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Colourful Óbidos is one of Portugal's must-see medieval hill towns. Whitewashed - except for the colourfully painted doors and flowers - this historic centre is still surrounded by its protective castle-esque wall. The medieval castle (which looks like it's straight out of a Lego kit) to go with the wall, occupies the highest ground. It's been turned into a pousada - an historic hotel owned by the Portuguese state - and is now one of the best places to stay in Óbidos.
And that's not the only beautiful medieval building put to fresh use, some of the best bars and cafes in town occupy the most charming buildings. Which is one of the reasons why Óbidos is worth an overnight stay.
The walls date from the Moorish period, and walking along, or atop them, is one of the best ways to see the city and its beautiful, lush surrounds. Óbidos also has a 3km long aqueduct, built in the 16th Century, which is worth a stroll along. If you're looking for it, it's just to the south of the main gate: Porta da Vila.
As with many old towns, some of Óbidos's most beautiful architecture was built to worship God. The Igreja de Santa Maria was converted from a Mosque, which was built on the foundations of a Visigoth temple, so this spot has been a significant sight since ancient times.
Several restorations later and it's now an elegant Renaissance style building, famed for its hand painted tiles, art, and for hosting the 1444 marriage of a then ten year old Alfonso V. The Igreja de Santa Maria is home to several artworks by Josefa de Óbidos, whose work is also celebrated in the Museu Municipal.
Other reasons to visit
- Óbidos has a lagoon very nearby where you can swim, sail or birdwatch, and it is only 17kms from a lovely stretch of coastline.
- Óbidos has many festivals, celebrating everything from its medieval heritage to chocolate, and if you visit during festival time you'll see Óbidos at its most colourful.
- In amongst the ramparts, Casa das Senhoras Rainhas is the perfect choice if you want to be situated within the walls. It is also close to the lagoon. So there's plenty to do within walking distance. A historic townhouse, now a fresh, chic hotel, the ten rooms are priced from one hundred pounds a night - definitely one of the best places to stay in Óbidos for those on a budget.
On the Beach
- Half an hour south of Obidos, Areias do Seixo is a luxury beachside eco hotel. Come here for great attention to detail, a top notch spa and Lugar da Horta Restaurant which serves local specialities.
Best Hotels in Obidos
Casa d'Obidos 10 rooms from $80Obidos (Quinta de São José)
A traditional Portuguese style guesthouse with bedrooms in the main house and additional apartments. Rooms feature antique furniture and elegant trappings evoking a classical charm. There is also a homey dining room, guest lounge, games rooms, gardens, plus a pool and tennis courts.Local exploring - In a great location close to all important tourist attractions like the castle, Vila Natal and Caldas da Rainha hot springsFamilies - Apartments that can accommodate up to six guests are great for familiesValue chic - Incredible value for such a delightful boutique stayLocal markets - Explore the village on foot, visit local shops and local artisans
Casa das Senhoras Rainhas 10 rooms from $137Obidos
An historic townhouse undergone chic renovation by the ramparts of medieval Obidos. Colourful rooms with private balconies, lovely restaurant and courtyard, and access to the Lagoon nearby. Lovely for a family holiday and local exploring.Sights nearby - Inside the castle walls of ObidosBirdwatching - Good birding near the hotel.Local markets - Good for local colour.Sailing - Can be booked nearby.Recommended by - I Escape
Pousada de Obidos 17 rooms from $251Obidos (Paço Real)
An upscale hotel located inside a national monument. Brimming with antique pieces, stone walls, cobbled flooring, four poster beds and chandeliers are juxtaposed with a contemporary finish. The restaurant and bar is a treat offering great views of Óbidos. A great stay.Local exploring - Located right in the centre of town inside a 700 year old castle. Close by to the train station as wellRomantic Break - A very romantic stay with comfortable rooms and great views of ObidosHistoric - The hotel is situated inside a 14th century castleGreat walks - Book hiking tours at the front deskRecommended by - Tablet