The delightful town of Óbidos, with white houses adorned with bougainvilleas and honeysuckle was captured from the Moors by the first king of Portugal, D. Afonso Henriques, in 1148. D. Dinis later presented it to his wife, Queen Santa Isabel. From then until 1883, the town of Óbidos and the surrounding land was always the property of the queens of Portugal.
Encircled by a ring of medieval walls and crowned by the Moorish castle rebuilt by D. Dinis, which is now a pousada, Óbidos is one of the most perfect examples of our medieval fortress. It s in olden times, the town is entered through the southern gate of Santa Maria, embellished with eighteenth-century azulejo decoration.
Inside the walls, which at sunset take on a golden colouring, one can sense a cheerful medieval ambience of winding streets, old whitewashed houses bordered with blue or yellow, Manueline embrasures and windows, reminding us that King D. Manuel I (sixteenth century) carried out major works here, and masses of colourful flowers and plants.
Be sure to visit the Igreja Matriz de Santa Maria (Parish Church of Santa Maria), the pretty Capela de São Martinho (Chapel of S. Martinho) and, outside the town walls, the Igreja do Senhor da Pedra (Church of the Senhor da Pedra).
Among the events that take place every year in Óbidos, the most important are the Holy Week Festivities (recreating the steps on the Way of the Cross), the Ancient Music Festival in October and, for the more gluttinous, the International Chocolate festival in March, which includes an international competition in which the recipes are judged by an international jury of experts.