Portugal remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Visitors here get the unique opportunity to experience anything from romance to adventure to rich culture and relaxation, all in one breathtaking place. The landscapes are beautiful, the people welcoming and the food divine. The tips and suggestions provided here will help ensure that your experience in Portugal is safe, exciting and memorable.
First and foremost, don't get intoxicated. This may be easier said than done, especially given the fact that Portugal produces some of the world's finest wines. While it's certainly ok to enjoy some of the local alcohol, it's also important to remember that drinking so much that you become intoxicated can make you a prime target for thieves.
After all, it's much easier to steal from someone who is not fully alert and aware of their surroundings. Enjoy a few drinks, but just know when to say when.
Portugal offers a fabulous nightlife filled with excitement, dancing, partying and, of course, drinking. While not exclusive to Portugal, hand in hand with the intoxication warning is the threat of drink spiking.
While not incredibly common, there have been reports of people being given the drug GHB (commonly referred to as the date rape drug). This drug is very dangerous and can cause dizziness, vomiting, unconsciousness, coma and even death.
Obviously, no good can come from this, so take precautions when you are out at a club or bar. Always watch your drinks being poured, keep them in your sight at all times and don't accept a drink from a stranger.
Another important tip is to stay away from the less desirable or "seedy" areas.
Martin Moniz, Intendente, Casal Ventoso, Cais do Sodre, Alfama, Bairro Alto can all be risky locations, especially at night when prostitution and drug deals tend to be more common.
Again, not much good can come from being in a rough area that you are unfamiliar with so try to stick to the more populated areas and avoid traveling alone.
Although violent crime is relatively rare in Portugal, youth gangs have been known to congregate near the beaches between Cascais and Lisbon where they occasionally accost beachgoers.
Your best protection is to be aware of your surroundings at all times and if you see a group that appears to be up to no good, don't go near them.
In 2001, drugs were decriminalized in Portugal, resulting in significant drops in drug-related crime, drug overdoses, and HIV infection. However, it's still illegal to have drugs in your possession for personal use and drug usage in general. These offensives are treated in a more administrative manner such as a warning, fine or directed into a drug use reduction program.
Drug trafficking and driving under the influence of drugs are both criminal offenses.
Drugs are quite common in Portugal with tourists often being approached with the offer to sell. Many travelers report having been solicited to purchase harmless items such as sunglasses, only to quickly find out that the merchandise being sold is actually drugs. This is something to look out for because the police are very present and watchful for these types of drug deals.
Many times the police are even responsible for setting up these transactions as sting operations, which can result in an unsuspecting tourist being arrested and jailed. The police in Portugal take drugs very seriously and so should you. If approached, firmly refuse and keep walking.
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As one of Europe's most popular and safe travel destinations, here's what travelers need to know about safety before going to Portugal.