Head north from Lisbon, where small villages boast a relaxing pace and historic religious sites dot the landscape, you will find Óbidos, a fortified village of whitewashed houses and narrow streets with a distinctly medieval atmosphere.
Historically, Obidos was presented to the Queen of Portugal on her wedding day, a tradition that began with Queen Urraca in 1214 and continued until the 19th century. This royal patronage has left an enduring legacy of pride within the town, and today it is one of the most towns with a strong character in central Portugal.
There are narrow-cobbled streets, traditional painted houses, and an imposing medieval castle. All its characteristics make Obidos a charming town to explore for visitors and even though for some it may be just a small town, there is no better example of a traditional Portuguese town than Obidos.
Beside that, the region surrounding the village is as equally fascinating as Obidos. There is the working fishing port of Peniche, the pristine beaches of Lagoa de Obidos and even Europe’s largest collection of Buddha statues, at the Buddha Eden. Obidos is a great base from which to exploring this enthralling region, and the town is rapidly becoming a popular destination for a holiday.
You should also be aware that there is much less to see in Obidos than in Sintra or Lisbon, but this can be circumvented by visiting the same day also Nazaré, one of the finest beach resorts in Portugal.
The town is situated on a wide bay of golden sands and stands in the shadow of the towering Sítio headland. In the summer months, Nazare is a bustling and vibrant holiday destination, and the winter draws a wholly different type of tourist, daredevil surfers, who come to surf the colossal waves that break off the Praia do Norte beach.
Nazaré has a single massive beach, the Praia da Nazaré, which extends for 1.5km from the Sítio headland in the north to the fishing harbour in the south. The beach has soft golden sands and is of a very high standard, but the sea waters are shockingly cold, reaching only 18C in the summer.
In the peak months the beach is supervised by lifeguards, but care must always be taken as there can be powerful currents and waves. The beach has a host of water activities, including stand up paddle boards, kayaks and jet-skis (hired from the harbour).
Highlights for a day trip to Nazaré
The spectacular view from the Miradouro do Suberco
The Sao Miguel Arcanjo Fort, a homage to the extreme surfing at the Praia do Norte
The Igreja Nossa Senhora da Nazaré church and its unique statue of Mary
Dining on freshly caught fish, in a restaurant that overlooks the ocean
Strolling along the Avenida da Republica, the beach promenade of Nazaré