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Chaves Mini Guide
Tell me About Chaves
Chaves is a beautiful historic town in Portugal and close to the Spanish border. It is surrounded by mountains and sits on the Tamega River. It is a Roman spa town and was known as Aquae Flaviae.
How can I get There?
Your nearest airport is Porto
and from there you can take a bus or drive to Chaves, it takes approximately 1 ½ hours.
What can I see in the Town?
There is a lot to see in this ancient town. It has a Roman arched bridge still in use today, the Trajano Bridge and it has inscriptions dedicating it to the Emperor. In the medieval quarter you can see the tall thin houses with carved wooden balconies and get a feel for how people used to live. The Castle of Chaves dates from the 14th century and now only the prison block remains and it houses the Military Museum.
The Church of Santa Maria Maior was built in 1100 and is a historic cathedral, inside you will find the statue of Santa Maria Maior. Also visit the 17th century Church of Misericordia which was the resting place for members of the House of Braganza. Take a look inside at the mythological sculptures and the traditional tiling that depicts biblical scenes.
At night, if you're the kind that likes a little flutter you can gamble at the town's Hotel Casino de Chaves or dimply enjoy a cocktail or champagne watching others.
A Must do…
Visit the hot springs and thermal spa complex and hopefully cure all you ills! It is situated between the castle and river, next to the park.
Out of Town
Head out to the Rock of Outeiro Machado near the village of Soutelo, there you can see ancient Celtic engravings.
What Food Should I try?
The area is especially known for the presunto ham and smoked sausages. Try the ‘boles de carnes’ meat pastries and some local red wine. Goat's milk cheese is made in the town and it is also well known for its unique blends of coffee.
Stay at the Forte de Sao Francisco, previously it was the town’s 17th century castle. The rooms have antique furnishing and traditional décor along with countryside views. Outside you will find a swimming pool and gardens. You can also use the sauna and Jacuzzi or play tennis. There is a pool bar and café at the hotel as well as a church and art gallery.
- There's a stunning circular drive promoted by www.visitportugal.com which takes in Braganca, Chaves and crosses the border to Miranda do Douro. You'll encounter much history and changing styles of gastronomy on the way. See the website for more details.
- Chaves has some beautiful churches and they're shown off to their best in the Holy Week celebrations. Filled with flowers ready for Easter Sunday they're the setting for choral events in the days leading up to Good Friday and the centre for the Easter celebrations on Easter Sunday and Monday.