Obidos, a stunning medieval Portuguese beauty, surrounded by the fortified walls breathing out a picturesque charm
Thought a lot how would I describe Obidos. This small fortified town captivated my attention when I was on the highway that goes from Lisbon to Porto. Placed on the nearby hilltop is impossible not to draw attention. When I saw those little quaint whitewashed houses and a medieval castle encircled by a big defensive wall I knew I have to go there. Obidos represents the quintessence of Portugal and this can be seen on every street and every house.
The moment you pass the gate is like stepping into a time bubble. When entering the Porta da vila a stunning painting made with azulejos depicting the passion of Christ welcomes the travellers in. The thing I loved the most in Obidos is that I could walk the walls and see it better from above. When I was walking on its cobbled streets I avoided the main street although there are the shops and the restaurants. For a more authentical experience, I preferred the quietness of the side streets.
The history of Obidos goes back to Paleolithic times. Then, the Romans left their mark follower by Visigoths. The Moors built the castle and walls on top of the hills and when the Portuguese regain the country from the Moors they strengthen the castle and walls.
Traditionally, Obidos belonged to the queen of Portugal and probably this is the main reason why is so charmingly beautiful.
Nowadays Obidos is 10 km inland but until the 15th century, the ocean`s water was reaching the west side of the town. After the 15th century, the coastline was transformed by powerful tsunamis triggered by the earthquakes. Azores-Gibraltar Transform Fault where the African Eurasian and Iberian plates are meeting is to blame for one of the deadliest earthquakes that took place in the region in 1755. Also, the powerful winter storms which helped the formation of sandbars stopping the ocean flow and moved the coastline 10km west.
Obidos is 85km from Lisbon this makes it ideal for one day trip. This being also the reason why during the season it is assaulted by tourists. It is small and there are not too many places where you can spend the night. Although my personal choice would be Pousada Hotel. The Obidos Castle was transformed by this chain of hotels and revives successfully the old time atmosphere. It is a bit expensive but spending the night in Obidos can be an unforgettable experience. Another alternative is to find a place to stay in Caldas da Rainha or Fos do Arelho which are not very far.
Obidos is astonishing and by far is the most beautiful town I saw in Portugal till now. I loved its walls and its narrow streets, the white weathered houses and the atmosphere that made me think that I am lost in a time bubble. Obidos is Portugal and I love Portugal…
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