Located on the south bank of the Tagus River across from Lisbon, Almada is integrated administratively in the District of Setúbal. It is also one of 18 municipalities within the Lisbon Metropolitan Region, together with Alcochete, Amadora, Azambuja, Barreiro, Seixal, Sesimbra, Setúbal, Oeiras, Cascais, Lisboa, Loures, Mafra, Moita, Montijo, Palmela, Odivelas, Sintra and Vila Franca de Xira.
The Council has an area of 72 km 2 and integrates 11 local administrative areas (freguesias). These are Almada, Cova da Piedade, Cacilhas, Pragal, Laranjeiro, Feijó, Caparica, Costa de Caparica, Trafaria, Sobreda and Charneca da Caparica. 24,2% of the total territory corresponds to forested area, including the Protected Area of the Fossil Cliff of Costa da Caparica and the Medos National Woodlands, which have a heritage of great natural richness.
The boundaries of the Council are in great part waterfront: the riverside, from Cacilhas to Trafaria (East and North), and the Atlantic Ocean, with a beachfront that extends for approximately 13 km between Trafaria and Fonte da Telha (West).
Population and Economy
Almada has a population of 160 825 inhabitants (2001 Census), 49.4% of which are under 40 years old. The Council´s economy is predominantly tertiary (76% of the active population) - commercial (restaurants and other commerce) and public services (public local and central administration, education, health) are the main employers. The Almada City Council (ACC) and the Municipal Water and Wastewater Services (SMAS) employ approximately 2.000 people, a substantial percentage of the active resident workforce in Almada. The primary sector represents only 1% and the secondary sector around 23%. At present around 50% of the active population resident in the council also works here.
Following the decline of the shipbuilding industry since the 80's, tourism has gained increasing strategic importance with regard to the level of development of the Council. Tourism is centered around two main areas of interest: the first consists of leisure and sport activities focused on the beaches, natural areas of fossil cliffs, dunes and woodlands; the second consists of the cultural offer centered on the religious heritage (the sanctuary of the "Christ King" ( Cristo Rei ) receives a high number of visitors per year) and historical and classified heritage of old town areas.
The first local elections took place in 1976 and the consequent institutionalization of local democratic power gave the local authority greater autonomy in terms of decision making on several matters, amongst them urban and regional planning and management. The municipality attempted a level of control of the urban explosion, particularly by preserving natural areas that had not yet been affected. During the following decades, the 80's and 90's, the focus was on implementing basic environmental infrastructure (water supply; drainage and treatment of waste water; waste collection and disposal) and transport infrastructure. The focus was also on improving the public spaces, rehabilitating historical centers and urban fabric, namely through the construction of public facilities (health, education, culture and sport).
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Almada has elaborated policies to guarantee the preservation of the environment and the safeguarding of the Planet and has acted addressing these concerns. In accordance with the principles of sustainable development, the Aalborg Charter, also known as the European Sustainable Cities & Towns Campaign, has been ratified by Almada. Almada City Council (ACC) has also triggered the process of elaborating its own Municipal Environmental Plan as part of Local Agenda 21 (Almada 21).
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