One of the most attractive towns in Trás-os-Montes, riverside CHAVES lies 12km from the Spanish border, which tells you all you need to know about its erstwhile strategic importance – as do the connotations of its name, which means “keys”. It’s also a spa town of some repute, founded originally by the Romans in 78 AD, who built an impressive bridge here across the Rio Tâmega. After the Romans came a long line of squabbling forces, from Visigoths and Moors to the Spanish and French, which explains the surviving fortresses, towers and walls that ring the medieval old town. The history is obvious from the monuments, but the welcome surprise is the evident charm of Chaves, from its handsome squares and balconied old-townhouses to its intricately-planted flowerbeds and riverside gardens. The spa is an obvious money-spinner, and many do come to take the waters, but it’s not the be-all and end-all. You could spend a happy couple of days here and never notice the spa, perhaps being more inclined to sample Chaves’ other significant attractions – namely its smoked hams, sausages and red wine.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Portugal features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

9 of the best pousadas in Portugal

9 of the best pousadas in Portugal

From Gothic monasteries and riverside palaces, to Moorish castles that loom over terraced hillsides, Portugal has a good deal of striking places to stay. Its c…

12 Oct 2016 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
Get on board: the 5 best European river cruises

Get on board: the 5 best European river cruises

Among a certain segment of travellers, cruising is sometimes maligned: the dismal buffet and watered-down cocktails. Those kitschy lounge acts. The contrived sh…

29 Mar 2016 • AnneLise Sorensen insert_drive_file Article
Our expert's guide: the best area to stay in Lisbon

Our expert's guide: the best area to stay in Lisbon

Heading to the Portuguese capital this year? Whether you want rich history or shops galore, these are the best areas to stay in Lisbon according to our expert.…

09 Feb 2016 • Matthew Hancock insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month