The longest road in Europe
There are many roads and lanes going through Portugal that stun you with their beautiful views, showing the diversity that Portugal has to offer. However, there’s one that stands out: the N2. With its length of 739,26 kms it is the longest single road in Europe and the third longest in the world.
The N2 runs north-south like a spine through the middle of the country. It starts in the north in Chaves, a town going back to Roman times, and ends in Faro on the Mediterranean.
The road officially got its N2 number on May 11, 1945 and at the time consisted of a series of connected smaller and larger roads. Some of these dated back to the Middle Ages and even to the days of the Roman Empire. Long stretches were unpaved or consisted of macadam, a technique developed by Scottish engineer John Loudon McAdam in which two layers of gravel were rolled on a basis of rock to create a relatively smooth surface. The English word tarmac derives from this: instead of gravel you use tar.
Obviously the current road differs here and there from the original of 1945, but not much has changed. It still goes through many of the same districts, counties, towns and villages as it did back then. The pace of life is slow here and so is the speed at which you drive. In this way you can fully enjoy the culture and nature that Portuigal has got to offer. Be surprised.
Culture and nature
Right at the start you find a cultural highlight: Chaves, an old town where it is a joy to stay. Take a stroll, have a look at the Roman bridge and visit the castle.
In the northern part you drive along a mountain range through a barren landscape, empty and with endless views.
The river Douro dominates the middle part. The valley that the river has created, is one of the oldest wine regions of Europe. Its terraces on which the vines grow are typical for the area. It is beautiful and fully justifies its designation as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The road leads past villages beautifully set in the mountains, where the houses have been constructed of granite walls and slate roofs. Some of them are 900 years old. Rarely do you get such a strong feeling that time has stopped.
South of the River Tagus we arrive in a totally different setting. Rolling hills filled with olive and cork groves characterise the Alentejo. Finally we get to the Ãlgarve, looking completely different from what you know from the brochures of travel agents. Here you find mountains, nature, solitude. At the end of the journey we reach the Mediterranean. More touristy, of course, but still, look around carefully, walk to the harbour and observe the fishermen. You will find that here, too, you can taste life in Portugal.
Drive the N2
To enjoy the scenery, the road, the towns and villages to the full, we tsake fove days to go from the northern tip of the N2 to its finish in the South. Furthermore, this gives us time to meet the local people, enjoy the cuisine and excellent wines.
We start with a day in Chaves so that you have a relaxed start of the journey on the day after. Once in Faro we spend a day on the coast to rest, reflect on the journey behind us and let it all sink in.
José Almeida is a well-know expert on Portugal and specialist writer for Overland Journal. Together with him we have created a trip with an e-roadbook in which we have bundled all his knowledge and passion for the country. It contains the route with point-to-point directions, all hotels, restaurants, excursions and so on. Everything you need for a successful journey. We book everything for you; the vouchers will be in your roadbook.
You drive between 100 and 180 kilometers per day. You have plenty of time to absorb everything the area you’re travelling through has to offer. We offer several excursions, a boat-ride, visits to quintas, where you taste wine, port and other local products. You stay in excellent hotels, all with a certain wow-factor.
Day 1: arrival in Chaves
Relax after your journey to the start. Have a stroll in Chaves.
Day 2: Chaves – Lamego
Distance: 98 km
Day 3: Lamego – Lousã
Distance: 157 km
Day 4: Lousã – Montargil
Distance: 177 km
Day 5: Montargil – Aljustrel
Distance: 161 km
Day 6: Aljustrel – Faro
Distance: 118 km
Day 7: relax in Faro
Have a quiet day on the Med.
We offer this individual journey for €1600 per person, based on two people sharing a room. You can go whenever you like and there is no limit to the size of your party.
Best time to go
You can do this trip the entire year through. The best time of year is spring, from April until the end of June and autumn, from September until the end of October.
Included in the price are:
- Seven overnight stays in excellent hotels
- All meals
- All excursions
- All tastings: wine, port, local products
- Boat-trip on the River Douro
- Extensive information before you leave
- E-roadbook in English to guide you on your journey
Not included in the price are:
- Expenses to travel to Chaves and return home from Faro
- Rental car if applicable
- Travel insurance
- Personal expenses
Extensions and adaptations
You can extend what’s included with a rental car. And you can personalise the trip according to your own wishes. All changes are made in dialogue with us and will influence the final fee you pay.
This offer is guaranteed by STO Garant. You can find the terms and conditions of this guarantee schem on the website of STO Garant (www.sto-garant.nl/en/downloads).