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Portugal produces some of the world's finest wines and has a thriving nightlife. But while it's okay 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 you have had enough.
Portugal has a great nightlife with a huge selection of bars, restaurants and clubs. 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. Notably, it is used to commit sexual assault.
Always watch your drinks being poured, keep them in your sight at all times and never accept a drink from a stranger.
Drugs are quite common in Portugal, with tourists often being approached with the offer to sell. Many travelers report being 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 present and watchful for these types of drug deals.
Sometimes, the police are 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.
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.
Like any country, Portugal has areas that are best avoided, especially at night. The popular tram routes 15 and 28 are also popular with petty thieves. The Lisbon suburbs of Sintra, Mafra and Cascais should be avoided after dark because of the threat of theft, and Casal Ventoso is known for drug users and traffickers.
While most suburbs are perfectly safe to explore in the day, caution should be applied at night, in and around Alfama, Mouraria, Graça and Bairro Alto which can all be risky locations when prostitution and drug deals tend to be more common.
Not much good can come from being in a rough area you are unfamiliar with, so try to stick to more populated areas and avoid traveling alone.
Although violent crime is rare in Portugal, 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.
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Is Portugal Europe's safest destination? Here's everything travelers need to know to avoid scams and petty crime.
You can buy at home or while traveling, and claim online from anywhere in the world. With 150+ adventure activities covered and 24/7 emergency assistance.Get a quote