Is Portugal Safe?

Originally published at: Is Portugal Safe? | GoVisaFree

If you’re planning to move to Portugal, lucky you: It’s one of the best countries to live in. It boasts a wonderful climate, great cuisine, and affordable living. People are friendly, beaches are endless and there are many activities you might enjoy throughout the year.

But you might be wondering if Portugal is a safe place to live in. In this article, we’ll go through the country’s crime rates, most common crimes, and what to expect in the country.

Is It Safe To Live in Portugal?

Security is one of the main attractions that make many foreigners choose to live in Portugal. So the answer is, yes, Portugal is safe to live in. Plus, Portugal is a peaceful country.

According to the Global Peace Index 2021, Portugal is the fourth safest country in the world and the third safest country in Europe.

One of the highlights in Portugal’s score is spending on violence; it represents only 5% of GDP, one of the lowest among the countries analyzed. The country also receives good scores in terms of social support to the population, which ranges from housing to healthcare.

But of course, there are areas with certain danger, some social neighborhoods where there are risks, and also some regions in larger cities, such as Lisbon and Porto. However, these are exceptions, in a country where what prevails is a tranquility that directly impacts the quality of life in the country.

Is Portugal Safe Compared to Other European Countries?

In terms of security, Portugal stands out in comparison to other European countries. When comparing security in Spain and Italy, for example, countries rank 31st and 32nd in the Global Peace Index. 

© Global Peace Index

The differences can also be extended to the feeling of security. Although both are safe countries, in Italy scams are common to tourists and, Rome, in particular, has some neighborhoods that can scare during off-peak hours.

In Spain, the rates of violence in cities like Barcelona have risen significantly. Considered one of the main tourist destinations in the country, the city has suffered from an increase in violence.

Crimes Against Tourists

Although Portugal is a very safe country, there are some things to consider if you’re not familiar with the area. There are opportunist crimes, as in most touristy cities.

Please note that the crimes we’ve listed below are not very common, but making sure you’re on the safe side is a relief, at least until you become familiar with the country.


Pickpocketing is one of the most commonly reported crimes in Portugal. Pickpockets frequently work in groups, so it’s critical to remain alert of your surroundings at all times. Crowded areas like airports and hotel lobbies are the main sites for this minor crime. You’d better also keep your valuables hidden when traveling on a tram.

Car Theft

If you’re going to rent a car in Portugal, keep the car doors and windows locked at all times, whether you’re driving or not. Also, you’d better remove any stickers showing that it’s a rental car.


Although rare, scams happen in Portugal too, especially in tourist areas. One common scam you might encounter is ticket sales to tourist attractions. Beware if someone on the street tries to sell you tickets as those tickets might be invalid.

One other thing to be careful about is the overpriced restaurants. Make sure you see a menu before you order to avoid astronomical charges. It’s also going to be useful to check a restaurant’s reviews online.

Bag Snatching

This usually happens at restaurants where you hang your bag on the back of the chairs and make it a target. You can wrap the strap around your leg or arm to avoid bag snatching. Also, don’t leave your bags or luggage unattended.

LGBT Safety in Portugal

LGBT expats are welcomed and accepted in the country, especially in urban areas. However, note that the tolerance might be low in some rural areas. Still, Portugal is one of the most progressive countries when it comes to LGBT rights in Europe.


There you have it. We’ve tried to give you a basic understanding of the safety and security of Portugal. Have you ever been there or have you ever thought of living there? Let us know…

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