After several days hiking the sites in Lisbon and Sintra I decided to spend a couple of days in a more subdued atmosphere. I was looking for a less hectic, slower pace. Hello Obidos!
Obidos, in east central Portugal, is a small but charming hilltop town that happens to have a castle (now a hotel) and town wall still intact. Part of Obidos is actually within the 14 meter tall wall. It’s a big destination for tourist day trips from the surrounding cities, mainly Lisbon, but since I was staying two nights and not coming and going like the normal tourist I was able to calmly walk around the town (more than once) as well as see the sights outside the wall without feeling rushed ‘to get everything in’.
Here are my Top 5 Highlights in no particular order:
Spending more than 90 minutes walking around on top of the entire wall, admiring views from every angle along the way.
Walking out-of-town to find the enormous Santuario do Senhor Jesus da Pedra.
The ancient Roman aqueduct.
Sitting in front of Saint Maria Church in the middle of town and staying long enough to see an outdoor orchestra performance (I’m not exactly sure what the performance was for but there were three different orchestras all playing together and it was an idyllic setting for such an event).
Drinking Portuguese wine while talking politics and ‘what’s wrong with the world’ with a traveler from Poland and the Spanish owner of the hostel we both were staying in (sorry, no picture).
In the title wrote this is a tourist trap town, and it is only in the fact that tourism IS a large part of the economy here. There are silly souvenir shops on every street, a bunch of restaurants all selling the same Portuguese foods and guided tours through every back alley. But what’s missing was just as noticeable to me. There were no über pushy salesmen trying to get you to spend Euro’s in his store or any gimmicky buildings that seemed out-of-place (in fact, the buildings within the wall all seem built around the same time period, I’m guessing 200 to 250 years ago). There wasn’t an arcade or a shopping mall. Everything was as it should be….as it’s always been.
So, yes it’s a tourist trap, but different from the normal trap. It’s subtle, calming, classic….perfect.