In August we spent four days driving through Estrada Nacional 2 (Portugal's "Route 66") between Montargil and Chaves to go see a soccer match. Along the way, we stopped several times and gathered tips on some of the best things that can be done along this stretch.
1. Geodesic Center of Portugal (Vila de Rei)
It may be a useless pleasure but there's something magical about stopping literally in the center of Portugal when you are driving a road that connects Faro (south of the south) to Chaves (north of the north). If the weather is nice, the view is magnificent and offers us a clear perception of the Portuguese geography... in all directions.
2. Fluvial beach of Folgosa
It will always depend on the month and the weather, but from all the fluvial beaches and dams, none has seemed better to us than Folgosa. Yes, the water at the Montargil and Sordo dams may have been warm and the view of the fluvial beach of Penedo Furado is magical, but if we combine the ease of access, the parking space, the natural beauty, and the water temperature, our suggestion is Folgosa.
3. Ponte Filipina ("Philippine Bridge")
We have mixed feelings about the Philippine Bridge. Believe me: coming from someone who drove down there from one side and up on the other side, it can be a traumatizing experience... in the following days. But now, on second thought, it was worth it and we're only sorry that we didn't stop at the viewpoint too. Oh, if you don't want to risk it, maybe it's best to leave your car in a safe place and do the last bit on foot. It may be tough to walk all the way back, but at least you'll avoid eventual panic moments and you'll feel more comfortable to enjoy the beauty of what nature has to offer.
4. Castro's Viewpoint
It calls for a small detour - it's eight miles away from Estrada Nacional 2 at Vila de Rei and we stopped there after spending the night in Ferreira do Zêzere. The landscape from Castro's Viewpoint is one of the best we found during these days: between the valleys and a house on a hill, there's also room for the Zêzere to meander in the background. Well worth it.
5. Pena – a schist village
The Philippine Bridge's experience left us a little traumatized and we wanted to avoid great adventures while looking for the Aldeias do Xisto (Schist Villages). After a quick search, we realized that Pena was one of the closest ones to Estrada Nacional 2 and the reward was worthy. While driving, the only danger is the cars in the opposite direction that think they own the road.
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