Óbidos Quick Tour Review – Atmospheric Charms

View of Óbidos from afar

 

Even from a distance Óbidos charms.  

 

The walls are surrounded by greenery

 

You see the turrets of its surrounding walls and your imagination is immediately thrown back to the times of knights jousting.   As you get closer you can picture someone in clunky armor coming around the next alley corner.

 

The aqueduct is 3 km long

 

Do know it is also one of those very commercial spots where you will pass a souvenir shop or a street vendor every few steps on its main drags. 

 

The classic blue and white tiles (azulego) on the city wall gate, circa 1380

 

This commercialism starts as you walk through the town gate, with the presence of the tourist office reminding that you are on well-worn tourist paths.  In fact, there were so many fellow visitors to Óbidos when we were there, that this tourist office had been cleaned out of all English language maps and guides.

 

A view of the town from the walls up on high surrounding it

 

If you have been to San Gimignano ,or similar sibling medieval towns gone very commercial around the world, Óbidos, whose streets and many buildings actually date back earlier to the Moors and even the Romans, will feel very familiar. 

 

Away from the main commercial streets there is a more charming town to be explored, usually via narrow alleyways

 

Like these very similar medieval age-feeling tourist attractions, the charm outweighs any negatives.  These are fun cobblestone streets to explore and the town is one we would have chosen, schedule permitting, to visit for an entire day and perhaps stay over in one of the town’s small hotels or B&Bs.  Getting off the main streets and into the alleys and small roads where the real people live is a special treat. 

 

The main cobblestone streets are almost entirely filled with small souvenir, wine, and other little shops-- very commercial and heavily touristed but still very charming

 

There is actually much to like about the glut of souvenir shops—truth to tell.  We found a great cork baseball cap and other Portuguese-specific wares, instead of the pan-tourist generic junk you usually run into when traveling. 

 

The central streets of Óbidos are so commercial that the charming cobblestone streets with houses where real people live have special charm

 

Looking away from a main street

 

And, what’s not to like about the many, many samples of ginginha (cherry liqueur) handed out to you at almost every corner? 

 

Óbidos is also the center of ginginha, a delicious cherry liqueur that you find from vendors at nearly all main street corners-- and in its many bars

 

(Note:  Though we didn’t make an exhaustive study of it, we did feel however that the sampling of ginginha at Lisbon’s Castelo Sao Jorge was of a much higher quality.)

 

The scrubbed white walls of Óbidos building walls with orange roofs give it a clean and festive feel

 

Igreja de Santa Maria is the main church in Óbidos

 

Igreja de Santa Maria interior

 

Igreja de Santa Maria interior

 

Igreja da Misericórdia

 

There are beautiful churches every few blocks.

 

Igreja de São Tiago

 

The entrance to Museu Municipal, nex t to the large Igreja de Santa Maria, is easy to miss

 

From the collections of Museu Municipal

 

The free admission small Municipal Museum in the town center is definitely worth a linger.   

 

Óbidos' small Municipal Museum was sparsely attended even when the streets were overflowing with fellow tourists

 

From the collections of Museu Municipal

 

From the collections of Museu Municipal

 

From the collections of Museu Municipal

 

 

This is a museum worthy of your time and support.

 

Adventurers can scale the castle walls for spectacular view

 

Adventurers should definitely plan an hour or so to scale the town walls. 

 

An aerial view of the historic cemetary below

 

In spring or summer you will be rewarded with beautiful views of the town’s attractions in one direction, and also the verdant countryside when you turn. 

 

Looking back on the town from one of the surrounding walls

 

Acrophobes take note however—do not go up these steps unless you are braced for a long dizzy spell.  There are few steps up and the paths are narrow such that you will find it difficult to steer back to lower ground easily if you feel a need to.

 

Ground level view of the Óbidos cemetary

 

If you are on a road trip through Portugal’s north of more than 10 days, Óbidos certainly deserves a spot on your itinerary. 

 

 

 

 

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