Fire and rescue services
We haven’t changed our level of advice:
Exercise normal safety precautions in Portugal.
Full travel advice: Safety
Full travel advice: Health
Full travel advice: Local laws
Full travel advice: Travel
Bag snatching, pickpocketing and theft from cars occurs, especially in summer peak tourist season.
Pay attention to your belongings at:
Be alert to theft on public transport, especially the:
To keep your valuables safe:
Put a card with your contact details in your wallet. Tourist police will contact you if someone hands in your lost or stolen property.
Thieves target vehicles with foreign licence plates and rental car stickers. They pretend you have a flat tyre or other problem to get drivers to pull over.
Thieves target parked cars:
To protect your belongings in your vehicle:
Robberies and assaults on foreigners occur in Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve area, including at popular tourist locations.
To reduce your risk of violent crime:
Foreigners have been robbed and sexually assaulted after having their drinks spiked at night clubs.
To avoid being a victim of drink spiking:
Accommodation scams, particularly in Lisbon and the Algarve, are on the rise. Book accommodation using secure payment platforms and trusted websites.
Don't agree to compensate drivers for alleged damage to their vehicles. Always contact the police.
Criminals target cruise ship passengers at the terminals.
Pay attention to your personal belongings when leaving cruise ships or transferring to buses and local transport.
Strikes and public demonstrations occur, mainly in Lisbon and Porto. These can affect transport services including buses, trains, metro, ferries and flights.
Public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent.
To stay safe during periods of unrest:
While there have been no recent terrorist attacks in Portugal, they can still happen.
In recent years, terrorists have staged attacks in a number of European cities.
Targets have included:
Some planned attacks have been disrupted by European security services.
To protect yourself from terrorist threats:
If there's an attack, leave the area as soon as it's safe. Avoid the affected area in case of secondary attacks.
Terrorism is a threat worldwide.
Deaths by drowning occur every year on Portuguese beaches and in swimming pools. If you disobey lifeguard warnings or flags, you could be fined.
Never leave belongings unattended on the beach or in vehicles parked at beach carparks. Youth gangs meet along the beaches between Lisbon and Cascais and have robbed beach-goers.
Take coloured warning flags on beaches seriously:
Pay attention to signs about cliff erosion. Remain behind the barriers at viewing spots. Falling rocks are a hazard, particularly in the Algarve. You can be fined if you ignore warning signs.
Follow local advice if jellyfish are present.
During a natural disaster or severe weather:
Portugal is in an active earthquake zone and experiences regular earthquakes.
Bushfires are common in inland areas during summer.
In June 2017, large forest fires in the Pedrogão Grande area caused deaths and injuries.
Causing a bushfire is an offence, even if it's an accident.
Check the Portuguese National Civil Protection Authority for updates during bushfires.
Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave. Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won't pay for these costs.
If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.
If you're not insured, you may have to pay many 1000s of dollars up-front for medical care.
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.
If you need counselling services while overseas, contact the Australian Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 and ask to speak to a Lifeline telephone counsellor.
Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
If you plan to bring medication, check if it's legal in Portugal. Take enough legal medicine for your trip.
You can carry prescription medicines for personal use into Portugal.
To receive medications by post, you may require an import permit.
Carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating:
Portuguese pharmacies usually carry similar medications to Australia. They may be a different brand or dosage. You may need a prescription from a local doctor.
Health risks are broadly similar to those in Australia.
The standard of private medical facilities in major cities is comparable to Australia.
The standards of public facilities in regional and rural areas vary.
Treatment costs are high, especially at private facilities.
You may need to pay before doctors and hospitals will treat you.
You may need to confirm insurance or guarantee payment before a private hospital will admit you.
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Possession and use of illegal drugs is an administrative offence and can attract large fines.
Selling or trafficking of illegal drugs is a criminal offence. Penalties are severe and can include jail sentences.
Gambling is legal in venues licensed by the government, such as official casinos.
