Nestled on a hilltop, surrounded by medieval walls, and adorned with charming cobblestone streets, Óbidos is a picturesque town that is often referred to as one of Portugal’s best-kept secrets. With its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant cultural scene, this town is the perfect destination for a summer getaway. Whether you’re looking to soak up some sun, indulge in mouth-watering cuisine, or immerse yourself in Portuguese culture, Óbidos has something for everyone. In this complete guide, we will take you through everything you need to know to plan the perfect summer trip to Óbidos, from where to stay and what to see, to where to eat and how to get there. So pack your bags and get ready to discover the beauty of this hidden gem!
So, what should you do in Óbidos in this summer of 2023?
These are the most important and relevant things we thought you might have interest in doing in Óbidos:
- Attend the Óbidos Medieval Festival
- Walk along the town’s medieval walls
- Visit the Óbidos Castle
- Indulge in Ginja/Ginjinha
- Play Explorial in Óbidos
- Relax on the beaches near Óbidos
- Attend the Chocolate Festival
1. Attend the Óbidos Medieval Festival
Óbidos, Portugal hosts the annual Óbidos Medieval Festival in July, celebrating its medieval history and culture. This is an excellent way to transport visitors back in time to the Middle Ages with its jousting tournaments, parades, traditional music, dance performances, and medieval market.
During the 12th century, people built the town’s walls that also provide a stunning backdrop for the festival, and moreover, they offer visitors the unique opportunity to experience what life was like in a medieval fortress town.
The festival transforms the streets of Óbidos into a bustling medieval marketplace, where visitors can browse and purchase a wide range of traditional goods, including clothing, handicrafts, and food. The festival features various performances, including medieval music, dance, acrobatics, and sword-fighting displays.
One of the highlights of the festival is the jousting tournament, which takes place in the town’s main square. Knights in full armour compete in the tournament, riding horses and trying to knock their opponents off their horses with lances. It is a thrilling spectacle that attracts visitors from around the world.
Visitors can enjoy a traditional medieval banquet with roast meats, stews, and wood-fired bread. Guests dine on long wooden tables, and the atmosphere is lively and convivial.
2. Walk along the town’s medieval walls
The town of Óbidos boasts an impressive set of medieval walls that have stood the test of time. Visitors to the town can take a leisurely stroll along the walls and enjoy panoramic views of the town and its surroundings.
Walking along the walls is a great way to get a sense of the town’s history and architecture. Visitors can see the different styles of buildings and landmarks, from the castle to the Gothic-style church of Santa Maria.
The walls themselves are also interesting to explore, because visitors can see the different sections of the wall and the various towers and battlements that were used for defence.
The walk along the walls is a peaceful and tranquil experience, with plenty of spots to stop and take in the views. Visitors can enjoy the lush greenery and flowers that line the walls, and take a moment to appreciate the history and beauty of the town.
3. Visit the Óbidos’ Castle
The Óbidos Castle is a must-visit destination for anyone travelling to Óbidos. This medieval castle dates back to the 12th century and was originally built to protect the town from invaders. Visitors can explore the castle’s various rooms and passages, which offer stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
One of the castle’s most impressive features is its keep, which stands at over 30 meters tall. Visitors can climb to the top of the keep for panoramic views of the town and the surrounding area. Inside the castle, visitors can also see the old cistern, where rainwater was collected for the castle’s inhabitants.
The castle is located within the town’s walls and is easily accessible from the town centre. Visitors can also take guided tours of the castle, which offer more in-depth insights into the castle’s history and architecture.
Visitors can also explore other landmarks, like Porta da Vila and Church of Santa Maria.
4. Indulge in Ginja/Ginjinha
Indulging in Ginja, also known as Ginjinha, is a must-do experience when visiting Óbidos. Ginja is cherry liqueur made by infusing ginja berries with alcohol and sugar, served in a small chocolate cup.
Visitors can try Ginja at several places in Óbidos, including Ginjinha d’Óbidos. At Ginjinha d’Óbidos, visitors can taste and buy the cherry liqueur.
Other establishments throughout the town, like bars and restaurants, also serve Ginja besides Ginjinha d’Óbidos. Some even offer a twist on the classic recipe, such as adding cinnamon or other spices to the liqueur.
Taking a Ginja tour is a unique way to indulge and learn about the history and production of Ginja. The tour includes visits to a local ginja liqueur factory and tastings at countless town establishments.
Indulging in Ginja is an essential part of the Óbidos experience, whether you prefer it straight or with a twist. Whether straight or with a twist, Ginja is a must-try for the complete Óbidos experience. So be sure to sip some Ginjinha during your visit and savour the flavours of this local speciality.
5. Play Explorial in Óbidos
We design the tours for all ages as an interactive and engaging way to discover the history, culture, and hidden gems of Óbidos. You’ll learn fascinating facts about the city, solve riddles, and most importantly, have lots of fun! These tours are perfect for families, friends, and solo travellers who want to explore the city in a unique and exciting way.
As you follow the tours, you’ll explore Óbidos. You’ll discover some of the neighbourhood’s most iconic landmarks, such as the Castelo de Óbidos, Baloiço de Óbidos, Pelourinho de Óbidos, Livraria Santiago and many more exciting sights in the neighbourhood.
But the tours are not only about sightseeing, as you wander through the streets, you’ll be solving riddles and answering questions that will lead you to discover hidden gems.
The tours are self-guided, so you can start and finish them at your own pace. Additionally, you are free to take as many breaks as you like. We designed the tours to take around 2 hours to complete, but you can take as long as you want to finish them.
The scavenger hunt is not only fun and unique, but also affordable, making it accessible to everyone. Learn more here.
6. Relax on the beaches near Óbidos
The proximity of Óbidos to some of the best beaches in Portugal makes it a well-known destination. Relaxing and enjoying the sun and sea is possible in several beaches located near Óbidos. Praia d’El Rey, with its sand dunes, pine forests, and a long stretch of sand, is a favoured beach. This beach’s surf school provides visitors with the opportunity to take lessons and has a reputation for offering excellent surf.
Baleal, a small peninsula surrounded by beaches on both sides, is another great beach near Óbidos. The beaches here are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and surfing. Bars and restaurants offer ocean views to visitors.
For a peaceful and private beach day, Praia da Foz do Arelho is a good choice. Sand dunes and cliffs surround this beach, located at the mouth of a lagoon. Visitors can swim in the calm waters of the lagoon and hike to scenic viewpoints via various trails.
7. Attend the Chocolate Festival
The Chocolate Festival of Óbidos is an annual event held in the medieval town of Óbidos, Portugal. It usually takes place during the month of March or April, and it attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world.
During the festival, the town’s narrow streets and alleys are filled with the aroma of chocolate, and visitors can enjoy a wide variety of chocolate-based treats, including cakes, truffles, hot chocolate, and even savory dishes made with chocolate.
There are also numerous workshops, cooking demonstrations, and other activities where visitors can learn about the history of chocolate, its production, and its use in cooking. Additionally, there are competitions, music performances, and other events that make the festival a truly unique and entertaining experience.
If you’re planning to attend the Chocolate Festival of Óbidos, it’s recommended to book accommodation in advance, as the town gets very crowded during the event. It’s also advisable to bring comfortable shoes and clothing, as there’s a lot of walking involved.
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