Set away from a main road between Coimbra to Lisbon, and completely surrounded by ancient walls is the beautiful town of Obidos.
The area dates as far back as the 5th century, and was influenced by the Romans and Moors, until the Portuguese took over in 1148. The town was originally given as a gift to the wife of King Alfonso II in 1210, and was still gifted to each Queen up until the 1800’s. Today it still unofficially known as ‘The Village of Queens’.
Once you arrive and pass through the ancient walls, you are immediately struck by the beauty of white-washed homes, vibrant flower-beds, sprawling bougainvillea, and narrow cobbled streets.
Wandering along the village main street you can find a myriad of shops selling local wares, handicrafts and gifts made from Portugal’s famous cork. There are also traditional delicacies to try, which is a must do. Be sure to try a ‘Ginjinha’ which is a Portuguese liqueur made from the Ginja berry, similar to a cherry. It is even served in an edible chocolate cup – very decadent but so delicious!
Next, if you’re hungry you can follow the aroma to the bakery and try their famous chorizo bread, fresh from the traditional stone oven.
Walk on a bit further and you will come to the Santa Maria square and church, where King Alfonso married, and today still showcases intricate hand-painted ceilings and tiles. If you don’t mind heights, you can go on to climb the city walls and view Obidos from above. The walls are also built around the ancient castle which has stood since the Moorish times and been the residence of many Queens. Today the Castle can be viewed from the outside and is used as luxury accommodation.
Obidos is a fabulous example of traditional Portugal and well worth the visit. This little gem is also a photographers’ paradise, so keep your camera handy!
See Portugal for yourself on a Bunnik small group tour, see our website for more information.
All images by Honi Gibson