Travelling to Obidos
After our weekend in Coimbra, we headed to our next stay on our 4 weeks in Portugal in the walled city of Obidos. We took a small detour along the way to the small beach town of Nazaré. It was a quaint beach town. We found the fresh seafood we had been looking for.
Staying off the highway from Nazaré, we navigated our way south along the smaller local roads. We had originally planned to take the train down the coast from Porto, through Coimbra and into Obidos. We ultimately decided we wanted the flexibility of having a car. It let us see small spots like the beach at Nazaré.
But if you want to visit Obidos, consider taking the train or bus. After 2 days in Obidos, we decided to return the car. We certainly did not need a car on our stay in the walled city of Obidos. We drove the car to Lisbon and then came back by bus. It was a quick ride even with a few stops at other small towns. The bus even had wifi! The bus stop in Obidos was right outside the walls. Even with luggage, it would be easy to get to a hotel for a stay in the walled city of Obidos. If you come only for a day trip, the bus or train are good options.
Getting Inside The Walled City
Driving in, it was easy to see that we were approaching our stay in the walled city of Obidos. The castle walls high on the hill reminded me a little of when we visited San Marino outside of Italy. As we approached the walled city, we stopped to take pictures of the Sanctuaire du Seigneur Jesus de la Pierre. This building was being restored. From outside the gates of the walled city, we also saw the aqueduct.
The Casa Das Senhoras Rainhas Hotel was located inside of the walls of the old city of Obidos. I emailed the hotel in advance about parking and got directions about how to get to the hotel. As we approached the walls, we looked for the Lady Of Grace Gate. We saw small portals with “Do Not Enter” signs. I could see our hotel on my offline map on the other side of the wall but could see no way in.
We drove around the walls until we saw a slightly larger gate marked as the Pousada entrance. It still looked barely wide enough to fit a car. But at least it was straight in. From that point it was small alleys downhill to our hotel. At one point we needed to pull in both side mirrors to make it through between two walls.
When we were close, David parked when he found a marginally wider stretch of road and we walked to the hotel. That was indeed our spot to park inside the walls.
Later in our stay, we walked to find the Lady Of Grace Gate. It was no wonder we missed this gate when we arrived. We watched a scooter and a car make the sharp turn to enter. When we walked inside the gate, we found an interesting religious altar.
We later walked to the Main Gate. It too looked more like walking entrance. It was a little bigger inside but still required a sharp turn one way and then a turn in the other direction to go through. The gate turns were really obvious when we looked down at the gates when we walked the castle walls. There was another interesting altar inside this gate as well. This was decorated with more of the blue Portuguese tiles we saw when we explored Porto.
Planning a stay in the walled city of Obidos is great. When the tourists leave at night, you have the town to yourself. But driving in the walled city is not for the faint of heart. And you better not have a big car!
Staying At Casa Das Senhoras Rainhas
Casa Das Senhoras Rainhas was a lovely little hotel with just 10 rooms. It was a great place to stay in the walled city of Obidos. Our room was bigger than we expected. The small patio backed onto the that ran wall around the town. The room was stocked with a decanter of local Ginja liqueur. It was the first but not last we would try of this delicious cherry treat!
The bathroom included a large soaking tub. A great treat after walking on cobblestones all day. The hotel had a large lounge to sit in and relax if you wanted outside your room. There was a small bar open at all hours for a drink.
Breakfast was included and there was a restaurant on the property for dinner. Being right in town, it was a short walk to find a multitude of other options to eat.
Wandering Around Obidos
The town streets were busy during the day. Small souvenir shops filled the streets. It reminded us a little of the walled city of Carcassonne in France. Tourists came in for day trips or were part of large bus tours. You can walk around the town with all the other tourists. Or enjoy the quiet streets early in the morning or after the day trip visitors leave. Having the town to yourself is a great advantage of a stay in the walled city of Obidos.
The town inside the walls was all cobblestone streets. Tiny alleys led up and down the hilled town. Everywhere we looked there was another postcard view.
We saw tile wok decorating the buildings in Obidos. Some was the traditional blue Portuguese tile art we saw adorning the buildings of Porto. Some was just colourful and playful. And some looked like finger painting!
We saw lots of rooster souvenirs for sale. The red rooster is a common symbol of Portugal. It relates back to an ancient story. An accused man’s innocence was proclaimed when a rooster crowed as the man had predicted when he was taken to be hanged. This symbol reminds the Portuguese people about the danger of rushing to judgement.
The wall encloses the city. You can see the wall standing high above the buildings in the town.
One day we climbed the rocky steps and walked around the top of the walls around the city. Crazy climbs up and down led to a jagged narrow rock walkway. But from the top of the walls we got an amazing view of the town of Obidos.
Come For The Ginja In Chocolate Cups
We had tried the famous Ginja when we were in Lisbon. But everyone said to wait to get Ginja in Obidos. Our hotel even had a decanter of Ginja right in the room. We could sit on the patio and sip on this unique cherry liqueur.
As we wandered the streets and stores of Obidos there was Ginja everywhere. We could have it straight or in dark chocolate cups.
We had the best Ginja at Bar IBN Errik Rex. While we tried it in chocolate cups first, having it from a glass sharpened the flavour.
Whether you stay in the walled city of Obidos or just visit for the day, be sure to try the Ginja in Obidos. It will even make a great souvenir to take home. If it makes it home!
Churches and Castles Inside The Wall
There were 7 churches inside the walls. Some were smaller and plainer. Some were more ornate. The inside of St Mary’s Church was decorated walls and ceiling with the most beautiful tile art. Many of the churches of Obidos reminded us of the art and beauty we saw when we visited the churches in Porto. On a stay in the walled city of Obidos you will hear the bells call the locals to church many times through the day.
We certainly got a great view of the churches when we walked the top of the walls.
The castle stood at one end of the wall. There was a small church and library by the castle. You can see the castle over the roofs of the buildings in the walled city of Obidos. When you walk the top of the walls, you can go up or come down from the walls on either side of the castle. There are even better views of the castle when you are up on the walls.
Like many other historical buildings in Portugal, this castle was turned into a Pousada. We stayed at a Pousada in a palace when we were in the Algarve and had seen the Pousada in the fort when we visited Faial Island in the Azores. We stopped for lunch at the Pousada but were not able to get inside to look at the rooms.
When we walked outside the gates, we saw the remains of an old medieval village. The outside castle walls seemed pretty intact. As a defensive measure, the building had tiny slit windows. We did wonder what the hotel rooms looked like.
Stay In The Walled City of Obidos
We enjoyed 3 days on our stay in the walled city of Obidos. It was a great little town to wander about. Especially in the evening when the tourists left! The small alleys were quaint and colourful. There was great Ginja cherry liqueur in chocolate cups everywhere you walked. But don’t have your samples before you head up to walk on top of the walls of Obidos!
It was nice to be inside the walled city of Obidos. But driving within the walls should not be considered lightly. We even returned our rental car when we realized we did not need it. The bus back to Lisbon was easy and regular if you want to come in for a few days. The bus stop is right outside the Main Gate. There is also a train but it is a bit less frequent and easy to get from the train station.
Have you enjoyed a stay in the walled city of Obidos? Did you come for the day or for a longer stay?