Is Portugal a Safe Country?

I’ve been based in Lisbon for almost 12 months now and I am absolutely loving it. A lot of the time I’m here alone, and so many people ask me ‘is Portugal a safe country?’ I can comment from personal experience that I have always felt very safe in Portugal. I haven’t yet experienced any crime or violence since I arrived last December.

That’s not to say that you don’t need to be careful though. Always plan your journeys and have your wits about you when in a foreign country. In today’s blog I’m going to explore a few of the safety issues in Portugal and comment on them. But first, let’s take a look at some of the stats.

Is Portugal a Safe Country? Here’s what the Stats Say

First of all let’s have a look at the stats….which are very positive indeed. Portugal was actually ranked as the 3rd safest country in the world by the Global Peace Index in 2020.

However, as with travel to any foreign country, always check your own governments advice – if you are from the UK this means checking the FCDO (Foreign and Commonwealth and Development Office).

Little Violent Crime and Political Unrest

There is little violent crime in Portugal and burglaries are low. I have come across many people who actually still leave their doors unlocked in the countryside (not that I would advise this!) Political unrest is unusual in Portugal and rarely turns violent.

Petty Crime and Theft on the Metro

The most common issue in Portugal is petty theft on the Metro particularly in busy cities such as Lisbon and Porto (see the Lisbon Metro and Porto Metro articles if you need more info on these). Hold on to your phone tightly if you really need to check it. Avoid having your passport and wallet within easy reach (e.g. back pockets). A good tip is to wear your backpack on the front rather than the back so you can see any hands that might try to go in it. This is often enough of a deterrent to pick pockets.


Lisbon was a hotspot in the height of the pandemic due to being highly infected with the Brazilian variant of Covid-19.

The regulations regarding Coronavirus are regularly changing so it is important that you keep your information up to date using the Portuguese news and Portugal government website. Your own countries foreign office will explain the rules on entering and leaving the country during coronavirus. It is advised that you carry a mask and antibacterial hand sanitiser with you and keep checking the international and domestic travel restrictions. You may need a Covid-19 PCR or antigen test to enter or leave the country depending on your origin/destination/nationality.

Police Brutality

Be aware that you should never challenge or back-chat the police in Portugal. In Lisbon, a friend of mine witnessed a French man being hit with a truncheon because he challenged the police and tried to go through a barrier that had been set up to restrict moving during Covid.

If you enjoyed this article you might also like to read about Is Portugal a Good Place to Live?

Leave a Comment