Wat te doen in Obidos

10 amazing tips for what to do in Óbidos Portugal

When you travel to Portugal, you might hear of a tiny town called Óbidos. It’s a favourite day trip from Lisbon or Porto for many! It’s one of Portugal’s most beautiful towns and a must-see UNESCO site! You can visit the village each season, and spring and December are my favourite time of year in the medieval town. In this guide, I’ll show you what to do in Óbidos, including many yearly festivals.

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An overview of what to do in Óbidos

  • What to see? The town of Óbidos is on the wish list of many tourists. The medieval town is known for its beautiful flowers, town walls, Óbidos Castle, Porta da Vila, Igreja de Santa Maria, and the cobbled streets in the old town. Try the famous Ginjinha de Óbidos, or check the souvenir shops on the village’s main street.
  • Costs? Most things in Óbidos are free. Transport starts at around € 18,00 for a return trip from Lisbon with the express bus. Guided tours to Óbidos are the easiest and often combine multiple cities on day trips from the capital.
  • Where is Óbidos? Óbidos is located in the Oeste region of Portugal, about an hour north of Lisbon.
  • Worth it? A must-see town and a great day trip from Lisbon!

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A present for the Queen, a short history of Óbidos

Once upon a time, Óbidos was a present for the Queen of Portugal, Queen Isabel. King Denis of Portugal gifted the town to her at her wedding, and the town had a strong connection to the Portuguese Royal Family then. The walled city is still charming, and Óbidos is now a tourist favourite destination.

Well before the royals’ time, the city was a Roman settlement. Archaeological evidence of a forum, an excavated Roman city, and baths were found close to the settlement. The Moors settled around 713, but the first King of Portugal took control of the region in the 12th century.

As soon as you arrive in Óbidos, you’ll get a taster of the royal and medieval atmosphere. You can enter the walled town several ways, and most visitors arrive at the Castle of Óbidos or Porta da Vila.

You’ll easily spend a few hours exploring the cobbled streets, beautiful shops, city walls and quaint houses in the romantic medieval town. And everywhere you look, you’ll see the medieval castle and the wall as a dramatic backdrop.

Óbidos Portugal things to do

Óbidos is relatively tiny, but you can walk around for hours to discover the little streets and beautiful buildings! You’ll probably need at least 2 hours to see most of the highlights.

If you have time, I suggest staying for about 4 hours to enjoy the local cuisine, visit a museum and walk along the castle walls.

There are no major Óbidos attractions, but the picturesque village in itself is a highlight! Let’s have a closer look at what to do in Óbidos, Portugal!

What to do in Óbidos map

1. Porta da Vila

When you arrive in Óbidos, there are a few entrances to the town centre. For example, one is at Castelo de Óbidos, and the other is at Porta da Vila. Porta da Vila translates to the village gate, and you’ll enter the castle walls here.

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The historical landmark contains a gate leading to a small space that leads to a second gate. The interior space is beautifully decorated with azulejo tiles on the balustrade.

2. Rua Direita

From Porta da Vila, you reach Rua Direita, which is the main street in Óbidos. This is where you can find most restaurants and souvenir shops. Around this street, you can explore tons of little streets with cobblestones and colourful flowers.

When you go to Óbidos on a day trip from Lisbon, you might want to buy some Portuguese souvenirs, and Rua Direita is the perfect place! You can buy Ginja de Óbidos or amazing tea and chocolates at Mercearia d’Óbidos.

3. Walk along the castle wall

A unique way to discover Óbidos is by following the stone castle walls around the town. There are several areas where you can take the stairs up the walls. The most accessible locations are close to Porta da Vila and Óbidos Castle. One of the best views of Óbidos is from Baloiço Óbidos.

The views from the castle walls are amazing, but if you’re afraid of heights, it may sometimes feel scary. The Moorish wall is up to 13 meters high, with no railings. It’s wide enough, but be careful, especially when it rains! The loop around Óbidos town is just over 1500 meters.

4. Óbidos Castle

The stunning medieval castle is among the first things you’ll see besides the town walls. When driving by, you’ll spot Castelo de Óbidos even from the A8 road! There is a car park close to the castle, and from this area, you have the best view of the medieval structure. You’ll also find public toilets when entering the town centre from the northern part of the village.


