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Even though the charming village of Obidos, Portugal is put on several tourist bus tour itineraries, it is still worth a stop. It is not overcrowded except during annual festivals. Get there early in the morning as we did, having plenty of time to walk the town with its quaint cobblestone streets, whitewashed homes, and many colorful shops.
If you have time, take a walk around the castle. It’s about 1.5km with many vistas and scenic views to take photographs of the valley below. Be careful as you walk atop the narrow stone walls that surround the castle.
Castelo de Óbidos
The Obidos Castle is considered one of seven wonders in Portugal. Obidos was originally founded by the Romans in the 4th century. The castle was conquered by the King Alfonso Henriques in 1148 who was also the first king of Portugal. Since that time it has changed ruling ownership to King Denis who gave it to his wife. It has been enlarged and renovated many times.
The great earthquake of 1755 destroyed many buildings in the area and caused damage to the castle. It was left in ruins for many decades until the 1950s when Portugal declared it a national monument. It was then turned into a tourist hotel. The only way you can see the interior of the castle hotel is to book a room.
In 2015, Óbidos also became a Creative City of Literature recognized by UNESCO as part of its overall sustainable development program. There is a beautiful bookshop I walked into and discovered an assortment of antiqued and new books both in Portuguese and English.
Enjoy a Ginja de Óbidos
You will see many places to take a taste of the famous cherry-flavored liquer that is put into a tiny cup of chocolate. It’s another Portugues sweet treat you won’t want to miss.
The history of this liqueur starts with the selection of the fruit picked from the morello trees (ginjeiras) in orchards (ginjais) of producers who, for decades, have been suppliers of the morello cherry (ginjas). The smooth and luxurious taste is delicious.
I tried it both in dark and white chocolate. It’s a bit on the sweeter side so a little taste goes a long way to satisfy a sweet tooth. Maybe have it with a cup of coffee and you’re good to go strolling through the many tourist shops that offer mini bottles or boxes of ginjinha chocolates to take home.
Óbidos makes for a great half-day stop as part of a longer itinerary when touring around Portugal. Only a little over an hour’s drive from the capital of Lisbon, it’s off the main highway A8 making it an easy drive. Located nearby is the city of Caldas da Rainha translated as “Baths of the Queen” because it was built around thermal hot springs in the area. That could be your next stop as you venture further northward along the Silver Coast of Portugal. My next stop was Nazare, the small fishing village put on the map by it’s 100 foot waves.