Obidos, a medieval town in Portugal, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. Besides the fact that this medieval town was a wedding gift to the queen of Portugal, there are many things to do in Obidos.
Its narrow cobblestone streets, a medieval castle, and painted whitewashed houses will fascinate visitors. Let’s begin by exploring this medieval town, Obidos.
Streets of Obidos
[Photo credit: Fernando Pinho]
The cobblestone streets in Obidos are lined with cute cottages, small cafes with outdoor seating, and a historic castle. Moreover, the nearby 16th-century aqueduct is also worth seeing in Obidos. Most people only visit Obidos for a day trip, but staying overnight in a medieval town would be a wonderful experience.
On the main street, Rua Direita, you will find boutique shops selling embroideries, ceramics, wine, and souvenirs. Some doorways are low, so watch your head as you enter. Another way to explore the streets is on a guided tour. Why not learn as much about the medieval history of Obidos as you can.
Certainly, the main attraction to this town is the castle. Take a walk along the old medieval walls for beautiful views of the countryside. Please note that there are no handrails for safety. In total, the walk is 1.5km.
If you wish to see the castle interior, you’ll need a night’s stay at the luxurious Pousada do Castelo. I highly recommend this if you’ve never stayed in a castle.
Igreja de Santa Maria
The main church in the center of town is Saint Mary’s. Over the year’s the structure underwent many changes. A major earthquake in the 15oos caused a small amount of damage to the medieval structure, which in turn led to its current Mannerist style construction.
Nearly every inch of the interior walls is covered in ancient tiles from the 1600s and 1700s period.
Santa Maria is also the church where King Afonso married his cousin in 1441 at a very you age. Something worth noting, outside the church, you’ll see a stone pillory marking the spot where a fisherman had brought back the body of the queen’s son.
[Photo credit: Fernando Pinho]
During your visit, you must taste a delicious drink called ginjinha poured into chocolate cups. Ginjinha is a sweet cherry liqueur. Popular not just in Lisbon but also in Obidos. If you try it, let me know what you think.
International Chocolate Festival
Each year in Obidos, the International Chocolate Festival takes place. Those visiting the walled city can experience the culture here with workshops and chocolate tastings.
Artisans show off their artwork made entirely of chocolate. It is a fun way to get the whole family involved, even the kids. Get a ticket early, so you do not miss out.
Each summer, for three weekends, merchants and Portuguese artisans attend the Medieval Market in Obidos. This incredible four-day (Thursday-Sunday) festival takes place near the castle.
If you have time, take a stroll through the streets of Peniche, one of Portugal’s most traditional fishing towns, and take a look at the old quarter. The beaches are also pristine here.
Best Time To Go
The best time to visit Obidos is during the months of May to October. During these months there is less rainfall and the weather is warm. However, in the summer months (July & August) the city can be crowded with buses and tourists. To avoid the crowds, I suggest visiting early in the morning.
Where to Stay in Obidos
In Obidos, Pousada do Castelo is a romantic option for staying for a night. It is considered to be one of the seven wonders of the world, dating back from the 12th century. The luxurious hotel consists of 14 rooms and 3 suites, with each one named after a king or queen who visited the town.
Casa das Senhoras Rainhas is a renovated boutique hotel located within the walled city. In addition to one suite and nine guest rooms, many of these feature balconies. The restaurant serves great local wines and breakfast.