The Portuguese “Route 66”

Have you already planned your 2020 holidays? “Frommer’s”, a renowned travel guide magazine, elected National Road 2 (EN2), the “Portuguese Route 66”, as one of the best places to visit in 2020. During the ABC audience leader program “Good Morning America”, Pauline Frommer described EN2 as “an iconic road trip equivalent to the Route 66 passing through stunning vineyards and medieval villages, being not expensive, especially in accommodation and restaurants”.

EN2 is the longest road in Portugal and Europe. The 3rd longest in the World, after Route 66 in USA and Route 40 in Argentina, crossing the country from top to bottom through its interior along 738 kms, between the romantic city of Chaves and Faro, with its warm southern beaches. It has been called the “Portuguese Route 66” for years, and in small steps, it’s becoming a touristic icon in world scale. A road, like the mythical North America one, with customized guides, maps, it is already a brand itself, being promoted internationally.

The road began to be built in the late 19th century, passing through 4 UNESCO World Heritage sites, wild mountains, elegant thermal cities, crystalline lakes and a series of historic and photogenic villages. Although on an obviously smaller scale, EN2 also passes in 35 municipalities, through different realities, geographies, landscapes and even climates, crossing 4 mountain ranges, 11 districts and 11 rivers.

Usually, it’s done from North to South, starting in km 0 in Chaves. In the beginning of this road trip you can visit Chaves, Vidago Natural Park, Vila Real and Alto Douro. It continues to Lamego, Castro Daire, Viseu, Tondela and Santa Comba Dão. Then you reach the green landscapes of Penacova, Vila Nova de Poiares, Vila Nova do Ceira and Góis. Heading south, you have interesting towns such as Pedrógão Pequeno, Sertã, Abrantes, Montemor, Aljustrel and Almodôvar, until you reach the Algarve with a completely different scenario from the starting point.

The Association of Municipalities of EN2 launched the “EN2 Passport” with a cost of 1 €. With this passport, tourist can redeem stamps referring the places they passed along the route, taking advantage of all the landscape and heritage that the route has to offer.

You see, as more as you know Portugal, the more there is to discover. Driving the EN2 may well be the perfect excuse for a holiday on the road, without big plans. Just discovering, a perfect adventure!

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