It connects the charming city of Chaves, bordering Spain, to Faro, already in the Algarve. Along the way, you will discover 35 awe-inspiring locations, between rivers and mountains, as far as the eye can see. Some people compare it to the legendary "Route 66", but Estrada Nacional 2 is very much Portuguese, and is an ode to the country and its people. The accents in the North are as diverse as the local gastronomy and villages (many of them reminiscent of other times and true fairy tales), indistinguishable only in that genuine and unique way of welcoming that characterizes the Portuguese people. If you are waiting for a sign to hit the road, here it is: accept the challenge of All About Portugal and organize the romantic journey (or not) of your life. We promise you, it will be unforgettable!
Day 1: Chaves
The journey begins near the Spanish border, in Chaves, in the heart of Trás-os-Montes. This warm city still keeps the memory of the passage of the Romans, having in the Roman Bridge of Trajano one of its crown jewels. Getting to know the city entails a lot of footwork - be sure to admire the Castle and the Fort of Saint Neutel - but also a hearty appetite: one cannot simply resist the folar de carne at Easter, the pastéis de Chaves, the alheiras or the ham.
Then, discover Vila Real. This is a picture-perfect locality: it is bathed by one of the tributaries of the Douro, the Corgo River, and has the mountain ranges of Alvão, Falperra and Marão as backdrop. One of its brand images is the wine from the Douro Demarcated Region, so be sure to delight yourself with this nectar (in moderation, of course). You can do this at Casa de Mateus, which includes a visit to the winery and wine tasting sessions, upon reservation.
The incomparable Douro
The Douro is, without a doubt, one of the great attractions of this tour through Portugal. The river, its vineyards and landscapes so distinctive characterize the EN2 to the North, in a unique embrace between road and Nature. It will be difficult to resist stopping and photographing the surrounding area, or simply admiring it. To top it off, be sure to visit Régua, where you can find the Douro Museum and discover more about this idyllic Portuguese region.
Suggestion: Tasca da Quinta
Gastronomy is, of course, an essential element of this adventure. There are many restaurants that deserve a visit on this first day, such as Taberna Benito in Chaves, Casa de Pasto Chaxoila in the middle of EN2, and the São Gabriel and Santo António restaurants in Santa Marta de Penaguião. We recommend a stop at Tasca da Quinta, in Régua. Try the pepper and mackerel tapas, rojões, or one of the many dishes with alheira.
Day 2: Lamego
After a well-deserved rest, the journey picks up at Lamego, where you can find the impressive Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios. If you choose to sleep in the area, Nature tourism is one of the most captivating options. Take the opportunity to explore the local gastronomy, where dishes with a long tradition stand out, such as roasted kid goat, trout escabeche or smoked sausages, among others. As it should be, accompany the meal with wine from the Douro region.
Termas de São Pedro do Sul
Add to your road trip a wellness pit stop, at Termas de São Pedro do Sul, a thermal spa set in a scenery of incredible natural beauty. They have been sought for centuries to treat diseases such as rheumatism or diseases of the blood and respiratory system, among others. The origin of these baths dates back to Roman times, and their history is marked by the passage of numerous royal members - as was the case of the first King of Portugal, D. Afonso Henriques.
Suggestion: Vissaium Taberna
Be it gastronomy or wine, there is much to choose from in the Dão-Lafões region. It is also a good excuse to visit Viseu, with its magnificent Cathedral and other points of interest such as Porta dos Cavaleiros or Cava de Viriato. As far as food is concerned, you can enjoy one of the many traditional dishes, such as lamb chanfana, broad beans with spare ribs, or the rancho à moda de Viseu. The options are varied, but we propose the Vissaium Taberna, where you can choose between snacks or full meals.
Day 3: Lousã
The mountain range of Serra da Lousã is a mandatory detour when crossing Estrada Nacional 2. It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful moments of this journey, perfect opportunity to explore the region’s Schist Villages. We especially recommend Talasnal, 500 meters above sea level. Stroll through the narrow streets and let yourself be conquered by the perfect meeting between schist and nature, in this small village characterized by its local products, mainly the talasnicos and retalhinhos.
Suggestion: Santo Amaro
Stop to recharge your batteries at Sertã, with a meal filled with the best that the region has to offer. Start with a fish soup, and then enjoy the popular maranhos, the stuffed tripe or the fish stew. Sweets are also the hallmark of the region, mainly the tigelada beirã, the cartuchos de amêndoa and the merendas doces. The offer of restaurants is varied, but we recommend the Santo Amaro restaurant.
Vila de Rei
It was the land of Celts and Romans, and it did not escape French invasions. Its scenery has changed many times, especially with the construction of the Dam of Castelo de Bode, which left several fields submerged. Here you can find the geodesic centre of Portugal, at the summit of the Serra da Melriça, called Picoto da Melriça. The climb is also worth it for the breathtaking surrounding landscape. If the weather permits, take the opportunity to relax on the Fluvial Beach of Penedo Furado.
Castle of Almourol
Another inevitable detour is the Castle of Almourol. Its location gives it a unique allure, reminiscent of the most beautiful fairy tales. Take the opportunity to register the moment with your camera, or simply go for a short boat ride. In Abrantes, visit the Fortress and the Castle, as well as the welcoming Historic Centre. If the gastronomic moment comes, try the traditional tigeladas and palha de Abrantes. They’re mouthwateringly delicious.
Day 4: Alentejo
The entrance to the Alto Alentejo region is through Ponte de Sor, as we continue our journey towards Avis, Mora and Coruche, in Ribatejo. Take some time in each location, exploring the local historical and natural heritage. Some "mandatory" stops are the bridge that gives name to Ponte de Sor, the Castle of Avis, the incredible Dolmen of Pavia in Mora – converted into a chapel - and the Historic Centre of Coruche. You will also discover why Alentejo is a reference in terms of gastronomy and wine.
Suggestion: O Cortiço
Speaking of food, the hard part is deciding where to stop in Alentejo, since there are many and varied offers. Delight yourself with an açorda alentejana, with the irresistible dishes of lamb and kid goat, or the dogfish soup. There are so many delicious delicacies that it would take weeks to taste them all. As a suggestion, we recommend O Cortiço, in Montemor-o-Novo. Take advantage of the stop in the area to visit the Castle ruins, the cromlechs and the Escoural Grottoes.
Continuing our journey towards the Algarve, there are sights for all tastes: beautiful landscapes, small and cosy locations and incredible viewpoints. See the Sado Estuary Natural Reserve in Alcácer do Sal, and the impressive Calvário Chapel in Ferreira do Alentejo. Then stop at Aljustrel, with its vast golden plains, and where much of the history is linked to the mining industry and to the Chapel of Santa Maria do Castelo.
Crossing the Algarve with the mountain range of Serra do Caldeirão as backdrop is something incredible. The local rich gastronomy adds seasoning to this journey, one that is difficult to resist. Linger on the characteristic green of the area and end up by the unavoidable Ria Formosa wetlands, which invite you to go for a walk. Finish on a high note and, if time permits, choose one of the multiple beaches at your disposal and say goodbye to this dream-like trip with a refreshing dip in the Atlantic.