About the Hotel
The foundations of the Castle and town are as old as the Roman era, but the Castle proper came into existence during the reign of Afonso Henrique, the first king of Portugal, who wrested it in 1148 from the Moors. King Dinis I, who remodelled the entire place, gave it as a wedding present to his wife Isabel on their wedding day. Obidos Castle has historically served as a luxury resting place of the royals; especially favored by the queens, which gives it its sobriquet Vila Das Rainhas, or Town of The Queens.
The pousada is located within the Castle Obidos, which looms above the town of Obidos and the imposing battlements of which surround the entire town. As you see, there’s more than a little history here to experience and explore during your stay. From the ruins of the Moorish Castle, to the number of remodelling and re-furbishing that the successive monarchs have done, each nook of the castle is a tiny pocket of history, waiting to be explored.
The entire area was successively inhabited by Celts, Romans, Visigoths, Moors, and Christian royals down to the modern times, making the place a delightful receptacle of the vicissitudes of history. If you want to travel further back in time, be sure to visit the numerous relics of Roman habitation—forums, baths, aqueducts etc which are scattered all over the countryside. A part of the architecture of the castle that harboured Moorish and Arab designs was lost in an earthquake in 1755, the ruins of which can still be witnessed.
The architecture and construction of the castle proper is in the Portuguese Manuel style, the late Gothic style of Portuguese architecture in the 16th century, which was named after King Manuel I. In fact, Manuel himself undertook a lot of reconstruction of the castle during his rule, adding opulent baroque touches to the architecture of the preceding monarchs. The windows, ceilings, inner walls etc are done in Manuelline style, whose magnificent flourish offers a suitable contrast to the more austere and imposing outer structure.
Inside, there are 3 suites and 14 double rooms, 9 located in the castle proper and 8 in the new wing. Since climbing up the castle steps can be slightly arduous, the pousada also includes the casa de castelo, a set of quaint cottages located in the village. The suites and rooms are all named after Portugal’s kings and queens, and it’s actually possible that you imagine yourself to be one of them in the historic seclusion that the castle provides.
The architecture of the castle is a palimpsest of repeated renewals, and you can enjoy it to the fullest if you stay in the castle itself. You can walk down the numerous corridors, passageways, balconies and towers of the castle, and try and discover hidden routes and treasure haunts. Flit through the ancient tapestries and armours, explore the old chests and drawers, and dine out of the actual old silverware. Make sure to walk along the battlement surrounding the town, from the height of which you can view the sea in the distant horizon.
The rooms themselves are lovely, all wood-panelled with modern amenities like air-conditioning, T.V, telephone, attached bathrooms and more. A few of the rooms have kept the old rough stone walls, and staying in them lends an extra measure of thrill to the general ambience of the hotel. The rooms are also adorned with old paintings, suits of armour, and bric-a-bracs from ancient times, lending a real air of majesty to the place. The view from each window in fantastic; some of them overlooking the serene castle courtyard while those on the outer side looking over the entire panoramic view of the countryside, right down to the sea. There’s also a lovely swimming pool located in a green shady courtyard, the ambience of which is perfect for all-round relaxation. The staff is friendly and helpful, and the admirable hospitality of the hotel is the reason that the visitors keep coming back.
The casa de castelo, on the other hand, is a perfect place to enjoy a secluded old village. The cottages are also fitted with modern comforts, in addition to which they have a lot of helpful amenities exclusively for the elderly.
The food and wine is a delectable melange of traditional Portuguese cuisine and cosmopolitan fare. From the refreshing appetizer cherry kir to the rich repast Cozido a Portuguesa; this is the one place where you can enjoy all the national flavours of Portugal. Sample the Licor Beirao and Ginjinha, the local liquors of Portugal, standing by the enormous old fireplace.
The pousada itself offers many outdoor and indoor activities, so your stay is bound to be an exciting one. Within the castle, you can always explore the medieval architecture and gaze out of the Manuel-styled windows. Be sure to check out the stuffed falcons and birds of prey, put there to honor King Dinis, who was a great exponent of the sport. Also, don’t forget to pause and click a picture with the famous suit of armor with one finger missing, which acts as the keeper of the castle. Hunting, fishing and water sports activities are offered by the pousada management, and the municipality is also home to a world famous golf course, the Praia del Rey golf complex, as well as a well known golf and spa resort, which are all close by.
There are numerous tours organized by the hotels to the countryside, which gives you a chance to explore the historic relics that dot the area. The tours include a visit to the Porta da Traicao, or the Gate of Betrayal, where Alfonso Henrique originally captured his for from the moors. Also on the tour list is the Senhor Jesus da Pedra, or The Sanctuary of Our Lord the Stone. This 17th century hexagonal baroque-styled building was constructed to house a stone cross of Christ discovered by a peasant in the fields. The sanctuary itself is exquisite, as is the view of the entire countryside from its roof.
How to Book:
Useful Advices for Future Guests
Here are a few things you can keep in mind if you’re thinking of visiting the pousada de Obidos:
- Elderly visitors should book a stay at the cottages.
- Since the Obidos Castle was originally a medieval fortification, it is built to be inaccessible. This is sometimes a concern for elderly visitors, who are apprehensive about walking on foot all the way up to the pousada, as it’s difficult to drive a car right up to the doorway.
- This difficulty was resolved by the management by providing visitors with a suite of lovely cottages within the village itself.
- They are built to be convenient to elderly visitors and others for whom strenuous movement might pose a problem.
- If you visit during July, you will be witness to the colourful medieval market that the town hosts each year during the month. The spirit of old jollity and charm descends on the entire area; and you’ll find villagers dressed in the traditional costumes of merchants, jesters, minstrels, jugglers, soothsayers all romping around.
- Before you book for your stay at Pousada Castelo de Obidos from a travel bookings website, call at the hotel and ask for the best rates, because there’s quite some chance that you’ll get a better rate.
- Early bookings and reservations made for people aged more than 55 attract special discounts, so keep it in mind.
As you might have gleaned from the description, the castle is a veritable fest of delights. With ancient architecture complimenting modern comforts, there is no better place to stay if you’re planning a Portugal vacation. Additionally, the hotel is located 81 km from the Lisbon airport and only 1 km from the Obidos railway station. The entire area is excellently well-connected, and yet quiet and secluded from the humdrum of big tourist places. It is also an excellent location for destination weddings as well as important conferences. With all this going in its favour, the pousada is the ultimate travel destination.