If you stay the night, you can sleep at Castelo de Óbidos! Inside the 9th-century castle, you’ll find a luxury hotel. Pousada Castelo Óbidos is part of the Pestana Group, and members will receive a discount. The interior is incredible and the perfect location for a romantic getaway!

5. Try a Ginja de Óbidos

The small town is known for its bookshops, medieval characters, and Ginja de Óbidos! Ginjinha de Óbidos is one of Portugal’s most known liquors, often served in a tiny chocolate cup. The chocolate cup is made from white or dark chocolate, and the combination with the liquor is incredible.

This alcoholic drink is made from the fruit of the Morello trees (ginjeiras), and you can buy it everywhere in the village. A well-known Ginja brand is Mariquinhas, but you can try a few different brands. Will you try this cherry-flavoured alcoholic drink?

6. Walk the cobblestone streets of Óbidos

One of the best Óbidos Portugal things to do is to simply walk around! The pretty cobbled streets are what make the village so unique. Especially in spring and summer when the flowers bloom, it looks stunning! The wisteria is one of the first to bloom, followed by many bougainvillaeas and other colourful flowers.

The homes themselves are also very colourful. When you visit Óbidos, you’ll notice many houses decorated with blue and yellow paint. The best way to discover the most beautiful streets is by exploring all the side streets of Rua Direita. In just over an hour, you can find the most picturesque scenery. So bring a camera!

7. Igreja de Santa Maria

Igreja de Santa Maria is the main church in Óbidos, Portugal. The church was the setting of a historical wedding in 1411. The wedding celebration was of 10-year-old King Afonso and his 8-year-old bride, Queen Isabel. Even today, there are still wedding ceremonies in the church, so you might witness a wedding day!

The original structure was a Visigothic temple, followed by a Moorish mosque. The current Igreja de Santa Maria dates back mostly to the 1600s. The painted ceiling dates back to 1676, and the azulejo walls were added between 1680 and 1690.

Other churches are the Igreja da Misericórdia de Óbidos, the Church of São Pedro, and Igreja de São Tiago. The beautiful Santuário do Senhor Jesus da Pedra is located just outside the castle walls.

8. Bookshops in Óbidos

The town is also known for its bookshops, and you can visit no less than 14 bookstores in Óbidos. Some recommendations are Livraria de São Tiago (inside the church), Livraria do Mercado – Ler Devagar and O Bichinho de Conto. Óbidos has been a UNESCO City of Literature since 2015!

Do you want to surround yourself with even more books? Then, staying a night at The Literary Man Óbidos Hotel on Praça de Santa Maria might interest you! Besides floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, you’ll enjoy a good night’s sleep, a gin bar and a literary menu.

9. Museums in Óbidos

Óbidos is a creative city with some museums, such as Museu Municipal de Óbidos. The Municipal Museum contains a collection of religious and sacred art, paintings and sculptures from the 15th to 18th centuries. This includes paintings of Josefa d’Óbidos (one of Portugal’s most prolific Baroque artists) and André Reinoso.

Another interesting museum is Museu Abílio de Mattos e Silva. The museum contains 3 floors filled with paintings. Inside the Church of São João Baptista, you’ll discover the São João Museum and the Galeria Nova Ogiva is great if you like visiting an art gallery. 

10. Aqueduto de Usseira

Around the village, you’ll find an incredible aqueduct. Aqueduto de Usseira was built in the 16th century, and the 3-kilometre-long structure contains many arches. The aqueduct started in a nearby spring in Usseira and was commissioned by Queen Catherine of Austria in 1573.
The Usseira aqueduct provided the people of Óbidos with drinking water. The water was carried to fountains in the village, such as the Pelourinho de Óbidos or the pillory in the main square. It’s in an incredible condition!

What to do in Óbidos

Óbidos festivals

For such a small town, there are a surprisingly large amount of festivals in Óbidos! Plan your trip around one of them, and enjoy the place even more!

The Óbidos Chocolate Festival

Chocolate lovers will enjoy discovering Óbidos during the annual Chocolate Festival! Chocolatiers showcase unique creations made from chocolate, and yes… there is plenty of chocolate to taste! The Chocolate Festival happens annually in March.

