Batalha, Alcobaça, Nazaré and Obidos are so close that it is common to put them all in a single day trip from Lisbon.
Of course, things must be seen in a rush, and those who like to feel the places at ease and with time may get disappointed. Among all those places, the ones that may demand more time are Nazaré and Obidos.
In a VT meeting I planned the visit of more than 20 VTers, and tried to forewarn things planning lunch brake in Nazaré and free time by the afternoon in Óbidos. I was betrayed by the bus contract, imposing the return early than expected, but I think that things were not too bad.
Anyway, if you're one of those who love details, you'd better plan an overnight trip, living the magic of Obidos by night.
Checking the Vter's reactions to the meeting and trip (nice, thanks) I noticed that someone (didn't get the name, but will check it again) complained about the rush, and the "terrible guide", always pushing forward. When I was preparing my excuses, I noticed that the guide was a... "she". Reading more carefully, I verified that the time mentioned in a monument was about an half of what we had. Of course, she wasn't part of our group, and came in a commercial trip, maybe before the meeting.
I think we did better than the pros!
Obidos has become a top destination, and it is visited all days, all year around.
If you may choose your visiting time, do it in spring - You will escape the summer crowds that fill each street, shop or bar, and will see the place with the colours of the bloomy flowers planted everywhere.
For decades Obidos was only a very beautiful place. Now, Obidos keeps being a very beautiful place where many things happen.
Initiative and good taste invite thousands to several events all year around. For instance, the chocolate festival: the castle is there, chocolate is delicious, and when February allows a mild day or evening it's hard to get your space in parks and lines to... excuse-me, that candy in that second shelf...
Okay, this is the place where King Afonso V (10 years old) married his cousin Isabel (when she was 8). Hard to believe, but true.
You can find some more of the history here:
* Tourism Office
Rua Direita (in the old city, inside the walls)
- Tel.: (+351) 26 295 50 60
There is another post of tourism outside the walls (pic).
- www.cm-obidos.pt (City Hall)
- E. mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Manueline style castle CASTELO DE OBIDOS was a formidable medieval fortification. The castle, made out of local limestone and marble, was remodelled under King Dinis.
Besides its military function, it was also the Royal Palace.
In 1950, it became the first historic Pousada (State Inn) in Portugal.
The very heart of the town of Obidos is its Mother Church IGREJA DE SANTA MARIA or Church of St. Mary. 17th Century tiles and paintings by artist Josefa D'Obidos, adorn the walls of this wonderful Renaissance Church. It is also contains the tomb and final resting place of Joao De Noronha (1525) Count of Dijon and his spouse.
Church of St. Mary was the setting for the wedding of King Afonso V and his cousin, Princess Isabel, on August 15, 1441, when they were both still children of Age 10 and nine.
The town of OBIDOS is one of Portugal's picturesque gems. It is in the Distrito De Leiria and about 100 kilometres north of Lisbon. Our VT Group stopped here as part of our bus tour on Monday June 1, 2009.
What makes it so charming is its narrow, cobblestoned streets, lined with whitewashed houses painted with blue and yellow borders and most draped with bougainvillaea vines.
The name Obidos is said to come from the Latin "oppidum" meaning citadel.
Known as the "Wedding Present Town" as it was a gift King Dinis gave to Queen Isabel on their wedding day in 1282.
Its main points of interest are:
Town Gate - main access door to the town, built approximately in 1380. It shelters the oratory of Our Lady of Piety.
Saint Mary's Church - Obidos Mother Church, Erected in the 12th century and rebuilt in the 16th century
Castelo de Obidos - Besides its military function, it was also the Royal Palace. In 1950, it became the first historic Pousada (State Inn) in Portugal.
The most charming aspect of Obidos has to be its NARROW COBBLESTONED STREETS. Its main street "Rua Direita" leads from the town gate to the main square "Praca de Santa Maria". Here you will find all sorts of little shops, restaurants, St. Mary's Church, etc. I loved looking up at the various little alleys with stairs leading up to residences.
The street is lined with white-washed houses, some painted with blue and yellow borders - must be a tradition in Obidos and many draped with bougainvillaea vines.
Upon entering the town of Obidos, you come across the stunning town gate PORTA DA VILA.
A plaque nearby reads as follows:
"Town Gate and Our Lady of Piety's Oratory
Main Access Door to the town of Obidos
Concluded approximately in 1380. It shelters
the Oratory dedicated to the Patroness of
Obidos, Our Lady of Piety. Concluded in the
17th Century, with remarkable tile covering from
1740 - 45
Visiting Óbidos is always a pleasure. Visiting Óbidos in mood for a romance is even better.
Visitors may walk on the castle walls, wandering on the ancient streets, and drinking Ginga - a local sweet liquor ....
... any person may easily fall in love :)
Favorite thing: The village of Óbidos is located inside the Castle walls. This really amazes me. People do actually still live in those houses. Visiting Óbidos is like going back a few hundred years in time !!!. Lovely.
I had already been in Portugal for quite some time when I visited Obidos, but it was only about two weeks into the time that I started actually studying the language that I went to visit this village. I was taking a language course open to the general public, and this trip was organized by the school. Hence, a good handful of people of all ages and ethnicities were present. Seeing as I had only been studying the language for 2 weeks, it was quite awful to realize that our guide was speaking only in Portuguese the entire time. There were only a handful of us beginners present, whereas everyone else was rather advanced with the language. Tough luck for us; we sat there and amused ourselves with whatever we could while our lovely guide blabbered away almost incomprehensibly to us. I think I could understand one in every 10 words. Had you given me a few more weeks, I would have had a much easier time.
If you want a tour of the village, find one in a language you can understand!
Favorite thing: Red clay tile roofs are popular in Portugal, especially in this part of the country. Take a closer look at what is seemingly charming, and you'll see multicolored mold and bird excrement splatter painted all over them. I don't know whether to reprimand the house owners for poor maintenance or applaud them for the catchy scenery. I'll stick to the latter. Years of neglect have left me with a nice photographic subject.
Fondest memory: The soft glowing luminescene of the burning offeratory candles in the churches is rather soothing. While I was not in the church to pray, it was nice to sit down on an pew and reflect for a moment. Kind of brought back memories of when I used to be a Catholic a long time ago. If I had any cash on me I would have donated a bit and lit one myself. Portugal is an extremely Catholic country (although seemingly most people, especially those of the younger generations, practice strictly out of custom); it is not surprising to see candles everywhere.