Óbidos

Key Facts

Population: 11722

Area Size: 141.55 sq km

Obidos

Óbidos is both a town and municipality within the Silver Coast region of Portugal. It is situated 80km north of Lisbon and at the last census, taken in 2011, the population was recorded as 11,722, with approximately 3,100 people living in the actual town.

The town is enclosed by a fortified wall and is located at the top of a hill. It continues to be a well preserved example of medieval architecture, and often hosts festivals throughout the year which tourists love to visit. The town consists of olde-worlde cobbled streets, quaint houses, the castle walls and the medieval castle itself which is currently a hotel.

Óbidos is renowned for it’s famous Ginjinha (Ginja) de Óbidos – a liqueur made from the fruit ginja, which is similar to cherries –  and served in mini chocolate cups along the main streets.

The municipality has 7 civil parishes (freguesias):

A dos Negros
Amoreira
Gaeiras
Olho Marinho
Santa Maria, São Pedro e Sobral da Lagoa
Usseira
Vau

Before the 15th century, Óbidos had a natural harbour on it’s western edge. Following several  winter storms, sandbars were formed which created the present coastline some 10km away, reducing the flow of the water to the harbour.

History

According to historical records, discovery of human remains and other archaeological evidence, it has been determined that humans have been settled in Obidos since at least the Lower Paleolithic Period.

After a few million years a settlement emerged which would become a trading post for Phoenicians and would later become an influential Roman Military Outpost. Afonso Henrique’s takeover of the town in the 12th Century and the subsequent construction and emergence of the now world famous Obidos Castle provided the local landmark that can be seen for miles as you approach Obidos.

Through a deed drawn up in 1210, King Afonso II donated the town to his wife and in 1281, King Dinis offered it to Queen Isabel as a wedding gift. For the next 600 years, every Monarch offered the town as a gift to their Queens and it became known as Casa das Rainha, the House of Queens.

The castle which has an imposing position was originally built as a fortress and was later converted to become a Royal Palace. Today one of the wings of the castle, operates as a luxury hotel

Amenities & Attractions

Óbidos is served by buses from Lisbon, Campo Grande which takes about an hour. Óbidos train station is served by the regional train service, stopping at several places along the way from Lisbon, and takes around 2 hours. For more information and schedules, visit the municipality website.

Schools in the area provide education from Pré-escolar (ages 3-6), Primeiro Ciclo (ages 6-10), Segundo ciclo (ages 10 – 15) and Terceiro Ciclo (ages 15 – 18).

Outside of the historic town walls there are banks, supermarkets, restaurants, cafes, pharmacy and other amenities you would expect from a medium sized town in this area.

Other activities near to Óbidos, within the Silver Coast area, include:

The famous Praia D’el Rey golf complex, one of the top golf resorts in Europe
Royal Óbidos – Spa & Golf Resort.
Westcliffs Golf Resort
Bom Sucesso Golf Resort
Buddha Eden in nearby Bombarral
Santuário do Senhor Jesus da Pedra
Municipal Museum of Obidos.

Our Team Recommends

No trip to Obidos would be complete without tasting the delicious Ginja, often served in equally delicious chocolate cups. Ginja is made from a quite sour cherry so may be a different taste to what you are expecting. You can buy Ginja and the chocolate cups as a lovely gift or to take home as a wonderful memory of your time in Obidos.

Also the Santuário do Senhor Jesus da Pedra which is located just outside the walls of the medieval village is well worth a visit.  A beautiful building it was built in 1747 and is one of the most interesting of the Baroque buildings to be found in Portugal due to it’s hexagonal floor.