The mythic EN 2 Nacional Road
Route 66 in USA
As promised, I will continue to travel with you, virtually though, from the capital of Portugal to the province of the Algarve. This time using an iconic road , the Nacional 2 marked as E, from ‘’Estrada- road’’ and N from Nacional- National. Believe me that it is the profile of our real country, where you’ll feel like diving into a big adventure, mostly because you are available to discover by learning.
I’ve picked this itinerary to those who are not anxious to arrive, may not have children on board ( honestly I do think they will put you anxious within the first 100 miles…) and finally, to the ones who love history! As I always say, sometimes you need to know a bit of the past to better understand the present!
The EN 2 (or simply N2) – Estrada de Portugal is a national road that integrates the national road network of Portugal, connecting Faro to Chaves. It is the third longest road in the world, with 738.5 km, just after Route 66 in the United States and Route 40 in Argentina. It was instituted in the year 1945.
The section of the EN2 merges with its own history, with many segments already being the main Roman roads that crossed Lusitânia.
Over time, the main roads were improved and linked to each other and until the end of the century. XIX, much of what is now the EN2 was already Estrada Real.
The road has gained notoriety in recent years after being chosen by several international magazines as one of the longest and most interesting roads in Europe.
For this day i need you to leave Lisboa via Vasco da Gama bridge. Beautiful piece of engineering!! You will have to cross the country from the coast to the inland, towards Spain, but not necessarily going all the time close to the border afterwards. But first thing first: are you a paper lover or more addicted to technology? Part of the adventure is to get a passport and have it stamped along the way. No, you’re not crossing a border and there is no passport control anymore between Spain and Portugal. I am talking about an App or a real paper passport that is for free in most of the tourism offices along the way. The app is very handy as the tourist office may close at lunch time or as early as 17/18 hrs. However, I prefer the passport to keep as a souvenir.
Tips for the journey:
• Use the time to enjoy the landscape, to meet people,the spots and of course the gastronomy.Try is the watchword!
• Visit the small local museums where the stamps are delightful!
• Buy local handicraft, unbeatable on quality or prices.
• Remember we are southern people..sometimes we close the business between 1 pm and 3pm.
Now it is time to hit the road!
Driving on the Vasco da Gama bridge means you will access to the A12 motorway.This is your road up to the point of seeing signs to exit to A6 ( exit 5 ) to Espanha, Évora, Santarém.It is the town of Évora that i want you to visit, regardeless it is not located on the EN2. And Why? Simply because it is a world’s heritage town according to UNESCO and it is just there a few miles away from Montemor-o-Novo where you could have started the famous route. However, you can also reach it later, coming down from this special town.After one hour and thirty minutes you are there and you won’t regret.
Tips to visit Évora
• Park the car outside walls;
• Take good shoes to walk for approximately 2 hours – flat though
• If you want the visit to be the most informative please call for a licensed guide,it is worth the money- firstname.lastname@example.org
Telm: +351 963 702 392
Visits not to be missed
• Roman Temple
• The bones chapel
• S. Francisco church
• The Moorish doors
Restaurants to try regional dishes
• O Fialho – Black pig, shark soup, etc €€€
• Botequim da Mouraria – up to six people only, best tapas €€
• Vinarium Wine & tapas vegetarian and vegan options, gluten free €€
And now it’s time to continue your way down to the south.Best way and more scenic is to go down on N 380 towards Nossa Senhora da Tourega and join the N2 in Alcaçovas, unless your super interested in visiting the famous Grutas do Escoural, Escoural cave. It contains several cave paintings and rock carvings that date back more than 13,000 years. One-hour guided visits help illuminate some of the mysteries of these faintly visible works.
For safety and preservation reasons, the visits to Escoural Cave are under restricting conditioning. The Cave can be visited EXCLUSIVELY by PREVIOUS APPOINTMENT at the Escoural Interpretation Center, preferably with 24 hours or more in advance. The visits are conducted within Tuesday to Saturday except the last Saturday each month and holidays. Groups cannot exceed 10 visitors maximum.
Visits at 10:30 and 14:30 CONTACTOS / CONTACTS Centro Interpretativo do Escoural (para marcação das visitas / appointments): 266 857 000
Direção Regional de Cultura do Alentejo: 266 769 800
In this case, you’ll need to go back from Évora to Montemor-o-Novo using the N114 and the A6 and drive down for 40 minutes.
At this point you have to check the distance from your hotel.You are 211 kms away from Faro where the EN 2 ends on the kilometer 738, and probably you want to stop at Ferreira do Alentejo in order to visit an unique church ‘’Capela do Calvário’’ or the church of the stones, dating back to the 17th century.
And what to say about Almodovar? Genuine people, i’m sure that’s what you’re going to find, as all over the province you have been traveling, the beautiful Alentejo.If you have time i suggest a brief walk, depending how hot it can be, and visit the parish church.Otherwise , there is on the way down of this same EN2 a lovely fresh natural pool called ‘’Fonte da Seiceira’’at a place called Ameixial.Wou, so inviting for the heat of the region!!
Along the way you’ll notice some view points that deserve a break not only from the wheel but to admire the splendid views. Alto da Arroteia is this kind of place. Just slow down there for a while.And by the way, you’re in the Algarve right now, near the town of S.Bras de Alportel, a very important town in the past as now, for the production of cork.
Your journey is nearly finished. I will be more than happy if you call me when you arrive as i live two steps far from the roundabout where the road is ending. I will leave you here some suggestions in order to visit my town, Faro :
What to visit
• The Cathedral
• Carmo’s church
• Municipal Museum
• Main shopping street (wonderful pedestrian work)
• Boat tour in Ria Formosa, a Natural Reserve
Where to stay
• Eva Senses Hotel
• Aqua Ria Boutique Hotel
• Faro downton studios
Where to eat
. Mercearia S. Pedro
• A tasca do João
• Petisqueira 3 em pipa
• O Gimbras
And wait for the third and last option to drive down from Lisbon next week!