Surrounded by walls – Óbidos, the „City of Queens“

Surrounded by walls – Óbidos, the „City of Queens“

The small town of Óbidos is located approximately in the center of Portugal, in terms of north – south orientation. Óbidos is worth seeing because of its well-preserved historic center, which is completely surrounded by a town wall. And this town wall is walkable! So you can walk almost completely around the worth seeing center of Óbidos and see into the city – if you are reasonably free of giddiness. This city center is largely car-free.

Through the city gates of Óbidos into a gem

The entrance to the attractive town center of Òbidos is a town gate – a real gatehouse with staggered archways. The interior of the gateway is partially decorated with azulejos mosaics. A balcony above the gateway leads me to believe that customs officials checked the contents of the wagons on their way into the city from there…

Famous sight: Gatehouse in the town wall of Óbidos
Gatehouse in the town wall

Behind it, there is a pretty town, predominantly white, with cobblestone streets, small stone steps, flower boxes, small art and souvenir stores. So, the main color is white, otherwise the house „frames“ are mostly loosened up with ocher – bands and in some places also with blue, which fits well with the ubiquitous azulejos. Window and door frames, on the other hand, are usually formed by exposed natural stone. Thus, even this first appearance of Óbidos is quite attractive.

The old town on the mountain

This old part of Óbidos is situated on a hillside, with the main street you enter through the town gate about halfway up. To the right, the street descends again before the town wall closes off the neighborhood, and to the left, the street rises up the hill – some of it only via narrow alleyways and crooked stone staircases. And also up there the high town wall rises above the roofs. At the beginning the main street also runs relatively on one level, towards the end it rises increasingly sharply and forms once again a square, behind which stands the 13th century castle Castelo de Óbidos.

In the main street and in some side streets to the left and right of it are mainly the small stores that earn their money from tourism. Most of the other streets are largely untouched. This has the advantage that while walking you can discover many small quite authentic impressions with details that have probably been there for centuries – a bell at the back of the church, balconies with rustic iron bars, flower boxes, stone door frames, lanterns, azulejo – pictures…

Rua Direita street in old city core of Óbidos in Portugal
Old town and town wall of Óbidos with view to surroundings
Portugal sights: Castle Castelo de Óbidos from 13th century
Fortress Castelo de Óbidos

Santa Maria of Óbidos – the Church of the Queens

About in the middle of the main street, the buildings open for a square where the church of Santa Maria stands. This was originally built as early as the 12th century. In 1444, it witnessed a royal wedding with Isabel of Portugal and King Alfonso the V. Since King Alfonso the II gave the city to his wife Urraca, this „ritual“ has been repeated by many kings. Therefore, Óbidos was at times called the „City of Queens“ (Vila das Rainhas).

Elevated and opposite the church of Santa Maria, on the side of the main street, stands the Pillar of Shame, which is also a symbol of the municipal law of Óbidos.

Famous sights: Church Santa Maria of Óbidos
Church Santa Maria
Obidos in Portugal - Church square "Santa Maria" with local attraction "shame pole"
Church square „Santa Maria“ with „shame pole“

If that’s too much walking for you, you can change to a charrette, a horse-drawn carriage, and explore the city center. But if you are still good on foot, you should walk at least a bit on the town wall of Óbidos. The view into the city allows further wonderful detailed views, the view over the battlements of the wall reveals the scenic embedding in the hills of the surroundings.

Outside the town walls, an aquaduct from the 16th century can still be seen, which secured the water supply of Òbidos and is almost completely preserved to this day.

narrow pedestrian trail on the Obidos town wall with view on to the surroundings
trail at the town wall of Óbidos
Óbidos Attraction: little stone - Sculptur by the way

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Visiting tips for Óbidos in Portugal

Getting there by bus, train or car

Óbidos belongs to the district of Leira and can be easily reached from there by regional buses. Leira, in turn, is included in the long-distance bus network of the Portuguese provider Rede Expressos. The alternative to traveling directly to Óbidos is by train. The city lies on the western railroad line „Linha do Oeste“ and the Óbidos train station is located north of the city center.

Those traveling north to Porto in their own car or a rental car* can exit the A8 highway at the Óbidos exit. The A15 joins the A8 very close by. Parking is only possible outside the walled city center. There are several parking lots available, including a large parking lot below the aquaduct. At the beginning of the way to the old town there is a local tourist information.

Charrete - horse drawn carriage for sightseeing at the town gate of Óbidos town wall
Charrete in Óbidos – exploring the city with a carriage

Stay in Óbidos

For the pure sightseeing of the city including the castle and a small shopping – tour through the numerous souvenir stores of Óbidos, one day is certainly enough.

