5 Best Things to Do in Obidos Portugal

view of the medieval town of Obidos Portugal
by Anisa // 50 Comments

Before researching the stops for our Portugal Road Trip, the name “Obidos” didn’t even register on my radar. It was only when Rick Steves sang its praises that I sat up and took notice. According to him, Obidos is a picturesque medieval gem boasting a castle and impeccably preserved city walls.

My visit to Obidos, Portugal, was a delightful revelation, and I’m here to tell you it’s well worth the short drive from Lisbon. Alongside Sintra, it’s one of the top day trip options from Lisbon, thanks to its undeniable charm and the fact that you can soak up its essence in just a few hours.

In this post, I’ll guide you through the best things to do in Obidos, delve into its captivating history, and offer valuable tips on how to journey from Lisbon to this charming town.

Note: This post contains affiliate links.  Please see disclosure for more information.

Anisa doing the Obidos city wall walk. - Odibos Portugal - Two Traveling Texans
Anisa doing the Obidos city wall walk.

Best Things to Do in Obidos Portugal

Obidos is a small town but it’s a fun to place to explore.  We only spent a few hours in Obidos and had a great time.  I loved the whitewashed walls dotted with flowers and the cobblestone streets.  I wanted to share a few recommendations of things to do in Obidos.

#1 Taste Ginja

Obidos is known for Ginjinha or Ginja, which is an alcoholic drink that tastes like cherry.  You will find lots of people selling shots of it on the main street, Rua Direita.  We decided to try it served in a chocolate cup.  It was delicious so I bought a small bottle for a treat later on.  Ginja could also be a nice gift idea.

The main street is full of shops and places that will sell you Ginja. -
The main street is full of shops and places that will sell you Ginja.

#2 Shop on Rua Direita

In addition to the Ginja, you can find a lot of cute souvenirs along the main street.  Obidos is known for its artisan shops selling handicrafts, ceramics, and local products. It’s a great place to pick up unique gifts.

We loved the colorful pottery and saw some unique toys for kids.  It’s also just a pretty street to admire on your walk through the town.  There are plenty of photo opportunities too.

#3 Visit the Church of Santa Maria

church in Obidos
It’s worth stepping inside Igreja de Santa Maria,

After walking a little way on the street you will come to a small plaza with a church.  The Igreja de Santa Maria was the location of the wedding of King Afonso V to his cousin Isabel in 1444.   You can take a peek inside, there is no admission charge.

Dating back to the 12th century, this church stands as a testament to Portugal’s religious and cultural heritage. As you approach the church, the ornate portal adorned with intricate Manueline-style carvings immediately captivates your attention. These carvings are a true marvel, showcasing Portugal’s maritime motifs intertwined with religious symbolism, reflecting the country’s historic Age of Exploration.

Stepping inside, the Church of Santa Maria reveals its inner splendor. The interior is adorned with stunning azulejo tiles that narrate the life of the Virgin Mary, an exquisite display of Portuguese tilework craftsmanship. The play of light filtering through the stained glass windows bathes the space in a mesmerizing kaleidoscope of colors, creating an atmosphere of serenity and reverence. As you wander through the nave and chapels, you can’t help but appreciate the intricate details of the altar and the Baroque decorations that adorn this sacred space.

#4 City Wall Walk

I loved walking on the city walls in Obidos, it reminded me of my experience walking the city walls in York, England.  Obidos is completely contained within the city walls.  I didn’t like that there were some parts of the wall that were narrow and didn’t have any railing on one side, but the amazing views made it worth it.​

obidos city walls
I enjoyed walking on the city walls, but I wish there would have been a railing.

The main gate into Obidos contains a beautifully tiled chapel that overlooks the main thoroughfare. The blue and white 18th century glazed tiles, called Azulejo, depict the passion of Christ while the ceiling represents the crown of thorns.  After you pass through the gate, you will see the stairs going up the wall on the left.

Take the stairs up and you can start your adventure walking the walls.  If you like, you can walk the entire perimeter of the town. From the wall, you will have beautiful views over the terracotta roofs and white painted houses of the town. Plus, you also have a nice view of the countryside around Obidos and the vineyards.

I read that the entire walk takes around an hour, but we took it slow.  We stopped for a lot of pictures and only walked halfway around before going down and walking the street back to the car.  

view of obidos from the city wall
From the city wall walk, you have impressive views of the town and the countryside.

Again, I should emphasize that depending on how you are with heights, it may be a little nerve-racking doing the city wall walk.  I got a little nervous myself which is why we don’t have much footage of the wall walk on our video. 

The wall is narrow and sometimes uneven.  Traffic on the wall goes both ways and there are no safety railings.  Still, if you can convince yourself to do it when you visit Obidos, I know you will enjoy the views.

#5 Check out the Obidos Municipal Museum

Nestled on the bustling Rua Direita, Óbidos’ main street, the Municipal Museum is a captivating showcase of the town’s artistic heritage across the ages. Inside the walls of an elegant 18th-century manor, once home to the renowned artist Eduardo Malta, you’ll discover a diverse collection that brings history to life.  The enchanting paintings by 17th-century artists Josefa de Óbidos and André Reinoso are some of the museum’s highlights.

Beyond its permanent exhibits, this museum also delves into the past and present, offering a fascinating peek into the town’s cultural tapestry. Among the treasures you’ll find are fragments of sacred art once gracing local churches, paintings that once adorned altars, intriguing Roman relics, opulent Baroque furniture, and a captivating assortment of French and English weaponry from the Napoleonic Wars – a poignant reminder of Portugal’s role in one of Napoleon’s major defeats, just a stone’s throw from Óbidos.

