Day tour to Obidos and Coimbra
12 august 2016
What to see in Obidos? What to see in Coimbra? If you are traveling between Lisbon and northern Portugal, a stop in both Obidos and Coimbra should not be missed. Obidos is a beautiful medieval town with a characteristic boundary wall, while Coimbra shows an interesting architecture throughout its old university district.
Obidos is just over an hour's drive from Lisbon to the north, so the village is ideal for a day trip from the capital of Portugal and is also a convenient stop for longer tours that include central and northern regions of the country. If you arrive in Obidos by your own car, we suggest to park it downhill (outside the walls), before continuing by foot (it's just a few minutes stroll). In fact, the beautiful old town of Obidos, one of the most characteristic and well-preserved village in Portugal, is a narrow labyrinth of alleys entirely enclosed by imposing walls, which make driving around quite difficult.
Porta da Vila
is the main gate between the walls that enclose the entire town of Obidos, and is decorated with ancient frescoes and azulejos (ceramic tiles).
The main attraction of Obidos
is the entire old town, consisting of a dense network of narrow alleys, where it is very pleasant to get lost observing picturesque views of the white-painted houses decorated with flowers.
surrounding the entire village of Obidos date back to the Moorish time period (around the 11th century) and were later restored. Steep stairs leads to the top of the walls, where you can walk the entire perimeter observing the village from top (the hike is easy and, although there is no protection along the border, it's not dangerous).
Photo of Obidos
: walking on top of the wall along its entire perimeter.
The walls of Obidos
separate the town from the green farms and vineyards all around.
The beautiful views from the top of the walls.
The Obidos Castle
dates back to the 13th century and was used as a fortress. In the 16th century, the castle was transformed into a palace and currently it houses a luxurious pousada, where it is possible to stay overnight.
The ancient church of Santa Maria
(Igreja de Santa Maria) was built in the 12th century over the ruins of a mosque coming from the Arab domination. The church has been renovated several times and now houses beautiful paintings and blue azulejos (tiles of ceramic) dating back to the 17th century.
The beautiful paintings and the azulejos in the Igreja de Santa Maria
in Obidos, in Portugal.
At the foot of the village, outside the old town and walls, stands the curious Santuario do Senhor da Pedra
, a baroque structure dating back to the 18th century.
The trip to Portugal continues north to Coimbra
, an ancient university city with a beautiful old town on top of a hill and a more modern part on the flat land below. There are many attractions in Coimbra and it's certainly worth spending an entire day in the city.
The tour in Coimbra begins by visiting the district uphill that houses the various university faculties
. In this photo, the faculty of science next to the New Cathedral (Se Nova).
The best time to visit Coimbra
is during the academic year, when these large squares are full of students moving between the buildings of the various faculties. During the summer, the university district is almost deserted.
The faculties of Science and Technology (top photos) and the faculty of Law (bottom photo).
Entering the historic center of Coimbra, you can not miss a visit to the Se Velha
(Old Cathedral of Coimbra
), a 12th-century Romanesque-Portuguese building that resembles a mix between a fortress and a church.
The details of the facade of the Old Cathedral of Coimbra
(Se Velha) that reveal defensive features (in particular the lace and the small windows), sign of the Arab threat at the gates of the Iberian Peninsula.
A walk through the streets of Coimbra in the historic center (top photos) and downhill through the modern districts (bottom photos).
A fortified access gate between old and new districts of Coimbra.
Like much of Portugal, Coimbra is known for its local handicrafts, which includes complex crochet embroidery works, often displayed in the streets of the old town.
Our tour in Coimbra
ends at Commerce Square, where there is the church of Sao Tiago.