Gambling is illegal in unlicensed venues. Organisers, players and anyone on the premises may be charged, fined or jailed.
Check you're entering a licensed gambling venue.
You must carry photo ID in Portugal.
You can be fined if you ride an e-scooter or e-bike under the influence of alcohol.
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you're overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
Portugal recognises dual nationality.
Authorities consider a dual citizen living in Portugal to be Portuguese.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders.
Make sure you meet all entry and exit conditions. If you don't, the Australian Government can't help you.
Portugal is part of the Schengen area. This allows you to enter Portugal without a visa in some circumstances.
In other situations, you'll need a visa.
Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. For details about visas, currency, customs and other travel requirements, contact:
Get a clear entry stamp in your passport when you first enter the Schengen area, including Portugal.
If you don't have proof of entry or have overstayed your Schengen visa, airlines might refuse to transport you.
Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over.
Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.
You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel. If you're not sure it'll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport.
Carry copies of the photograph page of your passport, in case you're stopped by local authorities.
Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.
Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible and obtain a local police report.
The local currency is the Euro (EUR).
Declare amounts over 10,000 euros, or the same amount in another foreign currency. This covers all forms of currency, not only cash.
This applies if you're travelling between Portugal and any non-European Union (EU) country. You don't need to declare currency if you're travelling to or from another EU country.
You'll be fined if you don't declare or you give incorrect information.
Foreign bank cards aren't widely accepted in smaller shops, restaurants, towns or rural areas. You can use Australian credit cards at larger hotels and shopping centres.
Most ATMs have a daily withdrawal limit of 200 euros.
Since 2015, there have been significant pressures on border controls in Europe due to the movement of asylum seekers.
While the impact in Portugal has been limited, carry your passport when crossing borders, even within the Schengen area.
Check border conditions through local news sources and transport providers.
You can drive for up to 6 months with a valid Australian driver's licence.
You also need either:
Portugal has a high rate of motor vehicle accidents and road fatalities.
Occasional rock falls occur on regional coastal roads.
You must report traffic accidents to the police.
There are large on-the-spot fines for:
Taxis are usually reliable, however there are reports of taxi drivers overcharging, threatening and harassing passengers at Lisbon airport. There are no fixed taxi transfer fees to Lisbon or Porto city.
Ride-sharing services are available and legal.
To stay safe in taxis:
There are no taxi meters in the Azores. Confirm the fare before your trip starts.
Tuktuks are common in large tourist areas.
Check your insurance covers you in the event of an accident in a tuktuk.
Always use a seatbelt.
Thieves may try to snatch your possessions when you're travelling by tuktuk, particularly in tourist areas.
Public transport is usually safe and reliable.
Queues for tickets can be long. Ticket machines in metro stations sometimes run out of paper.
You can top up rechargeable tickets at metro stations. Use these tickets on most public buses, ferries, trams, trains and the metro.
If you arrive via sea, including on a cruise, visa and other entry requirements, including Schengen, apply. This applies regardless of how long you stay. See the information on visas above.
DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.
Check Portugal's air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.
Depending on what you need, contact your:
Always get a police report when you report a crime.
Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
For non-urgent criminal issues, contact the nearest police station.
To contact tourist police stations in Lisbon, Porto, Portimão and Cascais:
You can email to ask for a police report after leaving Portugal.
If you are a victim of crime, get support from Portugal's Victims of Crime support unit, APAV.
The National Immigrant Support Centre (CNAI) supports expats.
Contact your provider with any complaints about tourist services or products.
If you're not satisfied with the response, request the Complaints Book (Livro de Reclamacoes).
If the service provider refuses to provide the Complaints Book:
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
For consular assistance, contact the Australian Embassy in Lisbon.
Avenida da Liberdade 200 – 2nd Floor
Phone: (+351 21) 310 1500
Fax: (+351 21) 310 1555
Facebook: Australia in Portugal
Check the Embassy website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
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