It is free to visit the Museu Municipal de Obidos.  Read more reviews here.

When to Visit Obidos

You can visit Obidos all year round.  It may be a little chilly in January though.

The most popular times to go to Obidos are in the summer and at Christmas.  Time your visit right and you can enjoy one of their special festivals.

Obidos Medieval Festival

If you visit the end of July or early August, you can enjoy the Obidos Medieval Festival.  The main activities take place next to the castle where you’ll find knights, minstrels, jugglers, noblemen, beggars, dancers, and stalls selling just about everything. 

Most people come in costumes, but don’t worry if you didn’t bring one, you can rent a costume there.    The highlight of the festival is the medieval suppers on Fridays and Saturdays.

Obidos Portugal pictures - Two Traveling Texans
Beautiful views from the city wall walk.

Obidos at Christmas

During the holiday season, they have a special festival called Vila Natal.  It’s great for families! There are carnival rides, ice skating. and entertainment for the kids.  It typical runs the whole month of December and into the first week of January.

You can find more information here.

Where to Stay in Obidos

If you want to stay overnight in Obidos, there is one pretty special option.  The Obidos Castle (or Castelo de Obidos in Portuguese) has now actually been turned into a luxurious hotel.

Obidos Castle (Castelo de Obidos)

The Obidos Castle which is now a hotel. -
The Obidos Castle which is now a hotel.

The 14th-century building has been updated so that all rooms have air-conditioning and fully equipped private bathrooms.  There is also a restaurant called the Pousada of Obidos.  

The hotel has 14 double rooms and 3 suites, 9 of which are located in the castle and 8 in a new wing. Some rooms still have stone walls, four-poster beds, and chandeliers.  All rooms are named after Portugal’s Kings and Queens who have stayed in the town.

The hotel is actually more affordable than you might expect – click here to check price and availabilityYou can also check reviews on Tripadvisor here.

How Long Should You Spend in Obidos?

Obidos is a small town so it’s definitely doable as a day trip or even half-day excursion.  We spent about three hours exploring the area but that includes taking a lot of photos and video.

How to Get from Lisbon to Obidos

Obidos is located about 50 miles north of Lisbon.  You have a few transportation options to choose from to get to Obidos from Lisbon, but the best way is to drive.

Driving to Obidos

If you have a car, it’s an easy hour and a half drive from Lisbon to Obidos as most of the way you will be on the highway.  Right outside the city walls, there is a pay and display parking lot.  It’s best to park there and explore the city by foot.

Bus to Obidos

If you don’t have a car, your best option is the “Rapida Verde” (Green Express) bus which is operated by the Rodotejo bus company.   The ride takes a little more than an hour and you buy your ticket from the driver for about €8.  

Bus service is much more frequent during the week than on the weekends, check the Rodotejo website for the most up to date schedules.

The flowers added a nice pop of color to the white-washed walls of the Obidos. -
The flowers added a nice pop of color to the white-washed walls of the Obidos.

You catch the bus from the Campo Grande bus station in Lisbon.  The “Rapida Verde” bus stop can be difficult to find because Campo Grande bus station is just a series of bus stands that surround the metro station.

To find the “Rapida Verde” bus stand go east of the metro station on the “Rua Actor Antonio Silva” street.  Look for the Rapida Verde timetable. Since the final stop of the Rapida Verde route is Caldas da Rainha, the Lisboa Obidos bus may display a sign for Caldas da Rainha Bus.

Train to Obidos

Obidos is served by regional trains so it takes over two hours to go from Lisbon to Obidos by train.  To make things worse, these trains are infrequent, so you will either want to drive or take the bus to Obidos.  The same principles apply for traveling back from Obidos to Lisbon.

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Should You Take an Obidos Tour?

If you don’t have access to a car or are not comfortable driving or taking the bus, you might prefer to do an organized tour of Obidos.  Most tours start in Lisbon also include a visit to Fatima, another town that I loved in Portugal.  Check out all the different options, prices, and availability here.



Is Obidos Worth Visiting?

Yes! Our visit to Obidos was truly delightful.  If you’re thinking about day trips from Lisbon, Obidos is a lovely choice. It’s not as crowded as Sintra, and it’s incredibly picturesque. I’d definitely go back, and staying at the Obidos Castle hotel sounds like a dream.

Check out our video to get a better idea of what Obidos Portugal is like.

Have you visited Obidos or another medieval city that you loved?


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view of Obidos, a medieval town in Portugal

Expert Tips for a Lisbon to Obidos Day Trip

  • If you don’t have a car, the Lisbon to Obidos bus or an organized tour will be the best options.
  • Try some Ginja in a chocolate cup (dark chocolate is best).
  • Do the city wall walk to get the best views of Obidos.
  • If you are looking to have a nice meal check out the restaurant inside the Obidos Castle called Pousada of Obidos.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means we will receive a small commission for some purchases made using links in our blog with no additional cost to you. Please be assured we would not promote any product unless we believe that our readers will also benefit. The commission does not influence the editorial content of this site.

Last Updated on September 14, 2023

About the Author

Anisa is an experienced international traveler with extra pages in her passport and stamps from 41 different countries across 5 continents (and counting). She was born and raised in Texas. After a 13 year stint in NYC, she moved to England to live with her husband.