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Pedras Salgadas Park

History

The unique characteristics of the waters in Pedras Salgadas were soon discovered by the locals, who used them to relieve the ailments that afflicted them in everyday life. In the nineteenth century, the waters of Pedras Salgadas reached beyond the borders of their springs, attracting the interest of all those who suffered from disorders of the digestive system.

The health value of this water was recognized in 1873 at the International Exposition of Vienna, Austria, which gave major impetus to the construction of a Thermal Spa. In 1875, a company was founded to exploit the waters, at the proposal of a doctor from Vila Real, Dr. Henrique Manuel Ferreira Botelho. In 1879, six years after its first major recognition, the Pedras Salgadas Spa opened to the public, receiving successively the most famous Portuguese personalities of the time.

New springs were discoveries in 1884, from the southwest to the northeast, Rio, Gruta, José Júlio Rodrigues, Férrea, Nova, Saraiva and Botelho, Penedo and Preciosa.

The year 1884 was also marked by a royal visit by D. Fernando to Pedras Salgadas. In honour of the prince consort, the name of the riverhead was changed to D. Fernando.

The comfort of the tourist resorts and the confirmation of the benefits of the waters of Pedras Salgadas led to the construction of three hotels inside the park: the Hotel Avelames, the Grande Hotel and the Hotel do Norte.

In 1906, King D. Carlos settled in Pedras Salgadas to receive treatment with the waters. The following year, the area received a real boost in terms of its renown with the arrival of the railway line running from Corgo to Pedras Salgadas.

The Spa Casino was inaugurated in 1910 with a ballroom and meeting room where gambling, although illegal, was a common practice.
At the time, allowing "Games of Chance” in seaside resorts was being discussed in Parliament. It never came to pass due to Republican moral qualms and quarrelling.


For decades, the Pedras Salgadas spa was visited by thousands of people.

From the 1990s, its history is similar to other groups of springs operated by this company, being traded between the Sousa Cintra, Jerónimo Martins and finally Unicer groups (in 2002).

It is in 2009 that the Pedras Salgadas Thermal Spa is reborn, a classical example of Portuguese architecture now modernized by the mastery of Siza Vieira.

The implementation of the first Eco Houses, designed by Architect Luís Rebelo de Andrade, lends Pedras Salgadas Park an air of innovation and modernity, reflecting the architectural evolution itself of the current era.

In 2012, a new 4-star resort thus arises, called "Pedras Salgadas spa & nature park”.