Exploring the Walled Town of Óbidos and Coastal Peniche

Óbidos is one of the most well-known places to visit in Portugal. The medieval town is famous for its narrow cobbled streets, whitewashed houses and prominent fortifications which are easily observed from most of the modern town that surrounds it.

These extremely high walls are the town’s highlight, offering visitors postcard-worthy views as almost all of its length is open for walking.

What to See Inside the Walls

When we arrived in Óbidos early morning, tourists were already walking up and down its cobblestone streets, filling the restaurants and gift shops that line the town’s main drag.

Óbido’s main shopping street is called Rua Direita which leads into the main square, Praça de Santa Maria. There you can visit the town’s museum and a couple of churches: Igreja de Santa Maria and Igreja da Misericórdia.

Tip: One of our highlights was exploring Óbidos less traveled streets, particularly a spot nearby Misericórdia Church. The calm streets that lead to this church are lined with traditionally painted buildings, many displaying large rose bushes that fall onto the ground.

If you continue walking until the end of Rua Direita you will eventually arrive at the town’s iconic Moorish Castle.

After capturing Óbidos from the Moors, the first king of Portugal Alfonso Henriques rebuilt it in 1148. Today, the castle serves mainly as a hotel but you can still enjoy it by walking along its extensive fortifications.

Our walk along the walls was the highlight of our time in Óbidos.

We were not expecting such widespread views: On one side we saw a sea of brick rooftops while on the other, a sprawling modern town alongside the countryside.

Have Extra Time? Drive Along Peniche's Coast

If you still have time on your day, drive 25 minutes west towards the coastal town of Peniche. The town is known to be a great surfing spot and fishing port, however, its coastal drive is what makes the place unforgettable.

When you enter the area there is not much to see, but as you make your way towards the less inhabited native coast - starts around the middle of the peninsula - you will encounter a wild and rugged scenery.

The rock formation along this entire shore is different from anything I have seen: Tall… as if the entire rocky floor had been slowly eroded away and only pillars of high rocks remained.


The Wrap-Up: Óbidos is one of the most visited places outside of Lisbon and that was exemplified by the several tour buses that would drop off tourists as we arrived and left town. I would recommend arriving early if you want to experience fewer people along Óbido’s main streets. But do not worry… the town is big enough that you can still find less traveled, peaceful spots.

The B&B: Casa de Campo São Rafael is a quaint hotel located in Óbidos, just outside its historical center. We decided to stay in a hotel outside of the walled town so we could park our car with more ease. If you are driving, I would recommend that you do the same, because once you enter the historical town and see its narrow, pedestrian- filled streets, you will be glad you did not park inside it!

The Restaurant: Located 15 minutes from historical Óbidos, in the village of Bombarral, is a restaurant/bar called Mãe d'Água. The modern restaurant sits almost out of place in this old-fashioned village and offers traditional dishes with a modern flare.

- Want to see the full trip and plan your next? Check out our Portugal Two Week Itinerary!