Joel Moedas-Miguel

Interview - Joel Moedas-Miguel
Par JoÁ£o GALVÁƑO Il y a 6 ans
Catégories :

He lives doing what he loves, stroll in the city where he was born, explaining to others why he loves Lisbon, and why it's such a special, unique place


Joel Moedas-Miguel could be just another academic but he ended up becoming the ideal Lisbon cicerone: more than knowing everything, he loves everything, and this is, as it always has been, the recipe for a successful life. 


He is a historian, guide and travel agent, studied History and Cultural Heritage on FCSH of the New University of Lisbon, and currently is one of the best revealing Lisbon to those who want to get to know her better, whether they are tourists or just curious Lisbon residents.




Because we are sure that whoever shows Lisbon to tourists cannot just have a list of what-to-do-what-to-see, we talked about Lisbon and Tourism, and how can they be successful, ideally together.



Why did you choose this way of life?

From the early days, I am passionate about history, art, architecture, and heritage, as well as the city where I was born and raised: Lisbon, and my country, Portugal. Even as a student I liked to walk alone in the city and to love her, as I said to myself. I also often say that I like to be a tourist in my own city. All these feelings led me, after finishing my studies, to start participating in some cultural projects concerning Lisbon visits, developing routes, and finally to start, in a professional way, to work in tourism. This happened in 2012. Last year I created my own company and brand.


Two mysteries of Lisbon revealed by Joel: on the left, the Church of  Menino Deus ceiling and on the right, another beautiful ceiling, the one from the Hermitage of Senhora da Oliveira. 



What do you consider unmissable in the city?

The views, the alleys, the churches, the mix of the richest and most interesting heritage of the city. I love the Church, and the viewpoint, from São Pedro de Alcântara, for example, or even from Graça Church and lookout point. I really like the Castelo neighborhoods and Alfama, Estrela and Santos. I like the Menino Deus and São Roque Churches, the Ricardo Espírito Santo Foundation, Madre de Deus, Ancient Art Museum and Gulbenkian. And I really like the Ajuda National Palace.



One of Joel's favorite sights on Lisbon, the Castle of St. George.



What has Lisbon that no other city offers?

The rich heritage and history. A full soul city and sublime views. An egocentric city, in the sense that it dates itself, whatever the place we are watching her. A sublime relationship with the Tagus River, the light, the sunsets, the incredible nightlife. A tranquillity even in the midst of people's hustle and bustle. It is one of the cities in Europe with the highest concentration of classified heritage, with a vast historical area that goes from Belém to Xabregas, passing through Castelo, Graça, Alfama, Mouraria, Estrela, Lapa, Alcântara...



Xabregas Palace grand hall, one of the historical sites to visit in Joel’s company.



What is missing so that the rest of the country reaches the same tourist success as the Lisbon?

Local heritage valorization and dissemination, quality hotel equipment and a good transport network. In addition, cities to visit must have an inner life. Otherwise, they are soulless ghost places.



Palace of Xabregas frontage.



From of your touristic offer, what events would you highlight for the incoming months?

In addition to the classic tours we have, by appointment and the a la carte in Lisbon and surroundings, such as visits to museums and palaces or to historic neighbourhoods, we will have visits in the next few months to two private palaces: Xabregas and Correio-mor in Loures, as well as a script to the secret churches in the city. The best way to keep up with our events it will be following our page or



What reasons do you find for this recent, sudden and exponential tourist interest regarding Lisbon?

Lisbon has, from long ago, deserved this interest. It is a wonderful city full of heritage, history, and good views. It is a city that tells the story, not only of one nation but also of several, from antiquity through the Discoveries and the XX century. A truly cosmopolitan city. In addition, we have a super pleasant climate, great gastronomy. It was impossible and paradoxical for this city to remain incognita.


Other two must-sees recommended by Joel Moedas-Miguel, the Correio-Mor Palace kitchen and the cloister chapel of the Santos-o-Novo Convent.



These same adjectives from the previous question may be, in a more or less brief future, the ruin of the charm that the city offers and that was, after all, what attracted the tourists, in the first place?


The tourists are attracted by all those factors we talked about but also, some, by the novelty, by the trend, by the authentic. I find it very funny when a tourist asks for something that is not touristy. What Lisbon is suffering is a natural and necessary evolution, for any city. Paris will always be Paris, Rome always Rome and Lisbon too. There have to be measures of balance, control, and for this, there’s the political power, vis-a-vis the economy, that often loses common sense. There has already been evidence of this, in relation to Airbnb and the protection of many historical items in the city. 

But Tourism was the best that happened to Lisbon, in this Third Republic. Let us remember what Lisbon was 10 years ago, full of abandoned buildings, empty downtown streets and decrepit. No one wanted to live downtown, no one went out at night like they did now, or enjoyed the esplanades. It was the tourists, the Erasmus program, the retired foreigners who returned their vitality to Lisbon and made the Lisbon people start to like themselves, and their city, more. 

Tourism has helped many locals to survive during an extremely difficult economic period. Who today speaks badly about tourism do it on ‘full belly’ mode, as we say in Portugal.



Joel Moedas-Miguel about Lisboa


I like Lisbon because... 

... it is where I feel the history of my life and of my country.


In Lisbon, I don’t live without... 

...having breakfast.


I would only trade Lisbon for... 

... Rio de Janeiro or Paris (but only for a few days).


In Lisbon, I cannot resist...

...stroll along its streets overlooking the river.


The best place to dine in Lisbon is... 

... at my house.


And to continue through the night ... 

...I like to go to Bairro Alto and Lux.


The best view of Lisbon is...

...of Castelo and São Pedro de Alcântara.


I like Lisbon but...... 

... the traffic is terrible.