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The medieval walled city of Obidos is a magical place that instantly transports you into the past…
Obidos was just one of those places that took me by surprise. Even though I had done research before visiting and knew what to expect, nothing can prepare you for the special feel of this charming little village in Portugal. The entire village is located on a hilltop and still has the original medieval wall surrounding the village and the Obidos Castle. Obidos is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a UNESCO Creative City of Literature. This makes it the ideal destination for history lovers as well as literature lovers (I am both – so really fell in love with this place).
Obidos is located in central Portugal and only about an hour away from Lisbon. This makes it a popular day trip destination for travelers staying in Lisbon. As a result the village can be extremely busy during the day when the tour buses arrive. My advice is to spend a few nights in the village to see it without all the tourists. Use this guide to immerse yourself in this special medieval village.
Walk Along the Castle Wall
The best thing to do in Obidos is walk along the castle wall. The wall is still well-maintained and in tact which allows visitors to view the picturesque village from above. Look out for the stairs that lead up to the wall from the village streets (there are a few places to ascend). It is quite high up so not reccommended for children, but great for people looking to conquer a fear of heights (like me)! The gorgeous views and unqiue experience make it an unforgettable activity.
Explore the Medieval Village
Obidos is such a cute place and just such fun to explore. You find something new to admire around every corner. It is also so small that it is easy to explore the entire village within a day. As a result you can truly get to know the place and the surrounding area. Make sure to pop into the souvenir shops along the main road to find some locally produced gifts. Along the way you should also sample Ginja (a local cherry liquer) served in chocolate cups. If you are a book lover you will want to serach for the numerous book stores that make up this village such as the one found in a church.
Check Out Obidos Castle
Obidos Castle is definitely worth visiting while exploring the village. Unfortunately, visitors can’t enter the well-maintained castle as it is now in use as a luxury hotel. Only hotel guests have access to the castle, but it is still impressive to view from outside. Make your way along the castle wall and descend where it ends, right by the castle.
Obidos at Night
We found Obidos to be truly magical at night after the day-trip tourists had left. The energy of the village when the sun started to set was so peaceful and we spent quite some time wandering around at dusk. Find the doorways that take you beyond the wall to find some gorgeous lookout points. You can get a true sense of the history of the village when you walk around at night and we were so glad we had opted to spend two nights here.
Where to Stay in Obidos
We were lucky enough to stay in one of the best hotels in Obidos, The Literary Man Obidos Hotel. The Literary Man Obidos Hotel is located just outside of the village wall which makes it so conveneint for exploring after dark. A stay in this unique hotel is perfect for bibliophiles, as within the walls is an astounding collection of 65000 books. Guests can read the books in their rooms or other common areas throughout the hotel and have the option to buy these books. The 19th-century building was originally a convent and has such an interesting layout. Although its historical significance has been maintained, the rooms have all the modern facilities expected of four-star hotels. We spent two nights at this superb hotel and loved the experience. I was in heaven being surrounded by so many books during our time in Obidos!
Where to Eat in Obidos
Although there are a number of interesting places to dine within the village itself, be open to trying restaurants in the surrounding area. We had the absolute pleasure of dining at Maria Batata, which is the on-site restaurant at the eco-hotel Rio do Prado. Rio do Prado is a superb sustainable hotel located in the farmlands near Obidos. The stunning property has a focus on maintaing nature and much of the food consists of ingredients that come from their own gardens or the farms nearby. We were treated to a five-course dinner full of amazing dishes. The meal included dishes such as deep-fried eel and pork cheek (both surprisingly delicious) combined with complimenting vegetables. We most enjoyed our team of hosts who seemed to revel in sharing these dishes and information about their establishment with us. I highly recommend that you dine at Maria Batata when visiting Obidos!
Have I convinced you to visit Obidos while in Portugal?
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