The Chaves Spa (hot springs) are found in the origins and Roman name of the city. However, in subsequent centuries their health-giving properties were barely used, and it was not until the seventeenth century when the hot springs once again came into fashion. They were increasingly used by the wealthy and poor alike, and at the end of the nineteenth century building work was carried out to channel the three mineral hot springs and open a special building for those who came to enjoy the waters. From 1945, the waters began to be used for scientific purposes, and the local council built a thermal spa and other adjacent buildings for visitors. Today, thermal tourism is one of the main sources of income of Chaves, and a reference point for tourism and hostelry in the city. The waters rise at a temperature of 73ºC, with an average mineral content of sodium bicarbonate, silica and small amount of fluorine. The water is use for drinking, showers, vapors and inhalations and constitutes some of the forms of treatment for musculoskeletal diseases, respiratory and digestive tract.
The hot springs of Vidago were discovered in 1863, when the first analysis was carried out, and two years later they became the property of the local council of Chaves. In 1873 the Water Company of Vidago took over the operation of the springs, building facilities and starting work on the Grande Hotel, which was not completed until 1910. The parks and other small hotels from the period give Vidago a nostalgic air, which invites visitors to relax and enjoy their leisure time. These waters come from four springs and are cold, alkaline, hyper-saline, containing bicarbonate and sodium, as well as arsenic, iron and fluorine. They are used for the same therapeutic purposes as the Caldas of Chaves, with both establishments offering physiotherapy treatments using ultraviolet rays and ultrasound. These digestive, highly mineralised waters are also bottled with the labels Campilho and Vidago.
The mineral spring of Sousas, like the spring of Caldeliñas, has been publicly owned since it was first opened in 1854, although the crenotherapeutic benefits of its waters were known long before. Between June and September, they both attract large numbers of visitors from far and wide, predominated by visitors from Portugal. Their waters are warm (18ºC-20ºC), with a sulphurous, acidic aroma. Historically, they were used to cure convulsions, “vapours” and other afflictions of the spirit; today they are used to treat kidney stones, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, digestive problems, and as diuretic treatments and slimming treatments.
Old Spa of Caldeliñas
The spa of Caldeliñas, known to local residents as “The Baths” and now in ruins, still conserves the memory of its splendid past amongst its remains.
Old Spa of Fontenova
In 1902 this offer of spa treatments grew with the opening of Fontenova, previously known as the fountain of Espido, whose bottled waters were famous in post-war Spain and abroad. Its waters rise at a similar temperature to the other springs, and are also used for kidney stones, iliac complaints, rheumatism, gout, liver problems, dyspepsia, and stomach and bladder problems.
Old Spa of Cabreiroá
In 1909, a rural spring bought by the local figure and businessman José García Barbón was turned into the spa of Cabreiroá. At first, it was used to treat stomach complaints, heal scars and wounds, and also for bladder problems. Today, its waters (at 17ºC) are highly recommended for stomach complaints, intestinal problems, liver complaints, kidney and gallstones, and for the digestive system in general.
Mineral spring of Fonte do Sapo
Like the spring in Caldeliñas, the mineral spring of Fonte do Sapo is publicly owned, and major reformation work has been carried out on the building. It is still the region’s most popular mineral spring. Located in a cool, leafy setting close to Verín, it is renowned in the area and its treatments are in great demand. The waters of Verín have a composition that is rich in bicarbonates (sodium, calcium and iron), lithium, fluorine and other elements in smaller concentrations, such as alkaline iodide. For centuries they have been considered to be beneficial for bladder problems, uric acid, kidney stones, herpes and problems affecting the urinary tract, amongst others. Although they are normally taken orally, nearly all of the thermal spa also had baths.