The Best Bars in Óbidos, Portugal
Drink the night away and watch the Portuguese cobbled streets come to life | © eFesenko / Alamy Stock Photo
Travel just an hour north from Lisbon and you’ll stumble across the medieval town of Óbidos. This walled settlement has a small but excellent selection of bars for an ice-cold Portuguese sundowner – here are Culture Trip’s top recommendations.
The small town of Óbidos was given as a wedding gift to the Queen of Portugal between the 13th and 19th centuries. Wander inside its medieval entrance to discover a maze of cobbled lanes, which have barely changed over the last hundred years, except for the addition of some great places to drink and snack. Here’s our pick of the best bars in Óbidos, including the top spots to sample ginja, one of Portugal’s signature tipples.
Bar Ibn Errik Rex
Bar, Portuguese, $$$
Wander down Rua Direita, Óbidos’ cobbled main street, and you’ll soon discover this cave-like drinking den, decorated with decades-old spirit bottles, antique guns and swords. It’s sought out for its homemade ginja – a Portugese liquor made from sour cherries – and snacks of flaming chorizo and cheese. Sit at the far end to admire the wall art, which is realistic enough to give you the impression of gazing out over Medieval rooftops, or pull up a barstool to quiz the owner about the secrets of ginja production.
Head to Jamon Jamon to enjoy a spot of open-air boozing on a terrace underneath Óbidos’ 16th-century aqueduct. The ginja is homemade by a lady who lives just around the corner and there’s a great selection of regionally-produced wines to choose from, too. If you stay on for lunch or dinner, try the braised pork cheek in red wine – the meat is so tender that it falls apart to the touch – or the moist confit duck leg with a sticky orange sauce.
Esplanada Santa Maria
With a terrace on the main square, Esplanada Santa Maria is one of Óbidos’ prime people-watching spots. Tubs of fresh oranges placed outside advertise the house fruit juice, which makes for a refreshing cocktail when paired with gin – available with Hendricks, Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray or Gordon’s. You’ll also be seated right opposite the 16th-century Igreja de Santa Maria, the town’s main church and a popular wedding venue; peek within to see the 17th-century wood-and-tile interior.
Arco de Cadeia
Bar, Wine, $$$
© Oleg Znamenskiy / Alamy Stock Photo
Found on one of Óbidos’ quietest backstreets, this intimate wine bar occupies a Medieval prison and courthouse, parts of which date back to the 1100s. The English-speaking owner will happily talk you through the building’s history, and even let you play and take selfies with the wall-mounted armour and swords. Sit inside to soak up the bar’s slightly spooky charm, or outside underneath the former jail’s main archway. Accompany sharing platters of cheese and cold meats with locally-made wine.
With a spacious, covered terrace just outside the medieval walls, chiringuito-style Estorias is the place to be on summer afternoons and evenings. Tapas-size plates are great for snacking with a pitcher of sangria or a cold beer, but there’s also a good range of meat and fish dishes, if you’re coming for lunch or dinner. Porta da Vila – the arched, Medieval entrance into Óbidos’ Old Town – is just a two-minute walk away.
Bar, Portuguese, $$$
Patio D’Lagoa is well worth the twenty-minute drive from Óbidos, situated close to the Sucesso beach, where the Lagoa de Óbidos meets the Atlantic. Take a seat on the terrace for a post-walk beer and, if you’re peckish, order the grilled octopus on a bed of broccoli, carrots and cauliflower – it easily feeds two. Afterwards, head 1.2km (0.7mi) up the road to the Praia Bom Sucesso, where you can stroll along the windswept Atlantic side or on the calmer lake shore.
Covão Dos Musaranhos
Restaurant, Portuguese, $$$
A top drinks and lunch option if you’re exploring the lake area is Covão Dos Musaranhos. It serves some of the freshest clams in the region, which are caught every morning off the nearby shore and best paired with a carafe of the dry house white wine. There’s also a barbecue in the parking area, if you fancy bringing your own food and booze. Óbidos is a fifteen-minute drive away.