Obidos, Portugal, for the Family

The small town of Obidos, Portugal, with its Medieval architecture and rich history, makes for an interesting side trip for your family when visiting nearby Lisbon. The city’s compact size makes it easy to see in just a day or two, but, once you enjoy its enchanting charm, you might just decide to stay longer.

Historic Sites

Stop by Porta de Vila for a few photos. You can’t miss it, as it’s the main gateway into the city. While the entrance itself is more or less nondescript, the interior features a lovely chapel and amazing tile work. Take note of the gate’s unique structure, created as is in Medieval times to withstand oncoming attacks.

Speaking of medieval safeguards, the town walls are also a can’t-miss. Built over several centuries by the Moors and then continuously strengthened by the early Portuguese, the walls were retouched as late as the 1700s following a severe earthquake that impacted a large swathe of the city. Walk around the town walls (just be careful — they’re tall and have no hand rails, so might not be a great choice for families with smaller children) for great views.

Igreja de Santa Maria is a beautiful Renaissance- and Gothic-style church significant for several reasons. Not only is it the main church in Obidos, but it was the site of important cultural events throughout the centuries. In 1444, it was the site of a royal wedding between the 10-year-old King Alfonso V and his eight-year-old cousin. The church sits on what was originally a Visigoth temple around 500 A.D. It was later a mosque in the 700s. The current Renaissance style stems from the church’s refurbishments that occurred following the same earthquake that impacted the city walls.

Santa Maria Church Igreja de Santa Maria Basilica Altar 11th Century Medieval Town Obidos Portugal. Built in the late 13th/early 14th century.

Santa Maria Church Igreja de Santa Maria Basilica Altar 11th Century Medieval Town Obidos, Portugal. Built in the late 13th/early 14th century. Photo: William Perry |


You’ll find your main shopping on Rua Direita, lined with gift shops selling locally made souvenirs and handcrafts. This is one of the most crowded spots in the city, so keep this in mind when considering if you want to herd your crew through the small cobblestone street.

Some of the best shopping can be found at Obidos’ many bookshops, often set within historic structures, creating a one-of-a-kind experience that will appeal to many bookworms.

Culinary Experiences

Obidos is known for a sweet cherry liqueur called ginja. You can find this drink just about anywhere for a few euros, and it’s usually served either still with the cherries intact or in a chocolate cup. It’s a fun and unique adults-only treat!