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A Guide to the N2 Route in Portugal

A Unique Journey from North to South

Portugal’s N2, also known as the EN2 or Estrada Nacional 2, spans 739 kilometers (453 miles), making it one of three global roads.

While faster routes exist to Portugal’s main attractions, none match the meandering charm of the N2. It’s ideal for curious travelers who seek offbeat sites and experiences often overlooked by guidebooks.

It promises ever-changing landscapes, music-filled car rides with loved ones, and chance encounters with new faces. Opting for the N2 guarantees a rich tapestry of experiences, from historic architecture and first-class cuisine to quaint rural villages and vibrant modern cities, showcasing the best of Portugal.

Preparing for the an Portugal’s N2 road trip involves deciding how long to explore it. Though Portugal is compact, we recommend dedicating at least a week to fully savor its charms. This allows for leisurely stops and deeper immersion in your favorite destinations.

Before embarking, obtain an N2 passport from tourist offices in Chaves or Faro. This passport covers the 35 municipalities along the route, allowing you to collect stamps as souvenirs of your journey—a unique testament to your time in Portugal.

Portugal’s N2 road trip

Vila Real

Begin your journey in Chaves or Faro—the choice is yours. In Chaves, explore the ancient Roman bridge, Praça de Camões, Chaves Castle, and Jardim Publico de Chaves. Our first recommended stop is Vila Real – renowned for its stunning historic architecture. Make sure to visit Mateus Palace and Igreja de São Domingos.

For a serene break, visit UTAD Botanical Garden or explore Alvão Natural Park and Serra do Marão for scenic hikes.

Douro Valley and Lamego

Heading south from Vila Real, enter the Douro Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famed for its wine production. Consider a private tour to delve into its vineyards and landscapes.

Continuing, reach Lamego, known for its Baroque architecture and sparkling wines aged in caves like Caves da Raposeira. Lamego is the capital city of Baroque architecture in Portugal. To enjoy wonderful views and a masterly building from the 18th century, climb the 700 steps that take you to the Nossa Senhora dos Remédios Sanctuary.

Coimbra

Next, Coimbra awaits—a city rich in Fado music and cultural heritage. Explore Biblioteca Joanina, an 18th-century library home to over 250,000 precious books. And Machado de Castro National Museum, home to extensive art collections.

Tomar

Tomar offers the Knights Templar’s Convent of Christ, a UNESCO site with a rich history. Admire its medieval architecture, including the Aqueduto dos Pegões, an enormous aqueduct engineered in the 16th century, before exploring the Old Town designed by the Templars.

Évora

Further south lies Évora, another UNESCO gem renowned for  the Corinthian temple that sits in the center of the modern town. Regularly referred to as the Temple of Diana, the Corinthian temple is actually thought to have been built in honor of Emperor Augustus, who was deified after his death. 

The Old Town of Évora is the country’s best example of Portuguese Renaissance architecture. In 1755, a powerful earthquake destroyed buildings across Portugal, most famously leveling most of Lisbon.

There is the Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones) for travelers drawn to eerie and unusual sights. This is a famous charnel house where human remains are stacked from floor to ceiling, often arranged in creative displays. 

Faro

Conclude your journey in Faro, capital of the Algarve. Enjoy boat tours, sandy beaches, and the vibrant dining scene. Explore Ria Formosa for its diverse wildlife and natural beauty.

Spend your days sunbathing or swimming in the sea before enjoying nights eating the delicious food of the Algarve and grabbing a refreshing cocktail.

road trip guide

We hope we’ve given you plenty of inspiration for your road trip. If you don’t think you’ll have time to explore the N2, why not consider joining us on one of our Private Day Tours in Portugal or book a Self-Guided Premium Tour in Portugal?  

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