Walking the Walls of Obidos, Estremadura and Ribatejo, Portugal

The narrow and slippery walls of Obidos, Portugal

The narrow and slippery walls of Obidos, Portugal

One of the highlights of a visit to Obidos, for those hardy enough, is a walk around the city along its old walls. What makes them so special is the lack of any hand rails all the way round and with some potentially fatal drops off the side it can be a very exciting prospect.

The walled town was first built in 1282 but after the earthquake of 1755 it needed much rebuilding. Thankfully the work since then has been sympathetic to the original design and has maintained the medieval appeal it once had.

As you enter the town through Porta da Vila (the main entrance), take a sharp left and head up the steps onto the walls. This little climb is no great indication of what lies ahead as the staircase is wide and safe.

Once upon the walls however you are treated to views galore; across the plains towards Peniche in the west, north towards Caldas da Rainha and the old castle keep, east towards the Serra dos Candeeiros while to the south the windmill littered landscape around Bombarral and beyond.

From the top of Porta da Vila, Obidos stretches into the distance.

From the top of Porta da Vila, Obidos stretches into the distance.

Most prevalent though are the pathways along the walls and the terracotta rooftops atop the myriad of white walls in the town.

The elevated position put you in prime viewing of Igreja da Santa Maria which sits just inside the eastern wall and is where King Afonso V was married at a young age.

Once you embark on the walk you begin to get a feel of how potentially tricky the pathway can be. The southern tower is a particularly vertigo inducing experience as the narrow, worn and somewhat slippery steps ascend to a very narrow set of parapets from which the views are spectacular. On a busy day expect to wait some time for people to climb and descend, all very slowly and precisely.

The rest of the walk is a lot less difficult and following a clockwise path you could easily spend a few hours taking in the sights.

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