Almancil is a showcase for the inequalities of the world. 

With its back to the Atlantic, at the end of the N125 national road, is where so-called “normal life” happens: there are schools, parks, grocery stores, cafés and restaurants offering a variety of cuisines. The people you see are working class people who earn their living around here. They accuse the government of only remembering the Algarve when the sun shines. They complain of being pushed aside, “like the food you don’t like that you leave on the side of the plate”, Silvana (59, teaching assistant).

As we move away from the centre of the town, towards the beaches, the landscape changes: the buildings are replaced by luxury houses with swimming pools, men with visors are dotted around extensive golf courses, the poorly paved streets and roads give way to such impeccably cobbled streets, it’s hard to believe it’s real.

We are in Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo, two of the most luxury resorts in Portugal, where the lingua franca is English and access is restricted.

The Algarve is the region of Portugal most affected by water shortages, and residents are urged to make individual efforts to reduce consumption. But Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo have the highest domestic daily average water consumption of mainland Portugal. Marketing teams in these places sell them as “among the most efficient”, but the numbers shared by the Water and Waste Regulatory Agency say that their consumption exceeds other Portuguese regions by hundreds of litres. 

The Parish Mayor, Joaquim Pinto, is clear: “To understand Almancil you have to understand the two very different realities that co-exist here: the life of the rich, who needn’t leave the boundaries of Quinta do Lago to satisfy their every want or need, and the life of the poorest immigrants who live together with the people from here.”

Ana, 51 years old, architect
Beta, 49 years old, butcher
Luís, 54 years old, early years teaching assistant

More than half the population of Almancil didn’t vote in the 2021 local and presidential elections, nor in the 2019 European elections.

Source: Secretariat General Ministry of the Interior

Alex, 23 years old, painter
Ermelinda, 61 years old, shopkeeper
Victor Jorge, 68 years old, businessman

The percentage of inhabitants who work for themselves is higher than the average for Portuguese parishes (20%).

Source: Census 2021

Ana, 51 years old, architect
Diana, 21 years old, university student

Percentage of foreign population living in Almancil.  The majority are Romanian (24%) and British (20%).

Source: Census 2021

There are students of 30 different nationalities at the Dr. António de Sousa Agostinho school.

Source: Almancil Parish Council

Ana, 51 years old, architect
Ricardo, 27 years old, shopkeeper

Percentage of voters who didn’t vote in the 2024 parliamentary elections. Abstention was down 10% in comparison with the 2022 parliamentary elections. Chega received the most votes (30%).

Source: Secretariat General Ministry of the Interior