Travel Back In Time In Óbidos On The Silver Coast

On the Silver Coast of Portugal history is a living thing thanks to the area’s remarkably well preserved buildings and monuments.

One of the best examples of this is Óbidos, a walled medieval town which has existed unchanged for centuries and is of such architectural importance that it has been selected as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The town, located an easy one hour’s drive north of Lisbon, is one of Portugal’s architectural gems and well worth a visit.

Inside the town walls is an atmospheric maze of photogenic cottages, terracotta roofs, winding cobbled lanes and colourful outbursts of bougainvillea flowers. It is a treasure house of art where it is possible to see all the different architectural styles that have shaped the Portuguese urban environment over the last thousand years, with fascinating facades and buildings to be found around every corner.

The town features some superb churches and a magnificent pousado, a castle that has been converted into a hotel, at its highest point. For those with a head for heights the views of the surrounding countryside from the castle walls are spectacular. It is possible to walk along the wall all the way around the town and follow the steps of the soldiers who patrolled there many years ago.

The main shopping street is Rua Direita, a picturesque lane filled with charming shops selling local specialities such as ceramics, glassware and textiles. Not to be missed while you are there is a taste of the local liqueur, a drink made from cherries called ginjinha which is normally served in a tiny cup made from chocolate.

There are a number of bars and restaurants all over the town, many located off the beaten path down quiet alleyways but well worth the walk to discover. Most offer reasonably priced food and a great atmosphere and some, those which used to be ginjinha distilleries, even have their table arranged around the original old cherry press.

The lanes leading off the main street are also fascinating places to explore, with elaborately carved doors leading into shady courtyards, splashes of vivid colour around doors and windows in the typical Portuguese house painting style, and quiet corners where it is possible to hear the birds sing no matter how busy the more popular main street might be.

Although Óbidos can be busy in the height of summer, with lots of coach parties trooping through the lanes, it is always possible to find a quiet corner away from the crowds. Out of season the town is quiet and atmospheric and many regard this as the best time to visit. But whatever time of year it is there is one bit of advice which is standard for all visitors – don’t forget your camera.

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One Response to “Travel Back In Time In Óbidos On The Silver Coast”

  • Millie Smith says:

    I have been to Portugal a few times and I haven’t heard of the Silver Coast before so thank you for the information and I will consider visiting some of these places on the Silver Coast this summer.

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