If you are looking to savor the atmosphere of a small and historic village in Portugal, there is nowhere more picturesque and charming than Obidos. This quaint town is made up of a maze of cobblestone streets and white washed churches, surrounded by tall castle walls. Although a little touristy at times, there is a great ‘lost in time’ atmosphere that takes you back to a medieval era gone by.
As you pass through the cobbled entrance to the village, shops greet you selling pretty flower wreaths for your hair. Further along, children play in the center square, dressed like royalty with their princess dresses and crowns.
Obidos is known for its Ginja (also called Ginjinha), a traditional Portuguese sour cherry liqueur. Made since 1890 by infusing sour Morello Cherries with Aguardente (Portuguese brandy), sugar, and cinnamon, Ginja is a sweet delight. Local custom serves it up in dark chocolate cups, the perfect accompaniment.
Following a local tip we were looking for Ibn Errik Rex (Son of Erik the King), which was recommended as the best bar to sample Ginja. It wasn’t hard to find, located at the end of the main street Rua Direita, just a few buildings before the church. The historic bar is decorated with ceramics and hundreds of tiny bottles hanging from the ceiling. Jeweled bottles of Ginja sit on the wooden tables, served by the glass along with a selection of tasty appetizers. The location is perfect to order one, or two, Ginjas and let minds wander to the clashes of Kings that saw Obidos taken from the Moors by the first king of Portugal all the way back in 1148.
After sipping our Ginja, we were ready to explore the rest of the town. One of the highlights was walking high atop the stone castle walls that surround the city. The walls are narrow, tall, and un-even in areas, but surrounding the tiny village perfectly adventurers are treated to glimpses into the life below and unbroken views out to the horizon.
During this trip we wanted to experience as much of Portugal as possible, visiting big cities like Lisbon and Porto, sunbathing by the Algarve Coast, and drinking the most amazing wine in Douro. It was also important to us to also see another side of Portugal, the small hilltop villages and their medieval history. Obidos, consistently ranked one of the top-1o walled cities in the world, was the perfect town for this, wooing us to fall in love with its Portuguese character and medieval charm.
Sails & Spices Tips
- Obidos can be visited as a day trip from Lisbon. Many tour operators operate round-trip bus service, however to avoid some of the tourist crowds it’s recommended to stay the night.
- For an exciting and novel experience, stay in the Castle’s refurbished luxury hotel, Casa das Senhoras Rainhas.
- If an overnight stay isn’t feasible for your itinerary, consider renting a car and driving yourself. Catch Obidos in the golden hour… the tour buses will have departed and you’ll be spoiled with a quiet town and stunning photos.
- Every summer Obidos hosts a Medieval Festival, where the town is truly transformed back in time. You can rent a costume to get into character, watch knight’s joust on horseback, and dine on a medieval style feast at this unique celebration.
PORTUGAL CITY GUIDES
If you are planning a trip around Portugal, check out the rest of Sails & Spices Portugal City Guides:
- A Romantic Weekend in Porto
- A Wine Lover’s Dream in the Douro Valley
- Lisbon City Guide
- Pena Palace in Sintra
- Pastries and Parapetes in Belem
- A Vegetarian Guide to Lagos