What to do in Óbidos on the weekend

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In the heart of Portugal, you’ll discover the beautiful town of Óbidos. It is a destination full of medieval charm, stunning architecture, and history. Stepping into Óbidos feels like entering a fairy tale, and the town was actually once gifted to the Queen of Portugal, Queen Isabel. The city is famous for its well-preserved walls, cobblestone streets, and whitewashed houses with colourful flowers.

Óbidos has something to offer for everyone, and throughout the year, you can visit many different events and festivals. And the best part is? It’s only an hour from Lisbon! That makes it a favourite day trip from Lisbon for many. But what is there to do exactly? Let’s check the activities in Óbidos.

Whitewashed houses and view of the wall and Óbidos Castle in the background.
Beautiful town of Óbidos

1. See the Medieval Walls

One of the highlights of Óbidos is the Medieval walls, one of the town’s most prominent features. These imposing fortifications date back to the 12th century and offer a fantastic panoramic view of the town and its surroundings. The walls are in excellent condition, and you can walk along it! Hopefully, you’re not afraid of heights, as the views are definitely worth the walk.

View of the Óbidos wall fortification from the town.
Castled walls of Óbidos

2. See Obidos Castle

From the wall, you can also spot Óbidos Castle, which dominates the skyline. Originally a Moorish fortification, it was later transformed into a royal residence. And nowadays you can even spend the night here! The castle dates back to the 9th century and is also in great shape.

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If you park your car outside the castle walls on this side of the town, you’ll have the best view of the towers and medieval walls. During the winter months, you can also visit Vila Natal here. There is a lovely Christmas market with plenty of activities for children.

Exterior view of Castle of Óbidos.
Castle of Óbidos

3. Go shopping on Rua Direita

On the other side of Óbidos, you’ll enter the village from Porta da Vila, which leads to Rua Direita. This is the main street with many lovely shops where you can buy local produce.

Try a Ginjinha in a chocolate cup, discover excellent tea, or buy some nice souvenirs for the home front. In the parallel street, Rua Josefa de Óbidos, you’ll find many restaurants to enjoy a traditional Portuguese meal.

Quaint shops in town and cobbled streets.
Shops in town

Óbidos is small, and aside from the two streets mentioned above, there are few sights to discover. The charm of Óbidos, however, lies in the small streets in the village. You can discover small alleyways and colourful streets for hours!

4. Visit the Gothic Church of Santa Maria

Visit Óbidos in spring when all the flowers are blooming, or find all the colourful houses during your walk. You’ll discover places like Porta do Vale ou Senhora da Graça and the Church of Santa Maria along the way.

The Church of Santa Maria is a beautiful example of Portuguese Gothic architecture. Step inside and admire the intricate woodwork, ornate altars, and stunning stained glass windows.

The church also houses a small museum that showcases religious artefacts and provides further insights into the region’s religious and artistic history.

Colourful Cobbled streets and churches in the background.
Colourful Cobbled streets

5. Take part in the Medieval Fair and Chocolate Festival

If you like special events, then keep an eye out for the calendar! Óbidos hosts many festivals, such as the Medieval Fair in July. During this time, Óbidos transforms into a bustling medieval village, complete with knights, jesters, and artisans.

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Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere, witness thrilling jousting tournaments, indulge in traditional food and drink, and experience the magic of Óbidos in its most authentic form.

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If you have a sweet tooth, the Chocolate Festival in March might be more your cup of tea. And bookworms will enjoy Obidos during Folio, the book festival in October.

6. Take a day trip to Peniche or Foz do Arelho

And although Óbidos is an inland town, it’s located very close to the Portuguese coastline. Take advantage of this by embarking on a day trip to the nearby beaches, such as Foz do Arelho or Peniche.

These beautiful beaches provide a tranquil retreat after exploring the historical wonders of Óbidos. Relax on golden sands and take a refreshing dip in the Atlantic waters.

A visit to Óbidos is really like stepping into a fairy tale. With its medieval charm, well-preserved architecture, and enchanting atmosphere, Óbidos offers a truly unforgettable experience.

With so many festivals, there is always something to do for all ages! So if you’re on holiday in Lisbon, a weekend trip to Óbidos should definitely be on your wish list!

bio: Marga from Discover Portugal

Marga from Discover Portugal.
Marga from Discover Portugal

Meet Marga, a travel writer and photographer who used to be a flight attendant and travelled extensively for many years. After settling in Portugal, she started the Discover Portugal blog with insightful and engaging travel stories. Catch up with Marga from Discover Portugal on Instagram.

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Pinterest images of Óbidos castle and souvenir shop in the town.
Pinterest image of Óbidos wall fortification around the town.

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