Chaves is one of the Portuguese cities where the Roman Empire's presence is more evident, from bridges to other monuments, such as thermal baths and the former name of the city: Aquae Flaviae. In the year 79 A.C, Chaves, or Aquae Flaviae, was considered a municipality by Titus Flavius Vespasianus, a Roman emperor.

The city still has some features of the Roman presence, and once in a while, more archaeological remnants of the empire are discovered, some of which have been exposed since 2006 on Museu da Região Flaviense.

Visit Chaves

Located in the North of Portugal it is important to consider the weather, and how it can affect the visitor experience. During Winter the temperatures are cold, and the possibility of rain is almost certain. However, during Summer, temperatures could get very high, so it is important to select the dates of the trip according to what makes people more comfortable when it comes to the weather.

To arrive at Chaves there are some options. Of course, the car would be the easiest option, and even though GPS systems may lead people to A24, the highway between Viseu and Chaves, it is important to notice that the city is the KM 0 of N2, the Portuguese Route 66, that crosses the country, from Chaves to Faro.

Ponte do Trajano

It is impossible to visit Chaves and not walk by Ponte do Trajano. The 150-metre bridge was constructed around the 1st and 2nd centuries, and it remains intact above the Tâmega River. The bridge has twelve arcs, probably more that were covered by works done in 1930. Until 2008, cars could cross the bridge, when the authorities turned it into a pedestrian bridge. In 2020, the population corroborated the authorities’ decision, with 85% of Chaves inhabitants voting against the car circulation on the bridge.

Chaves Castle

The Castle of Chaves was an important stage during battles, being considered a national monument in 1929. Since the ’50s, the castle has been through works that want to be conservated, above all the Torre de Menagem (Keep).

Shaped as a rectangle, from medieval times only remains eight metres high, divided into three floors. Surrounded by beautiful gardens, the castle is now a Military Museum, with an incredible viewpoint from the top of the tower.

Credits: Wikipedia;

Praça do Camões

Right behind Torre de Menagem, there is Praça do Camões, although nothing is related to the writer of “Os Lusíadas”.

This place is filled with History and amazing architecture, and it is here that you can find the Museu da Região Flaviense. The square had an important military role in the city, where a military prison was built.

Praça do Camões was also an important place for selling cattle, as well as vessels to transport water. Currently, besides the Museu da Região Flaviense, the City Hall operates as well as an elderly residence.

Santuário de São Caetano

Located 13 kilometres away from the city centre, the Santuário de São Caetano is what we can call a hidden gem. Being often visited by people, as it is considered a sacred place, it is the place where on the second Sunday of August, people from Chaves celebrate the religious party of the region. Some people walk from Chaves to Santuário de São Caetano, like a pilgrimage.

Besides the main church, there are some chapels spread all over the park, that are filled with Nature and peace. It is also possible to see an old cemetery, found in 1942 when some works were being carried out in the area.

People often collect water from the three founts that exist in the place, believing that the water can create miracles. According to popular belief, those who taste water from the three founts will experience healing for everything that may not be going well.

Very close to the sanctuary, there is the Miradouro dos Contrabandistas, a breathtaking viewpoint, where the landscape can be seen while being seated on a wooden swing.

Eat well

Besides magnificent monuments, Chaves has other gems to explore, such as gastronomy, especially the traditional Pastel de Chaves, made with beef, and a Protected Geographical Indication product since 2012, recognised by the European Union. Currently, there are other versions of this delicacy that can be tasted with chocolate, and cheese. For those who do not eat meat, there is a vegan suggestion.

Author: Pingo Doce;


Find for yourself some of the greatest gems of Chaves, and do not worry if you need to ask for help from one of the locals, as they are some of the nicest people someone could ever meet.


Deeply in love with music and with a guilty pleasure in criminal cases, Bruno G. Santos decided to study Journalism and Communication, hoping to combine both passions into writing. The journalist is also a passionate traveller who likes to write about other cultures and discover the various hidden gems from Portugal and the world. Press card: 8463. 

Bruno G. Santos