Have you thought of visiting Portugal? Divya and Vikas of Beyond the Wall, share their 7 reasons why you make Obidos, Portugal more than just a stopover or day trip.
7 Reasons You Should Visit Obidos, Portugal
In contrast to its size, Portugal packs a punch with innumerable sights to visit and places to experience. From beach bumming in Algarve to adventuring in riverside Porto, travellers are spoiled for choices.
Obidos, a charming town reminiscent of yesteryear, often finds a place only as a quick stop-over for photographs.
We spent a few days winding down in this gem of a town, coming to the realization that Obidos deserves a few days of your time when in Portugal.
Only an hour away from Lisbon, Obidos can be experienced on a comfortable day trip.
The downside of this is that your experience will likely be tainted by a crowd of noisy day trippers who come into the town around late morning and stay till about evening.
To experience more than just knocking off the ‘things to do in Obidos’, the magical silent nights, the lit up lanes, the sounds of fado, and the calm sunrise stay in Obidos for at least a day or longer.
In this post, we give you 7 reasons to add Obidos as a full-blown destination to your itinerary. Trust us, you won’t regret visiting this magical little town.
1. Soak-Up History In The Medieval Town
Obidos is as old as it gets.
Believed to have existed even before the foundation of Portugal, Obidos has been able to maintain its old-town charm very well.
To get the most out of the old-town experience, read up on the fascinating history of the town to add meaning to the cobbled streets, architecture, and the significance of the village.
If you manage to reach the town before the day trips start, walking up and down the hill would be a pure bliss. Besides, one can walk on the fort walls and get a stunning bird's eye view of the old town.
2. Experience the Literary Culture Of Portugal
If the smell of old books lifts up your senses, Obidos would be nothing less but a book-spa for you.
Old churches dating to a hundred years and rock-solid stone rooms are converted into bookshops in Obidos, accommodating a humungous collection of books of all kinds.
This is a good enough reason to spend days in the town reading through the stunning collection placed in the most exclusive setting. Besides, you could live in a hotel made of books when in Obidos!
Look up the Literary Man Hotel that accommodates more than 50000 books, a stack at every corner you walk through.
3. Sip On Ginja Served In Chocolate Cups
The strong cherry-based liquor, Ginja, is available in most of Portugal, Obidos being a pioneer for the most premium version.
Served as an aperitif, Ginja in Obidos tastes richer and creamier than what you may find in other Portuguese cities.
At first sight, one finds the old lanes loaded with Ginja stalls making it appear a bit commercial and touristy.
It takes a few minutes to find the premium old-style stores to taste the best version of the drink. Lately, serving Ginja in a dark-chocolate cup has become the ‘trend’ so you may find a lot of local stores doing that.
Honestly, the combination tastes pretty amazing so try a few before you go for a big bottle for the day.
4. Shop For Portuguese Souvenirs
Like any other popular tourist spot, Obidos has an array of souvenir stores across its length and breath.
In the usual piles, you will often find stunning pieces of handicraft, magnets, bags, and antiques that aren’t manufactured to trap tourists.
They are absolute gems and many may have an old tale about them. I say bring a bag to fill up gifts for friends and family back home.
My favourite among the lot was shopping for old records of Portuguese Fado at an unnoticed music store. Perhaps, you will find your favourite in there too.
5. Eat At a Family Run Portuguese Restaurant
With Azulejo tiles splattered along its walls, great selection of homemade wines, cooking mastered over generations, and noisy tables of locals enjoying languid lunches and suppers make Portuguese family-run restaurants a special affair.
In the square near Santuario do Senhor Jesus da Pedra, Vila Da Infanta is one such family-run affair. The owner, an extremely friendly man, inherited the place from his father and spent years in the kitchen perfecting his dishes.
While it’s hard to beat their grilled bacalao or robalo, the meat dishes are no less either. The desserts are on a first-come-first-serve basis, so dig in before its late because they’re as homely as they come.
6. Get A Taste Of Medieval Architecture
Obidos is an admirable relic of medieval era architecture, evident just from a quick glance at its castle walls.
But, beyond the main castle itself, there are architectural delights at every corner beginning with the entrance to old town.
The double arched entrance is peppered with tiles from the 18th century and decorated in intricate paintings.
There’s more ceramic tiles and painted barrels to admire at the Churches while the 16th-century aqueduct is another architectural marvel whose style is in stark contrast to the rest of the buildings.
Whichever building or street you walk into, be sure to look close for each brick is a delight to look at.
7. Detox From The Digital World
With not more than a few thousand residents, barely any supermarkets, clubs, loud streets, or even the noise of usual traffic, the town is ideal to take a break from the hustle bustle.
Surrounded by books, history, paintings, and slow life, Obidos makes a great spot for those looking at inspiration and serenity.
I would even go to the extent to suggest Obidos as a honeymoon spot for the creative souls. What better way to pause or start a life together than being in an ancient town that is nothing but a wonder on Earth!
Obidos Key Facts
- Getting There: To get to Obidos, the quickest and ideal way is via bus from Lisbon. Buses operate from the Campo Grande bus station regularly and the journey takes just over an hour. There is no advance ticketing required for this, but it can be tricky to locate the bus as there were no signages as of 2018. When you reach the station area, get off and ask around (or look from the bus stop near the huge herd of pigeons!)
- Obidos was once a port town before tsunamis and earthquakes moved the coastline ten kilometres out. Hence, it is an apt base to explore the town of Peniche or to go on a sailing expedition to the Berlengas islands.
- There are a few hotels and hostels just outside the medieval town that costs a lesser leak to your pocket. If you are looking for a budget holiday, check those out instead of staying inside the town.
- Check out TripAdvisor for hotels in Obidos
- Check the Festival calendar for Obidos before you plan a trip. Literature Festivals, Fado Nights, and more are often organized in the old town.
- If you are coming only for a day trip, make sure to get here very early in the morning to get a glimpse of the town in silence.
Portugal stole our heart away and gave us a hundred reasons to come back for a longer duration.
Besides Obidos, we loved our time in Porto and chose it over Lisbon. Read our post on How Porto in Portugal Turned Out To Be A Gym Subscription for us. Perhaps, it will get you to visit it soon.
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“Divya and Vikas are teachers turned travellers from India. When not making children play or laugh, they travel to where their hearts take them. Besides, they are possessed with a mad love for words.
On their blog, Beyond The Wall, you will find a list of budget guides, honest stories from around the world, and their bold opinions on and off the world of travel.