Located in the Portuguese countryside, Obidos is one of the most well-preserved medieval towns in Portugal. With its cobbled streets, white houses and sweeping country views, it’s one of the most popular day trips from Lisbon.
During my Portugal itinerary I visited many cute towns, but Obidos was by far the most charming. If you’re planning to visit Obidos on a day trip from Lisbon, this is the guide for you!
In this article I have included everything you need to know to plan the perfect Lisbon to Obidos day trip.
Including how to get from Lisbon to Obidos, listing the pros and cons of all the different transport modes, the best things to do once in Obidos, what to pack, where to stay and more.
So without further ado, read on and start planning the perfect Obidos day trip!
- 1 How to get from Lisbon to Obidos
- 2 Best things to see and do in Obidos
- 3 Best Obidos day tours
- 4 Is an Obidos day trip worth it?
- 5 Where to stay for an Obidos day trip
- 6 What to pack for a day tour to Obidos
How to get from Lisbon to Obidos
There are a lot of ways to travel to Obidos from Lisbon. I have outlined them all below, including travel times and highlighting what I think is best.
By car from Lisbon to Obidos
If you want to travel from Lisbon to Obidos by car, then you’ll be pleased to know that this is probably the best way to do it. Covering around 83 kilometres (53 miles), the journey takes just around an hour from the centre of the city.
For the most part, you’ll be driving along the A8 motorway. This is the fastest route, but you will have to pay around 9 euros in tolls in order to use the road.
Then all you do is simply get off the motorway at Exit 15 and follow signs to “Obidos”.
Obidos is actually a walled city, and you won’t be able to drive into it. However, there are a number of carparks located outside the city walls; just don’t forget your spare change for parking.
And don’t leave your valuables on show (or anything valuable in your car, just in case), either.
By train from Lisbon to Obidos
You can travel from Lisbon to Obidos also by train, but I would say it’s one of the least time efficient routes. The journey takes over two hours, for one thing. Furthermore the trains run infrequently from Lisbon to Obidos.
If this is the route for you (or you’re a fan of train travel), you’ll be taking a train from Lisbon’s Sete Rios train station. A single ticket costs around 9 euros, making it a similar cost to motorway tolls if you’re driving.
It’s also a similar cost to the bus, but the bus from Lisbon to Obidos takes about half the time to get there.
By bus from Lisbon to Obidos
If you’re taking public transport, then the bus is the cheapest and quickest way to go. The route is operated by Rodotejo bus company, with buses leaving from Lisbon’s Campo Grande bus station.
The journey takes around an hour, and stops outside the main entrance to Obidos, making it pretty convenient, too. You won’t have to worry about finding a place to park or paying for the privilege either.
Tickets (one way, around 8 euros; cash only) are purchased on board the bus. To make the return journey from Obidos to Lisbon, you simply do the same: get on the bus and buy your ticket.
The buses are clean and comfortable, but can be busy in peak summertime. And since you can’t pre-book the tickets, you may have to wait for a bus that isn’t full, that doesn’t have a queue of dozens of people in front of you.
With an Obidos tour from Lisbon
Another option for getting from Lisbon to Obidos is to book a place on a tour. Tours between the Portuguese capital and the historic walled city are numerous, and many come highly recommended.
It’s the ultimate in convenience: you can often get picked up from your accommodation, not have to worry about waiting for a bus (or a train), or navigating the roads and car parks if you’re driving there.
Plus you’ll have a knowledgeable guide to show you round and give you some information about the sights, sounds and history of Obidos.
The other bonus is that many tours often stop at other places along the way, or on their way back to Lisbon. This means that if you’re short on time, you’ll be able to pack more sightseeing into your itinerary.
From Lisbon: Fatima, Obidos, Batalha and Nazaré Group Tour – For example this well-rounded tour is very popular and has many reviews online.
Obidos is gorgeous in and of itself, but when you pair with other unique sights like this tour, it makes it an even more magical experience.
Best things to see and do in Obidos
Visit Obidos Castle
The medieval castle at Obidos is easily one of the main attractions, and a good reason to travel from Lisbon to Obidos in the first place.
Though the town dates back to the Roman era, the castle is more recent. It was built between the 12th and 13th centuries.
It looks great from afar, but unfortunately it is not open to the public. That’s because today Obidos Castle is actually a hotel. So if you want to see the history from within, you’ll have to book a room.
Walk on the town walls of Obidos
You may not be able to wander around the castle, but you can wander along the town’s walls. Dating back to the Moorish era, the walls are impressive and punctuated by battlements and gates.
From atop these 13-metre-high walls, you can get some pretty awesome views out over Obidos itself and the surrounding countryside. Best of all – it’s free!
The complete loop of the walls is 1,560 metres, so it’s easily doable. There are four different staircases to ascend to the walls, but most people will climb the steps from Porta da Vila.
Visit Igreja de Santa Maria
This stunning Renaissance structure is the main church in Obidos, but it’s not the exterior that will bowl you over (though it is pretty elegant).
It’s the interior that will wow visitors, with 17th-century ornate azulejos (tiles painted blue and white) created by the hand of renowned artist Josefa de Obidos. There’s also a 16th-century tomb inside the church.
