Obidos Portugal is a lovely, beautifully restored 14th-century walled hill town that is only an hour’s drive north of Lisbon. Its whitewashed houses and red tile roofs surround a lovely 12th century castle. The entrance to the walled city features a pretty oratory lined with azulejos tiles.
Obidos is not large. It has 2 main streets….an upper route and a lower route. The upper street is the more popular/crowded one. Walking along it passes restaurants, art galleries, tourist shops and many small shops and windows that serve and sell ginjinha (a Portuguese liqueur made by infusing ginja berries in alcohol and adding sugar and other ingredients).
The lower road is more residential. Both roads have multiple 13th– and 14th-century buildings. The St. James Church and Bookshop occupied a 12th-century structure, which was unfortunately felled by the 1755 quake and rebuilt.
As quaint as the town is, the star attraction is probably the Obidos Castle. Today it contains a pousada (inn) and a restaurant.
We spent a night here on our first trip to Obidos. Perhaps spending a night in a castle wasn’t quite as romantic or rustic as we had imagined. Once in the room, we were hard-pressed to remember that we were in a castle as the room seemed so…well, like a hotel room with small windows. But Pousada Castella is, indeed, a luxury hotel (complete with luxury pricing).
The room was very comfortable. The location gave us more than enough time to explore all the quaint streets inside the city walls, the stores, restaurants and churches. We could take in the views from the battlements, and still have time for dinner at the castle’s Posada restaurant.
Although we certainly enjoyed spending a night in the town, there is not much to do at night. Not surprisingly, on our 2023 trip, we skipped the overnight stay and spent a few hours exploring during the day instead.
Dining at Pousada Castella
The castle’s Pousada Castella restaurant appears to be the best dining spot in town. It is certainly the most formal and offers the best views of the surrounding landscape. If you are lucky, you can score the table by a window that overlooks the countryside. We have had 2 meals here.
When we stayed overnight, we had a dinner that began with a regional amuse bouche of pork with pickled vegetables followed by two main dishes. The roasted octopus with roasted peppers and onions and hot olive oil was okay, but the accompaniments overwhelmed the fish. While Tom enjoyed the chestnut puree and mushroom sauce that accompanied his grilled wild boar, the boar was nice and gamey (as would be expected) but too tough to cut or chew. The restaurant happily replaced it with a very nice grilled swordfish with ham. Our 2013 Crasto wine was still too young, but it was the most complex and ageable wine we had yet had in the country.
Although we seriously considered another option (Alcaide) for our 2023 lunch, we ended up revisiting the Pousada Castella restaurant. We had two quite good dishes: panko-crusted azeitao cheese served over a salad with local greens and red fruit marinated in ginga; and crisp-skin pork belly with a pan juice and local red wine reduction, Thai rice and kimchi. The service was professional and friendly with our server even volunteering to recommend restaurants at our next couple stops.
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