Complete Guide to the Medieval Town of Óbidos, Portugal

Complete Guide to Things to Do in Óbidos PortugalComplete Guide to Things to Do in Óbidos Portugal

The Final Information to Issues to Do in Óbidos, Portugal

The medieval walled city of Óbidos, Portugal is a pleasant place to go to. There are lots of issues to do in Óbidos, and the city has a protracted and illustrious historical past relationship again greater than 2,000 years. 

It’s been dominated by Celts, Romans, Visigoths, Moors, and at last by the Kings and Queens of Portugal. In truth, within the 12 months 1210, King Afonso II gave the city to his queen as a marriage current. 

That began a practice that continued proper up till the 19th century. Óbidos is sometimes called the Vila das Rainhas, or “City of the Queens”.

Due to this royal patronage by the queens, Óbidos is blessed with a formidable architectural heritage that has fortunately been effectively preserved. In the event you’re questioning what to do in Óbidos, look no additional!

Most guests simply take a fast stroll alongside the Rua Direita, and possibly alongside the city partitions in the event that they dare. However there’s a lot extra to see! Since transferring to Lisbon in 2017, I’ve been to Óbidos a number of instances and have totally explored the city. 

On this article, I’m going to share with you all my favourite Óbidos issues to do, together with sights that only a few individuals find out about!

Issues to Do in Óbidos

These Óbidos Portugal sights are listed within the order wherein you’ll come throughout them, if ranging from the bus cease or the automotive park.


Aqueduct of ÓbidosAqueduct of Óbidos

The aqueduct of Óbidos runs for six kilometers, three of that are underground.

When arriving by bus or automotive, you’ll see the imposing metropolis partitions on one aspect of you and the arches of the aqueduct snaking off into the gap within the different path. Take a second to admire the aqueduct earlier than heading up into the city.

In whole it’s six kilometers lengthy, though solely three kilometers are above floor. Its development was funded by the queen within the 16th century to supply the city with a dependable water provide. 

She even bought a few of her personal lands round Óbidos to pay for it. That is certainly one of many examples of how Óbidos benefited from the patronage of the queens over the centuries.

Igreja de São João Baptista (Church of St. John the Baptist)

Portuguese cemeteryPortuguese cemetery

Probably the most enticing a part of the Igreja de São João Baptista is the cemetery simply behind it.

Nearly instantly throughout the road from the aqueduct is that this small church, now transformed right into a museum. It was first based in 1309, once more by certainly one of Portugal’s queens.

The church constructing now homes the parochial museum of Óbidos, which holds momentary displays. Simply behind the church is the peaceable, contemplative cemetery the place the city’s former residents are buried.

Cruzeiro da Memória (Memorial Cross)

Stone memorial cross PortugalStone memorial cross Portugal

The stone cross contained in the tiny chapel

We’ve acquired yet one more factor to see earlier than heading contained in the city partitions. Proceed alongside Rua da Porta da Vila, away from the city, and on the intersection with Estrada da Capeleira you’ll come to a tiny chapel of kinds. 

This Manueline chapel was erected to commemorate Afonso Henriques’ defeat of the Moors in 1148. It’s stated to be constructed proper on the spot the place his troopers camped earlier than laying siege to the city.

The miniature chapel is simply giant sufficient for a stone cross to suit inside, which you’ll see in case you peek by the window.

On one aspect of the cross is the determine of Jesus crucified, and on the opposite is the scene of the Pietà, with a grieving Mary holding her son’s useless physique.

Porta da Vila (City Gate)

Porta da Vila ÓbidosPorta da Vila Óbidos

The attractive azulejo tiles of the Porta da Vila

OK, now it’s lastly time to show again round and head by the city’s important gate, referred to as the Porta da Vila. It’s not solely the principle gate main into the walled city, however it additionally doubles as a chapel. The blue and white azulejo tiles adorning the higher story are from the 17th century and depict scenes from the fervour of Christ.

You’ll generally see buskers or different road performers right here. I as soon as noticed a person doing a really convincing impersonation of Gandalf from the Lord of the Rings.

