The town of Óbidos is a mere 1 hour drive away from Lisbon and well worth the visit if you have the time. It originated a long long time ago – before the Romans, even – and it used to be known as the “town of queens” because it was part of the dowry of every Portuguese queen.
Although Óbidos now has a mix of old and new it’s a place where you can still admire the typical medieval town/castle structure, with features like having the houses inside the castle walls and having one main street, for example. Today Óbidos is best known for its castle and the events it holds throughout the year, like Vila Natal (held around Christmas time), the chocolate festival and the medieval fair (in July/August). Traditionally, while in Óbidos, people enjoy a glass of ginjinha (or several of them!), which can also be drunk from a chocolate cup: drink the liqueur and eat the cup!
The castle, shown above, has a mix of different architectural styles, like Romanesque, Gothic, Barroque and the very Portuguese Manueline. The inside of the castle is now a hotel, by the way. Can you imagine what it must be like to sleep where kings and queens used to sleep? I’m sure there are some ghosts included! 😀 I’d love to write a review about it – I’ll gladly accept donations! 😀
Trivia tidbit of the day: The people from Óbidos were once known as “toupeiros” (moles, in a loose translation) because of a vast network of tunnels underneath the castle, which would allow the people inside to receive supplies during times of war or when under a siege. Actually, this type of network is said to exist under several castles in Portugal.