Some people say it was Roman. Maybe! But, for sure, the actual castle seen in Obidos comes from the Arab occupation, until the XII century.
Damaged by Lisbon earthquake, it was reconstructed, and now it houses a luxury hotel. If you are in a budget follow the ramparts and watch it from outside (better from north). If you can afford more than 200 euros for a double room, go round and check-in for a historic night.
"Os Lusíadas" by Luis de Camões is the greatest cultural reference of Portuguese literature and history.
It's an epic poem, celebrating the Portuguese discoveries and conquests, written in the 15th century.
To register the discoveries, our navigators used to signal their discoveries by erecting a carved stone pillar, called "Padrão", that are already present in almost all the continents.
To celebrate Camões there has been an initiative to erect in the local places mentioned in the poem a copy of a "Padrão".
That's what happen in Obidos, near the southern entrance: A "Padrão" designed by Raul Lino and erected in 1932.
Born in Seville, Spain, from Portuguese parents, Josefa Figueira returned to Portugal when she was four, and became one of the Portuguese artistic references in the 17th century.
For living in Obidos, she became known as Josefa d'Óbidos, and her paintings may be seen everywhere in town.
Santa Maria church is the best place to admire her work.
The south entrance is a strange but beautiful door, that is also a small chapel. At the southern entrance of town the door was built in the 17th century, still showing a balcony from the same period.
The tiles were added in the 18th century
Óbidos is one of the best preserved medieval towns in Portugal. One of the best ways to experience the town is by walking the perimeter of the castle walls. Not only does it give you a bird's eye view of the town below, but you can also see the beautiful countryside surrounding it.
If you're lucky enough to visit Portugal in July, you must visit the annual Medieval Festival held in Óbidos. The town is surrounded by the former castle walls, which provides an excellent backdrop for this festival. Activities are held throughout the town, including: medieval jousting; a procession of knights, jesters, townsfolk, etc; children's playground; music; numerous vendors selling locally produced oils, vinegars, etc. My personal favorite was the food. Freshly grilled meats, soups, and wine!
6 euro entrance fee was well worth it!
Gaeiras is the biggest village of Obidos, about 4 Km distant. I had some notes to post in its page, but VT doesn't list it, so, meanwhile, I'll put them in Obidos.
Now it does, and my Gaeiras page is alreaady growing.
For almost 50 years that church intrigues me! I read that it has "hexagonal plant" but it really looks round. If we consider the external chapels, then the whole is a sort of triangle.
The style is clearly baroque, and I read somewhere that it is unfinished.
Anyway, that's a silhouette that always catches our attention any time we look around from the high points of Obidos or in its way.
Presumed as a Visigothic construction, the church was transformed in a mosque under Arabic occupation. After Christian conquering, in 1148, it was dedicated to Santa Maria.
It was reconstructed in the XVI century in Renaissance style, acquiring the look that it still keeps.
Nothing very important happened there until 30 years ago, when my brother decided that it was the proper place to get married. And he did, allowing the first visit, several times repeated.
"Once the wedding present of a queen, the preserved medieval town of Obidos lying 100 km north of Lisbon is without doubt one of Portugal's most classic walled settlements. Walking the ramparts, visitors can enjoy views of windmills, vineyards and surrounding farmlands.
In the residential area below, narrow cobblestone streets are lined with whitewashed houses sporting terracotta roofs. The shops are piled high with local handicrafts, while in spring the town is ablaze with geraniums, morning glories and bougainvillaea"
Yes, I agree and couldn't write it better, always feeling good in Obidos!
No, Obidos doesn't have the best Ginginha - for that you must try Alcobaça. But Obidos is the best place to drink Ginginha.
This very strong and sweet liquor plays a distinguishable role in Obidos' evenings and afternoons.
Served in a chocolate cup, be careful: drink and eat everything but your fingers!
Albarrá Tower (Torre Albarrá) was built by King Sancho I, and it was the Town Hall and Treasure House during the 12th and 13th centuries; then, it became the castle's prison.
Note: The Tower should have been on the left of the pic, but... (sorry for that).
While walking the streets of Obidos old town, I got the impression of being in a theme park: everything is so perfect!
Streets get very busy from late morning till late afternoon because most of the tourists come at that time of the day, but if you have the chance of stopping in Obidos for the night, you will definitely get a better idea of what I mean!
I also recommend to wake up early in the morning and to have breakfast in one of the cosy bars located on the main street.
The Obidos Castle is visible from every corner of the village since it is located on its highest spot.
If you are taking a walk on the walls, you will inevitably end up in here, sooner or later. The castle is built in the same style as the walls, and it is impressive because of its size.
We just has a look at it from the outside, because the castle has turned into a pousada (an expensive hotel) :-)
Not sure whether to post this tip in here or in the Accomodation section!
In my opinion, the best way to get an overview on Obidos is walking on the walls of the old town. Being a medieval village, the old town is entirely bordered with defensive walls allowing you to comfortably circumnavigate the old city.
Sometimes the walls are a little bit dangerous because of their height (there is no protection), but the game is worth the candle!