Chaves-Verín is a “Eurocity”, a cross border European Grouping for Territorial Cooperation of two cities, the result of a joint work programme for their common development as a single tourist destination with water at its heart. The river Tâmega runs through the fertile valley connecting both cities, Verin (Spain) and Chaves (Portugal), sharing values and traditions, being the most important its thermalism: an historical and identity value,a economic activity value for local development, and a cultural and arquitectural heritage.
Some of Spain and Portugal's most renowned brands of bottled water come from this area - Pedras Salgadas, Vidago, Campilho, Fontenova, Sousas and Cabreiroá. The industry, based on the five springs of the area, has grown out of the original drinking halls, the buvettes, and is still particularly important in Verín, ensuring the continuation of the area’s popularity as a health destination.
At Chaves, in Portugal, a charming old stone bridge and the ruins of the thermal baths of Aquae Flaviae,remind us about the Roman past of the spa town. Aquae Flaviae means "the waters of the Emperor Trajan",the Roman name of Chaves and which the modern spa is named after. Relations between Chaves and Verín started at that time, when Emperor Vespasiano rebuilt Verin and was responsible for the construction of the roman bridge in Chaves.
The old ruins were discovered in 2004 and can be visited today at the archaeological site and its museum, where its possible to visit the remains. Here you'll finf not only the roman batjs, but also other infrastructures, as a theatre, a forum and a temple/sanctuary. Specialists think tthe thermal complex had approximately the same size (area) as the baths in Aquae Sulis, modern-day Bath.
The town of Verin dates back to the 16th century, but their mineral waters were not widely used until the 19th century, rapidly becoming popular as a drinking treatment. In 1859 the first buvettes were established, little temples centered by the spring source where people came to sample the waters. The Fontenova Spring buvette still provides mineral water nowadays.
South of Chaves stands Vidago, an historical thermal health centre favoured by several members of the Portuguese royal family over the years. Between the late 19th century and 1920 Vidago had its golden era around its magnificent palace, today a 5-stars luxury hotel, and the thermal park, home to a 18-holes golf course nowadays. Vidago's modern spa was designed by one of the most important Portuguese architects - the Pritzer prize Álvaro Siza Vieira.
The "Thermal and Water Route" invites you to explore the six mineral springs and the historic villas of Verín, Chaves and Vidago.
Grab your thermal passport at Eurocity tourist office and start your journey. If you seal it in all the springs you will become an official ambassador of Chaves-Verín healing waters!
Chaves-Verín Eurocity boasts one of the highest concentrations of mineral and medicinal springs in the Iberian peninsula. Classified as a "Thermal Tourist Destination", developed as an area of excellence focused on health and wellness. The abundance of spring water is the result of a tectonic fault, the Corga fracture, which crosses the border territory and results in a high density of medicinal waters in Monterrey Valley and Alto Tamega. Due to this common origin, they share very similar physical and chemical characteristics although they can be distinguished by their temperatures, which range from 18ºC in Verin to 73ºC.
Verin waters are characterized as sodium bicarbonate water, with minor presence of fluorines and lithium, acting as an excellent tonic which is both diuretic and detoxifying.
The warm waters of Chaves have long been used in the treatment of joint diseases, and for musculo-skeletal, gastrointestinal and respiratory tract problems. Vidago waters are hypersaline, bicarbonate, slightly chlorinated and fluorinated.
While Verin's waters are mainly devoted for drinking, being used in the treatment of kidney, stomach and skin conditions, Vidago and Chaves have a long bathing tradition, specially indicated for osteo-articulate and muscle-skeletal treatments, but also to treat digestive and respiratory diseases
Nowadays, both thermal spas are endowed with modern equipment and the latest therapeutic treatments, combining several hydrotherapy techniques: inmersions in bathtubs and swimming pools; steam (turkish baths, sauna, hands+feet diluvium, bertholaix...); Vichy showers, sub-aquatic bath, jet and circular showers, hidropressotherapy, inhalotherapy (nasal irrigations, sonic aerosols, respiratory cinesiotherapy), electrotherapy and physiotherapy treatments (massages, ionization, shockwave, paraffin, ultrasounds, infra-red ray, ultraviolet and hidrocolater)
Chaves Spa has recently launched it first line of comestic products for facial and body skin care, formulated on the mineral properties of its mineral waters.
The “Chaves –Verin cross-border destination” combines its thermal spa offer with sport and leisure facilities which complement health and wellness, such as golf courses, cycling paths, wine routes and 2 golf courses (6 and 18 holes),Karts, racecourse, Casino, walking routes, BTT routes, birdwatching, and Museums. It is also a recognized destination for gastronomy and wines.
Pilgrims pass through the Eurocity on their way to Santiago da Compostela, either on the Silver Route or the Interior Portuguese Way. Evidence of ancient pilgrims from Portugal and Spain have been found on the banks of Tamega, and today, the area is still popular with pilgrims.
The 5-stars hotel of Vidago Palace
Sousa Buvette, in Verín
The castle of Monterrei, near Verin, a Asset of Cultural Interest that nowadays houses a luxury hotel
Cabreiroá Buvette, in Verín
Fontenova Buvette, in Verín
Facial masage at the Chaves Thermal Spa
The Támega river across the spa town of Chaves