Óbidos

Óbidos Street

Photographer: Vítor Oliveira

Óbidos Street

Surrounded by the walls of the 13th century castle, this charming, perfectly reserved medieval town is a must-see. Not only its picture-like setting, but also its history is romantic. Recaptured from the Moors by Dom Afonso Henriques in 1148, later in 1282 the town was given by the King of Portugal Dom Dinis to his new wife Dona Isabel as a wedding present. Difficult to believe this little town was once a significant port until the sea inlet silted up and destroyed its trade in 16th century.

There are two entrances to Óbidos: one is from the main parking area, in the south, through a narrow gateway lined with 18th century blue tiles and the other is, in the north end, through the 13th century castle where one of the most luxurious pousadas has been adapted. You don't need to stay or eat at the hotel in order to enjoy the view; you can walk the ramparts and try to spot the sea.

Entering through the southern gate, also known as Porta da Vila, you'll see the Igreja de Santa Maria where ten-year-old Dom Afonso V married his eighteen-year-old wife in 1444. The opposite of the church is old Manueline pillory with fishing net. This pillory symbolizes the efforts of local fishermen who failed to save Isabel and Dinis's son from drowning. The town was also a home to a Spanish-born artist, Josefa de Óbidos (1634-84). She was born in Seville but her Portuguese father brought her to Óbidos at the age of six where she spent rest of her life. She is buried in the Igreja de Sao Pedro and some of her works are displayed in the small museum alongside the church.

To get there by bus, you can take the Rede Expresso bus from Arco do Cego terminal to Caldas das Rainha (it takes 1 hour and 15 mins; €6), then another bus from Caldas da Rainha to Óbidos(10 mins; €1.50). By train you can take the train from Rossio to Cacém(Sintra line) then change for another train to Óbidos (the Caldas da Rainha line). It takes 2 hours and costs €6.50.

Tourist information is located in Óbidos parking lot. Open in summer from 9.30am - 7pm Monday to Friday, Weekends and holidays between 9.30am - 12.30pm and 2 - 5.30pm in winter 9.30am - 6pm Monday to Friday Weekends and holidays between 9.30am - 12.30pm and 2 - 5.30pm