It is located on the road between Peniche and Caldas da Rainha. Óbidos is a Medieval walled town where time has passed it by. Within the extensive walls there are narrow cobbled streets, houses painted white with blue or yellow trim, flower boxes and old lamp lights. It has been well preserved, TV antennas and telephone wires are all underground to maintain the Medieval atmosphere. There are many churches and chapels among the houses. Several had to be restored after the earthquake of 1755. The Parish Church of Santa Maria is notable and pays homage to the famous local artist - Josefa d”Óbidos. The castle is located at the highest point. Today it is a "Pousada". Some say that the sea reached the castle wall and that there used to be bronze rings and stones with holes that were used to anchor boats. These have never been found but there are many marine fossils in this area.
Óbidos is a delightful town of white houses adorned with bougainvilleas and honeysuckle that was captured from the Moors by the first king of Portugal, D. Afonso Henriques, in 1148.
D. Dinis later presented it to his wife, Queen Santa Isabel. From then until 1883, the town of Óbidos and the surrounding land was always the property of the queens of Portugal.
Encircled by a ring of medieval walls and crowned by the Moorish castle rebuilt by D. Dinis, which is now a pousada, Óbidos is one of the most perfect examples of our medieval fortress.
As in olden times, the town is entered through the southern gate of Santa Maria, embellished with eighteenth-century azulejo decoration.
Inside the walls, which at sunset take on a golden colouring, one can sense
a cheerful medieval ambience of winding streets, old whitewashed houses
bordered with blue or yellow, Manueline embrasures and windows, reminding us that King D. Manuel I (sixteenth century) carried out major works here, and masses of colourful flowers and plants.
Be sure to visit the Igreja Matriz de Santa Maria (Parish Church of Santa Maria), the pretty Capela de São Martinho (Chapel of S. Martinho) and, outside the town walls, the Igreja do Senhor da Pedra (Church of the Senhor da Pedra).
Among the events that take place every year in Óbidos, the most important are the Holy Week Festivities (recreating the steps on the Way of the Cross), the Ancient Music Festival in October and, for the more gluttinous, the International Chocolate festival in November, which includes an international competition in which the recipes are judged by an international jury of experts.
Once the wedding present of a queen, the preserved medieval town of Óbidos lying 80 km north of Lisbon is without doubt one of Portugal”s most classic walled settlements. When strolling along the maze of narrow cobbled streets of Óbidos, at each step, one comes upon vestiges of different civilizations.
From the hidden corners and high walled gardens of the old medina area to the gothic, Renaissance and Baroque features the Town is an extensive work of art carved, destroyed and rebuilt throughout the centuries.
Besides its material heritage of the past, Óbidos, a melting pot of historical tradition is still today one of the main jewels of the country. Welcome to Óbidos!
Where is Óbidos?
Óbidos is located about 80 km north of Lisbon and just a short drive from Caldas da Rainha and Peniche.
The magnificent medieval walled town of Óbidos is known as the “Town of Queens” because of a tradition in which kings used to offer the place to their wives.
The town boasts some lovely churches. In days gone by these were built when queens gave birth to a child.
The graceful castle is now a Pousada and perhaps the most romantic of all of the Pousadas de Portugal.
The town is stunning, full of well-preserved white houses with Manueline porticos and flower-laden window boxes; sinuous streets with romantic recesses; arcades and small squares. Look out for some amazing buildings too. Architectural jewels include the Misericórdia Church (15th c.), the São Pedro Church (18th c.) and the São Martinho Chapel (14th c.), the Paço Real (Royal Palace) and the perimeter of the castle walls, from which you can see the aqueduct.
Finally, don”t miss the chance to savour the local cuisine, with dishes like caldeirada, made with fish from Óbidos lagoon, accompanied by special regional wines. Within the walls, numerous bars offer you a taste of ginjinha, a traditional liqueur.
So close to Lisbon, this is one of the most picturesque and most visited sites in the country, hosting countless cultural and tourist-oriented events.
Óbidos and its surrounding region
Climb the castle walls and walk the narrow streets of Óbidos, a romantic medieval town.
With its narrow, twisting streets and imposing walls, Óbidos whisks you straight back to the middle ages. This medieval town with its simple white houses is the ideal location for a romantic break.
Relax in the castle, now converted into a pousada hotel; browse the shops on Rua Direita before a candlelit dinner in the "Cozinha das Rainhas" restaurant. Later, soak up the atmosphere of the town”s bars and toast your stay with a glass of the famous ginjinha cherry liqueur.
Take a day to wander the sandy beaches of Praia d”el Rey with its grandiose cliffs running the length of the Atlantic coastline. Visit Caldas da Rainha, with its rich artistic heritage and gardens designed for princes and princesses. Order some of the delicious “cavacas” cracknel for late afternoon tea before dropping in on the Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro House Museum, great for souvenir shopping.
Along the coast, the seaside town of Foz do Arelho is a must for a fresh fish or shellfish lunch. And the "Óbidos Lagoon Sailing School" esplanade is an ideal spot to enjoy a glass of freshly squeezed fruit juice or a cup of tea.
Romance in Óbidos
Surprise your loved one by making the gift of Óbidos, just as Dom Afonso II did to Dona Urraca and Dom Dinis did to Dona Isabel, both of whom included it in the dowry of the queens.
Pass through the Porta da Vila, the main gateway into the town, its walls lined with 18th-century tiles, and take a trip back in time to the days of aristocratic love. Discover every nook and cranny of this museum town. You”ll find that it is filled with rose bushes, which provide a perfect invitation to enjoy a little romance. In Rua Direita, the main shopping street leading to the town hall and castle, let yourself be won over by the charming picture that is created by the white walls of the houses, all of them highlighted with blue or yellow borders.
Get to know more about the local habits and stop for a while at the Ginjinha d”Óbidos or the bar known as Ibn Errick Rex (and discover the reason for its cosmopolitan name...), where you should make sure to sample some of this typical local drink. Visit the pottery shops and choose a souvenir of these happy moments.
Climb onto the town walls and admire the seemingly endless landscape or take a trip to the recently opened Game Park on the town”s western slopes, where you can enjoy a magnificent view over the Várzea da Rainha and observe the life of the families of deer or mallards.
For your romantic dinner, choose Senhoras Rainhas, the restaurant of the luxury hotel of the same name, or the Pousada do Castelo, where you can enjoy a dinner cooked and served in the mediaeval style.
Help yourself to remember all these moments by having your photograph taken next to the Igreja de Santa Maria, the church that has witnessed many thousands of marriages since the 19th century.