Portugal Travel Advice
Security travel advice for Portugal
How safe is Portugal?
Threat level: Low-Medium
COVID - 19 Situation in Portugal
Due to the domestic COVID-19 situation, Portugal has extended the "state of calamity" to the 30th of May.
Portugal has been added to the amber list of countries that allow travellers from the UK to enter Portugal for non-essential travel. However, when returning to the UK travellers must quarantine at home for 10 days and take a pre-departure test, plus PCR test on day 2 and 8 (with the option to take a test on day 5 to be released before). When arriving in Portugal, travellers must present a negative PCR test result on arrival, taken no more than 72 hours before flying. Travellers must also quarantine for 14 days in their accommodation unless they can present a certificate of vaccination that shows they have received two doses of an EU-approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to travelling.
Portugal had started easing restrictions on the 15th of March but due to an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, the government had to delay further relaxation of rules. Restrictions vary depending on the municipality and according to the COVID-19 incidence rate.
To avoid further spread of the virus, people in Portugal must maintain a 2-meter social distance in public places, apply good hygiene practices and wear a face mask in enclosed spaces including in public transport, shops, in taxis and airports. Gatherings of over 10 people are also prohibited.
Security in Portugal
The current travel advice for Portugal is to be cautious of petty crime, especially in popular tourist destinations. Portugal is a modern European country with very good security, medical and communication infrastructure.
In the 1990s, Portugal saw a sharp rise in crime of which now has significantly lowered, following the immigrant influx during the 2000s there had been a another peak in incidents involving tourists in the Algarve area. To date there has been limited security incidents, however as with most European countries at this time it is at a heightened threat of attacks from radical groups such as ISIS.
Intelligent Protection International Limited has for the past decade provided corporate and private clients with Security and Bodyguard services in Portugal. If you are interested in these services, please see our web page: Bodyguard Services in Portugal.
Although the general crime levels of Portugal is low, Portugal does have its problems with petty crime around the tourist areas, which is on the rise. There is some organised crime and pickpocketing, handbag snatching and theft from cars and holiday properties are common in major tourist areas. The best travel advice for Portugal is to reamin vigilant and caution in areas with high tourist number in particular the areas surrounding areas of Lisbon cathedral. Also notable locations are Moorish Castle and Pena Palace in Sintra and beachfront areas of Guincho, Ericeira, Cabo da Roca, Boca do Inferno, and in the Algarve.
Personal drug use is illegal in Portugal and people who are caught taking drugs will be subject to a fine or other sanctions.
2016 finds itself to be election year, and as such leading up to the October vote it is anticipated that possible demonstrations may occur. This in part is related to the austerity the country has faced over the past few years and rise in unemployment. Lisbon and Porto are the locations where most demonstrations occur, please be aware that transport and public services can be affected by such public gatherings.
As in the UK and other European countries, there is a rise in Portuguese nationals joining the Jihad with Al-Qaeda or ISIL. The FCO warns of “an underlying threat from terrorism. Attacks, although unlikely, could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers”.
Portugal's International Relations
Portugal is a primarily neutral country, having good ties to Europe. A founding member of NATO, United Nations, European Union and many other trade and international organisation agreements historically it has had Territorial disputes with Spain, however current relations between them is of favourable nature, as it is with much of the Iberian Peninsula.
Travelling around Portugal
When travelling by car in Portugal, British nationals do not need an International Driving Permit (IDP) but a motor insurance green card issued by their car insurer is required to drive a UK-registered car in the EU.
Taxis scamming tourist is often an issue in Lisbon. It is often safer and easier to organise a pick up via your hotel. Caution is advised on public transport for petty crime, of which criminals will work in very well-organised groups. Transport such as the E28 tram to the Castle of Sao Jorge, E25 tram to Prazeres and E15 to Belem have been noted of prominent places to remain vigilant.
Extreme weather in Portugal
Portugal is subject to forest fires during the Summer period. It is recommended to monitor local media and look up the Portuguese Met Office website to check on potential risks during your visit to the country.
Commercial Travel Risk Services
Intelligent Protection International Limited provides companies and organisations with Commercial Travel Risk Services designed to mitigate risks of staff when they travel for business. If you are interested in these services, please see: Commercial Travel Risk Services.
Emergency services in Portugal
Police emergency: 112
Medical emergency: 112
Health line for emergencies available 24/7: 808 242 424
Sea Rescue: 214 401 919
Maritime Police: 210 911 100
Fire Service: 112
Forest Service: 117
Religion: Christian (Roman Catholic)
Currency: Euro (€) (EUR)
Time now in Lisbon:
Consular information for Portugal
U.S. Embassy Lisbon
Avenida das Forças Armadas,
Telephone: +351 21 727 3300 or +351 21 094 2000
Fax: +351 21 726 9109
British Embassy Lisbon
Rua de São Bernardo 33
PO Box 507,
Telephone: +351 21 392 40 00
Telephone: +351 21 392 40 21
Visa requirements for Portugal
Citizens of the European Union, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Romania and Switzerland need only an identity card to enter Portugal.
Citizens from countries not mentioned above need a visa to enter Portugal, which may be requested at the Portuguese Embassy or Consulate of their country for stays of up to 90 days.
As the UK is no longer part of the EU, British nationals can travel without a visa to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. However, to stay longer than 90 days in Portugal whether for work, study, business travel or any other reasons, a visa will be required. Please note that visits to other Schengen countries within the previous 180 days will be cumulative and will count towards the 90-day limit.
Healthcare and Immunisations
It is advised that visitors to Portugal are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is further recommended that most travellers also get a Tetanus vaccination. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
If you are a British citizen, your UK EHIC card remains valid when travelling to an EU country until it expires, providing access to state-provided healthcare in Portugal. After that, British citizens must apply for a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) which will cover them for state-provided healthcare in the EU. Nevertheless, you will be required to show proof on arrival that you have travel insurance for your trip.
E.U. members are able to use their European Health Insurance Card to receive state-provided healthcare as a citizen of Portugal would. You should still purchase travel insurance as the EHIC does not cover you for all medical requirements such as evacuation. Non-E.U. visitors will have to pay for any medical assistance prior to treatment.