Great day trips from Lisbon – Óbidos

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Great Day Trips from Lisbon

Óbidos is one of the most picturesque and well-preserved medieval towns in Portugal.

Only an hour away, it is easy to get there by bus or a quick drive north from Lisbon on Highway A8, and head to Óbidos for great day trips from Lisbon. Located on high ground this walled medieval town was a part of the Casa das Rainhas (the Queen’s Estate) in the 13th century. You will find this to be one of Portugal’s most photogenic cities with a large stone castle, a towering 16th-century Aquaduct, winding cobblestone streets, and pedestrian-only streets filled with delightful shops full of artisanal crafts and regional libations. In 2007 it was voted one of the 7 Wonders of Portugal.

Some of the most beautiful views of the valley are from the ramparts. Take caution as there are no safety rails but it is exhilarating walking up these stone walls. The castle was a wedding present from King Dinis to his wife Queen Isabela and became part of the Queen’s Estate.

Although you will find the castle stunning, in order to see inside, you will have to reserve a room with a view as it is now a Pousada do Castelo de Óbidos (a boutique luxury hotel). Beyond the castle, within the walls, are a maze of streets and white houses that are both enchanting and Instagram-worthy.

Known as one of the most popular day trips from Lisbon, there remain around two thousand people still living in its pretty whitewashed houses with gothic doorways, potted plants, and bougainvillea, all inside the stone-walled castle.

Fun shops on Rua Direita - Great day trips from Lisbon, Portugal @DownshiftingPRO
Window shopping in the lovely artisanal shops of Óbidos , Spain

What to see in Óbidos

Igreja de Santa Maria, the Misericórdia Church, the Church of São Pedro, the Pillory, and, beyond the walls, the Aqueduct and the round-shaped Santuário do Senhor da Pedra, are just some of the landmarks that warrant a stop as you stroll around the city.

  •  Igreja de Santa Maria – Located in the main square, this Renaissance church (where 10-year-old King Afonso V married his 8-year-old bride Isabel in 1444) is lined with 17th-century tile panels and paintings by the great local artist Josefa D’Óbidos
  • Igreja-Livraria de Santiago – It’s a church that’s now a bookstore, retaining some of the original architectural elements, but mostly a place to look for books covering a variety of subjects, including local art and culture. Most of them are in Portuguese, but there are also English editions
  • Igreja de São Pedro – One of Portugal’s greatest female artists, Josefa D’Óbidos, was entombed in this 13th-century church, which features a magnificent gold-covered retable
  • Igreja da Misericórdia – This is a church from 1498 that’s now also used for cultural events and as an exhibition space for local art. It stands next to one of the town’s most curious medieval buildings, which was once a private residence and a synagogue
  • Municipal Museum – Many of Josefa D’Óbidos’ paintings are on display in this museum, together with several works from the 15th century onwards, plus mementos of the war against Napoleon, who suffered a major defeat close to Óbidos
  • Rua Direita – Óbidos’ main street is filled with interesting architectural and decorative details, but its shops are also worth a look. The best buys are ceramics, embroideries, wine, and, of course, bottles of ginja
Great Day Trips from Lisbon - view of the valley from Obidos Castle ramparts - @DownshiftingPRO
Santuário do Senhor da Pedra as seen from the Obidos Castle ramparts

Festivals in Óbidos

There are a few festivals of note which may lead you to the beautiful cobblestone streets of Óbidos. The most popular are the International Chocolate Festival, the Medieval Market, and the Christmas season. . Also of note are the Harpsichord and Baroque Classical Music Seasons and the Opera Festival, which lend a special feel to Óbidos, with open-air concerts on warm Summer evenings.

International Chocolate Festival in March/April

Coming up at the beginning of October is the Óbidos International Literature Festival (FOLIO) where the city is overrun with authors, publishers, and lovers of all things bookish. Although Óbidos Castle is not a World Heritage Site, Óbidos is a UNESCO City of Literature. Member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network created to promote culture and art by showcasing creative communities.

Obidos Great Day Trips from Lisbond @DownshiftingPRO
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Day trips from Lisbon

Shopping in Óbidos

In Portugal and Spain, there is an established history of canned foods. Everything from smoked oysters to white asparagus, you will find a variety of choices. While in Spain we went to a famous restaurant in Blanes that featured canned foods with freshly grilled fish. You can visit Comur in town with just canned goods and it is impressive (they also have a wonderful Cataplana recipe on their website). Another stop in Óbidos for great day trips from Lisbon.

Great day trips from Lisbon - Comur preserves is a must stop and a great souvenir for your foodie friends. - @DownshiftingPRO
Comur preserves since 1942

Tis is a great weekend trip from Lisbon but do consider weekday travel for less crowds. While there, another fun activity is to sample the famous Ginja de Óbidos (sour cherry brandy), which can be enjoyed in various places, preferably drunk from a small chocolate cup. You can enjoy this in many cafes lining Rua Ditiera.

How to get to Óbidos

Medieval Obidos Fair in July
Óbidos Medievel Market – Photo credit Óbidos Mercado Medieval

Bus to Óbidos

Express buses from Rodoviario do Campo Grande Bus Terminal in Lisbon.

Directions to Terminal Rodoviário do Campo Grande (Lisboa) with public transportation

The following transit lines have routes that pass near Terminal Rodoviário do Campo Grande

  • Bus: 701, 736, 750, 767
  • Train: ALCÂNTARA – CASTANHEIRA DO RIBATEJO (DU), LISBOA – SETÚBAL, ORIENTE – SINTRA, SINTRA – ORIENTE
  • Metro: Linha amarela (yellow line), Linha verde (green line)

Follow the signs to Alameda das Linhas de Torres, as you exit the metro, and you’ll see the Alvalade XXI/Sporting Lisbon Stadium as you step outside. Head to bay #27, operated by the Rodoviária do Oeste company, with the town of Caldas da Rainha as the final destination. It makes just one stop in the town of Bombarral before reaching Óbidos and then continues to Caldas da Rainha.
It departs every hour in the morning and every half hour in the afternoon on weekdays, and less frequently on weekends (every two hours in the afternoon). Ticket price: €8.00 (tickets are purchased from the driver).

GREAT DAY TRIPS FROM LISBOND GREAT DAY TRIPS FROM LISBON

Great Day Trips from Lisbon Great Day Trips from Lisbon

17th century aquaduct in Obidos Portugal - @DownshiftingPRO
The Óbidos Aqueduct was built at the orders of Catherine of Austria (wife of Portugal’s King João III) in 1573

Driving to Óbidos

Obidos Great Day Trips from Lisbond @DownshiftingPRO

Driving to Óbidos

If you go to Óbidos by car, take the A8 highway. The road is quite good, and Óbidos is easy to find, as the entire walled town is visible as you approach it. There is a toll, so be prepared with some change. This a mainly a pedestrian-centric town we parked in a car park right outside the gated entrance, in the shadow of the town’s 16th-century aqueduct.

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Margarita Ibbott is a travel and lifestyle blogger. She blogs about travel in Canada, the United States and Europe giving practical advice through restaurant, hotel and attraction reviews. She writes for DownshiftingPRO.com and other online media outlets.