An adventure on the EN2
Estrada Nacional 2 (EN2) has gained some notoriety in recent years and is considered one of the most mythical routes ever. It traverses 35 fabulous municipalities, 11 mountains and 13 rivers, and “resides” in Portugal. Although with particular characteristics, some spirituality, and a diverse material and intangible heritage, it is in the gastronomy that we find a common point in all its “neighborhood”: the flavor, which never disappoints.
The route can be taken from north to south (Chaves-Faro) or south to north (Faro-Chaves), and there is no more correct or less correct way to do it. What is essential, however, will be to save, at least, eight to ten days of your schedule for this adventure, since only this way will you be able to make the most of the trip.
A particularly interesting detail of this itinerary is the passport created by the association of municipalities of the route of the National Road 2, which aims to register each of the “stops” and also serves as a basis for remembering the trip. The passports indicate the places where they can be stamped along the entire route - tourist offices, cafés and accommodation - and there are also digital versions - APP EN2. When traveling along this road, and along a large part of the way, it is possible to observe on the side of the roads the respective names and the kilometers they can be found at, so even without GPS it is very easy to be guided. Nevertheless, if orientation is not your strongest asset, don't take any risks.
It is possible to travel the EN2 throughout the year, but one must take into consideration that spring or autumn are the best seasons to do so. In addition to the days being longer and the temperatures milder, the scenery transforms itself to look like an authentic postcard. Choose the most viable solution for you, grab the camera and hit the road.
Some places of interest and suggestions
North 0KM - 103KM
(Chaves, Vila Pouca de Aguiar, Vila Real, Santa Marta de Penaguião, Peso da Régua and Lamego)
Land of castles and thermal springs, with the spirit Of Rome and bathed by the Tâmega River, Chaves stands out for the Termas de Vidago (thermal springs), the Roman Bridge and the Castle, with a well-preserved keep. Those who pass by cannot resist tasting the famous pastel de chaves, stuffed with veal. The surrounding landscape of Peso da Régua expands along the Douro River. With a rich heritage of stately homes, wine-producing estates and palaces, you can observe the most beautiful scenery here, perhaps with a good glass of Port wine to keep you company. With such a rich historical, cultural, architectural and religious legacy, Lamego stands out for the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios - one of the oldest dioceses in Portugal - but also for its Castle. Be sure to enjoy the Lamego ham and the traditional stuffed bôla.
Center 136KM - 402KM
(Castro Daire, São Pedro do Sul, Viseu, Tondela, Santa Comba Dão, Mortágua, Penacova, Vila Nova de Poiares, Lousã, Góis, Pedrógão Grande, Sertã, Vila de Rei, Sardoal and Abrantes)
Municipality recognized for having the largest and most developed spa with healing properties in the Iberian Peninsula, São Pedro do Sul is also a land of tranquility and good food. The hot vapors from the water sources scattered throughout this small town attract the eyes and hands of the most curious. Serra da Lousã, in turn, one of the greatest and romantic wonders of central Portugal, encompasses a natural and surrounding setting of shale villages that is simply wonderful, so any detour you plan to do in this area will not be in vain. Walk through the gardens that line the Sertã river and, if the weather suggests, take the opportunity to take a dip in the river beach of Ribeira Grande. Go up to the tower, behind the castle chapel and admire its “frame”. Be sure to try bucho, maranhos (pork belly) or wild boar.
(Ponte de Sor, Avis, Mora, Coruche, Montemor-o-Novo, Viana do Alentejo, Alcácer do Sal, Ferreira do Alentejo, Aljustrel, Castro Verde and Almodôvar)
Ponte de Sor has the largest cork mosaic in the world, a reflection of its cork industry which was highlighted in the Guinness Book of Records. Its natural heritage is immense and marks, with its rotating water mills, the landscape of some of the main water courses. From pleasure dining at the table to the beautiful Ribatejo landscapes, Coruche is surprising. With countless outdoor activities - among them balloon rides and horseback riding, sports in nature and down the river Sorraia by canoe - the simple visit to the municipal museum or the historic center offers an unforgettable experience. Montemor-o-Novo is also worth exploring. Its streets, houses, the castle and the antique towers of the old village are unique. If you need the perfect excuse to relax, while the younger ones set out on the path of discovery, make a stop at Monte Selvagem, a 20 hectare estate with hundreds of animals.
Algarve 688KM - 739KM
(Loulé, São Brás de Alportel and Faro)
The most emblematic tourist attractions of Loulé are the Municipal Market, with its colors and Moorish style, and the castle, which although renovated, dates back to the 18th century. Walk through its historical center and admire the symbolic chimneys of the Algarve. Igreja Matriz de São Brás de Alportel has one of the most beautiful views in the region and Museu do Trajo has a very rich collection, narrating, through clothes, the local history. Faro has several points of interest, including the main entrance to Vila Adentro - Arco da Vila -, the Cathedral and the Marina, which dominates the downtown scenery. The capital of the Algarve is a good base for visiting other places of interest, such as Olhão - to enjoy good fish - or the Ria Formosa Natural Park, formed by an extension of dunes, canals and islands.
Detours that make a difference
Pena Aventura Park - a park of recreational activities and adventure sports for everyone just a short detour away - on the way to Vila Real (north-south direction). Here you can fly in one of the biggest Fantasticables in the world and slide down the mountain, with all its twists and turns. Tempting, isn't it?
Praia Fluvial de Fornelos - in the municipality of Santa Marta de Penaguião, this is a natural pool resulting from a weir that locks the waters of the Aguilhão River.
River Beaches in Vila de Góis - Peneda, Pêgo Escuro, Canaveias, Ribeira do Sinhel and Roda Fundeira. In addition to these beaches, the municipality of Góis has many wild places where you can take refreshing baths.
Swing of Trevim in Serra da Lousã – this swing, at the top of Trevim, at 1200 meters of altitude, is the perfect spot for an original photo.
Cabril Dam - one of the largest dams in Portugal. Ideal for camping, hiking or having a picnic.
Multipurpose complex of Almodôvar - the ideal excuse to take a break. Located at the entrance of Vila de Almodôvar, it comprises the outdoor and indoor municipal swimming pools, Turkish bath, rooms for the practice of various activities, tennis courts, football fields and a track for radio controlled models.
Odivelas Dam - located on the border between the municipalities of Alvito and Ferreira do Alentejo, it is the ideal place for bird watching.
Café Central - everything that is normal in a café, but also t-shirts, mugs, helmets and craft beer with the EN2 logo. In Vila Nova de Poiares, this café is a must.
Taking time to think about where you are going to sleep is also very important on these type of trips. Depending on whether you are traveling alone or accompanied, with or without children, and the attention you want to dedicate to each of the municipalities, it is essential to know what are the local accommodation options.
Some people, however, choose to take a tent or to take the trip by motor home.
Ready for the adventure?