10 Glimpses of Northern Portugal: 6.Chaves

This Roman town brings you very close to the Spanish border.   Founded in 78AD,  it was built around thermal springs and its strategic importance led to the construction of strong walls,  towers and a fortress.   It still has a beautiful historic centre and Roman bridge.

On Praca de Camoes,  you’ll find many public buildings and churches.

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Forte de Sao Francisco was built in the 17th century around a Franciscan convent.

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Torre de Menagem is all that’s left of a 15th century castle.   The dungeon and walls are preserved and the terrace offers views of the countryside.

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Balconies were a way of maximising space – houses had several floors but were narrow.

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Ponte Romama de Trajano was built between 98 and 104AD and originally had 12 arches.   It has undergone much renovation over the centuries but 2 engraved milestones remain on the centre of the bridge.   Now closed to traffic,  it connects the 2 parts of the town which stretch out along the Tamega River.

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Its worth spending the night in town – just to enjoy the sunset,  lights and shadows.

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Small Stuff

 

Sleeping:

We were delighted to stay in Forte de Sao Francisco which was really convenient for the main landmarks,  had plenty of parking and supplied a good breakfast.  There’s a lovely pool area which we just didn’t have enough time to enjoy.  Our room with breakfast cost €63 (June) which we thought was pretty good considering the setting.   There are dining options on site and plenty of other choices nearby.   We will definitely stay here again if ever passing through.

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Food and Drink:

We dined with the locals in the Lonely Planet recommended O Candido.   Nothing fancy about this back street restaurant but the food was good with generous portions and the staff had more English than we had Portuguese so we were fine!!

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You have to try Pastel de Chaves when in town – puff pastry traditionally filled with veal.

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