Central Portugal / March 28, 2020. By Susan Connolly
Óbidos is an enchanting medieval town with whitewashed houses, cobbledstone streets and a castle surrounded by town walls. A day trip from Lisbon to Obidos is one of the most popular tours from the capital. Óbidos also makes for a great detour when travelling from Lisbon to Coimbra or Porto.
The town is easy to explore and all Óbidos attractions can be seen within a few hours of sightseeing so an Óbidos tour can be combined with a visit to other attractions nearby.
As Óbidos is small it can become easily crowded with visitors during the tourist season so it is best to visit early in the day or spend a night in Obidos as the town is peaceful after 5pm and it makes a great base from which to explore the surrounding region.
The picturesque town of Óbidos is 80 km north of Lisbon.
There is good public transport to Obidos. An express bus service connects Lisbon and Obidos and there is also a regional train service.
The Lisbon to Obidos bus takes a little over an hour to get to Obidos. It leaves from Campo Grande bus station you can get to Campo Grande bus station by metro. The bus stop is outside the main station in Rua Actor António Silva. You purchase tickets for the bus on board.
For the return journey the Obidos Lisbon bus stop is in the south of the town close to the Porta da Vila gateway.
The buses are more frequent during the weekdays then on weekends. You can view bus timetables and prices here rodoviariadooeste.pt
There is a train service linking Lisbon and Obidos but it is a slow regional service that takes over two hours and we wouldn’t advise this option.
Renting a car is an excellent way to day trip as it gives you the freedom to roam. It takes alittle over an hour to get from Lisbon to Obidos by car on the A8 motorway. You leave the motorway on exit 15 and this will take you striaght to the main entrance and car park. There is a toll to pay and not all tollbooths accept foreign debit/credit cards so it is advisable to have cash.
Parking in Obidos is outside the walled town only. There are 3 large car parks conveniently located outside the city walls.
There are several organised tours that leave Lisbon and include Obidos. These full-day tours combine an Obidos tour with other popular tourist destinations nearby such as Fátima, Batalha and Nazaré. They are a good option if you have limited time or don’t want the hassle of public transport. You can find a selection of the best tours here.
Obidos has a rich history as the town was traditionally gifted to the queen of Portugal on the day of her wedding. The first queen to recieve Obidos as a wedding present was Queen Urraca in 1214. Then King Dinis offered it to Queen Isabel of Arragon for whom the town has a special fondness because of her good deeds. This royal patronage contuined up until the 19th century and ensured that the town retained its unique and charming character. If you would like to learn more about the history take this tour of medieval tales and secert spots.
The entrance to the town is through the southern gate Porta da Vila, two medirval arches that conceal a chapel built in 1640 and decorated in beautiful blue and white azulejos (tiles).
Rua Direita is the main shopping street that connects Porta da Vila to Obidos Castle, it is lined with handicraft stalls and gift shops.
Rua Direta leads to Praça de Santa Maria where you can see the pillory formally used for publicly punishing criminals
Oppoiste the pillory is the chirch of Santa Maria. The location of the church has been a religious site for three different religions. Initially built by the Visigoths it was converted into a Mosque after the Moors arrived in the 8th century. The construction of the present-day church began in the 12th century, but has been restored several times and today most of the building is in the Renaissance style. The church became famous in the 15th century when the future king Afonso V married his cousin Isabel. He was ten years old and she was eight.
Dominating Óbidos is the castle which dates back to the Moorish era. Today it had been transformed into a charming Pousada (hotel). You can only get to visit the inside if you are a guest.
The aqueduct revolutonised the water supply system in Óbidos in the 16th century. It was built by Queen Catherine and extends for 3km to the southeast of Obidos and a further 3 km of tunnels to source the water.
The real joy of a trip to Óbidos is to spend time in the town and stroll around the back streets. You can also potter in the lovely handicraft shops.
Try a ginjinha d’ Óbidos, a sweet cherry liquer made from morello cherries which have been infused in aguardiente. It is a local speciality of the Óbidos region and served with a cherry in the glass or in a chocolate cup.
The region surrounding Óbidos is equally as interesting and a day trip from Lisbon to Obidos can be combined with one of the suggestions below. For a day trip that takes in multiple towns you’ll need a rent a car.
One of the options with a car is to visit Europe’s largest dinosaur park in Lourinhã on the way back to Lisbon. Dino park is about 30 minutes by car from Óbidos, a theme park dedicated to dinosaurs. It is the largest outdoor museum in Portugal and one of the best attractions near Óbidos.
Another suggestion would be a trip to Mafra about 50 km south of Óbidos on your way back to Lisbon to visit the wonderful Palácio Nacional de Mafra, an extravagant convent-palace hybrid.
Combine your trip with a visit to the sea at this lovely vast beach backed by a river-mouth estuary 17km northwest of Obidos, ideal for windsurfing or relax by the sea at one of the beach front bars or restaurnats.
Caldas da Rainha often shortened to Caldas is located 8 km north of Óbidos and 10 km from the coast. It gained fame for its glazed ceramic pottery when Rafael Bordallo Pinheiro and his brother Feliciano founded their ceramics factory in Caldas.
Have we inspired you to take a day trip from Lisbon to Obidos? Let us know your thoughts below we’d love to hear from you