To visit Óbidos is to guarantee a trip back in time, precisely to medieval times. This small county is filled with preserved historical buildings, which can be known in one or two days, in a quiet walk inside and outside the walled village. Learn more about this charming Portuguese destination:
The town of Óbidos is located in the district of Leiria, west of Portugal, and has approximately 3100 inhabitants. The distance between this county and the capital Lisbon is only 85 km, and the trip can be made by A8 highway, with 1h by car or 2h by train (R 6414 towards Lisbon – Santa Apolonia).
The municipality of Óbidos was born between 1148 and 1153, when the Romans and the Muslim invaders began to fortify it during battles on the peninsula. The preservation and beauty of the region has much to do with its history linked to Portuguese royalty since the 13th century, when King Dinis gave the town as a wedding gift to his wife Isabel of Aragon.
Since then, the citadel protected by the stone walls (to keep the invaders away) has changed little. Óbidos maintains the medieval charm of the facades decorated with red geraniums and purple bougainvilleas and the intact constructions, such as the castle and the old houses, which today house little shops, restaurants and cafés.
What to do there
See the main attractions of Óbidos and write down what you can’t miss in your travel itinerary:
1. Óbidos Castle
Elected in 2007 as one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal, the Óbidos Castle is a municipal monument that mixes several architectural styles, such as Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline and Baroque. Today, it houses an inn and, in case it’s in your plans to spend a night there, prepare yourself to enjoy a stay in the medieval style.
2. Óbidos Lagoon
The Óbidos Lagoon is separated from the sea by only a string of dunes, but it is still of salt water. It is quite frequented by those who wish a quiet day at the beach or for the practice of nautical sports such as fishing, kitesurfing, rowing and windsurfing, besides boat trips. It is surrounded by an urban area complete with bicycle path and sidewalk, but the natural area is practically intact.
3. Rua Direita
The main street of the walled city is a must visit for those who pass by Óbidos. The historic street has a multitude of commercial establishments, such as souvenir stores, restaurants, cafés, bars and boutiques. Enjoy the ride to try the traditional ginjinha, a famous liquor produced in the region.
4. Buddha Eden Cod
Located in the Quinta dos Loridos, the Eden Buddha Bacalhôa is the largest eastern garden in Europe, and was built in protest against the destruction of the Bamyan Giant Buddhas in Afghanistan. The site has numerous attractions that can be enjoyed on foot or by train, such as statues, monuments, labyrinths and sculptures. The place runs every day, from 9am to 6pm, with tickets for 3 Euros.
5. Óbidos Aqueduct
Many tourists who visit Óbidos end up letting this historic building pass by, for not being much commented among all the attractions of the city. But, believe me: it is worth to include it in your itinerary. The deactivated aqueduct is in a parking lot, far away from the walled city, without much attraction to its importance. It’s worth a quick walk, take several photos and enjoy its structure, which has already served as a medieval supply.
6. Óbidos Museum
Learn more about Óbidos’ history in this municipal museum formed by a rich collection of paintings and archaeological and artistic heritage of the region. The attraction is on Rua Direita and, as it is a small museum, it can be quietly known in two hours. Open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10am to 6pm.
7. Sanctuary of the Lord Jesus of the Stone
The grandiosity of the sanctuary calls the attention of all tourists visiting the building, located outside the walls. Built in 1747 in memory of D. João V, in baroque style and hexagonal shape, it became an attraction also for architecture lovers. The interior is formed by three chapels: the sanctuary, dedicated to Calvary, and the lateral ones, dedicated to Our Lady of Conception and Death of Saint Joseph.
8. Óbidos Village Door
Also known as Porta da Senhora da Piedade, the old entrance of Óbidos remains intact, for the tourist’s appreciation during the walled city tour. The decoration with Portuguese tiles is the main highlight, and deserves to be known with attention and without haste.