Algarve’s first crematorium opens in Albufeira under strict Covid-19 rules

The Algarve’s first crematorium has opened in Albufeira, with plans to carry out over 2,000 cremations a year.

“There was a huge need for a cremation chamber in the Algarve as it was the only region in the country that did not have one yet,” Paula Ganhão, managing director of Cremal which runs the crematorium, told Lusa news agency.

The closest crematorium was located in Ferreira do Alentejo in Beja, around 150kms away from Albufeira, and it only conducted one cremation per day, forcing Algarve funeral agencies to travel all the way to Setúbal near Lisbon.

Ganhão said that the crematorium began “tests to open” on January 13 before officially opening on March 19, having already completed around 20 cremations, each costing €280.

“The need for a regional crematorium led funeral agencies to accompany the construction process, asking when it would be available to provide the service,” she said, adding that the crematorium is also expecting clients from the Lower Alentejo area.

The crematorium is located near the Vale Pedras cemetery in Albufeira and includes two cremation chambers with a capacity for 10 to 12 daily cremations. It also includes an ecumenical chapel and a room where loved ones can say their farewells.

Outside, there is a garden with an underground deposit area where ashes can be stored. According to Portuguese law, families, loved ones and friends can also “take the ashes with them, store them wherever they want or even release them into the sea,” Ganhão told Lusa.

Construction started in April 2019. Representing an investment of over €600,000 which was completely covered by Cremal, the crematorium will be managed by the company for the next 30 years.

Due to Portugal’s State of Emergency, the crematorium is not accepting face-to-face appointments and is dealing directly with funeral agencies in order to follow authorities’ guidelines and protect its workers and its clients.

Meantime, the construction of Faro’s crematorium started last October and is expected to be completed by September.