Chaves is a beautiful city of 41,000 people (2011) in Trás-os-Montes and one of the most historical cities in Portugal. Chaves is a town and seat of municipality in the far North of Portugal, 10 km south of the Spanish border and 22 km south of Verín, Spain. Is the second most populous of the district of Vila Real. The district capital, Vila Real, is 60 km south on the A24 toll-free motorway. Aquæ Flaviæ was the Roman name for this town.
Chaves (SHAH-v(ih)sh, /ˈʃa.vɨʃ/) is surrounded by mountains and that brings windy and changing weather, so you'd better bring a jacket or an umbrella with you, at least in and autumn and winter.
Chaves was already inhabited before the time of the Roman Empire, since prehistory. About two millennia ago, the Romans occupied the place, built monuments such as the Trajan bridge and named the city Aquæ Flaviæ. Later the Suevos, Visigodos and Alanos, coming from Eastern Europe, put an end to the Roman occupation. With the Arabs, Islam also invaded the space once occupied by Christianity. Chaves was conquered in the 9th century by Don Afonso, king of Leão. But, at the beginning of the 10th century Chaves was conquered again by the Moors, until, in the 11th century, Don Afonso III, king of Leão, rescued it, ordered to rebuild, populate and surround walls again.
Around 1160 Chaves joined Portugal. Due to its border situation, Chaves was vulnerable to attack by invaders and as a measure of protection, Don Dinis ordered the castle and the walls that still dominate much of the city and its periphery to be raised.
There is no train service.
The easy way to go to Chaves by plane is going to Oporto airport, and then catch a bus or highway to Chaves, which should take about one hour and half. There are low cost companies flying to Oporto, one of them is Ryanair.
By the N2 from Vila Real. You can also use the A24 or A7.
From Porto and Lisbon:
- 1 The Pedestrian Bridge and the Riverside Green Area. An extensive green area on the east side of the Tâmega River between the Engenheiro Carmona Bridge and the Public Gardens that is open to the public. It has a playground, pedestrian and cycling paths, and a large grassy area. An ultra-modern pedestrian bridge will soon be open linking the park of the hot springs and this new recreational area. A cycling and walking path on both banks of the river extends north for several kilometers.
- 2 Castle of Chaves (Castelo de Chaves e restos da fortificação abaluartada na cidade). The 14th-century castle was constructed in the reign of King Don Dinis, but today only the keep tower remains.
- 3 Castle of Monforte (Castelo de Monforte) (in Águas Frias). National Monument
- 4 Forte São Francisco. Strongly protected by the defence of the border with Galicia, by the Middle Ages Chaves became unprotected. It had to fortify itself, garrison the nearby hilltops, in order to keep them from being occupied by enemy artillery. The first to be considered was the hill of Pedisqueira, where there was a Franciscan convent. During the final phase of the Portuguese Restoration War (1640-1668), the decision was made to build a fort according to the modern concepts of military engineering. This fort played an important role in the Napoleonic invasion of Portugal in 1807, when it was captured by Marshal Soult, and then retaken when a light garrison was left to guard it. It was also the scene of several pro-royalist revolts in the early eighteenth century and later in 1910. The fort is based on the Vauban system, with a four-pointed star, each one serving as a lookout tower. The walls are all of granite, with about 1 m of thickness. The height varies according to the slope of the terrain, but the maximum point has 20 m. The main entrance faces the south, with a drawbridge over the moat, that no longer exists. There are other gates, to the east and west. To go inside, follow a tunnel that leads to the center of the fort. Inside, there is the old church of São Francisco, where for three centuries lay the sarcophagus of the first Duke of Bragança.
- Chapel of Nossa Senhora de Loreto or Chapel of Santa Cabeça (Praça de Camões) - Next to the Municipality of Chaves, it has a granite facade and tall pilasters. It is surmounted by a curved pediment. Built in 1696, tradition says that the Martyr São Bonifácio is buried here.
- Misericórdia Church (Praça Caetano Ferreira) - It is considered by many to be the most beautiful church in the city. It has a 17th-century Baroque façade with plinths and capitals that have been worked on. The interior of a single nave has walls covered with tile panels and biblical motifs.
- Igreja Matriz (Praça de Camões) - It is a Romanesque temple, altered in the 16th century and, therefore, having Renaissance characteristics.
- Madalena Church or São João de Deus Church (Rua São João de Deus) - Located on the left bank of Tâmega. It dates back to the 18th century, with the dominant style being Renaissance and Baroque. Due to its dome, it is easily recognized from afar. The interior is of a single nave, the plan being octagonal.
- São Francisco Fort (Alto da Pedisqueira) - Built between 1658 and 1662, it has a square plan. Inside, the church of S. Francisco was maintained. It is a hotel.
- São Neutel Fort - It has a structure similar to the São Francisco Fort. It has an outer wall. This is due to the strong not being linked to the defensive system of Chaves. The walls are thick and 10 m high. Inside the fort is the Chapel of Nossa Senhora das Brotas.
Watch football (soccer) at GD Chaves, who play in Primeira Liga, the top tier of Portuguese football. Their home ground is Estádio Municipal de Chaves (capacity 8,000), 1 km north of town centre.
There is a new casino as of 2019.
The typical dishes of Chaves and Alto Tâmega includ, the famous ham of Chaves and Barroso, the salpicão, the sausages, the alheiras, the barrosã steak, the roasted or stewed kid, the stew to the transmontana, the feijoada to the transmontana, the corn to the Roman, trout stuffed with the tasty ham, Pasteis de Chaves and Folar, a specialty of soft pasta with pork, ham, sausage and sausage. Another specialty is rye bread, honey and its flavored wine.
Dried and cured with smoke from the fireplaces, both ham and sausages acquire their unmistakable flavour, in the making of the Folar de Chaves, as well as the Pastéis de Chaves. The most typical fish dishes are from the Tâmega River, namely trout that are stuffed with local ham. We also highlight the stewed kid, as well as the feijoada and the incomparable stew of the transmontana, the famous corn and the typical french toast.
- 1 Hotel Rural Casas Novas, ☏ , email@example.com. Check-in: 14:00 - 23:00, check-out: 08:00 - 12:00. 4-star rural hotel.
- 2 Quinta de Samaiões - Hotel Rural, R. Dr. Francisco de Barros Homem Teixeira 56, 5400-756, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 15:30 – 24:00, check-out: 09:00 – 12:00. 4-star rural hotel
- 3 Albergaria Borges Hotel, Outeiro Jusão, 5400-575, ☏ , email@example.com. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. 3-star hotel.
- 4 Hotel Aquae Flaviae- Premium Chaves, Praça do Brasil, 5400-123, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 15:00 - 00:00, check-out: 07:00 - 12:00. 3-star hotel.
- 5 Hotel Forte de São Francisco, Largo Pedisqueira, 5400-435, ☏ , email@example.com. Check-in: 15:00 - 20:00, check-out: 12:00. 4-star hotel.
- 6 Hotel Casino Chaves, Vale de Anta, 5400-001, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. 4-star hotel.
- 7 Castelo Hotel, Rua da Muralha, 4, 5400-414, ☏ , email@example.com. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. 4-star hotel.
Vidago, Pedras Salgadas.