In the beginning of a dreary grey January, and completely on a whim, we jumped into the car and escaped the city rush for some much needed fresh air. I always think that you should start the year with some sort of travelling adventure, and this simple day out was it for us. We decided on the motorway that we’d be going to Óbidos, a picturesque village north of Lisbon, which I hadn’t visited since I was a child.
Usually plagued by swarms of tourists, not just for its beauty but for being home to Portugal’s biggest Christmas Village and host to the deliciously named Chocolate Festival, we found ourselves on a sunny saturday morning roaming this gorgeous gem, without a person in sight. Imagine being allowed int the shop just before the January sales begin. Needless to say, we had a wonderful time exploring this once
Cholly loved playing around the village, exploring this quaint labyrinth, taking a special interest in conquering the castle and ‘medieval’ playground. Óbidos is a very child-friendly village, with lots to keep the little ones entertained, but I really would recommend leaving the buggy in the car as the cobble stoned streets may prove to be too much of a struggle for a city stroller.
At about lunchtime after a splendid morning roaming around Óbidos, we got back on the road to visit Peniche, an old fisherman’s village now turned surfer’s paradise, as I had heard good things about a restaurant called Tasca do Joel, and wanted to give it a try. The restaurant felt authentic, and its two large rooms were full to the bream. We had some a nice presunto (prosciutto) starter to share, and a large sea bream which was only slightly overdone. It wasn’t cheap, but the restaurant had a pleasant atmosphere, and the adjoining Gourmet Store almost made it worth the visit.
Peniche itself turned out to be an overdeveloped resort, with little to offer the eye, however a visit to the fort, made prison during the Salazar dictatorship really was worth the visit. If you follow Peniche’s gorgeous sand-dune road you will reach one of the city’s most famous beaches: Baleal. The sunshine and low tide meant we could walk to both sides of the beach, walk down the ‘areal’ and take in the beauty ahead. This truly was one of the most joyful moments we’ve had as a family. A simple, yet complete time spent at the beach on a quiet winter’s day.