How to be safe in Portugal
Portugal has a relatively low rate of violent crime; however, crime in all categories is increasing. The biggest crime risk is from pickpockets and purse snatchers, particularly at popular tourist sites and restaurants, or on public transportation. Rental cars and vehicles with out-of-town or foreign license plates are frequent targets for break-ins.
Take PrecautionRemove the temptation - visible luggage or personal items from cars when parking, especially near popular tourist sites. The American Embassy has learned of some cases where travelers discover a flat tire and someone immediately volunteers to assist. Capitalizing on the distraction, an accomplice meanwhile steals valuables from the vehicle.
- Keep your car doors locked when stopped at intersections.
- Don't go into isolated or poorly lit areas and don't use ATMs in poorly lit areas.
- Carry limited cash and credit cards with you, leaving extra cash, credit cards, and personal documents at home or in a hotel safe.
- Stay with your belongings in airports, train stations and other highly trafficked areas.
Trains: Public transportation is considered safe and reliable; however, during the summer months, there are occasionally reports of youth gangs accosting passengers riding trains between Lisbon, Cascais, and Sintra. The authorities have increased their patrols in response to these incidents.
Taxis: Taxis are a reliable means of transportation, though you should be alert to possible discrepancies between the meter fare and the amount requested by the driver. Always ask the taxi driver to use the meter. A tourism information kiosk in the arrivals area of the Lisbon airport sells taxi vouchers at standardized prices for many locations in the city and metro area. As part of this voucher service, a member of the tourism office will also escort you to your taxi. Some cases have been reported involving taxi drivers in the arrivals area of the airport who overcharge, threaten and/or harass passengers.
Beaches: Beaches are generally considered safe, but beach-goers should not leave their personal belongings unattended. Youth gangs have been known to congregate along the beaches between Lisbon and Cascais and occasionally accost beach-goers. The authorities have increased their patrols in response to these incidences.
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Portugal is 112. For social welfare emergencies such as domestic violence or child abuse dial 144. English-speaking operators are available.There is also a SOS immigrant line with English speaking operators ready to help you in case of emergency. You may contact them at 351 808 257 257 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m.
Just be cautious and you will be fine.