41.810867 ° N • 7.422271° W

Two time-zones, one European spa city.

On the surface, a national border runs between the towns of Chaves (Portugal) and Verín (Galicia, Spain) which have both served as military strongholds in the past. And deep below, there’s a crack in the Earth.

This tectonic fracture has given the Chaves-Verín area one of the largest concentrations of hot springs in Europe. And these could be a source of health and well-being not only for visitors but also for the local economy.

Realising this, the people of Chaves and Verín decided to combine their forces, with help from European funds for border regions, and join together as one Eurocity of Chaves-Verín. This way they could create not only a joint cultural and touristic offer but also economies of scale, and many more opportunities for their inhabitants.

The Road Trip crew managed to get their hands on a very special little card, developed specifically for use in this magical Eurocity of Water – it gives people access to the shared municipal services and facilities in areas such as sport, leisure, music and culture.

One each was given to Yldau and Fabian, and they were then sent on a challenge, devised together with the Eurocity team: to check out the attractions in the fullest but also the fastest way possible.

The duo jumped at the opportunity and headed off, starting from the border and heading into opposite directions: Yldau went to  Spanish Verín, Fabian to Portuguese Chaves. Would the time zone difference – Spain runs on Central European Time (CET), Portugal on General Mean Time (GMT), so is always one hour behind CET – also make a difference to their chances of winning? Watch the video to find out, but what can be said regardless is this: our travellers’ enjoyed themselves – and the many special places and activities the Eurocity has to offer – a great deal.

And by the way, the success of the project has been such that it has inspired other towns along the Portuguese-Spanish border to become Eurocities!

In 2015, Chaves-Verín was honoured with an EU RegioStars award. Here’s why:
http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/en/information/videos/regiostars-2015-eurocity-of-chaves-verin

And here is the Eurocity’s own website:
http://en.eurocidadechavesverin.eu/

See also

Nature and history in Helsinki

Luna and Achilleas discovered different sides to Helsinki, during one hot summer day. The capital of Finland is known for Nordic design and beautiful architecture but it also presents an amazing mix of nature and history.

The Valga-Valka experience

Luna went exploring the border between Estonia & Latvia, two countries divided by a river, but united through an... art school!