The N2 is one of the oldest and known crosses in Portugal, starting in the north until reaching the south. Find out why it is the best road in Portugal and why it is a perfect choice for your visit.
Portuguese Route 66 – as it is affectionately called the “Estrada Nacional 2” – has been for almost eight decades, the most mythical road in the country, but only recently has been known by tourists.
There have always been people in Portugal to know and travel the Estrada Nacional 2, but recently it started to be recommended in the program “Good Morning America” in the United States of America and several international publications.
In 2016 was created a union of the several municipalities that are present alongside this road and with common objectives: the goals are the valorization and promotion of the people and the towns crossing the N2, as well as the tourist development and the economic promotion and cultural aspects of the municipalities.
In an unprecedented and transregional project, the intention was to create an identity on the road, make it a tourist route on an international scale, and combat the desertification of the communities in the interior of Portugal.
When everything was going as planned, the pandemic happened. But even this did not stop “Estrada Nacional 2”. On the contrary: road trips, caravans, solitary or family trips, out on the road discovering its wonders, seemed to gain even more strength and meaning with everything that happened.
In addition to a promotional campaign that aims to demonstrate the uniqueness and essence that tourists can find throughout Nacional 2, around 1500 establishments with the Clean & Safe seal are also identified, as well as 650 partners.
The conditions are already created, with the N2 being increasingly known, nationally and internationally, as a tourist offer “of quality, sustainability and security”.
If you are not yet familiar with the more than 700 kilometers of the road that connects Trás-os-Montes (north of Portugal) to the Algarve (south of Portugal), this is the time to do it. The historic route crosses four mountains, 11 districts, and 11 rivers. There are a total of 739.26 kilometers between Chaves and Faro, making it, among the roads with their characteristics, one of the longest in the world.
After years of being called Portuguese Route 66, this route, once with parts and abandoned landmarks, has in recent years been moving towards becoming a tourist icon on a world scale, for which it has all the potential: with guides, maps, landmarks, own image, and international promotion.
In 2018, a major step was taken in this direction, with the creation of the “EN2 Passport”. The document is an edition of the AMREN2 association and aims to encourage national and foreign tourists to travel the road, gathering important memories and landmarks.
It contains the identification of the 35 municipalities crossed by the EN2 and is a great way to remember the trip on what is a unique road in Europe.
These passports indicate the places where they can be stamped, such as tourist offices, cafes, or accommodation, along the entire route.
It was put up for sale at the tourist offices and city halls of the participating municipalities, or by email [email protected], at the price of 1€.
An app also recently arrived, created by Portuguese students. A group of students from the University of Coimbra, belonging to the Degree in Computer Engineering, contacted the Association of Municipalities of the Route of the National Road 2 and developed an application on the N2 for academic purposes.
The purpose of this application, totally free, is also to boost the Route of the National Road 2, associating the existing content and complementing it with new ideas, such as the digital passport. This means that you can digitally “stamp” the municipalities crossed on the route, as well as find useful information about it, at the distance of an app. The application has been available since the beginning of January and has no cost to the user. It can be found in the play store, and once installed, QRCodes are available at the locations indicated along the road N2.
The road began to be built in the late 19th century and was classified in 1945, but several parts would already be Roman passages before the 19th century. The sections were improved until the EN2 was created and there is one that is even protected: the part that links Almodôvar to São Brás de Alportel was classified as a Heritage Road in 2003, due to the recognition of the historic value of the road and the surrounding heritage.
Normally, the road trip is done from north to south: the starting point is Chaves. In addition to Chaves and the Vidago Natural Park, Vila Real and the Alto Douro wine region are also visited. It continues to Lamego, Castro Daire, Viseu, Tondela, Santa Comba Dão.
And then you get to the green landscapes of Penacova, Vila Nova de Poiares, Vila Nova do Ceira, Góis. Then there are towns like Pedrógão Pequeno, Sertã, Abrantes, Montemor, Aljustrel until you reach the Algarve and its landscape is completely different from the starting point. The cities of departure and arrival on the road have already shown interest in creating two museums, one at each end, to make their history known.
There are several ways to go: by car, motorcycle, even by bicycle. If you want to rent a motorhome, you can use companies like Indie Campers, Campervan Portugal, or Campilider. You can also use the private motorhome rental service, Yescapa, a kind of Airbnb for these vehicles.