Kinga Lundblad is the owner and CEO of Leventa and the manager of Mancini Properties. In 2016, she moved to Areeiro (near Loulé in the Algarve). Portugal is the perfect country for this positive communicator, but it wasn’t love at first sight; Kinga went from thinking she could never live here, to knowing that she’ll never leave.
Back in the early 1980s, when Sweden was still focused on Spain, my father, a building engineer, went to Spain to buy a plot of land. One day, he crossed the border into Portugal and drove on for an hour. In a small countryside shop, he bought some water and bananas and saw a little note which said ‘3000m2 plot for sale, come and buy’. Long story short: he called the phone number, ended up buying the property and built a house there.
Me, I still remember the day I first came to Portugal: 6 November 1984. I visited for four weeks, and helped my father with building the house. I thought: ‘This is in the middle of nowhere, I could never live here!’. My dad, however, was 30 years ahead of his time and told me: ‘Kinga, this is the country of the future. When you’re in your fifties, you’ll think differently’. And indeed, when I was 56, I moved to Portugal myself – I’m even living in that same place that my father bought!
I love living here for so many reasons. For me, the Portuguese pace of life is as it should be. I never feel stressed here, not even when I have a lot to do – which is normally the case, as I manage two companies. Another important part is how close I am to nature. I’m near the sea, near the mountains and love going for walks. I spend at least 80% of my time outdoors, which was not the case when I lived in Sweden. Of course, the fact that Algarve has over 300 days of sun a year makes a big difference. It makes it easier to enjoy the small things in life, like smelling the almond blossom or watching the sun set with a glass of vinho verde. The Algarve is beautiful and well-connected; Lisbon is only 2,5 hours by car and easy to get to.
Apart from the scenery, I also like the laidback Portuguese attitude. There’s no need for suits, high heels or keeping up appearances. Just be as you are. People are very helpful and friendly, which makes living and doing business very easy if you are well connected. After a few minutes of chatting, strangers feel like friends. Connections are very important here, which fits in perfectly with how I regard life. I love communicating, connecting with others, bringing people together and helping them. It’s what I’ve been doing for years with my company Leventa, organising events and conferences in Portugal for Swedish corporate companies.
When in 2018 I was asked to manage Mancini Properties, I was able to use all the connections I’d made over time with Leventa. We manage and rent out high quality properties, both our own and those of other people. In July 2018 we released the first two apartments and only 24 hours later they were already fully booked for the season. My goal for Mancini is to have 100 accommodations in our portfolio. If it weren’t for the Covid-19 pandemic, we’d have been well on our way. However, the last few years have been very restricted, with people being afraid to travel. We’re now aiming to have 20 accommodations to rent out at the beginning of the next season; in five years or less, we’ll have 100.
The Covid-19 pandemic has been a game-changer for leisure travel. People now want to rent their accommodation for a longer period of time. For next high season, we’ve already received bookings for three weeks, even a month. Since tourists are wary of mixing with others in the same space, our accommodations have become more popular. They’re also more affordable than hotels; especially if you rent a larger property with two couples, or a family, it works out cheaper than staying in a resort. Having your own place with all the amenities allows you to save money on dining out. What I personally see as a huge plus, is that in apartment you’re much closer to the Portuguese community. You mix with people in a different way, buying fresh fish in the local market to cook your dinner and drinking a coffee in the local café instead of the hotel bar.
All our properties are in the centre of the Algarve, in Quarteira, Vilamoura and Loulé, the so-called Golden Triangle. Because it’s close to the airport and the beaches, but also because of logistics: there’s so much driving involved in the managing and taking care. We offer a very personal experience, with a personal WhatsApp group to communicate with the guests during their stay. We call ourselves vacation planners: on arrival we sit down together, ask what they’d like to do and give recommendations. In the five years that I’ve lived here, I’ve been to every single beach in the Algarve. I’ve also visited numerous cafes and restaurants, from luxury dining establishments to beach shacks and mountain eateries without even a menu or website. I’ve explored beyond the usual tourist spots and I love sharing these secret gems, giving suggestions to make someone’s stay here more special. Actually, thanks to my Leventa experience, I consider every renting as if it were a little conference.
When I started managing Mancini, I immediately decided to become a member of the Câmara de Comércio Luso-Sueca. They’ve have been extremely helpful and have so much knowledge about the Portuguese society. They have great connections and are a good bunch of people. For me, being a member of CLS is more than just a business point of view, it’s a friendship and we help each other out whenever we can. This also fits perfectly with the Portuguese mindset. I didn’t fully realise how helpful the Portuguese society was until I broke my leg in December 2018 and was stuck in a wheelchair for five months. Everyone I knew helped, from friends doing the chores that I couldn’t, to neighbours bringing pomegranates from their own garden. Portugal is a warm place, not just because of the sunny climate, but mainly because of the people who live here: I know I’ll never leave.
Sending You lots of Love and Positive Energy