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Since 2002, the medieval town of Óbidos has celebrated its fascinating history through an annual Medieval Fair, held at weekends in July and August. It is rare to see a community come together so completely for a local celebration, but for those visiting Óbidos during the fair, you will be hard pushed to find someone not dressed in typical medieval garb.
The entire town dresses up to celebrate this festival of times gone by, with flags, banners, jugglers, wizards and jesters filling the streets of this impressive medieval town. Entertainment also stays faithful to the medieval theme with mimes, musicians, and acting troupes offering performances throughout the day.
Foodies can also have their fill of enjoyment with nearly 20 taverns offering typical meals such as grilled meats and hearty soups. Some 100 vendors sell a variety of food, beverages, and merchandise in the marketplace, all of which can be bought using the fair’s very own currency the “torreão” which can be bought with Euros (1 Euro = 1 torreão).
Makeshift civil and military camps can be found at the entrance to the town, and a host of animals, including donkeys, horses, falcons, and even snakes are on display. The crowning moment of the afternoon is the daily jousting competition, where knights compete on horseback.
One of the is in near perfect condition and guests can choose to sleep in medieval tower rooms, castle rooms, or the more contemporary ‘cottage’ rooms which occupy the old servant’s quarters, each room is named after a significant royal family member.
The castle is easily the most distinctive medieval building in the city, and it is here that the royal banquet is held in the courtyard, with diners sat around impressive banqueting tables, overlooking the evening’s entertainment. This banquet is very popular amongst guests and locals alike, so we advise booking your place in advance.
Óbidos truly is one of Portugal’s gems and this lively town has celebrations throughout the year including a chocolate festival, jazz and classical music festivals, opera and art performances, and a special Christmas village.