of Gothic and Manueline as well as other influences, and it took over 100 years to (almost) complete its construction. Make sure to visit the Royal Cloister and the Unfinished Chapel. To learn more about Batalha Monastery, check out our Central Portugal Itinerary.
Distance: 60 kilometers (50 minutes via A8) | Tickets: Main building: free, other parts of the monastery: € 6 | Opening hours
- Mira de Aire Caves – These 11-kilometers long caves were voted as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Portugal. If you love beautiful stalagmites and stalactites (some of which are about 150-million-year old), make sure to visit these beautiful caves.
Distance: 84 km | Tickets: € 7 | opening hours
Obidos Day Tours
If, despite everything we’ve suggested, you’d rather take a day trip from Lisbon to Obidos, check out these recommended day trips:
Obidos Day Tour
With this highly-rated full-day tour from Lisbon, you’ll visit Fátima, Nazaré, and Óbidos. The tour is limited to 8 participants.
If you just want transportation to Obidos and have more time to explore Obidos by yourself, this is the tour for you! You can explore Obidos with this interactive guide on your mobile.
On this 5-star private tour you’ll visit Fátima, Batalha, Alcobaça, Nazaré and Óbidos.
Where To Eat in Obidos - Restaurants & Coffee Shops
Looking for a place to eat in Obidos? Check out our foodie recommendations with our favorite coffee shops and restaurants in Obidos, Portugal:
- Avocado Coffee & Healthy Food – Avocado Coffee is an excellent place for breakfast or a light lunch located opposite Porta da Vila (outside Obidos walls). They serve (mostly) healthy food on a lovely quiet patio. They have a varied menu, from granola bowls and salads to toasts, veggie burgers, and chicken wraps. Check out the menu and prices of Avocado Café and its location on the map.
- Capinha d’Óbidos – This local bakery sits right on the main street, Rua Direita. It is well known for its baked goods and sandwiches, which are made from freshly baked bread. Check out Capinha d’Óbidos’ location on the map.
- A Nova Casa de Ramiro – One of our favorite places for dinner in Obidos. They serve excellent food in a unique setting. The restaurant is located just outside the walls on R. Porta do Vale 12. Check out the location of A Nova Casa de Ramiro on the map.
Pontinha – Another excellent choice for dinner in Obidos, especially if you want to try a more modern take on traditional dishes. Pontinha’s small tasting menus of local seasonal products get rave reviews, and so does the atmosphere. Check out Pontinha’s location.
Where To Stay in Obidos – Hotels, Apartments and Guesthouses
There are many guesthouses and apartments you can stay at during your visit to Obidos, but if you are looking for a hotel, there are only a couple of hotels in or next to Obidos. However, closer to Obidos Lagoon and in the adjacent area, there are larger hotels you can stay at. If you decide to stay in Obidos’ old town, we recommend choosing a place to stay that is close to one of the entrances of the ancient city but not inside the old city itself unless you don’t mind carrying your luggage through the cobbled streets. Here are some of the best places to stay in Obidos:
Mood Lodging – Caldas & Ocean – This was our first choice, but eventually, we had to stay elsewhere due to last-minute schedule changes. This is a beautiful apartment with a modern design, located very close to Obidos Walls. It has private parking and a balcony with stunning views of the area. The owner will gladly help you with anything you need. Check out the prices and book your stay at Mood Lodging – Caldas & Ocean.
Retiro do Castelo – A beautiful apartment which is also great for families (up to 4 people) located within walking distance from the town’s walls. The apartment is well equipped and has a balcony with views of Obidos and the countryside. The owner will provide you with recommendations and tips, and there’s free parking as well. Check out the prices and book your stay at Retiro do Castelo.
Casa Mourisca – Albino d’Óbidos – This beautiful apartment is located inside the walls and has a unique design. Note that the bedrooms are on the upper floor while the bathrooms are on the first floor, and the stairs are pretty steep. Check out the prices at Casa Mourisca.
Casa Picva – This lovely guesthouse is located ideally near the old town entrance and has private parking. We stayed here during our visit to Obidos and loved the personal treatment, perfect location, and the unique setting and furniture of the public spaces. The owner was really nice and gave us great tips about our Portugal road trip. The design of the rooms is more traditional, and there is a lovely garden with beautiful views of the surrounding area. Book your stay at Casa Picva.
Casa Do Relogio – Another recommended guesthouse that is situated just near Obidos Walls. The design is a mishmash of traditional and modern pieces, and the hostess is friendly. Book your stay at Casa Do Relogio.
Pousada Castelo de Obidos – This government-run hotel is located inside Obidos Castle, so it is quite a unique experience to spend the night here. It is one of the pricier accommodations in Obidos but if you are looking for a unique experience, stay here during your Obidos visit. Check out prices and book your stay at Pousada Castelo de Obidos.
Obidos Aquae Ductus Suites – This modern hotel is located only a few minutes drive from the old town, just next to Obidos Aqueduct. It gets rave reviews for its cleanliness, and it is one of the best options if you’d rather stay at a hotel. Book your stay at Obidos Aquae Ductus Suites.
The Literary Man Obidos Hotel – If you love books, this is the place for you. The building used to be a convent but was totally renovated and the rooms have a modern design. As the name suggests, you will find many books covering the walls. Book your stay at the Literary Man Obidos.
Why A Day Trip To Obidos Is not Enough
A day trip to Obidos is not enough because you won’t be able to experience everything Obidos has to offer, and more importantly, you won’t be able to experience the magical atmosphere of Obidos on a day trip from Lisbon. Obidos’ beautiful, cobbled alleys can get quite crowded in the middle of the day thanks to the day-trippers from Lisbon but in the early morning and late afternoon, you’ll have these charming cobbled streets (almost) all to yourself. You’ll be able to soak in the unique atmosphere, chat with the local residents, climb Obidos Walls during the sunrise or sunset and just relax and have a taste of the more authentic side of Portugal. So, we suggest spending at least one night in Obidos
How Many Days in Obidos Do You Need?
We planned for a one-night stay in Obidos, and in retrospect, we should have stayed here for at least two nights or even longer. Obidos is genuinely charming, filled with many hidden gems and the nicest people. The surrounding area is filled with attractions and things to see and do. If you want to travel at a leisurely pace, we suggest spending at least 2-3 nights here and going on short and easy day trips to explore the nearby attractions. You’ll discover charming towns, magnificent historical monuments, natural treasures, and beautiful beaches. Obidos is also the perfect place to stop on your drive from Lisbon to Porto or vice versa, and even if all you have is one day to explore Obidos, you must stop here!
Don't forget to pin this Obidos Guide for your next Portugal holiday!
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