This is your one-stop article for everything you need to know to plan and enjoy the best day trip to Obidos in Portugal. How to get to Obidos from Lisbon and all the great things and sights you just can’t miss!
A day trip to Obidos is hands down, the best day trip you can take from Lisbon. I even think it might be better than Sintra!
Obidos is one of those places where from the moment of arrival you can’t stop saying ‘wow!’ It’s like stepping back in time or into the film set! Obidos is not only one of the most beautiful Medieval towns in Portugal. It is one of the most beautiful towns in Europe!
I was completely enchanted by this little town, and although I sort of knew what to expect, I still found myself in total awe the moment I walked into the walled town.
Obidos is one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval towns and open-air museum with a rich history.
Boasting whitewashed houses decorated with colourful plants, mosaics and art; enchanting cobblestone streets and beautiful churches. The castle surrounded by city walls will make you feel like you are stepping into a Game of Thrones film set!
Oh, and that cherry liqueur!
The history of Obidos dates back to the 6th century. It was first settled by Romans, and then consequently by Visigoths and Moors, to be eventually taken from Moors by the first King of Portugal, Afonso Henriques.
But what is Obidos most known for it is that it was gifted to Queen Isabel of Aragon on the day of her wedding. A pretty spectacular gift, I would say!
But history aside, Obidos is just so beautiful! The medieval houses are very well preserved, many whitewashed or sometimes painted in blue or yellow and colourfully decorated – they exude character and charm.
Many souvenir shops and cute cafes and restaurants are located along the streets and although it can get pretty busy in peak season, one just cannot help but slow down a bit.
If you are looking for a different type of a day trip from Lisbon, Obidos is definitely worth visiting. You will experience a different, magical, charming Portugal. With its castle being one of the seven wonders of Portugal, beautiful medieval cobblestone streets, festivals and cultural events.
You just cannot miss Obidos during your Portuguess travels.
How to get to Obidos from Lisbon.
Obidos from Lisbon by Bus
If you are taking public transport, the best way to get from Lisbon to Obidos is by bus as it’s the cheapest and most hassle-free.
During the week, buses run hourly and during peak hours, even more often. On the weekend there are 10 services per day, but I recommend visiting on a weekday to avoid crowds anyway. The bus ticket costs €8 one way and cannot be pre-ordered. You will have to purchase the bus ticket with the driver.
The Campo Grande terminal can be reached by green or yellow metro lines. As you exit the metro station, follow the signs to Alameda das Linhas de Torres. The bus departs from bay number 27 and is operated by the Rodoviária do Oeste company. The final town on this line is Caldas da Rainha.
The journey lasts around an hour and a half. The bus will drop you right in front of the walled city, a 5-minute walk to Obidos town center. The return bus stops at the same stop.
Obidos from Lisbon by Train
You can also get the train from Lisbon to Obidos but this is a less popular way, mostly as it takes over 2 hours, the ticket is a bit more expensive and the service is not very frequent. Frankly, I dont see the reason why anyone would opt for the train journey from Lisbon to Obidos.
But if this is your choice of transport, the train from Lisbon to Obidos costs €9 one way and leaves at Lisbon’s Sete Rios or Santa Apolónia train station.
Obidos from Lisbon by Car
Some say that the best way to get to Obidos from Lisbon is by car. It is definitely the fastest (just a little over an hour) and very easy as Obidos is just one kilometer off the motorway connecting Lisbon and Coimbra.
You have to get on the A8 motorway, leave on exit 15 and follow the signs for Óbidos. Tolls are €9 in total. The walled city is closed to traffic, but there are 3 large car parks located nearby.
Considering tolls, parking charges and gas, I dont think it’s the cheapest way of getting from Lisbon to Obidos – but definitely the fastest.
You can also opt for an organized tour from Lisbon. If you prefer the comfort of being picked up from the hotel and don’t fancy doing all the planning, you can book this high-rated Obidos trip from Lisbon.
Best time to visit Obidos
Regardless of the season, the best time to visit Obidos is during the week. Obidos is a popular day trip from Lisbon and can get quite busy on the weekend.
If you need to visit Obidos during the weekend, try to arrive either before the organized tours arrive (around 11 am) or after (around 3 pm). I think that an afternoon visit on a weekend or at any time during the week is the best option for visiting Obidos.
Season-wise, hmmm … it’s Portugal! You can visit Obidos all year round! A few things you should keep in mind, though.
South of Portugal gets very hot in the summer and rainy in the winter, so the best time to visit Obidos or any city is during spring or early autumn.
Having said that, there are plenty of places to hide and medieval walls offer an abundance of shade, so if you are not too heat sensitive – summer is a great time to visit also.