You’ll see extraordinary sculptures, and chefs will create the most delicious things from cocoa. Every year has a new theme, and Óbidos turns into chocolate heaven!

The Medieval Festival in Óbidos

Every year in July, a medieval market is held at Óbidos Castle. It is a great way to enjoy the town’s atmosphere, and the Óbidos Medieval Festival lasts two weeks. Book your accommodation well in advance if you want to stay in town!

Flags and banners decorate the inner walls of Óbidos, and you can watch medieval shows and a costumed parade. Hundreds of people dress up as soldiers and merchants. Don’t forget to look at the traditional handicrafts fair where you can buy some nice souvenirs. 

You’ll enjoy a medieval dinner at night with soups, rabbit, roasted hog, and many other grilled meats. You’ll eat from wooden trenchers and drink from wooden cups (tankards), and it will feel like you’re in the Middle Ages!

Folio – International Literary Festival of Óbidos

If you’re a fan of books, visit Óbidos during Folio – International Literary Festival of Óbidos! It takes place every year in October. Since its first edition in 2015, Folio has become one of Portugal’s main literary events.

There are exhibitions, book presentations, seminars, author sessions and much more! Folio has a new theme each year and offers a stage for discussions on current issues.

Óbidos Vila Natal

Every year in December, Óbidos Portugal turns into a small winter wonderland! Visit Vila Natal with your children and visit Santa! At Rua da Porta da Vila, you can witness the so-called Lenho de natal, a large bonfire usually on the main square.

You can also enjoy the many decorations in town and ice skating at the skating rink. The Christmas Village Vila Natal occurs from December until the first week of January.

How to get to Óbidos

Travelling from Lisbon or Porto by car

The little medieval town of Óbidos lies in the province of Estremadura, in the Oeste region of Portugal. It’s a perfect day trip from Lisbon as you’ll reach the town in about an hour by car from Lisbon. A visit is often combined with a stopover in Fátima, Peniche, Caldas da Rainha, Alcobaça or Nazaré.

From Porto, the drive takes a little over 2 hours. Are you looking to rent a car during your holiday in Portugal? Check the below offers with DiscoverCars. Or check this post for more details about renting a car in Portugal.

There are five parking areas in Óbidos. Two of those are entirely free, and three offer paid parking. There is a capacity for over 4,000 vehicles. The town lies nestled along the A8 and is the easiest to reach by car. Don’t leave any belongings in the car!

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Óbidos bus from Lisbon

You can take a bus from Campo Grande in Lisbon directly to Óbidos. The RDO – Rodoviária do Oeste bus company offers the Rapida Verde express bus service, which usually stops in Bombarral. You can purchase a ticket from the bus driver for € 9,05 for a single journey (bring cash!). The bus journey will take 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Also, Flixbus has connections between Lisbon and Porto to Caldas da Rainha. It’s only a 12-minute drive to Óbidos so you can take a taxi to the ancient walled city.

By train from Lisbon to Óbidos

You can travel from Lisbon to Óbidos, but you’ll have to switch trains a few times. From Lisbon, you can travel to Mira Sintra-Melecas, and from there, the train departs to Óbidos. Depending on the connections, it will take 2 to 3 hours by regional train

There are more buses to Caldas da Rainha where you can also find a train station. With the Omio App, you can easily schedule your trip when travelling by train. You can check the departure time on the Comboios de Portugal website.

Tours from Lisbon to Óbidos

There are fewer organised tours from Porto, and renting a car or a private tour will be the easiest option. From Lisbon, however, there are many tours to Óbidos daily. Most tours visit a few towns on the same day. A 2-hour stop in Óbidos is usually long enough to have a look and get a first impression.

During the tour, you can chill and enjoy a day full of adventures! If you don’t want to drive, this is definitely the easiest way to see Óbidos. Check out the tours below and explore Nazaré, Fatima, or other towns on the same day.

Nearby attractions around Óbidos worth visiting

Óbidos is located in the Oeste region in Portugal, where you can find many more amazing towns! Some favourites along the Silver Coast are Alcobaça, where you can visit the Alcobaça Monastery; Bombarral, known for the Buddha Eden Garden; and Nazaré, known for its big waves.