But in the summer season, from May to September, there are additional events, e.g. in summer a medieval market, which includes the whole old town. In addition, the surrounding area has some hiking trails e.g. to the lagoon (Lagoa de Óbidos), a large wetland northwest of the city, which is also ornithologically interesting. So if you have enough time for the Portuguese regions, you can also plan several days for Óbidos.

Weather in Óbidos

Since Portugal is located quite a bit south of the Central European weather zones and is maritime influenced, a trip there does not necessarily have to be in the summer. Even in December there are often periods of good weather, with blue skies and daytime temperatures around 20°C, allowing relaxed travel when the big tourist crowds have died down. Then it is also in Óbidos despite photo weather much quieter.

Since Portugal is located quite a bit south of the Central European weather zones and is maritime influenced, a trip there does not necessarily have to be in the summer. Even in December there are often periods of good weather, with blue skies and daytime temperatures around 20°C, allowing relaxed travel when the big tourist crowds have died down. Then it is also in Óbidos despite photo weather much quieter.

The Óbidos weather today and the weather forecast for the next 3 days

It makes sense to combine a visit to Óbidos with a detour to Peniche, where long surf beaches and a cliff coast with Atlantic beauty are enchanting, since the distance between them is only 30 km.

Accommodation in Òbidos

Overnight stay in historic Óbidos

A budget accommodation in Óbidos is Hostel Argonauta*, about 200m from Óbidos Castle. Here are available beds in shared dormitory or small private rooms with shared bathroom and shared kitchen. The hostel also offers luggage storage for its guests. The whole facility is non-smoking area.

Stay by the historic tower – Torre de Maneys* A wonderful authentic accommodation is offered by Torre de Maneys in the heart of the historic old town of Óbidos. The air-conditioned rooms have their charm, yet leave nothing to be desired in terms of comfort. A varied hearty breakfast with different delicacies of the region is part of the stay. Even a library – room is part of this house.

The Casa de S.Thiago* is also set in one of the historic houses of the old town of Óbidos. The rooms of the accommodation are mainly furnished with old solid wooden furniture that makes the stay a step back in time. Breakfast is also available, for which there is a classic living room and dining room. Thus, the visit becomes almost a family affair.

Right next to the castle of Óbidos, the Casa de S.Thiago do Castelo* invites you to spend the night. A large terrace, outdoor seating under grapevines and a living room with a fireplace for long evenings in the cooler months of the year offer guests plenty of space to share their experiences. Also in this pension the rooms are furnished with old wooden furniture. A varied breakfast with seasonal ingredients provides an energetic start to the day.

Pleasant accommodations in Óbidos with parking option

The aforementioned hotels and guesthouses in the old town of Óbidos either have no parking spaces or these are located a few hundred meters outside, as the historic center is largely car-free. Therefore, those traveling with their own car or rental car can resort to the following accommodations in and near Óbidos:

It’s only about a 10-minute walk from Valentine’s House* to the old town of Óbidos. The stylish 3-bedroom accommodation has private parking. Pets are allowed. A private kitchen is available in this vacation home. Garden furniture also allows comfortable use of the garden and terrace. Since the entire apartment is located on the ground floor, unhindered access for guests with limited mobility is also possible.

The spacious Quinta do Bom Vento* is located about 4.4 km outside the historic old town of Óbidos. This vacation home – complex offers accommodation in several houses and vacation rooms in an old restored farmhouse. Garden, barbecue facilities and sun terrace are available to all guests. The rooms are suitable for self-catering. Children are welcome, family rooms are also offered. Pets are allowed. Only about 8km away is the oriental garden „Buddha Eden“. Parking is available at the property free of charge.

If you are looking for excellent accommodation near Óbidos with a larger group, book the Quinta Turki Malika* with up to 10 beds in five bedrooms. Plenty of space, a garden, a private pool with plenty of sun loungers make this vacation home an experience. Darts, table tennis or billiards are a change for the group experience in the free time. The house is also suitable for families with children, as a playground and children’s furniture facilitate the care of small children. The surrounding area invites to small hikes. Parking spaces are available to guests free of charge.

An exceptional accommodation is the vacation home Pérola d’Óbidos* in a quiet location about 5 km from the center. Terrace, garden, barbecue a pool area with lighted infinity pool and non-swimmer area, parasol and sun loungers allow relaxing days in Óbidos. Water toys for children are also available. Parking is available for guests free of charge.

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