Photos: Medieval Festival in Obidos, Portugal

Knights Riding After the Jousting Competition in Obidos, Portugal

Knights Riding After the Jousting Competition in Obidos, Portugal

Click on the photos, or click here to see more photos of the Obidos Medieval Festival.

Less than an hours drive from Lisbon, Portugal is the ancient town of Obidos. Overlooked by a medieval castle, inside thick city walls, lies an impressive labyrinth of cobblestoned streets, which are lined by grapevine and bougainvillea bedecked houses, tasty restaurants and tiny shops offering local wares. This ancient beauty is a step back in time whenever you visit, but especially during the summer’s celebration of the Medieval Festival.

The Streets of Obidos, Portugal

The Streets of Obidos, Portugal

Over the years I have been to many Medieval and Renaissance type festivals. I was never one of those people that lived the fantasy of going back in time on a routine basis, but it was a fun way to spend a day, suspending disbelief, and playing along with the happenings at the fair. As a teenager, I even worked at the Houston Renaissance Festival and have some great memories of that. It was interesting to see how a Texas farmers field, through the use of plywood facades, a lot of paint and a lot of imagination, could transport you, for a time, back to the middle ages.

Food Hawker at the Medieval Festival in Obidos, Portugal

Food Hawker at the Medieval Festival in Obidos, Portugal

However, no matter how much fun I had, I don’t think I could adequately imagine what the times were like, or that I ever felt tied to history the way I did in Obidos. The setting and the sense of location gives the Medieval Festival in the heart of Portugal a genuine feel. Despite being surrounded by ancient buildings and narrow passages, I never felt the claustrophobia of traffic and crowds the way I sometimes did at the mega-festivals put on in the United States. Fun, relaxed, festive.

Minstrel at the Medieval Festival in Obidos, Portugal

Minstrel at the Medieval Festival in Obidos, Portugal

Also, I didn’t feel like my wallet was being vacuumed clean here. Admission to the Medieval Festival was only €7 Euro, (as opposed to $30 for the current Houston event.) A glass of wine cost €1 Euro, and for only €5 Euro you can rent a costume and play along with the actors. The best part, however, was being at this event and knowing the reality of what was being represented took place on this exact spot hundreds of years before. By design, it is smaller and more local, but the Medieval Festival in Obidos, Portugal is hands down the best of any of these types of medieval historical recreations that I have attended.

Camel Herder Wandering the Alleyways in Obidos, Portugal

Camel Herder Wandering the Alleyways in Obidos, Portugal

Family of Camel Herders at the Medieval Festival in Obidos, Portugal

Family of Camel Herders at the Medieval Festival in Obidos, Portugal

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Author: Jonathan Look

In 2011 Jonathan Look decided to change his life and pursue adventures instead of comfort and possessions. His goal is to travel the world solo; one country at a time, one year at a time. To accomplish this he got rid of most of his possessions, packed up what little he saw as necessities and headed out. His goal is to spend ten years discovering new places, meeting new people and taking the time to learn about them, their values and their place on this tiny planet. He embraces the philosophy that says a person is the sum of their experiences and rejects the fraud of modern consumerism that makes people into slaves of their consumption. He doesn't intend to be modern day ascetic, just more mindful of his place in the world and to make decisions according to that new standard.

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