Earth : Europe : Iberia : Portugal : South Central Portugal : Estremadura : Óbidos
Óbidos is a small town in the Estremadura region of western Portugal, some 85km north of Lisbon. It is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Portugal, located on a hilltop and encircled by a fortified castle wall, and it is certainly worth a little detour when you are in the area.
Óbidos is known as the Vila das Rainhas (Town of the Queens), since many queens of Portugal patronized the town, and enriched it.
The website of the Óbidos tourist office offers comprehensive information on what to see and do in town (in English).
From Lisbon, follow the A8 toll road in the direction of Leiria (travel time approx. 1 hr). From Porto, take the A1 to Leiria, and then the A8 in the direction of Lisbon (travel time approx. 2h20. The town itself is pedestrianized, you can park your car for free in the car park outside the city walls.
Óbidos has a direct train connection to the Lisbon-Entrecampos station. This is however a slow connection (2h10) with a low frequency. Alternatively, you can reach Óbidos from Sintra (1h40). See the website of CP for more information.
The town is small and largely pedestrianized, so you can walk it at your ease. If you walk to town from the station, some uphill climbing is involved.
The town is dominated by its medieval castle and city walls. The original Moorish castle was remodeled in the 13th century. The castle was completely restored and is now a pousada (state inn), so it cannot be visited unless you are prepared to spend the night there (see the Sleep section). In town, you will find many picturesque old houses and churches, most of them painted in white and blue, yellow or red.
The main attraction is walking the 1.5km walls of the fortress, that will provide you with splendid views of town and surrounding countryside.
The town's main street, the Rua Direita, is filled with souvenir shops where you can buy all kinds of typical Portuguese souvenirs.
Óbidos is well-known for its ginja, a liquor made from sour cherries. You can have it in the street, served from a chocolate cup.