Is Portugal Safe? What to Know to Travel to Portugal in 2024

Last revised: January 3rd, 2024.

Portugal is a very safe country to travel to, and you can feel secure exploring the cities of Lisbon and Porto. Portuguese people are warm and friendly and make great hosts.

However, as with any country, it is important to be aware of any potential dangers and scams. If you follow some simple tips, you will find in this post - you should have a fun and safe trip.

It pays off to be aware, careful, and prepared!

A flag of Portugal and a sign: Is Portugal safe?
A flag of Portugal and a sign: Is Portugal safe?

Overview of a safety for a trip to Portugal

Portugal is an incredibly beautiful and diverse country at the south-western tip of Europe. From the beautiful cities of Lisbon and Porto, to the stunning natural sights found in the Alentejo, Lagos, and Douro Valley, there is something for everyone's enjoyment in Portugal.

Portugal is a must-visit destination, and it's safe to visit. However, it's going to be an even safer and smoother experience, if you know all the traveling laws, what to watch out for (and what to skip entirely!). And also what to do when a crime was committed: whom to call. 

Hello, I’m Tatiana. I’m hopelessly in love with old uniquely looking buildings, and cozy urban scenes, and finding best places in Europe to go.

Check out my travel tips and reviews of the best European destinations, the results of over 20 years of travel experience. Let's connect on social media!

Safety and Crime Statistics

is Portugal dangerous for tourists?

Portugal has a very low crime rate compared to other countries. Violent crimes are uncommon and usually happen only in specific areas known for being unsafe. So, people wondering if Portugal is dangerous for tourists, have their answers in the low crime rates statistics.

In terms of safety, Portugal ranks third out of 163 countries in the 2022 Global Peace Index, and second out of 36 countries in Europe, just behind Iceland.

How were these data collected? Numbeo collects data from over 1,500 people living in Portugal, which shows that most people feel very safe walking alone during daylight, and feel safe walking around alone at night, though they consider corruption and bribery to be a moderate problem.

What is the crime rate like in Portugal?

In Portugal's 2022 Annual Internal Security Report (RASI), provided by Safe Communities Portugal (SCP), the national non-profit association in the country that offers a comprehensive resource for crime prevention and public information on security and safety, 401,394 crimes were reported, with 11,614 of them being categorized as severe and violent.

The crime rate increased by 0.9% compared to 2020, while the violent and serious crime rate decreased by 6.9%. Crimes against property account for over 50% of the reported crimes, with theft crimes representing around 26%. Domestic violence is one of the most frequently reported crimes.

This organization, SCP - has an extensive information on how to find crime-related information for tourist.  https://www.safecommunitiesportugal.com/find-information/for-tourists/

Overall, Portugal is a safe country with low crime rates, making it an attractive option not only for tourists, but for homebuyers and investors as well.

Petty Theft and Mugging

Petty thefts, such as pick-pocketing, bag snatching, and scams, are prevalent in Portugal. These crimes occur in larger cities, especially those popular with tourists, like Lisbon, Porto, and Sintra.

Here is a list of places in Lisbon to be especially careful around.

To avoid becoming a victim of crime, travelers should be aware of their surroundings at all times and keep their belongings close.

Other precautions that should be taken when planning a trip to Portugal include parking in secure areas, such as hotel parking garages, opting for a hotel instead of a homestay or rented home, and avoiding leaving items in an unattended car.

Tourists should also be especially vigilant when using public transportation, especially on the popular Tram 28.

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MARIHUANA SCAM:

Here is how Marihuana or any other type of drugs scam work:

Fake drugs

You can often notice guys, mostly in Lisbon and Porto, who offer marijuana, hashish or cocaine as you walk past. Most people heard something about drugs being decriminalized in Portugal, so they might assume that this offer is legitimate. Especially since there are usually police officers presented not far away.

What they sell, though, is bay leaves and other harmless household ingredients.

And if you wonder why the police have done nothing about it, it is because these people are technically not selling drugs.

However, this has become such a nuisance to everybody that the government is expected to step in soon.

Sometimes they sell the real illegal drugs

If someone approaches tourists and offers drugs, remember that buying drugs is punishable, as was explained above.

DISCLAIMER: ALL THIS PROVIDED INFORMATION HAS THE ONLY PURPOSE; TO HELP YOU AVOID BEING SCAMMED AND, IN NO WAY OR FORM, ADVOCATE THE USE OF ANY DRUGS.

NEW 2021 law CHANGE TO MEDICAL CANNABIS-BASED MEDICINE

Since the April 2021, the Portuguese government has approved the first-ever cannabis-based medicine in the country. If you have medical conditions, you may buy the cannabis-based medicine in an approved pharmacy with a prescription from a doctor.

However, recreational use of marijuana is still not legal.

Portugal has decriminalized the possession of small amounts of drugs, including marijuana, meaning that possession for personal use will not result in incarceration. Instead, offenders will be required to attend educational or therapeutic programs.

Drug trafficking, however, is still a criminal offense and offenders can be fined, deported or face more serious punishments.

To summarize

  • The act of producing, importing, or selling recreational hemp is forbidden in Portugal.  

  • Possessing plants, substances, or preparations in amounts that don't surpass what is needed for the average individual's 10-day consumption is not considered an offense.

DISCLAIMER: ALL THIS PROVIDED INFORMATION HAS THE ONLY PURPOSE; TO HELP YOU AVOID BEING SCAMMED AND, IN NO WAY OR FORM, ADVOCATE THE USE OF ANY DRUGS.

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