Forget Port, start drinking Ginja!

About an hour by car north of Lisbon you find one of Portugal’s pearls: Óbidos. An old town surrounded by castle walls. And within: many romantic white houses with yellow, blue and red coloured stripes.


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Of course, nowadays many tourist invade pittoresque Óbidos in summer and during festivals.

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Don’t worry: keep away from the main street and you will find medieval calm streets full of beautiful views.

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If you are an adventurer you can climb the stairs to the high castle wall. Be careful though, there is no fence protecting you from falling down. Strangely enough having no fence has proved to be the best protection ever. I have never heard of a tourist falling down. People stay close to the wall out of fair. I do not recommend walking the entire wall, it’s a long walk. Just go up when you enter Óbidos through the main entrance. From there you have a splendid view over the roofs and the entire city. An excellent place for a photoshoot!

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Till 1834 Foreign princesses who married Portuguese crown princes received Óbidos as a wedding gift. Not bad, don’t you think?

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Today the Castle of Óbidos is turned into a Pousada, a chic hotel, as there are many on historic places in Portugal. You can dine royally in the restaurant overlooking the patio or the hinterland.

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In Óbidos you will not only find houses covered with bougainvilleas, blue-white tiled churches and many souvenir shops, but also a divine nectar: Ginja. For 1 euro you buy a small chocolate cup filled with Ginja. Ginja is a wild sour cherry picked in june. Good brandy, this special cherry and herbs make a divine liqueur. A small bottle of Ginja costs between 11 and 18 euros, because there are not that many sour cherries and producing good brandy is quite a job . In Óbidos good Ginja is sold everywhere. Farmers in the neighbourhoud produce Ginja, as well. I know where a top-Ginja is sold, but I am going to keep it secret as long as I can. So drive to Óbidos, explore the medieval town, make lots of pictures and enjoy Ginja!

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Festivals in Óbidos:
March: Festival Internacional de Chocolate or Óbidos Tourism
Easter: Semana Santa
Summer: Internacional Festival de Piano
End of July/beginning of August: Mercado Medieval/ Medieval Fair
Christmas: Óbidos Vila Natal

Hotels in Óbidos:
Pousada do Castelo
Estalagem do Convento
Josefa d’Óbidos (not far from the bus stop which brings you in an hour from Campo Grande metro/bustation in Lisbon to Óbidos)
Boutique Hotel Casal da Eira Branca

Bed and Breakfast in the country- on a driving distance- run by a Dutch couple
Quinta da Montanha

Ginja:
Oppidum
Vila das Rainhas
Mariquinhas
For a very nice local, estate bottled Ginja: mail to fadodistante@gmail.com

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Travelling to Obidos:
By car: high way north A-8 to Leiria, you pass Loures, Torres Vedras, Bombarral and  leave the high way at Saída 15 Obidos.

By bus in an hour : Rodotejo “Rápida Verde”: in  Lisbon metrostation Campo Grande; busstop is near highest building – in Óbidos the busstop is in the street in front of Hotel Albergaria Josefa d’Óbidos, not far from the main city entrance. One-way-ticket around 8 euro. Seniors ( 65+) get a discount. Luggage for free (even big size).

By train: don’t! Station is in the middle of nowhere,  located too far from Óbidos’ main entrance, which is high up the hill.

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Contact the author for copyright or more information: fadodistante@gmail.com

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