Ginja (also known as Ginjinha) is a local speciality. This Portuguese liquor is made by infusing with ginja cherries – a particularly sour variety grown in Portugal.
It’s enjoyed from Lisbon to Obidos, but it’s here in the historic town where you can try a variety that won’t be found anywhere else.
Namely, you’ll be trying your Ginja served in a tiny chocolate shot glass. Simply find a spot at a bar, pull up a chair and enjoy.
For a good place to start, try Bar Ibn Errik Rex, decorated with antique furnishings and with a helpful owner.
Wander around the cute medieval streets
One of the best things to do on your day trip from Lisbon to Obidos is to simply wander around its charming lanes and old streets.
You’ll pass colourful houses with flower boxes, stroll along cobbled streets, and get to hop in and out of shops and cafes all the while.
The old town centre is entirely pedestrian, and there are (almost) no cars, which is also a great plus to meandering your way around Obidos.
Make sure to start at the city’s main gate, the Porta da Vila. The gate itself is a late 14th-century creation, with a striking 18th-century addition of azulejos depicting the passion of Christ.
It even features its own chapel and a Baroque balcony, making it a very photogenic place to start your wanderings.
Learn more at the Museu Municipal
The primary museum in Obidos is located in an 18th-century manor house, so visiting the building alone is worth it. You’ll find it next to the Igreja de Santa Maria.
It may be a compact museum, but it still showcases a decent amount of art, sculpture and painting – there’s even an old carriage and other items from the town’s history.
Make sure not to miss the dramatic 1670 portrait by Josefa de Obidos.
Best Obidos day tours
Probably one of the best ways to see Obidos is to hop on a tour. But if you don’t like crowds, then you could always opt for a private sightseeing tour.
Tours such as this involve your guide picking you up in the capital, arranging transport from Lisbon to Obidos, and then showing you around the historic city.
Not only that, but you’ll be able to sample traditional snacks and local delicacies along the way, making sure that you see all the highlights of the city.
But for a comprehensive day trip from Lisbon to Obidos, then you may want to opt for something like this.
Rather than seeing only Obidos, this tour will also include visits to Fatima and Nazare. Fatima is famed for being a pilgrimage site, while Nazare is a pretty seaside village.
These kinds of tours are usually done in a group, but in this case it’s a small group (limited to eight people), so it feels more personal.
Then again, if you’re here with your family or a group of friends, you’ll basically have a private tour to yourself.
Is an Obidos day trip worth it?
Yes, certainly. If you’re the sort of person who likes to spend their time slowly exploring a new destination, then you can easily spend a whole day at Obidos.
That said, I wouldn’t say that you definitely need a whole day to see the top sights of this historic town. Obidos is very small, and if you take it slowly, you will see all the main sights in half a day at most.
That’s why, especially if you have a tight Portugal itinerary, I recommend pairing your day trip to Obidos with another destination.
And I’m not the only person that thinks so, if you go by the many tours that whisk people between Lisbon and Obidos.
Where to stay for an Obidos day trip
Lisbon Destination Hostel – Located inside Rossio train station, this hostel is the perfect place to stay if you plan to travel by train to your various day trip destinations.
They have a cool communal area with lots of plants, and offer both dorms and private rooms. It’s also in a very central position in Lisbon, so that you can easily explore also the city.
Mid-range: Alegria A Lisbon Boutique Hotel – This boutique hotel is perfect for those who want something nice, centrally located and cosy, without breaking the bank.
Luxury: Lisboa Pessoa Hotel – If you want to treat yourself, this is the perfect place to do so. With their spacious rooms and gorgeous rooftop terrace, it’s the perfect place to relax after a Sintra day tour.
What to pack for a day tour to Obidos
Besides the usual travel essentials, there isn’t anything specific that you should be packing for an Obidos day trip. However here are a few useful things you shouldn’t forget!
Camera – Given how beautiful Obidos is, you want to make sure you capture it in all its beauty!
Reusable water bottle – Especially if you plan to do a lot of walking, bring a bottle you can refill and ensure you stay hydrated.
Walking shoes – I always walk loads when I’m travelling, and I wouldn’t be able to do so without comfortable shoes. Make sure to pack shoes you can walk in a lot!
Fast drying towel – If you’re planning to go beyond Obidos and spend some time on the beach in Nazare, you’ll need a beach towel! I like these fast drying ones since they don’t take up much space and dry quickly.
Final thoughts on the best Lisbon to Obidos day tours
There you have it, the ultimate guide to visit Obidos on a day trip from Lisbon! Have you been to Obidos before? How did you find it? Let me know in the comments below!
I visited it while on the road towards Nazare, but if you prefer being static you can easily visit on a day trip from Lisbon and return to your accommodation at the end of the day tour.
I believe everyone should spend at least half a day in Obidos, discovering the historic streets of this cute medieval town. In this guide I tried to share with you everything you might need to know to plan a visit to Obidos.
I hope you find it useful in planning your Lisbon to Obidos day trip! If you have any questions, just let me know in the comments below!
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