If you like history, knowing more about our predecessors and taste some good food, Chaves is a place you need to visit.
With a large history made by Romans, Visigoths and Alans, this Portuguese city will definitely not let you down. From the local gastronomy to the city’s patrimony, you will find yourself with not much time to visit everything in there…
Once you enter the city, you will have an awesome and panoramic view upon the whole city, and trust me, you will be staring at it for quite a while. Be sure to pull over, though…
This area is pretty well known for his medieval heritage, from castles and towers to bridges and thermae. “Forte de S. Francisco” is the well-known fort finished in the year of 1662. This fort was used as headquarters for the French military led by Napoléon Bonaparte, which was a target of a counter-offensive from General Silveira, in March 1809.
After 6 days of relentless and violent attacks, the French surrendered and the city was released.
Part of Chaves’ walls has the following Romanesque hermitage: “Forte de S. Neutel”, “Castelo de Monforte”, “Castelo de S. Estêvão”, “Torre de Menagem” and the ex-libris “Ponte de Trajano”.
The “Termas de Chaves” is a must visit wonder… You will find yourself literally above a sleeping volcano, chilling in warm water.
In here you will find a thermal temple in which the four elements (air, fire, earth and water) will turn into well-being and harmony, where waters reach 76ºC, making this place the ideal destiny for relaxing.
At your disposal, you will find hydrothermal treatments and zones of facial and body massages. Allied to a beautiful landscape, tradition, art and culture, there is a guaranteed improvement on well-being physical and psychological.
The “Termas” are located in place locally known as “Caldas”… In there you will find a diversified amount of restaurants and cafés, a waterfront sidewalk, a two hearted shape sculpture where you can put locks just like in “Pont des Arts” in Paris, and even a huge playground for the smaller ones.
When it comes to gastronomy you will find great food… Food you can only taste here in “Trás-Os-Montes” (Portugal’s north province). Locally you have the famous “Pastel de Chaves”, the local ham, “Folar de Chaves” and “Pão de Centeio”. Of course, you may eat the more abounding food of the province, like the “Posta à Mirandesa”, “Bacalhau” and much more.
Chaves also has a team in the first division of the Portuguese Football League… If you visit this city in the football season make sure you buy a ticket. Watching the game with the locals will be quite an experience!
“Até já!” ;)
Written and photos by Jorge Carvalho
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