However much more entertaining is when vacationers unknowingly try and drive their rental automotive by the gate. Don’t do that! The 2 openings on both aspect are catty-corner, forcing anybody who enters to make a zigzag maneuver. 

This was meant to make it tough for attacking troops to get by, however it’s equally efficient in opposition to vehicles!

City Partitions

Castle walls of ÓbidosCastle walls of Óbidos

Take a stroll in town partitions of Óbidos. Simply watch out to not fall!

These imposing, crenelated fortifications utterly encompass the city. You’ll see a staircase close to the Porta da Vila, the place you’ll be able to climb up on the partitions and stroll all the best way round them. 

I extremely suggest doing this, because it presents unparalleled views of the purple roofs and whitewashed homes of the city. And you too can look out on the countryside dotted with dilapidated windmills. 

Be warned, although, that there are not any handrails, and climbing the partitions is at your individual threat. You probably have a concern of heights, you could wish to suppose twice about this one.

Rua Direita

Rua Direita ÓbidosRua Direita Óbidos

Rua Direita as seen from the highest of the partitions

When you enter the Porta da Vila, straight forward of you is Rua Direita, the principle road of Óbidos. It’s stuffed with memento retailers promoting all types of trinkets. You’ll additionally discover loads of bars and cafés serving the well-known ginjinha de Óbidos (extra about that beneath). 

Whereas actually value strolling down at the very least as soon as, Rua Direita can get moderately congested with crowds, particularly in the midst of the day. So don’t overlook to discover the quieter aspect streets too. You’ll in all probability discover this extra rewarding, except you’re simply right here for the purchasing.

Ginja de Obidos

Ginja de ÓbidosGinja de Óbidos

Ginja tastes finest when drunk from a darkish chocolate cup!

This liqueur is constructed from a sort of bitter cherry referred to as “ginja” in Portuguese. The liqueur is often known as ginja, or generally within the diminutive kind as ginjinha. To make this drink, the cherries are infused with alcohol for a number of months.

Regardless that the ginja cherries themselves are bitter, the ensuing drink is kind of candy, as loads of sugar is added. A extra fashionable twist, which has develop into actually standard, is to drink the ginjinha from a small, edible chocolate cup. The darkish chocolate selection is the commonest and is often vegan (I’ve by no means come throughout one which wasn’t).

Ginjinha really originated in Lisbon, however it’s strongly related to Óbidos as effectively. A lot so, that almost everybody who visits Óbidos tries at the very least one shot of ginjinha whereas they’re right here. Take your decide from the bars and stalls lining Rua Direita.

Pilar Camoneano (Camões Pillar)

Monument to Luíz CamõesMonument to Luíz Camões

Monument to Camões, Portugal’s biggest poet

You’ll discover this commemorative pillar simply contained in the Porta da Vila on the righthand aspect of Rua Direita. It was designed by architect Raúl Lino in 1932 to honor Luís de Camões, Portugal’s biggest literary determine. 

You may consider Camões because the Portuguese equal of Shakespeare in Anglophone societies, although he’s arguably much more extremely revered than the Bard of Avon.

Mercado Biológico de Óbidos (Natural Market)

Organic market bookstoreOrganic market bookstore

Does this seem like an natural meals market or a bookstore?!

Probably the most stunning factor about this natural market is that it sells extra books than produce. On this giant house, three of the 4 partitions are lined by bookshelves, with only a small space on the entrance for a couple of meals objects.

Nonetheless, it’s an excellent place to replenish on snacks. You will discover chocolate bars and different vegan treats right here, in addition to jams, oils, pure cosmetics, and so on.

So why all of the books? Nicely, Óbidos is kind of the literary city, and in reality, that is simply 1 of 14 bookstores right here! Underneath an initiative referred to as “Óbidos, Literary City”, previous buildings that had fallen into disrepair had been refurbished and changed into bookstores.

I’ll inform you the place yet one more is in case you maintain studying, after which you are able to do some exploring to search out the remaining.

Igreja de São Pedro (Church of St. Peter)

Igreja de São Pedro ÓbidosIgreja de São Pedro Óbidos

The tomb of Josefa de Óbidos lies inside this church.

