Is Portugal safe for new travelers?
Portugal is a country that shares The Iberian Peninsula with Spain in the furthest west section of Europe.
This country boasts a unique culture, picturesque cities that stick in your memory, and some fantastic countryside landscapes.
Years ago, Portugal was one of the poorest countries in Western Europe, due to the de facto dictatorship that ruled the country before 1974.
It soon ended, becoming the democracy we see today.
It joined the European Union in 1986 and slowly blossomed into the country people can’t wait to experience.
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Is Portugal Safe?
Today, it is one of the most desired tourist destinations in Europe. So is Portugal as safe as all the tourism would lead you to believe?
How Safe is Portugal?
Portugal is very safe to visit, and though it’s not without its dangers, some basic precaution rules might save your trip.
One thing to note when traveling to Portugal is that some areas are vastly different culturally from others.
The further south you travel, the differences compared with the north are vast and don’t get us started on Madeira.
Violent crime rates are pretty low, and all violent crime is generally related to particular neighborhoods.
Also, you can be safer at night than in the majority of European countries since there is a lot less loitering whilst intoxicated in Portugal.
As with everywhere, you’re safer in the daytime than at night. Also, bear in mind that Portugal is not a pickpockets-free country.
Tourists are often targeted, so watch out!
🔒 Get yourself a FREE travel insurance quote from SafetyWing to get timely support when it comes to protecting yourself in Portugal.
Portugal Crime Rate
- The current U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory assesses Lisbon as being a MEDIUM-threat location and Ponta Delgada as being a LOW-threat location for crime.
- The Global Peace Index ranks Portugal as the third most peaceful country in the world after Iceland and New Zealand.
- Portugal has a relatively low crime rate, but non-violent street crime is common. Petty thefts and other crimes of opportunity (e.g. vehicle break-ins, pickpocketing, surreptitious bag snatching) occur frequently, particularly in the major cities.
- Thieves often loiter in tourist locations, near beaches, and at transportation hubs (e.g. metro, bus, train stations) to take advantage of disoriented/distracted travelers.
- Around 2.5 million British nationals visited Portugal in 2019. Most visits are trouble-free.
- Walking around flashing expensive items and gadgets will attract attention from unwanted petty criminals.
- Keep your bag close to you at cafes/restaurants, never place your bag in a retrievable position open for passers-by to grab.
- Remember to get your FREE travel insurance quote from SafetyWing to receive fully comprehensive support when it comes to unforeseen travel complications.
- Take special care in the Oriente, Santa Apolonia, Entrecampos, Marques do Pombal, and Rossio metro and train stations; the Sete Rios bus station; the Alfama, Martim Moniz, Baixa, and Bairro Alto districts; and the tourist area of Belém.
- The 28 Tram is particularly notorious for pickpocketing; pay very close attention to all belongings while waiting for or riding on the 28.
- Don’t show wads of cash when paying for stuff – control how much cash you carry around and use a hotel safe. Wearing a money belt may attract attention.
- Know the typical distraction techniques – pickpockets often work in groups and sometimes pretend to be collecting money for a charity.
- Learn a few Portuguese phrases just in case.
- Avoid homeless communities around large train stations – plus groups of people that sit around drinking.
- Be careful with drink or drug taking if you’re a fan of the nightlife.
- Why not check out some of these budget hostels to save some $$$ if you’re on a budget? Or, traveling solo in Portual and looking to meet like-minded travelers.
- Lisbon Fish & Flavours (April)
- Music Days in Belem (April)
- IndieLisboa (April-May)
- Festival de Sintra (May)
- Out Jazz Festival (May-September)
Will you be arriving to the Capital? We suggest booking a stay at the Inspire Liberdade Hotel: a certified eco stay in the heart of Lisbon.
Is Portugal Safe to Travel Alone?
Portugal’s residents, in general, tend to be more introverted than Americans or British people, and they tend to mind their own business.
Beyond that, areas like Algarve are chock full of activities that are wonderful to do on your own: such as museums, long walks, photography, restaurants, and shopping.
Just as a precaution, women should stay on their guard on nights out.
The nightlife in Lisbon and Porto are enjoyed by pretty much the whole country since the largest cities have the best nightlife scenes for hundreds of miles radius.
Where to Stay in Portugal
Lisbon is a vibrant capital city abounding with charm and color and filled with the music of Fado. Read our article on things to do Lisbon here.
The characteristic rattling of yellow trams trundling past decorative tiled façades, makes this one of the best places to visit in all of Europe.
Azulejo? Azu-let’s go!
Many turn to Portugal for sunshine and cloudless blue skies, in which case you’re here for the Algarve. It’s known as the prime tourism spot with the best beaches and coastline.
The Algarve is also rich in birdlife, golf courses and surf breaks. While the resorts around Faro and the airport are well developed, the Western Algarve is still a beautiful semi-wilderness.
Its fertile soil provides lush green uplands and verdant-filled valleys inland.
While majestic volcanic cliffs rise from the sea, and pebble beach coves can be found around the coast.
If places like Hotel Quinta Do Furao are not pleasing enough. Ever heard of Cristiano Ronaldo? He’s from here! Madeira can provide a holiday for everyone, but especially so for older families, couples, and retirees.
Portugal: Travel Safety Tips
Although Portugal is one of the safest countries in the world, it wouldn’t hurt to take some precautions before and during your stay to ensure that you stay safe no matter what.
Here are some tips to take with you:
Best Time to Visit Portugal
The best time to visit Portugal is either from March to May or September to October, because the weather is still warm, hotel rates are slightly cheaper and there are fewer tourists.
In these seasons, you might also be able to squeeze in a few beach days too! The summer sees very hot temperatures and crowded beaches.
Winters in Lisbon are warm for Europe, with the lows dipping into the mid-40s Fahrenheit.
Here some of the key events during the Spring and Summer:
Rememeber to pick up yourself a Lisboa Pass for access to tons of attractions, museums, restaurants and shops for the ultimate experience.
Is Portugal Safe? Final Words
Turns out, Portugal is one of the safest countries in the world but you should never treat it as so.
Planning ahead will make your trip stress free, so make sure you have the right equipment and steadfast conviction if something goes wrong.
Lisbon is one of the most under-appreciated cities in the world, so book your trip and discover it today!
Whay not start reading some of these books about Portugal to further your knowledge and excitement for this amazing country?
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