The medieval fairs in Óbidos and in Santa Maria da Feira are the greatest medieval recreation events in Portugal.
Each Summer, usually in July, from Thursday to Sunday, the town of Óbidos is transformed in a medieval burg, where everyone has the possibility to travel back to the Middle Age.
Everybody who gives life to the event, from stall holders and shopkeepers to entertainers, are fully dressed in medieval costumes. Visitors, too, are encouraged to wear medieval clothes.
On the military and civil camp sites, there are replicas of weapons, domestic tools and animals such as falcons, owls, donkeys and goats.
Events and entertainment activities, such as musical performances, mock fights and jousts, take place all around the fair.
The medieval fair has a strong gastronomic component. Everywhere, there’s a tavern or a stall where one can buy food and drinks that were part of the medieval diet. This diet was essentially comprised of bread, meat and wine. However, there were other foods.
One can eat soup, chorizo bread, codfish bread, a wide variety of grilled meats, pastries (mainly the ones made with almonds) and delicious crepes. Sangria, cider and mead are some of the drinks available.
On 2nd August 2014, after we had visited Pombal Castle, my brother, his girlfriend, JB and I went to the town of Óbidos to travel back in time. For the first time, we visited the “Mercado Medieval de Óbidos” (Medieval Fair of Óbidos). JB’s family members who were with us in Pombal Castle also joined us at the medieval fair.
Compared with other medieval fairs, the entrance is a bit pricey, but it is also a mean to control the number of persons, since the area is limited by the castle walls.
Due to the characteristics of the town of Óbidos and to the fact that the fair takes place inside the castle, the medieval environment created seems more real.
In my opinion, the space is well organized. It’s easy to find a place to sit while enjoying the food, or just to rest or to watch some entertainment.
There’s a wide range of gastronomic choices. I ate codfish bread and I tried one of the pastries – “charutos de amêndoa” (almond cigars). Hmm…delicious!