Day trip to Obidos from Lisbon - Things to do in Obidos
Wander worry free - the best thing to do in Obidos
Worry-free because even if you don’t make a plan and just turn up – you will love it nevertheless.
After my initial “wow” reaction, I laughed quietly every time I passed by other visitors saying the same thing with their eyes wide open. The town is just so pretty!
You can easily spend a whole day walking around, popping into the souvenir shops, pottery and art workshops, lunching, drinking coffee and forgetting the world you have left behind. You will return to Lisbon not regretting that you didn’t plan your trip well. Whether you see all the museums or not, you will leave town happy and grateful. Guaranteed!
But if you want to plan a bit, below are some things that are really worth putting on your list.
Dont miss the Gate - Porta da Vila!
It’s hard to miss as this is the main entrance to the town, but make sure you dedicate it the time it deserves!
Porta da Vila, a gateway of two arches featuring a stunning Baroque balcony decorated with azulejos (tiles) artwork depicting the Passion of Christ. The gate itself is a late 14th-century creation and the balcony dates back to the 1740s and was served as an oratory.
Walk the Rua Direta
As you walk through Porta da Vila you will find yourself on the main ‘street’ of Obidos – Rua Direita.
Going all the way to the Obidos Castle, Rua Direita is lined with handicraft stalls, gift shops, small bars and coffee shops with white-washed walls, at times splashed with blue and yellow, cascades of bright flowers flowing from the windows or walls and cats sleeping on random benches.
It’s like by crossing the gate you crossed into a different universe, time, some fictional reality!
Towards the end of Rua Direita, you will find yourself on Praça de Santa Maria, where you can see the pillory used in the past for publicly punishing criminals. ‘Shame! Shame!’
Admire the castle of Obidos, and try not to fall from the city walls!
I mean, it will be hard to not notice this majestic castle standing proudly over the town.
Castelo de Obidos is an iconic landmark of the town and one of Portugal’s greatest medieval castles dating back to the 12th century. It is now one of the seven wonders of Portugal. Since its origins castle has gone through numerous restorations and architectural additions, with the latest one transforming it into a luxury hotel.
These days only a few parts of the castle are accessible to the public – namely the Belvedere, Cerca and, of course, the Wall.
The city walls are free to enter and you can walk the whole length of them, which is a great adventure! The walls encircle the entire town of Obidos for about 1.5km and offer spectacular panoramic views over the city and surrounding countryside.
Although restored in the past, they were not modernized in any way, so you will not find safety railings or anything that would prevent you from falling, apart from a few warnings and your common sense. How dangerously refreshing!
Please keep in mind that it’s not safe to go up there with the kids or if you are scared of heights. Apart from that, you just can’t miss it! Take a walk towards the large terrace square right behind the castle, known as the “Old Arms Square”. This is where the town’s main festivals take place.
If you want to explore the interior of the castle, why not book a night in Pousada Castelo de Óbidos?
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Walk into a few churches and be ready for some surprises
Yes, they look pretty from the outside and some are inviting with the promise of peace and coolness on a sunny day.
But often a pretty church blending into its surroundings will surprise you with its interiors.
Like Igreja de Santa Maria, which is lined with 17th-century tile panels, lavishly painted ceilings and decorated with paintings by the great local artist Josefa D’Óbidos.
Or Igreja-Livraria de Santiago which is now the most unique bookstore!
Taste the cherry Liquor
Whenever I told someone I was going to Obidos, I heard the same thing: you have to try the Ginja! And truly, you cannot say you visited Obidos if you didn’t taste this sweet cherry liquor.
Ginja is a sour cherry-based liqueur infused with spices such as cinnamon and cloves. Obidos Ginja is made from locally-grown cherries and local producers, as well as tasters, are extremely proud of this product! It is often served in the chocolate shot cup and you can buy it at nearly every corner of Obidos.
I am not a big fan of sweet liquors, but this one was really delicious! And remember – it’s not a shot!
Visit all the bookstores
If you are a bookworm you will love Obidos!
In 2015, Obidos was awarded the title “City of Creative Literature” as part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. There are at least 14 bookstores in Obidos, many located inside restaurants, hotels, churches or organic markets!
Worth visiting is the Livraria Santiago, Santiago Bookshop or Óbidos Biological Market. If you want to combine browsing bookstores with drinking wine, you should visit Livraria da Adega, which is housed in a wine cellar. You can also spend the night at Literary Man Hotel!
Or the museums
There are a couple of great museums in Obidos that are worth visiting.
