BIG NEWS – The Blonde Gypsy and Skyscanner, Europe’s largest flight comparison search engine, are working together – in Portugal! You may have already been aware of this if you follow me on Instagram or are a fan of mine on Facebook, but here are the delicious details…
Basically I approached Skyscanner a couple months ago to see if they would be interested in collaborating with me as I am a huge fan of their site and have been using it for years to plan all my trips around Europe. The function they have of being able to search “Everywhere” and for the entire month when looking for flights from a specific city or country has basically determined my itineraries depending on where I can fly cheapest from wherever I am or will be. It’s a pretty slick search engine and I seriously get excited every time I go on because in a way it literally becomes a game of “choose your own adventure”.
I also mentioned to them that I have a pretty ambitious plan to conquer Europe within the next year (17 countries to go, remember), and that for September I had my eye on Portugal as a destination. This was partly because the Travel Bloggers Unite conference was going to be happening in Porto, but mostly because I really knew nothing about this mysterious country chilling out on the edge of the continent. And so this #BlondeGypsyPortugal trip idea was hatched…
Skyscanner challenged me to book as many flights as possible with a small budget and do a little Instagram/Twitter live reporting from the road to share my experiences with the world. I accepted that challenge and am running with it (actually FLYING) over the next few weeks around Portugal with a quick side trip to Spain for TBEX, another travel blogger conference that will be held in Girona.
Here’s what the #BlondeGypsyPortugal trip will ultimately look like:
I already started off with a bang in Porto. It is going to be interesting to see whether any of the other places are going to be able to break up my love affair with this city – it is such a cool place! It’s gorgeous but also a little rough, totally up my alley. I’ve told a few people it kinda reminds me of a friendlier Eastern Europe, but no one has really agreed. Whatever. I’m sticking to it.
My next stop after Porto is Faro and if you are wondering why, check this…
Faro is the gateway to the Algarve which apparently has some of the most gorgeous beaches and coastline in the world. Most of it however is in the western part which is why I decided I should base myself for a few days a bit closer to the action. Still will be checking out Faro for a day and night though.
I decided that closer to the action would mean Portimão. I hear Lagos is amazing but I knew well before I left that I would need some straight up relaxation at this point in my journey so I opted for a city where I would be less likely to be tempted by paties. It’s just an hour and a half away by train from Faro and in close proximity to Lagos, Sagres and Albufeira so easy to make day trips. Thinking about renting a car…that would be entertaining.
In order to make my way to Barcelona on the cheap I had to get creative since flights from Faro were not within my budget. Seeing as Faro is only about two hours from Seville, a city which I have never visited, and there were tons of cheap flights from there to Barcelona, I decided to add it to the itinerary. So killing two birds with one stone here -seeing yet another city and getting over to Barcelona in time for TBEX.
I’m going to be over in Spain about a week but when I head back to Portugal, it will be straight to Lisbon.
Pretty excited and believe that if any city can compare with my darling Porto, it will be Lisbon. I’m also hoping to get over to Sintra while I am in town, I hear that place is something else…
With a bit more money left in a the bank and the desire to see more, I thought I would check flights from Lisbon and see where else I might be able to go for a few days. The outcome?
I know nothing about Madeira except that it is super cheap to fly to and looks beautiful from the photos I’ve seen on Google. I can’t even find anyone I know in my traveling network who has been there so I’m in for a surprise. It’ll be pleasant I’m sure.
After Madeira it will be back to Lisbon for a few days and then back to Copenhagen. I toyed with the idea of pulling a little Lisbon to “Everywhere” search for my last flight to make this story more interesting but I have some business to tend to in Scandinavia so just searched flights to Denmark and Sweden. Next time.
I’m only three days into this four week trip and I’ve already seen so much and met some pretty interesting characters. I cannot wait to see how the rest will unfold and I really hope you will join me. If you are on Twitter, just follow the hashtag #BlondeGypsyPortugal and same with Instagram.
Have you ever been to Portugal? What do you think I should do in all these places? Leave a comment, send me an email, or tweet me!