Monday, April 15, 2013

Hot Springs in Galicia and also in the north of Portugal

There are many hot springs in Ourense. There's even a hot spring pool in the middle of the old city in the pedestrian area, near a street where cars pass and one can see the people bathing there in the middle of town. All this area is called Las Burgas. Next to this pool there are 5 hot spring jets that throw out 300 liters of water per minute at a temperature of 67°C!! Local people are constantly coming here to fill their empty bottles to take home. I also filled mine. This water is very good to help digestion and can be kept in the bottles for a couple of days.
In the area there are several public hot spring baths or Spas. Some were closed for maintenance since they are located very close to the river and as it rained a lot the river had flooded the area. I went anyway to take a look. By the way, it's very hard to find beacuse so badly indicated
I also went to the private Spas:
Terme Chavasqueira, costs only 4 euros to get in and it's all very Zen and Celtic. They are very well organized, not fancy but very clean.
Terme Outariz costs 5.15 euros and is the best of all, but even more difficult to find. Here they have a number of thermal pools and one of them even has the hot water pressure jets, too bad that they don't have them functioning all the time therefore people have to wait for this or that jet to start again. They also have small  frost pools and cold showers for the thermal contrast. It's all even more Zen and larger than Chavasqueira. The pools are made of stones and many are are like infinity pools and while bathing you see, only a few meters away, the spectacle of the Rio Minho with its turbulent and drafty waters.
Both these Spas also serve food and, believe it or not, they have some japanese proposals, which are good.
Bothe Chavasqueira an Outariz are open until late so people can go there after work.
There is a train that from the center of town takes people to the hot springs area, only that it wasn't working because of the floods
After having left Ourense, I read an article in the local newspaper, of another public hot spring spa that opened in the city about 6 months ago, built with public money, but has had no advertisement therefore people don't go there not knowing it exists. From the pictures it looked like a very modern place.
These Hot Springs in Ourense are like a time bomb: in a few years, if exploited well, could turn into a gold mine, Ourense could become a city like Budapest, famous for its hot springs. The local people say it's badly advertised so that it doesn't get ruined by the crowds. I don't think so since people in that area of Galicia leave the city because there isn' enough work offer for everybody. The situation is sad: empty houses and apartments, closed because nobody lives there anymore but that can't be sold since nobody buys anything anymore. You can also notice this in the public market place: more than half the stands are empty, nobody there to sell since not enough people there to buy!
When travelling in that area, taking small roads and going south, there are many towns with hot springs,  I found Baños de Molgas with its deco style hotel in the middle of the tiny town, to be adorable, although the hotel was closed, maybe because of the winter season.
Then you arrive in Portugal, and this continues, the city of Chaves has an enormous thermal bath station but it was closed, why? I couldn't find out but did take pictures of the place. They have a small water jet coming out and one can reach it and fill empty bottles. This water from Chaves has a stronger effect than the one in Ourense with important digestive curative properties.
Half an hour south from Chaves is Vidago, wonder town with 4 very particular hot springs of a very strong ferrous kind, closed in beautiful constructions built in the park of the splendid Vidago Palace Hotel, Spa and Golf. The hot spring waters don't belong to the hotel although they are the ones that can use the facility. This hotel is a real beauty, although the town of Vidago has many big old buildings that once were hotels and which are completely abandoned, literally falling to pieces. Going south towards Porto, I found another thermal town, Pedras Salgadas, with old and very nice constructions for the thermal water springs, but closed....why?
Lots of pictures follow for you to enjoy!

Ourense (Spain) Hot Springs:


Ourense market, just a few pictures: 

Baños de Molgas (Spain) Hot Springs:

Chaves (Portugal) Hot Springs:

Vidago (Portugal) Hot Springs:

Jenny trvaveller drinking the magic water from Vidago


glasses from clients, beautiful old glasses and shelf, now they use plastic "copos"

The Vidago Palace Hotel:

 The Vidago Palace Spa:

The outside look of the Vidago Palace Hotel:

One of the abandoned hotels in the town of Vidago:

The abandoned train station in the town of Vidago:

Pedras Salgadas Hot Springs: