In 2019, Ford described Portugal’s N304 as possibly the greatest driving road in Europe. Whilst driving the N304 in a Ford Focus ST, they scored it ten-out-of-ten for both ‘thrill factor’ and ‘scenery’. But does the road live up to the hype?
The stretch of the N304 that Ford raves about is about an hour away from my home in Porto, and is easily reached via the A4 motorway. It runs in a roughly north-south direction from Aveção do Cabo at the southern end to Mondim de Basto at the northern end. That 31km stretch of the N304 takes about 45 minutes to drive.
It is certainly a scenic stretch of road, with unobstructed views over the surrounding areas. Unfortunately, there are not many places to stop along the road to enjoy that view, although there are a couple of parking places towards each end (you’ll see both of them in the video compilation below). The road has many curves, without any of them being too severe, making it an enjoyable ride.
Whilst Ford rates the road surface as 9/10, I would score it lower. Since moving to Portugal almost two years ago, I have raved about the good quality of the roads. Unfortunately, sections of this route don’t meet the usual standard. In particular, a section at the southern end, near Aveção do Cabo is quite bad due to ongoing roadworks. The southbound lane is partially dug up and potentially problematic for motorcyclists. I also found loose gravel on some of the bends. The road surface gets better once Aveção do Cabo is behind you, heading north.
As noted in the Ford review, the road is not heavily used. At the time of my latest ride on the N304, I saw a small group of sports cars that were parked, and only encountered about three other cars along the route.
Here is a short video compilation taken on my ride yesterday. Watch out for the flock of goats in the road!
This stretch of the N304 is curvy, uncrowded and has beautiful views. It is a very enjoyable road to ride. But there are many roads in Portugal that can boast the same attributes. Even normally dull motorways can offer great views in Portugal. I am regularly thrilled by the great riding that is available here and it is nice to see that the country is getting recognition for some of these roads. I previously wrote about part of the N222 that Avis called the best driving road in the world, and now Ford have jumped in.
This road is only an hour from my home and I will continue to enjoy periodic rides along it. But the best in Europe? I’m not sure that it would meet the test of the best in Portugal, let alone Europe. But these tests are always subjective. The fact remains that there are many wonderful roads with amazing views in Portugal and I consider myself fortunate to be able to enjoy them year-round.