Situated between Lisbon and Porto, near the western coast of Portugal where land meets the Atlantic, lies the enchanting fairytale town of Óbidos, Portugal. With approximately 3,100 residents, this charming town is encased within the historic castle walls of Castelo de Óbidos, a medieval castle built by the Moors in 713.
After exploring Portugal in depth for two weeks, arriving to Óbidos was the most pleasant surprise and the perfect escape from the busy and tourist filled cities of Lisbon and Porto. If you’re traveling through Portugal and looking to explore an off-the-beaten path, remote destination, then visiting Óbidos is for you.
If you’re planning a trip to Portugal, don’t miss The Ultimate Portugal Travel Guide
Everything You Need to Know About Visiting Óbidos, Portugal
Getting to Óbidos
If you’re visiting Portugal and you are focusing on Lisbon or Porto, I’d argue that Óbidos is the perfect day trip from either city. And if you’re traveling in-between the two cities, Óbidos is the perfect stop in-between.
- Lisbon to Óbidos – Óbidos is 53-miles or an hour drive north of Lisbon
- Porto to Óbidos – Óbidos is 150-miles or approximately a two hour drive south of Porto
If you’re planning to visit Óbidos from Porto, don’t miss A Guide to Visiting Porto, Portugal; and if you’re planning to visit from Lisbon, don’t miss The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Lisbon. If this is part of an extensive road trip through Portugal, make sure to read The Best 8 Day Northern Portugal Road Trip Itinerary
How Many Days Should You Spend in Óbidos?
Óbidos can easily be seen in a few hours, and if you’re driving from Lisbon to Porto it’s the perfect place to stop, get lunch, and wander around before hitting the road again. However, I suggest spending the night as the early mornings and late evenings is the best time to wander around; before the buses of tourists have arrived and after they’ve gone home.
I spent two nights in Óbidos and not only was I able to see and do everything in town, but I was able to do it at a leisurely pace.
Where to Stay in Óbidos
If you do decide to spend the night in Óbidos, there are plenty of hotels, guesthouses, and Airbnbs that can accompany you. I even noticed some hotels with pools, if you’re visiting during the summer and want to spend your days relaxing at the pool.
Below you’ll find two suggestions, both very different, but you can’t go wrong with either choice.
- Óbidos Townhouse 2 – This Airbnb is located right outside of the castle walls, within walking distance of the historic town. The space is spacious if you’re traveling with friends or family, and there’s free parking if you’re arriving with a car.
- The Literary Man Óbidos Hotel – This unique boutique style hotel is also located right outside of the castle walls. The entire hotel is essentially a library, with 45,000 books on display. (Fun fact: Óbidos has been designated by UNESCO as a literary city).
Things to See and Do in Óbidos
I visited Portugal with my younger brother, and when we arrived to Óbidos we took one look around, grinned, and told each other that our goal was to “try everything”. And since Óbidos is quite small, and we had two full days to spend, we got to see a lot of what was in and around the castle walls. What’s listed below were the highlights, and what I would suggest doing if you visit.
Ginja is a Portuguese liquor made of fortified wine and ginja berries (cherries). It’s famously made in Óbidos which is why you can find it just about everywhere in town. Keep your eyes open and you’ll notice the town shop owners selling ginja poured in a chocolate cup for 1€.
MERCADO BIOLÓGICO DE ÓBIDOS
What was once a fire station has now been converted into a cute produce market and library. Here you can shop for unique books in English and Portuguese while also picking up wholesome foods to snack on.
SANTA MARIA SQUARE
In the heart of Óbidos you’ll find the towns main square, Santa Maria, where Saint Mary’s Church is located. In the warmer months, there’s also an outdoor bar (cash only) that’s perfect to sit and have a drink at as you people watch.
WALK THE CASTLE WALLS
The old castle walls enclose around the historic center of Óbidos, and the exciting thing is that you can still walk along the walls for free. I suggest walking around at sunset, (but while it’s still light enough to see), when the crowds have thinned out and there are less people crowding the walls. Just make sure to wear appropriate shoes as the walls can be slippery and there’s no side railing to prevent falls.
The Best Restaurants and Bars in Óbidos
For such a small town, Óbidos packed quite the punch in terms of food, atmosphere, and bar scenes. I was pleasantly surprised that for such a kitsch town, the eating and drinking scene was so good. Below you’ll find my favorite bars and restaurants… and trust me, I tried a lot!
A NOVA CASA DE RAMIRO
Outside of the town walls, this Portuguese restaurant not only has great food, but an incredible atmosphere. With candles and chandeliers adorning the interior, plush chairs and painted walls, you’ll definitely want to make a reservation ahead of time to dine here.
BAR IBN ERRIK REX
This pub in the heart of Óbidos takes you back in time with wood tables and memorabilia adorning the ceiling and walls. It’s the perfect place to grab a pint (or two) of Portuguese beer or Óbidos’s traditional drink – ginja.
CASA DA BUGANVILIA ÓBIDOS MARKET
This was, by far, my favorite find in Óbidos. This market is in a house and each room has been converted into a shop. In the kitchen you can find kitchen goodies, in the bedroom you can find bedroom goodies, etc. But aside from that, what really impressed me about Casa da Buganvilia was the unexpectedly incredible cuisine. My brother and I sat down for a “snack” (this place is perfect for a light lunch), and we asked the owner to bring the best thing on the menu. She brought out marinated partridge with tomato jam and goat cheese. It was incredible.
Nata is a coffee and pastry shop that can be found throughout Portugal, that serves (in my opinion) the best pastel de nata. It’s the perfect place to go for a morning coffee, an afternoon treat, or to just sit back and relax on the plush couches.
My brother and I bought a pack of cards from a shop around the corner and spent the afternoon drinking coffee, eating pastries, and playing cards.
THE LITERARY RESTAURANT
Located in The Literary Man Óbidos Hotel, drink amongst books and wine bottles in this intimate and perfectly decorated restaurant. While I thought the food was mediocre, I recommend going here for a glass of wine or cocktail before heading to dinner.
Visiting Óbidos turned out to be the cherry on top of Portugal. Whether you have a few hours or a couple of days, Óbidos is a unique and charming fairytale town that shouldn’t be overlooked when you travel to Portugal.
If you’re planning a trip to Portugal, make sure to check out my Instagram page/highlight reel and search #ppinportugal or look for the highlight “Portugal” for a visual representation of the country and suggestions on things to see and do!