The hillside town of Obidos, with its whitewashed houses is a popular day trip from Lisbon. This town’s history dates back to 300 B.C when it was founded by Celts. Obidos is also known as the “wedding city” because in the 1200s, the king back then gifted it to his bride because she fell in love with the city when she was brought here. Today, Obidos is a maze of small medieval lanes and flower decked homes. This post covers the best things to see in Obidos.
What to See in Obidos
Walk the Walls
These walls 45 foot high walls are from the 14th century and offer panoramic views of the city and countryside. The walls also offer some great sunset views if you are there during that time of the day. They can be slippery, steep and a little narrow at times so watch your step.
Climb up to the Castle
This castle was established by the Moors in the 700s. Today, it’s a Pousada or heritage hotel. The only way to really see inside is to book a room or have a meal at the restaurant inside the hotel. However, it’s still worth to climb the little slope to the castle to enjoy some great views of Obidos.
Wander the Streets
If you dare, wander off the main street and into the alleys and narrow lanes of Obidos. Whitewashed houses decorated with strips of yellow and blue trim, geraniums, bougainvillea, and hand-painted tiles are a common sight here.
Porta da Vila
This main gate also has a tiny chapel decorated in blue and white times depicting scenes from the town’s history. The entire wall used to be covered with these azulejo tiles until 1755 when an earth quake shook them off.
Aqueduct of Obidos
Obidos Aqueduct was built during the 16th century. It was used to transfer water from a nearby spring to the water fountains of Obidos. This was probably the longest aqueduct I have seen.
Igreja de Santa Maria
Located on the town square, the church of St. Mary is the main church in Obidos. This church has highly decorated ceilings and walls, beautifully altar, and is from the Portuguese Renaissance era.
Igreja de São Pedro
This church is best known for its lavishly decorated baroque alter that’s covered in gold leaf.
Igreja-Livraria de Santiago
This building was an old church converted into a bookstore now. Unfortunately it was closed when I went but I read it has retained some of the original elements from the church.
Try Ginja Liqueur
Ginja or ginjinha are traditional Portuguese alcohol shots made out of sour cherries. Best part is that you can have them in little cups made out of chocolate! You will find lots of stands selling these shots along Rua Direita, which is one of the main drags in Obidos.
How Long to Spend in Obidos
You probably only need a few hours to a half day in Obidos. I don’t think there’s much to do beyond a day here. While Obidos is nice, I don’t think you should spend too much time here or go out of your way to visit. Especially, if you are pressed for time in Portugal! If this is the case then I think Obidos is skippable for some of the other cities in Portugal (outside of Lisbon), like Porto, Sintra, Coimbra and Algarve. In my opinion, Obidos is best done as a stop over between cities.
I arrived in Obidos one afternoon, visited the town, stayed that night and left early morning the next day.
Where I Ate
I can only talk about where I ate but the one thing I noticed was the all the restuarants were full in Obidos. This is definitely a place to make a reservation ahead of time. I ate at Ja!mon Ja!mon and that too had to wait quite a bit to get a table. Ja!mon Ja!mon was worth the wait! This restaurant is top rated in Obidos and the food was great! It’s tapas style so I got to try a couple of things.
Where I Stayed
As I mentioned, I stayed one night in Obidos. My accommodation was just outside the city and a 8ish minute walk along the aqueducts. The place was super clean and check in and out was a breeze with easy to follow instructions. Also appreciated that there was parking for my rental car, which would have been difficult to find inside the walled city. HERE is the link to it.
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