Devoted to St. Peter, this church was closely broken within the infamous 1755 earthquake that destroyed Lisbon and the encompassing areas. It was subsequently rebuilt, and now just a few vestiges of its authentic Gothic façade stay. 

Josefa de Óbidos, the city’s most well-known native artist, is buried inside this church. She requested for her tomb to be positioned right here in order that she could possibly be near the picture of Our Woman of the Rosary, which she considered as a sort of religious godmother.

The church is free to enter; simply do not forget that it closes from 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm.

Capela de São Martinho (St. Martin’s Chapel)

Capela de São MartinhoCapela de São Martinho

A small, household burial chapel sits proper throughout from the church.

Immediately reverse the Igreja de São Pedro is that this small, household burial chapel based in 1331. It’s a easy construction with a beautiful vaulted ceiling. You’ll discover three tombs lining the partitions in niches on the within, and two extra medieval tombs on the surface.

Entry is free, and there are not any set opening hours.

Museu Municipal de Óbidos (Municipal Museum)

Painting by Josefa de ÓbidosPainting by Josefa de Óbidos

Go to this free museum to see work by Josefa de Óbidos

This small museum is free to enter and is value a fast search for its assortment of 16th and 17th-century work. Highlights embrace works by André Reinoso, Portugal’s first Baroque painter, and Josefa de Óbidos, the city’s most well-known resident.

Josefa was born in Spain however moved to Óbidos when she was 4 years previous. A prolific artist, she created greater than 150 items of artwork in her lifetime. Along with portray, Josefa additionally experimented with printing, engraving and clay sculpture.



This stone column could also be stunning, however it has a moderately sinister goal.

This stone column stands in entrance of the Igreja de Santa Maria on the righthand aspect of Rua Direita. In Portuguese, a “pelourinho” is a pillory or whipping put up, the place criminals had been publicly humiliated and crushed. 

You may see these stone columns in lots of cities round Portugal and components of the previous Portuguese empire. The pelourinho in entrance of the Porto cathedral, for instance, is a fantastic twisted column, and few guests suspect that it had such a sinister goal.

And in Salvador, Brazil, the phrase “Pelourinho” has develop into synonymous with the entire colonial district of the city, centered across the Largo do Pelourinho or “Whipping Publish Sq.”.

Igreja de Santa Maria (Church of St. Mary)

Church of Saint Mary ÓbidosChurch of Saint Mary Óbidos

A busker performs guitar in entrance of the Church of Saint Mary.

That is a very powerful church in Óbidos and has a wealthy and sophisticated historical past. Initially a Visigothic church stood on this spot, then the Moors transformed it right into a mosque after they took over. 

When Afonso Henriques, the primary King of Portugal, reconquered the city, he destroyed the mosque and ordered {that a} church be constructed on high of its stays.

This was a typical follow amongst victorious Christian armies, identical to when Ivan the Horrible destroyed the mosque of Kazan in 1552. Besides that in that case, a brand new mosque was ultimately rebuilt on the identical spot in 2005.

The church façade was beneath scaffolding final time I visited, however hopefully by the point you learn this will probably be seen in all its glory as soon as once more. Its standout function is the picture of Saint Mary above the doorway. 

On the within, 17th-century azulejos adorn the partitions. Don’t miss the portray of the Mystic Betrothal of Saint Catherine, probably the most well-known work by Josefa de Óbidos.

The church is open to the general public and entry is free, however like different church buildings, it closes noon from 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm.

Museu Abílio de Mattos e Silva


Puppets on show contained in the museum

This charming museum is situated inside what was the city jail. Abílio de Mattos e Silva was an artist born in 1908 who lived most of his life in Óbidos. He was taken with all types of arts, not simply portray but additionally theater, opera and even puppetry.

This quote by Abílio superbly explains why he cherished Óbidos a lot (and why I feel you’ll too):

“Right here it’s, the Óbidos the place I lived, a little bit irregular, however that’s the Óbidos I perceived. 

There is no such thing as a order on this show. There may be, nevertheless, the urge to see the whole lot on the identical time, right here, there, not having seen this, however desirous to see that; to stroll, to show proper, to show left, to depart one nook and enter the place we’ve got simply left; to haven’t any technique, to only look and stay; to slide on the small cobbled stones, abruptly discovering picturesque corners, a portal right here, a window there, the colourful vegetation that falls from every wall. 

