Find out more about the famous “7 Hills of Lisbon” and what they mean to our proudly Portuguese General Manager at Roomspace Lisbon, Ana Teodoro.
Interview by Violeta Bernatovic (Business Development at Roomspace UK)
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Ana Teodoro, the General Manager for the Roomspace Lisbon team.
When I first met her in February, her love for Lisbon instantly captivated me. In these times, when our opportunities to travel further and explore other cultures are limited, it is wonderful to share her passion of the city and, consequently, to showcase the places we can visit once we’re able to travel abroad once again.
The following is a collation of our most recent interview, where Ana explains where her love for the city comes from, the ways in which Roomspace is working to keep its Lisbon guests safe during COVID-19, and travel tips around the city for future future!
Q. Hi, Ana. Thank you for agreeing to share your story and your photography with us. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and how your passion for the city has developed?
I must say that I always had a passion for both my city and photography. Both interests are continuously developing during my long city walks, which I greatly enjoy as they allow me to discover Lisbon from new perspectives each time I explore it with my camera.
Working at Roomspace in Lisbon – especially furnishing and decorating our apartments – has given me an opportunity to share local architecture and culture through framed photos. I am really happy and pleased that one of my personal interests/hobbies has added even more character to our accommodation in Lisbon.
Q. With the current reduction of travel, is Roomspace still open in Lisbon for anyone who is looking for a safe and self-contained accommodation?
Yes, we are open in Lisbon for our usual business travels and general public too. We can provide a good and safe solution for anyone who comes to Lisbon – for work or leisure. And even for those who might need to quarantine whilst here.
Our apartments are fully equipped and furnished. There is high speed internet access available free of charge, along with other services. All these facilities create a good and safe solution for anyone who is away from home.
Q. We’ve seen reading in the news that Portugal has been diligent with keeping the social distancing and adhering to the safety measures. Has this effort paid off?
The efforts have truly paid off and the Portuguese have embraced the social distancing measures as necessary. We have shown a lot of support towards our government´s decisions to protect our community.
Our statistics are positive and the second phase of lock-down easing began on the 18th May. Our restaurants and coffee shops have re-opened this week, providing they meet all the safety criteria. This is a well-received return to “normal life”. Major airlines have already resumed partial operations to/from Lisbon airport. We are hopeful that both business and tourism will be gradually returning to their operations.
Q. Lastly, if you were to name 7 points which make Lisbon wonderful to live in, work, or visit, what would they be?
There are so many things to do in the city, whether you’re here for a weekend or a couple of months. But, here’s a few things I personally love about Lisbon:
1. You can see the city on foot | Lisbon is not a very big city. It may seem so, as it’s located on 7 hills. The picture below shows that you can enjoy stunning views over the city, no matter which hill you climb. Almost every place of interest is reachable on foot, but you can also take a trip on the iconic and old-fashioned Lisbon tram.
2. Airport Located in the City | When you land in Lisbon, you’re already in the city. After leaving the airport, you can reach the city centre within 25 minutes (Marques de Pombal, Baixa and Chiado), and in 10 minutes you can be in the Parque das Nacoes – Lisbon’s business hub.
3. Lisbon is popular among investors | There’s no doubt that the tourism boom has given Lisbon and other Portuguese cities a larger visibility. Due to this, incentives have been developed by the government for the establishment of new companies – whether large international ones, or start-ups -, giving rise to entrepreneurship, as well as registering records of foreign investment.
4. Lisbon is an affordable destination | The cost of living in Lisbon is relatively low compared to other destinations in Europe. Most people coming in from abroad will pay less for the same things that they would be spending a lot of money on in other places. Having said that, Central Lisbon is getting more expensive, ironically, due to the tourism boom. But, once you learn your way around, you can easily find more economic alternatives. In the end, things such as food and drinks and transportation are generally not very expensive.
5. Portuguese are friendly and speak English well | Portuguese people are known for being welcoming, effusive and very proud of their home. In general we’re good English speakers, so you´ll rarely have any trouble communicating, especially with the younger generations who have been taught English from an early age.
However, I do suggest tourists try to learn some basic Portuguese, as it will still help you out with everyday interactions like shopping or using public transport. Movies and tv-shows are also subtitled instead of dubbed, making it easier to learn at least a few Portuguese words that way. We’re aware that the pronunciation can be challenging for foreigners, but knowing at least some basic words/expressions will aid you in every day life and will put a smile on our face for the effort and an attempt to integrate.
6. Big enough to entertain; small enough to provide a boutique experience | Lisbon is big enough to have all the big city things, but still small enough to have a great sense of community. The city not only scores well with an attractive offer of entertaining districts to dance the nights away in, but also with its rich and varied cultural history. Lisbon and Porto are hotspots, combining Mediterranean charm with a metropolitan atmosphere.
Lisbon has a rich culture and history so, don´t forget to make time to explore life with local insights. Enjoy a classic Portuguese meal – our fantastic pastry, cheeses and all kinds of local snacks, accompanied by a glass of wine. Or maybe relax by the river, at one of the Lisbon viewpoints and rooftops, or at one of the many sandy beaches close to the city.
7. Over 200 days of sunshine and blue skies per year | I have to say that this is one of the things that makes me love my hometown – the amazing blue sky. Even in the winter time, you can wake up to a very cold day (at least for us locals), and still easily be amazed by a blue sky on a sunny day. In Lisbon, you can probably have more than 200 days of sunshine a year, which for sure will make your day better from the start!