It is believed the name
derives from the Latin oppidum meaning citadel. It is certain
there was a Roman settlement on the site of the present town and castle
which lends credence to the theory on the naming of
During the eighth century the Moors
established a hill top fortress, however the area around
relinquished by the Moors in the 12th century (1148) during the period
of 'reconquista'. Folklore legend states the storming of the
Moorish castle was down to one knight, however there is nothing to
substantiate this claim.
At the time of this Reconquest
Óbidos was much closer than it
is today. However over the last five hundred years, the landscape has
changed massively and the sea is now 28 kilometres to the west. The
retreating sea however left a fertile green plain and lagoon.
The Lagoon of
Óbidos is the
most extensive lagunar system in the coast of
Portugal. It has an approximate area of 6.9 square kilometres and an average depth of two metres, with a quota that goes from half a metre to five metres.
The walled town is picturesque with whitewashed
houses lining the cobbled streets with splashes of vibrant colour from the variety
of exotic bushes spilling over from private, walled gardens.
Óbidos by vehicles is
restricted to home and property owners due to the
narrowness of the streets. However visitors are provided with ample free
parking outside of the town's thick, stone walls adjacent to the castle