Visit Obidos in Portugal
A former colony of Portugal, Obidos is a village located on the Atlantic coast (also known as the Silver Coast) and founded by Celtic tribes. Thanks to King Enriques, Spanish domination was established forever in this village. The name of the town in Latin means “fortress”.
This city has absorbed all the best of a completely different culture. Obidos is a very bright and pleasant town, rich in flowers, fruit trees and quiet courtyards with cobbled streets and paths. It is an open-air museum that attracts tourists from all over the world.
Obidos has many attractions. Despite the fact that the population of the town is only two thousand and the town is quite small, it is rich in large cathedrals, castles, chapels and churches. Almost every year in the city it is customary to organize different types of festivals, knights’ competitions and theatrical performances.
As there are several confectionery factories in the city, the chocolate festival is held there every year. And it is not for nothing that Obidos was awarded the title of “Portuguese Chocolate Capital”.
Guided tour of Obidos in Portugal
There are two ways to visit Obidos, either for a day or to spend several days there and soak up the medieval and typically Portuguese atmosphere that reigns there.
The first is to book a guided tour of Obidos in small groups or privately through a company specializing in guided tours in Portugal. You can look for the one that suits you but if you wish to visit Obidos, I have made for you a selection of the best rated, most appreciated guided tours, which are given by an english speaking guide and which you can cancel up to 24 hours before the visit. So you can book in complete peace of mind, no bad surprises.
Hotels in Obidos
As you will see below, there is a lot to see and do to discover the town of Obidos but also the surroundings. So I would advise you to spend not just one day but maybe two to soak up the atmosphere, get to know the locals, taste the food and wine of the region. Be careful at certain times of the year, such as the medieval festival of Obidos, where there are many people: you will have to make your reservation in advance.
Find below a Booking map that will allow you to view all the hotels in Obidos and nearby where you can book and search for the one you like the most by entering your dates. There are not many hotels towards the centre but don’t hesitate to move away to discover the surrounding countryside full of charm for your stay.
What to see in Obidos
There are many things you will want to see if you go to visit the town of Obidos located north of Lisbon on the Silver Coast in Portugal. I’ve tried to present you here the ones that are most interesting for those who are going to visit Obidos with the places that are most frequented by travellers and tourists.
Rua Dyreita in Obidos
The rua Dyreita is the main street of Obidos. It starts from the train station and goes to Luis de Camoens Square. Walking along this street you will find many very tasty restaurants and you will be able to buy various decorative objects and souvenirs of your visit to Obidos. Many shops and restaurants are concentrated in this street. The church of Santa Maria is in the rua Dyreita, the town hall is nearby and small white houses are arranged along the street. One has the impression that the houses have remained intact since the Middle Ages.
Every year a fair is held in this street. Thanks to this, the town centre is transformed into a real medieval market: music and atmosphere are worked out to offer visitors a trip back in time. People dress in medieval costumes and you can enjoy a lot of entertainment: probably the best time to visit Obidos.
Obidos is also famous for its local wines. Every visitor is required to try the local wine and a Portuguese liqueur. You can find bottles of Obidos wine all over the street Rua Dyreta. The Portuguese liqueur is made from cherry berries and according to tradition you should drink it in small cups made of real chocolate!
It is impossible to visit the town without passing by the Obidos Castle. You can immerse yourself in its history and medieval atmosphere. This castle is very popular and appreciated by tourists from Europe and all over the world. The exterior of the castle is authentic and many nations have contributed to its construction, its architecture and the variety of landscapes have been formed as a result of invasions, battles and numerous restorations.
The castle itself was erected by the Visigoths who succeeded the Romans who erected markers considered sacred on the site of the fortress. After the Arabs took power, the Arabs walled the fortress and the exterior of the castle was adopted after the Arab Emirates entered the country. Every year, newlyweds come to Obidos Castle to spend the first days of their wedding. Obidos is also nicknamed the “city of marriage”.
Temple of Santa Maria in Obidos
The temple of Santa Maria in Obidos is the holy of holies of western Portugal, located in the square of Santa Maria. This historic church of the town was built in the sixteenth century. The entrance has Renaissance pillars, the ceiling contains astonishing frescoes and the church has 3 elongated rooms delimited by series of columns. In the sanctuary, it is possible to see many paintings made by hand. In Santa Maria there is the crypt of a Protestant priest “Juan de Noroni” and a remarkable activist in the 16th century, “Odidos”.
