A medieval fortress surrounded by 12th century walls, this charming town was gifted to Isabel of Aragon in 1282.

TravelCurious Tip

Had enough history? Head to the nearby lake, Lagoa de Óbidos, where you can swim, windsurf or sunbathe

A settlement has existed on the site of Óbidos since the late Paleolithic. A conveyor belt of cultures have passed through: the Celts, the Phoenicians, the Romans, the Visigoths, the Moors, and, finally, the Portuguese. During the ‘Reconquista’ the first King of Portugal, Afonso Henriques, seized it from the Moors as the final part of his conquest of the Estremadura region.

Town of Queens

In the 13th century, King Dinis gave the title of Óbidos to his wife, Queen Isabel de Aragon, as a wedding present. Since then it has often been patronised by the Queens of Portugal, giving rise to its nickname, Vila das Rainhas (Town of Queens). Though the Portuguese monarchy are no more, you can enjoy some royal accommodation in the hilltop castle of Óbidos, which has now been converted into one of Portugal’s most luxurious pousadas.

Lost in Time

The castle in Óbidos remains well-preserved, and the town itself is a fine example of medieval architecture. Within the walls of the 12th century castle you will find picturesque cobbled streets lined with whitewashed houses, coloured by bursts of geraniums and bougainvillea between Gothic doorways and windows.

Each July the castle hosts a traditional Medieval market. For two weeks flowing banners coil and stretch in the wind as entertainers and stall holders own the streets. Merchants, jugglers, jesters and soldiers all play their parts, and visitors can watch traditional craftsmen at work, or admire the costumed parade as its winds through the cobbled streets. There are even displays of jousting knights and armed combats, minus the blood and guts. Complete the experience with spit roasted hog alongside ale from pewter tankards.

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