The national road EN 2, 738 kilometres in the interior of the country between Chaves and Faro, was chosen as one of the 19 places to visit in the world in 2019, the North American publishing company Frommer’s, a travel specialist, announced today.
Frommer’s website, under the title ‘Best places to go in 2019’, Frommer’s recalls the boom in tourism on the sunny Portuguese beaches and in the cities of Lisbon and Porto, but warns that in Portugal “the most astute travelers can escape the crowds, exploring the beautiful and sometimes neglected Interior, “pointing to EN2, the Portuguese equivalent of the US Route 66.
According to Frommer’s, EN2 offers an “iconic” road trip from the Roman town of Chaves, near the northern border with Spain, to the lovely beaches of the Algarve’s south coast.
The US publisher explains that EN2, which runs through 35 municipalities along its route, develops through “rough and poorly visited” landscapes, through UNESCO World Heritage sites, “wild mountains, elegant thermal cities, untouched lakes and a chain of historic towns and photogenic villages.
Frommer’s highlights in the landscape are the “majestic” Alto Douro vineyard, a place to produce “superlative” wines, the “extraordinary” rococo palace of the House of Mateus (Vila Real) and the Alentejo plains “dotted with villages whitewashed, famous for rustic gastronomy“.
In the text, Portugal is described as a country “focused on the ocean that turned its back to the interior,” but recalls that the tragedy of forest fires that killed more than a hundred people in 2017 “led to a wave of interest”, which is crossed by EN2, classified by Frommer’s like the “mother road” of Portugal.
The article warns that although travellers can access the interior of the country through a network of motorways, Estrada Nacional 2 allows tourists to “stay in fabulous accommodations” along the way, such as the Vidago Palace Hotel (Chaves), the Convent from Sertã, a 17th-century building converted into a boutique hotel or L’and Vineyards in Montemor-o-Novo.
In a note sent, the Secretary of State for Tourism recalls that EN2 “is the only road in Europe with this typology” and that the Association of Municipalities of the National Road Route 2 “has a tourism valorization project underway value of 400,000 euros, approved by the Valorizar program, and this year launched the Portuguese Grand Prix – Nacional 2, which has helped to position this course in international terms.
In the Government’s note, Secretary of State for Tourism, Ana Mendes Godinho, says that EN 2 “is proving to be one of the best roads in the world, which shows the authenticity and richness of Portugal from North to South.”
“We have more and more people making the journey, opening the tourist map of Portugal and discovering a thousand and one experiences in 700 km of stunning landscapes, unique villages, irresistible river beaches, unforgettable heritage and completely different gastronomy along the way. To cross the National Road 2 is to discover the backbone of Portugal “, emphasizes the ruler.