Although Lisbon is a very safe city, I have some tips for your safety and security in Lisbon. Violent crime is almost non-existent in Lisbon, and Portugal ranks number three on the Global Peace Index. Nonetheless, tourists should always be aware of their environment or surroundings.
Watch your step
By far, the greatest threat to your safety while in Lisbon is slipping or spraining an ankle on one of the sidewalks.
While the black and white Portuguese cobblestones (Calcçada Portuguesa) are beautiful and make Portugal unique, they can be hazardous.
They are often uneven, with curved terrain or roots growing under them. As soon as you aren’t watching where you put your feet, you will step into a hole where stones are missing.
And this is under the best of conditions when they aren’t wet. Wet cobblestones are very slippery.
It is imperative that you bring good walking shoes that are comfortable. Do not bring high heels.
If you are not always steady on your feet, you might want to bring walking sticks or a cane to assist going up and down what could be slippery hills.
Try to watch where you step, which is hard to do because there is so much to see around you in Lisbon.
The most common crime in Lisbon is pickpocketing. Be careful with your valuables in tight situations such as when you are standing in lines, on the metro, on trams, and watching Fado singers in Alfama (or any other street performers) where a crowd of tourists have gathered. In particular, be vigilant on Tram 28, and while waiting in line to board it.
Limit the damage before it happens
If you know you are going to take the tram on a particular day, only carry the cash you need for that day, and your cell phone or camera. No need to bring all of your debit and credit cards and passports with you.
Have multiple cards to access money
Before you leave home, set up multiple cards to withdraw cash from multiple accounts. That way, if you lose your ATM card, you can cancel that card and carry on using your backup card which has a different number.
Have a backup credit card and a backup debit card. Even better if one is Visa and the other is Mastercard. That way you can use either type of machine.
Leave your backup cards in the hotel
Lock your passport, emergency cash, and extra cards in the safe in your room or in an envelope in the hotel safe. If you are staying in a hostel, keep your belongings in a locker and bring your own padlock. Do not take your passport out on the street unless it is absolutely necessary.
Be discrete at the ATM
If possible, choose to use an ATM that is inside a bank rather than outdoors. Be aware of people standing close by. Enter your PIN discretely. Make sure the transaction is complete before you walk away.
I have not heard of ATM muggings or PIN theft in Lisbon, but this is just being street-smart in any large city anywhere in the world.
Make photocopies of your travel documents
Carry a photocopy of your passport in your pocket. Email yourself photos of the important pages, your ID, etc. Leave the originals in your hotel.
Do not leave your items unattended
Don’t set your backpack or purse down and look away. Keep these items attached to you and in your field of vision. Even on the edge of a table could be risky if you look away for a minute.
Learn some basic Portuguese
While many people will speak some English in Lisbon, there is no better way to endear yourself with Lisboetas than making a little effort to learn their language. I promise it will open doors for you.
There are some beautiful beaches in the area. On one day a beach might have calm water, and the next day, the same beach might have rough waves or very strong current.
Wear sunscreen, drink water, and be careful of alcohol intake at the beach.
Alcohol in general
Lisbon has fun nightlife. Try not to overdo it, because you do make yourself an easy target for thieves and accidents if you are the one who is stumbling and bumbling.
Don’t accept drinks from other people. Don’t leave your drink unattended.
Females traveling alone
You should be able to navigate Lisbon almost as easily as your hometown. People are friendly. Plenty of people speak English. The public transportation system is outstanding. Theft and violent crime are very low. Tourism is the city’s number one industry, and the police make keeping crime low and protecting tourists a priority. Follow the tips in this article, be aware of your surroundings and your belongings, and you should have a great time.
If you stay in a hostel, you can easily meet other solo female travelers and team up for site-seeing together or a meal. Also, most hostels offer female-only rooms.
Lisbon is a low-risk city as far as crime and hassle go. If you are still not comfortable traveling by yourself, I found this group, https://www.womentraveling.com/travel-calendar
If you are renting a car
Keep valuables out of sight when the car is parked. Personally, I would not rent a car and (try) to pay to park it in Lisbon. The public transport system is excellent and provides access to all of the tourist sites. Day trips to any other towns that you might be interested in are all served by economical buses and trains.
Know how to call the police or an ambulance
Dial 112 for police, ambulance, or fire.
Know how to call the US Consulate
During business hours American citizens can contact firstname.lastname@example.org For after-hours emergencies, American citizens can call 351-21-727-3300 or 351-21-094-2000 and press “0” to speak directly to an Embassy official.
Enroll in the US State Department’s free STEP program.
that way the US embassy will know how to contact you in case of emergency. This will allow the State Department to provide you with safety information for your location. It will also allow them to contact you in case of an emergency if you need to evacuate, and it helps your relatives locate you if there is an emergency at home and they are having trouble contacting you. https://step.state.gov/
Canadian Citizens can find the Canadian Embassy at Avenida da Liberdade. 196-200, 3rd Floor. The Canadian Embassy’s website is at http://www.Portugal.gc.ca
- Hospital de Santa Maria Avenida Professor Egas Moniz, Metro: Cidade Universitaria, T: 351217 805 000
- Hospital de Sao Jose Alameda Santo Antonio dos Capuchos, Metro: Martim MonizT: 351 218 841 000
- Hospital Sao Francisco Xavier Estrada Forte Alto do Duque, Restelo, Buses 723, 732, T: 351 210 431 160
- Cuf Infante Santo Travesso do Castro 3 e Avenida Infante Santo 34, Buses 760, 713, 720, 727, 738, 773, T: 351 213 926 100
- Cuf Descobertas Rua Mario Botas, Parque das Nacoes, Metro: Oriente, T: 351 210 025 200
- Hospital da Luz Avenida Lusiada, Benfica, Metro: Colegio Militar / Luz, T: 351 217 104 400
Purchase travel insurance
I always use World Nomads. Their rates are reasonable. I have not needed it yet, but I would not want to deal with financial responsibility for a medical issue in a foreign country.http://World Nomads
Conclusion I am happy to report that Lisbon is a safe, low-risk city. It may be safer than your hometown, depending on where you live.
There are cities in the world where you cannot have your phone in your hand on the street, or wear jewelry in public. Fortunately, Lisbon has nowhere near this level of crime.
While there are a few young men that might approach you on the street in Baixa or Bairro Alto and offer you real or fake drugs (don’t do business with them), it is not the type of city where people will approach you all day long in the hopes of selling you something.
Lisbon is an easy city to enjoy. If you are looking for ideas for things to see or do in Lisbon, see my article, https://lisbontravelideas.com/2021/05/25-things-to-see-or-experience-in-lisbon-portugal