Explore Obidos as a Day Trip
Looking for a great day trip from Sintra? Travel to the medieval village of Obidos.
Just an hour drive from the capital of Portugal, Lisbon, Obidos is the charming little town that is famous throughout the world for its quaint, medieval beauty and the formidable Obidos Castle.
Obidos is also known as the “wedding gift”. It was said that Obidos was the wedding gift of King Dinis to his wife, Queen Isabel, and driving up to the castle walls, it’s easy to guess why Obidos was the chosen place. The queen even built an aqueduct to lead water into the town that she had spent all the money on. As a result, she had to sell all the lands surrounding Obidos to fund the project and became this picturesque town.
Obidos is the personification of the ancient beauty of Portugal, with its cobblestone streets lined with beautiful houses and churches and colorful flowers such as bougainvillea and geraniums.
I visited early in the spring, so the flowers were just starting to bloom blooming, and we made our way through several rain showers throughout the day. Nevertheless, the rain did not bring down the beauty this place had to offer.
The castle looks like it’s built straight out of Lego kit.
Its walls date from Moorish times and walking along them is one of the best ways to appreciate this village and its beautiful surroundings.
The main gate into Obidos contains a beautiful tiled chapel that overlooks the main thoroughfare. The blue and white 18th century glazed tiles, called Azulejo, depict the passion of Christ while the ceiling represents the crown of thorns.
The Porta da Vila actually passes through two low-rise entrances that were staggered to prevent a direct charge and low enough to inhibit mounted attackers following the common design of late gothic Portuguese castles.
After that “grand” entrance, the walls open up to show the true charm of this quaint town. The photos don’t do it justice since it was cloudy, chilly and in between rain showers.
The Rua Direita is the main street of Obidos
The Rua Direita is lined with a variety of shops. Most of these shops are very touristy, but fun to meander through and observe the architecture of the town.
As we made our way through the shops, we found several statues of roosters and gifts depicting roosters. The rooster is a national symbol. It symbolizes “The winning of justice when you fight for it”. The legend is many hundred years old, and I think it’s good fortune too.
They must have been good fortune, since the sun decided to break through the clouds and it became a gloriously beautiful sunny and warm day!
The Santa Maria Church in Obidos
The Igreja de Santa Maria was the location of the wedding of King Afonso V to his betrothed cousin Isabel in 1444. The strange aspect of this wedding was that the bride was only 8 while the groom was little older at 10! Glad this isn’t practiced anymore.
The church originates from the 12th century, and the Christian conquest of Portugal lead by King Afonso Henriques. The church was constructed on the site of a mosque but little of this original church remains as it was severely damaged by an earthquake in 1535.
Do not forget to check out the side streets off the Rua Direita.
You never know what surprises lay right around the corner. We ran into really cute boutique art shops and beautifully tiled walkways. The architecture of this town was so beautiful. It’s wonderful that they never let Obidos lose it’s charm and appearance.
Exploring the castle walls
Believe it or not, you can actually climb the castle walls and walk the perimeter, but it is extremely narrow, so we chose to forgo that view. Instead, we walked the perimeter from the inside.
Future trip planning.
I had so much fun exploring Obidos and can’t wait to go back.
Obidos Annual Festivals
Next trip I would love to visit later in the spring for the International Festival of Chocolate. It has a chocolate-packed program that includes workshops for kids and adults, chocolate sculptures, chocolate shows and music!
Another famous festival is the Obidos Mercado Medieval which takes place mid-July through the beginning of August. They hold all kinds of activities including tournaments, magic shows, art, music and street performances and themed evenings where everyone dresses up in Medieval wear for dinner.
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