Óbidos wine route
The alluvial plains around Bombarral and Cadaval provide a great location for the Óbidos wine route. It runs through a fertile landscape that has made this region famous for its fruit production. It is not just vines that grow along the Óbidos wine route in abundance – this is the centre of apple and pear growing. And if rural bliss gets too much there are many historic sights to see as well.
The Óbidos wine route begins in Bombarral and winds through the countryside taking in the historic walled medieval town of Óbidos and the city of Caldas da Rainha with its thermal springs and beautiful park, before heading inland to the rural town of Alvorninha. As with most vineyards, visits must be booked in advance.
Stage 1: In the Bombarral area, first stop on the Óbidos wine route, there are two vineyards worth visiting: Quinta das Cerejeiras (Tel: 262 609 190) with its beautiful 17th chapel; and Quinta do Sanguinhal (Also on Tel: 262 609 190) which produces both wines and a range of spirits and liquers. The town itself is notable for the 17th Century Church of Madre de Deus, the chapel of São Brás, and the 16th Century Gorjões Palace.
Stage 2: Head towards Cadaval where you will find the Adega Cooperativa do Cadaval (Tel: 262 696 137), next stop on the Óbidos wine route, with its vast vineyards covering the lower slopes of Montejunto. Traces of human occupation in the area date back to pre-history – in the foothills of Montejunto in the village of Pragrança caves have been found which are thought to have been used back in Neolithic times. Religious architecture worth seeing includes the Church of Nossa Senhora da Conceição. A worthwhile diversion from the Óbidos wine route would be a drive up Montejunto to explore the royal ice factory, a remarkable place which supplied the palace in Lisbon with ice in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Stage 3: Follow road signs towards Carvalhal until just before Sobral de Parelhão where the next stop on the Óbidos wine route, Quinta dos Loridos (Tel: 262 605 240), can be found on the right hand side of the road. This vineyard is one of the top producers of sparkling wine and its beautiful manor house is worth visting.
Stage 4: From here the Óbidos wine route winds through Carvalhal and on towards Obidos. There are interesting hill forts located along this road near the towns of São Mamede and Carvalhal, but Óbidos is the jewel in the day’s itinerary of sights. Walking through its narrow, cobbled streets is like stepping back in time. Plan to spend some time here, or better still make it an excursion in itself. Nearby Caldas da Rainha, the main centre of the Óbidos wine route, is a busy commercial city which still has areas that have retained their old-world charm – the park with its soaring plane trees and the old shopping lanes are both worth spending some time in.
Stage 5: Take the N114 from Caldas out in the direction of Rio Maior to the last stop of the Óbidos wine route, Quinta do Paço (Tel: 262 831 295) near the village of Alvorninha. There has been a settlement here since the 7th century, and the town was later occuped by Arabs before being retaken by D.Afonso Henriques. The architecture reflects the many changes that have taken place here. The Mother Church has retained its Manueline portal, but has been through many transformations over the centuries. Also worth a visit on the Óbidos wine route are the wooden windmill and the 1605 Misericórdia Church, with an interior that is completely lined with 17th Century tiles. One of the biggest markets in Portugal , the mercado de Santana, is held once a week in the village.