Nazaré, Batalha, Óbidos – Portugal

I was eager to explore more of Portugal, so I decided to skip Sintra and explore other distinctive cities like Nazaré, renowned for its massive waves, Batalha with its remarkable Monastery, and Óbidos, a wonderfully preserved medieval town. Despite the chilly and windy weather on that day, the journey was truly worthwhile.

Nazaré left a lasting impression on me. The powerful waves and the refreshing scent of the Atlantic Ocean created a captivating atmosphere. Although the city itself was not sprawling, its charm was palpable along the coastline. The meal I had at a local restaurant was fairly average, but the exquisite beauty of the beach compensated for it. As I departed, I caught a fleeting glimpse of the sunset, solidifying the experience as valuable and memorable.

Batalha is an absolute must-see, primarily due to the awe-inspiring architecture of its Monastery. The Monastery of Batalha, constructed to commemorate the Portuguese victory over the Castilians in the battle of Aljubarrota in 1385, is a Dominican convent located in the district of Leiria. The Monastery stands as a testament to Portugal’s history and artistic expression, notably its unique Gothic style influenced by Manueline art. Its Royal Cloister is particularly striking, serving as a masterpiece of Manueline design. The site is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, bearing testament to its historical and cultural significance.

Óbidos, perched atop a hill, provided a different experience, though I suspect the chilly and windy conditions there contributed to me falling ill, which persisted for the next 7 days of my journey. Nonetheless, Óbidos’ medieval character is meticulously preserved. Navigating the hilly terrain was a bit challenging, but I managed to explore the town thoroughly. This picturesque gem of Portugal features narrow, cobbled streets adorned with charming whitewashed houses and flourishing bougainvillaea. The name Óbidos derives from the Latin term for citadel, a fitting description for its walled interior.

I could elaborate endlessly on how I witnessed the lush green farmlands from the heights of Óbidos’ hills, and how driving through the landscape was exhilarating. Yet, mere words fail to encapsulate the sheer excitement and thrill that I experienced. This journey was undeniably beautiful, and Portugal has found a special place in my heart. With visits to five cities leaving me thoroughly enchanted, the experience parallels my exploration of six cities in Italy. Contemplating the future, the idea of a winter vacation home in Portugal emerges. I envision orchards of lemon, orange, olive, and grapefruit trees, harmoniously coexisting with the serene ocean—an environment I’m accustomed to, having grown up by the sea. The sound of the waves is a symphony I’ve known all my life. The future holds endless possibilities, and while I embark on my next adventure in a different country, the allure of seeking new experiences continues to beckon.