Gates of the fortress of Obidos
These luxurious and refined doors are located in the Obidos Wall. They are decorated with painted clay tiles. The doors themselves are full of charm and worth a visit. Behind these gates opens the medieval and historic town of Obidos.
Church of Misericordia in Obidos
The church misericordia a Obidos is located in the main street, the rua Dyreita. It was founded in 1498. Originally it was the sanctuary of the Holy Spirit and little by little the building was rebuilt. The church is built in an elaborate and lush architectural style, in the niche of the church is the image of the Virgin and Child.
The interior of the church of Misericordia d’Obidos is decorated with yellowish and bluish tiles, the ceilings are made of wood and decorated with the king’s crown and a beautiful painting. Inside the church is the crypt of Louise Guerra.
Santa Maria Square in Obidos
To get to this Santa Maria Square in Obidos, you can walk from the city gates along the main street, the Rua Dyreita. The square is not very big but charming and important for the town. The decoration of the square is a fountain that was installed in the 15th century. In the square you can protect yourself from the sun, relax in the shade and unwind with the sound of the fountain in the background. On the square there is also a museum where you can admire archaeological finds from the Middle Ages, art and various sculptures.
Señor da Pedra Sanctuary in Obidos
The sanctuary Señor da Pedra is located near the town of Obidos. In terms of architecture, it is one of the most beautiful sanctuaries of the Silver Coast. The construction is in the form of a geometric figure, a hexagon, in an elaborate and very beautiful architectural style. This structure is divided from the inside into three elongated rooms, which are delimited by a number of pillars. The roof of the pyramid-shaped sanctuary is green in colour.
Inside the temple to the east of the church is an image of the crucified Christ. The Señor da Pedra Sanctuary is a very important place in Obidos, visited by many travellers who come to visit the town and its surroundings.
Obidos Municipal Museum
The Obidos Municipal Museum is on a site where a prison and the town court used to be. It now houses the best local collection. This includes paintings, sculptures and various objects in the Baroque style. The collection of Napoleon’s weapons is of great interest to all visitors to Obidos. Canvases belonging to the local artist Josefe de Ayalla attract the attention of tourists as well. She is one of the few painters who have been allowed to paint Portuguese temples.
Chocolate Festival of Obidos
The chocolate festival in Obidos takes place between March and April. It is during this period that the glorious museum city turns into a large chocolate fair. The aromas of cocoa, chocolate and coffee float in the air. The chocolate festival is open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so don’t go during the week.
Every year more than 200,000 people attend the chocolate festival in Obidos. Not only chocolate, but also other original creations will be served in chocolate cups or chocolate and almond liqueurs.
For this chocolate festival in Obidos, a large number of pastries gather in the town to win the hearts of the gourmets. Shop windows are filled with chocolate sculptures of various sizes and shapes. Cakes, pastries, brioches, doughnuts and much more – you don’t have to try everything!
During the chocolate festival, various experts and masters in the field are on hand for competitions, an exhibition of chocolate sculptures, a fashion show in chocolate outfits, chocolate make-up, concerts and many other events.
In 2013, Willy Wonka built his own chocolate factory in Obidos, with the theme “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. In 2014, the theme of the party was the Lisbon Zoo. In 2015, the theme was love and in 2017, there was no particular subject but more and more chocolate. You could even find a surprisingly alcoholic chocolate beer.
Obidos’ chocolate festival in video
Below is a video presentation of the International Chocolate Festival in Obidos which took place last year, in 2018:
For all those interested in the technique of chocolate making, there was a unique opportunity to attend a chocolate master class where professionals explained how to use and handle chocolate. You will most certainly also have the chance to involve your children in workshops on chocolate baking.
Chocolate Festival in Obidos: some more information
- During the days of the Obidos Chocolate Festival, the town is full of entertainment. The chocolate fashion show usually takes place on the last day of the festival and is free of charge.
- Don’t get in the queue at the main parking lot ticket office, you can buy a ticket at the ticket office before entering the festival or in the shops. Don’t hesitate to ask, prices are the same everywhere.
- Don’t like crowds? There is another way to get to Obidos Castle more quietly: avoid the main street and head for the secondary medieval streets, which are much less busy and just as charming.
- It is advisable to wear a hat or cap and sunscreen if you want to see the room where the chocolate sculptures are exhibited: the queue can be long and the Portuguese sun can be scorching.
- You will normally be able to find chocolate cheese, more precisely cheese with chocolate pieces. It sounds strange, but the combination of flavours will not leave you indifferent.
- If you cannot attend the chocolate fashion show on the last Saturday, all costumes will be displayed in a special tent before the end of the festival.