To climb the fort partitions, to look from above on the streets that we had seen earlier than, however that now provide us an surprising view, the roofs which can be uneven, the Moorish roof tiles, aged, with purple patchwork, totally different chimneys; backyards pretending to be gardens, previous bushes pretending to be orchards, grapevines wishing to develop into vineyards … the church buildings, the chapels … all fastidiously adorned with worthwhile silvers, preciously brocaded clothes, stunning blue tiles and a few work by Josefa de Óbidos, combined with different equally stunning ones. 

Surrounding this Óbidos, hugging it, and embracing it like a mom who defends an expensive daughter, we discover the previous black fort partitions, which distinction with the white-washed homes and marry with the fierce and sinister fort, an previous guardian, but additionally a caring father, at all times alert with the whole lot that’s round him.

I go away you with my stunning Óbidos. Right here, you’ll discover a number of the issues that not exist, however that I nonetheless discovered, and want to present you.”

Entry to the museum is free.

Wine Bar Arco da Cadeia

medieval barmedieval bar

The medieval setting makes an excellent ambiance on this bar.

Hidden beneath the arch subsequent to the Abílio de Mattos e Silva museum, that is my favourite place to cease in for a drink. It’s not the most cost effective bar on the town, however it’s value the additional euro or two for the improbable medieval ambiance. 

Fits of armor and different historic artifacts adorn the partitions, and stepping by the arched doorway looks like stepping again in time.

Igreja de São Tiago (Church of St. James)

bookstore in a churchbookstore in a church

Look carefully, and you may see that this isn’t a typical church.

Situated proper subsequent to the fort entrance, at one time this church was instantly linked to the within of the fort. It was a non-public chapel for the unique use of the royal household after they visited Óbidos. 

In the event you suppose you’ve seen sufficient church buildings already, have a look inside this one anyway. Shock! It’s now one of many 14 bookstores of Óbidos. 

A lot of the books are in Portuguese, however they do carry a couple of English titles. And it’s undoubtedly value popping in simply to see all of the books displayed amid the stained-glass home windows and the marble altarpiece.

Castelo de Óbidos (Obidos Fort)

Obidos CastleObidos Castle

Óbidos Fort, the principle attraction that everybody involves see.

By far probably the most spectacular construction in Óbidos, a fortification of some type has stood right here since historical Roman instances. The fort we see at present was constructed by the Moors after they dominated the Iberian Peninsula. It was then taken over by the Christians who defeated them in 1148 and created the dominion of Portugal.

After that, it grew to become not only a defensive fortress however a fort for the royal household. The fort was badly broken through the 1755 earthquake and lay in ruins till the 20th century, when it was transformed right into a pousada. 

Much like paradores in Spain, pousadas in Portugal are government-run luxurious accommodations. This was the primary one to be established inside a historic constructing.

Learn right here about my expertise staying in a Spanish parador in Plasencia.

In 2007, Óbidos Fort was chosen as one of many seven wonders of Portugal. It holds this title alongside world-famous buildings just like the Tower of Belém and the Jerónimos Monastery, each in Lisbon.

Santuário do Senhor Jesus da Pedra (Sanctuary of the Stone Jesus)

Sanctuário do Jesus da PedraSanctuário do Jesus da Pedra

This spectacular sanctuary is certainly value making the quick stroll out of city.

Now that you just’ve explored the walled city, take a brief stroll all the way down to the highway that connects Óbidos with Caldas da Rainha. You may’t miss this large Baroque sanctuary, inbuilt 1747. 

On show above the excessive altar is a stone cross with a really uncommon picture of the crucified Christ carved into it. This cross is an object of immense standard devotion among the many native individuals.

It was beforehand housed in a close-by hermitage and had been all however forgotten. However, within the 18th century when the picture was credited with miraculously ending a drought, this large sanctuary was constructed particularly as a spot for it to be commemorated.

The hexagonal form of the sanctuary’s inside makes it probably the most fascinating Baroque buildings within the nation. It’s additionally uncommon that such a monumental constructing is remoted within the countryside, with out every other buildings round it.