The Municipal Museum is housed in a stately home dating back to the 18th century and features works by Josefa de Óbidos and André Reinoso.
The building in which you will find Abílio Museum used to be the old Óbidos prison and later on deteriorated. It was then bought by Maria José Salavisa, who decorated it according to the spirit of the place, and now houses works by the painter Abílio de Mattos e Silva.
The Galley NovaOgiva, on the contrary, focuses on high-quality contemporary artworks.
Obidos the town of Festivals / Things to do in Obidos
There are a few very interesting festivals taking place in Obidos so its really worth putting those into your calendar in case you are around at this time!
- In July, the town hosts Mercado Medieval (Óbidos Medieval Fair), the most famous festival in Obidos. It lasts a couple of weekends and is one of the coolest festivals to attend in Portugal!
The focal point of the festival is the castle and its surroundings, but also the streets of Obidos are decorated to recreate the spirit of medieval Europe. You will see banners and heraldic flags, stalls with handicrafts and food served by owners dressed as merchants. People dressed in medieval costumes, knights on horses, wandering minstrels and open-air food markets where roasted hog and hearty soups are prepared and served.
The festival features numerous music and theatre performances. You can watch medieval shows, a costumed parade that winds its way through the streets, as well as displays of jousting knights and armed combat.
The visit to the city at this time feels like going back to the Middle Ages.
- In early spring (sometime around March and April) Obidos hosts an International Chocolate Festival. Each year has a different theme inspiring the chocolate sculptures appearing around the town together with chocolate-making workshops, theatre shows and of course endless possibilities to taste and eat chocolate!
- Finally, in early autumn (end of September or beginning of October) the International Literary Festival Óbidos, or “Folio”, takes place. For a week the town is transformed into one big reading room! The events take place in different parts of town, in libraries, bookstores, museums and churches, and are also differently themed every year.
- Obidos is also a great town to visit during Christmas or Semana Santa festivities. During Christmas, Óbidos turns into one big Christmas theme park and Semana Santa parades are meant to be some of the most spectacular.
Is Obidos worth Visisting
Obidos is one of the most beautiful medieval villages in Portugal, oozing incredible charm and character, and just for that is definitely worth visiting. If you are staying in Lisbon and have a spare day, I highly recommend taking a day trip to Obidos to experience a completely different Portugal.
What’s more, it’s worth spending a night in Obidos, too! There are so many great restaurants and bars in Obidos and the town lit with street lights is even more magical. For this only is worth staying in Obidos for a night.
Can you pair day trip to Obidos with a visit to another town?
Of course, you can.
As much as I am a fan of doing things slowly, you can see all the main attractions of Obidos in a half a day. Therefore, you can combine a visit to Obidos with a visit to other towns like Fatima, Nazare, Ericeira or Peniche. For this, it’s best if you drive, but you can also take an organized day tour like this tour which includes Fatima, Batalha, Nazare and Obidos.
Where to stay in Obidos
Although a popular day trip destination, Obidos can be a great town to spend a night or two. After all the day-trippers have disappeared, it is amazing to go down the medieval colourful streets, browse the shops and restaurants without the crowds, and stroll around the town in the evening.
Some travellers even make Oidos a base for a couple of other day trips, so if that’s what your plan is, there are a few great hotels you can spend the night in Obidos.
If you are looking for a budget stay in Obidos, consider staying in a hostel like Hostel Argonauta. It’s a charming and fantastically located hostel that offers comfortable single beds in dorm rooms, a shared kitchen and plenty of beautifully decorated shared space. It’s a really great hostel!
If you are not a fan of staying in hostels but don’t want to spend a fortune, there are some great budget room options like the traditionally decorated Casa de S. Thiago de Obidos or Patio das Margaridas.
If you prefer to stay in a hotel, then Hotel Real d’Óbidos is a great choice, and for an authentic, traditional stay in beautiful surroundings, the best options in town are Torre de Maneys, Casa de S. Thiago do Castelo and the breathtaking Hotel Casa Das Senhoras Rainhas.
For book lovers, there is Lovin Book Guesthouse – renovated medieval home with plenty of books available to read all day long!
And of course, last but not least, there is Pousada Castelo de Obidos, a luxury hotel within the walls of Obidos Castle that combines 14th-century medieval accommodation with modern facilities in the heart of the village of Óbidos.
I hope that you will enjoy your day trip to Obidos as much as I did and that you will find this guide to things to do in Obidos helpful.
Let me know what your thoughts are and if you think I have missed something important please share!
Until then, happy travelling and stay free!
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My favourite Travel Resources
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For more travel tips and recourses, visit Pati’s Travel Tips page!