Caldas da Rainha is great if you like pottery, and Peniche is a surfer’s paradise. From the coastal town, you can even visit Berlengas Island! Are you in the region in February? Then visiting Torres Vedras during the carnival is a must!


If you prefer some time along the Atlantic Ocean, Óbidos Lagoon is amazing. Lagoa de Óbidos contains plenty of hiking trails, but a beach day is also possible. Praia do Bom Sucesso, Praia da Lagoa de Óbidos, Praia da Foz do Arelho, and Praia da Estrela are all beautiful!

Óbidos hotels

The best way to enjoy Óbidos might be at night. Depending on when you visit the medieval town, it can get jam-packed with day trippers. Once all the tourists on their day trips are gone, you have the entire town to yourself! There are many accommodations where you can enjoy a well-deserved sleep.

You can enjoy a lovely dinner at night and explore the quiet streets in town. I recommend staying at least one night, but if you want to see more of the Atlantic coast, you can definitely stay longer.

Besides Óbidos Castle, there are some beautiful places to stay. We love staying in Casa de S. Thiago de Obidos, and we had a great time at Retiro do Castelo as well. Another recommendation is Casa Mourisca – Albino d’Óbidos. Check the map below for the perfect accommodation for your Óbidos visit!

Where to eat in Óbidos

There are some delicious restaurants in Óbidos where you can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can visit Avocado Coffee & Healthy Food for a healthy breakfast or lunch. It’s one of my favourite Óbidos restaurants. Enjoy a bagel, avocado toast on freshly baked bread, or pancakes with a smoothie or coffee! The best start to the day!

You’ll find most restaurants around Rua Josefa de Óbidos and Rua Direita. But also wander around the side streets and discover some hidden gems. Some recommendations are JamonJamon, A Nova Casa de Ramiro, Villa Restaurant & Terrace Bar and SeaFork Restaurante Óbidos. Bom apetite!

Tip!

Enjoy a € 20,00 discount on your next meal! Reserve your table with the code 8362E39E on TheFork.

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FAQ

Óbidos is located about an hour from Lisbon. The town is easy to reach by car and bus. There are also daily excursions from Lisbon.

Most visitors will stay in Óbidos for an hour or two to walk past the highlights. I recommend staying at least 2 to 3 hours to enjoy the medieval town fully. This way, you can walk over the castle walls, visit a museum, and enjoy the local delicacies in the restaurants.

Óbidos is one of the most beautiful castle towns in Portugal. The houses are colourful, and the village is filled with blooming flowers in spring and summer. The town is relatively small, but there are several points of interest, such as Porta da Vila, a castle, and a walk along the castle walls.

Conclusion

Now you know what to do in Óbidos Portugal, you can see it’s an excellent day trip from cities like Lisbon and Porto. Before entering the village, you discover incredible sights such as the aqueduct and the Senhor Jesus da Pedra Sanctuary.

If you want to know more about the cultural heritage, Museu Municipal de Óbidos is worth your time. Óbidos is a UNESCO Creative City Of Literature with many bookshops, but there are also many annual festivals to attend. And remember to try a Ginja de Óbidos, made from locally grown cherries known as ginjeiras.

You can explore Rua Direita, Praça de Santa Maria, and Óbidos Castle within the castle walls. Visit in the early morning to avoid big crowds in the summer. Or, better, stay a night to enjoy the magic of this medieval town fully!

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11 Comments

  1. Wow, your photographs are stunning. This looks like a lovely place to visit! I’ll have to add Portugal to my list. The castle is so pretty!

  2. Love Obidos. Used to live just down the road in Lourinhã and always took guests or the dog for a walk here. They had a lot of fun festivals and events there.

  3. We were really happy that we decided to stay in Obidos for a few days when we visited rather than just day trip. It was lovely to have the town to ourselves when the day tourists left. We loved the walk on top of the walls for the view down over the town and countryside. Good thing we have no problem with heights. It would be great to plan a trip when the medieval market is on.

  4. Lol can you imagine being given a flipping town as a wedding gift! Royalty do get a little extra don’t they!? Still, Óbidos really does look lovely. We are planning to visit Portugal next autumn, I will try to make it there. <3

  5. I loved Obidos. Walking the wall was a treat. I stayed in Obidos and the host treated me to ginja in a chocolate cup.

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