Occasions in Óbidos

Obidos Chocolate FestivalObidos Chocolate Festival

Óbidos Chocolate Competition

Óbidos hosts a number of fascinating festivals all year long. The fort grounds make the proper venue, particularly for the medieval honest.

Óbidos Medieval Competition

The Medieval Truthful is held for 16 days someday in July and August. On the agenda are historic reenactments, dancers, and musicians wearing medieval garb. It’s good enjoyable, though vegans and vegetarians could be delay by the sight of the pig being roasted on a spit.

Chocolate Competition (Feira do Chocolate Óbidos)

A extra veg-friendly possibility is the Chocolate Competition, held someday between March and Could every year. Every kind of chocolate treats are bought, a few of that are dairy-free. Culinary workshops are additionally scheduled, together with numerous forms of leisure.

Vila Natal (Christmas City)

As you’d anticipate, this one is held in December and January and is aimed principally at younger youngsters. It’s a enjoyable time out for the entire household, although, and can get you within the Christmas spirit!


Bookloving Óbidos naturally has a literary pageant too. It’s sometimes held in October of every 12 months.

Óbidos Eating places

Aside from the ginja, Óbidos just isn’t actually the place to come back for culinary tourism, particularly in case you’re vegetarian or vegan. Previously, I’ve had a tricky time discovering a good meal on this city. A brand new restaurant has opened not too long ago, although, which I’m excited to attempt subsequent time!

Avocado Espresso & Wholesome Meals

That is the wholesome, veg-friendly eating possibility that Óbidos so desperately wanted. I used to be trying ahead to consuming right here on my vegan tour of Portugal in March 2020, however after all, that tour was canceled due to the pandemic.

So, whereas I’ve not but had an opportunity to eat right here myself, it undoubtedly looks as if the perfect obtainable possibility. Costs are fairly reasonably priced, and you’ll dine within the courtyard to the sounds of soothing jazz music.

Vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters are all catered for. Avocado is situated simply exterior the city partitions, close to the Igreja de São João Baptista and the cemetery.

XII Apóstolos

vegan pesto spaghettivegan pesto spaghetti

Vegan pesto spaghetti at XII Apóstolos

If Avocado is closed, then this might in all probability be my subsequent alternative. It’s an Italian restaurant with a couple of veg pasta choices, and naturally, the pizza can at all times be ordered with out cheese.

The primary time I ate right here, I used to be actually stoked to search out out that their spaghetti with pesto is cheese-free. However then I introduced a vegan group right here, and the girl operating the place was extraordinarily impolite once I tried to substantiate which dishes had been vegan.

Regardless that the meals just isn’t dangerous, I personally received’t eat right here once more due to the impolite reception our group was given.

Óbidos Portugal Inns

Most individuals go to Óbidos on a day journey from Lisbon, however I like to recommend staying right here in a single day if potential. As you’ll be able to see from the record of issues to do in Óbidos above, there’s lots to maintain you entertained!

And also you’ll additionally have the ability to benefit from the city peacefully within the early morning and late night, when all of the daytrippers have disappeared.

Since I now stay close by in Lisbon, I haven’t had the event to remain in a single day in Óbidos not too long ago. However there’s one Óbidos resort the place I might actually love to remain in the future. Really, make that two Óbidos accommodations.

The Literary Man Óbidos

The Literary Man ObidosThe Literary Man Obidos

The Literary Man resort

Initially a convent, this historic constructing has been transformed into the most important literary resort on the earth.

Bibliophiles received’t wish to miss this opportunity to be surrounded by books for an evening. There’s additionally a gin bar and a lounge with an vintage hearth.

Pousada Castelo de Óbidos (Obidos Fort Lodge)

Have you ever ever dreamed about spending the evening in a fort? Nicely, you can also make your fairytale goals come true in Óbidos. 

The well-known fort has now been transformed right into a luxurious resort with 14 rooms and suites. Every room is called after a king or queen who stayed within the city. Simply bear in mind when reserving that solely about half the rooms are literally contained in the fort, whereas the remaining are situated in a more moderen wing.

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