Chilling in the Walled City of Óbidos, Portugal

January 30, 2020

The town of Óbidos is located on a hilltop and is surrounded by a big fortified wall. Óbidos remains a well-preserved example of a medieval town built by the Romans around 700 a.d. While many tour guides advise you that you only need 3 – 4 hours to visit, we felt that this was a great opportunity to find a quiet town and just chill for a couple of days.

When you arrive, you enter through the beautiful Porta da Vila gate. This entry was actually two small gateways that were staggered to stop any assaults by battering-rams. The entry contains a small chapel that depicts the passion of Christ in blue tiles while the ceiling is adorned with colorful tiles representing the Crown of Thorns. The double entrance creates quite a tight turn by today’s standards.

The entrance into Óbidos has a false front to confuse intruders of the military type.

The town is surrounded by stone walls that are over 40’ tall in some locations. These walls were re-built in the early 1800’s after an earthquake in the area. Today, you can still walk on the walls around most of the city. We walked around a small section of the wall and enjoyed the view of the countryside.

Viewing a portion of the Óbidos fortification and the City.
Looking out at the countryside from the castle walls.

The Igreja de Santa Maria is centrally located and is the main church of Óbidos. The church you see today was rebuilt in the 1500’s as it was badly damaged by an earthquake (do you see a trend here). The Igreja has been a temple for the Visigoths, a Mosque for the Moors and currently a Church. In 1444, it was even the location of the royal wedding of King Afonso V to his cousin Isabel. Believe it or not, they were only 18 and 15 years old (she died at age 23 after they had three children together).

The main square of Óbidos and the Igreja de Santa Maria.

There are two star attractions to this town: the castle and the wisteria laden whitewashed houses. With all of the white, blue and tiled roofs, you could almost feel like you are in Greece. We enjoyed strolling all three main streets and then exploring the castle and the surrounding wall. We climbed over, under, around and through the wall and ended up hiking around the “wrong” side of the wall.

The castle of Óbidos.
Wisteria vines growing along the storefronts.
A view down the street from the castle.
Jeff hiking outside the wall looking for a place to get inside the wall.

We always find one place, site, person or relic that stands out in each town we visit. In Óbidos, Capinha da Óbidos was it! Husband bakes throughout the night/morning, then the wife and family take over the sales and smaller baking from 0930-1800. The hearth and dough table are in plain sight and entertaining if you enjoy artisans at work. Only four small cafe tables and it will be busy especially when the tour buses roll into town. Enjoy their coffee and pastry or sandwich. We were not disappointed, ever, and we almost ended up with frequent eater points!

Our favorite bakery, Capinha da Óbidos. Family business since late 1800’s.
Fresh out of the ovens at Capinha da Óbidos. I’ll take one of each, please. From donuts to quiche, sausage-stuffed baked bread to beautiful light rolls.

Directions: We traveled to Obidos from Nazaré on Bus 990 Rodoviaria. The cost was €4 one way per person and the trip takes about 1 hour. You have to go to the bus station to purchase the tickets. When you arrive at the bus stop in Óbidos, just walk up the hill to enter into town. Cobblestones are the norm. You have been forewarned.

Óbidos is also a popular day visit attraction from Lisbon. We used the bus Rapida Verde to Lisboa Sete Rios station €8 one way.

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