Curious about living in Portugal in 2023? Wondering if the country is safe? Let’s break it down simply for you. In this article, we’ll explore what makes Portugal the seventh safest country in the world.

We’ll look at low crime rates, compare stats with other European countries, and see how Portugal’s stable economy affects its safety.

Plus, we’ll highlight why Portugal is a fantastic place to live with its safety, quality of life, affordability, family-friendliness, and attractive investment opportunities.

family reunification visa portugalIf you’re considering making Portugal your home, we’ll also walk you through residency options like the Golden Visa and D7.

Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:

  • Is Portugal Safe?
  • What makes Portugal a very safe country
  • Practical safety precautions for living in and visiting Portugal
  • Top reasons to move to Portugal, and more.

So, let’s dive into all you need to know about living safely in Portugal in 2023.

Safety in Portugal

Measuring the safety in Portugal

Measuring safety in a country involves looking at various key indicators such as crime rates, economic stability, and political harmony. A good quality of life, which includes healthcare and education, plays a part too.

When it comes to measuring safety in a country, the Global Peace Index (GPI) is a good place to start. It’s a widely recognized and respected measure of peace and conflict levels produced annually by the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP).

The GPI measures the peacefulness of countries using 23 quantitative and qualitative indicators like levels of violence, crime, international conflict, political instability, terrorism, and militarization to assess the peacefulness of a country.

Is Portugal safe?

Yes, Portugal is and extremely safe and peaceful country. Portugal’s safety is attributed to its low crime rates, stable political environment, and effective governance. Residents and expatriates in Portugal enjoy a sense of security and peace in their daily lives.

Here are some statistics about safety in Portugal:

Below is a comparison between Portugal and other Western European countries by the 2023 Global Peace Index. Each of these indicators is weighted on a scale of 1-5. The lower the score, the more peaceful the country.

Investimento em Imóveis

Família de 6 membros ou mais

Candidato adicional

Contribuição mínima

US$ 150.000

US$ 125.000

Taxa de processamento

Sem taxa


Taxa de diligência prévia

Requerente e cônjuge: US$ 7.500/cada

Familiares com + de 18 anos: US$ 4.000/cada

Familiares entre 12 e 17 anos: US$ 2.000/cada

Taxa de emissão do passaporte

US$ 300

As you can see, Portugal has lower overall scores in comparison to other European countries. This is a clear indicator of the nation’s peacefulness. 

What Makes Portugal So Safe?

Very low crime rate

Portugal’s standing as the seventh safest country globally is underpinned by its impressive record of low crime rates. This is one of the top reasons why there are so many Americans moving to Portugal recently.

When we delve into the statistics on crime in Portugal, a clear picture emerges: This nation excels in maintaining security for its residents. Violent crimes are notably infrequent, contributing to an overall sense of safety.

The most common type of crime in Portugal is theft, particularly pickpocketing and bag snatching in popular tourist attractions in urban areas.

Terrorism in Portugal is relatively rare, and the country has not experienced any large-scale terrorist attacks in recent history. Unlike several European countries, Portugal is generally considered a low-risk country in terms of terrorism.

The Portuguese government, like many other European nations, remains vigilant and proactive in its efforts to prevent terrorism.

Stable socio-economic landscape

Portugal’s safety is bolstered by its stable socio-economic landscape. This aspect plays a pivotal role in ensuring the overall well-being and security of its residents.

Portugal has demonstrated a commitment to economic stability, which is evident in its low unemployment rates, consistent GDP growth, and sound financial governance. These factors contribute to a sense of security by reducing the likelihood of social unrest and economic hardship.

A stable socio-economic environment in Portugal not only enhances the quality of life for its residents but also fosters a peaceful atmosphere, making it an attractive and secure place to live in 2023.

Political stability

Portugal has a stable political climate and effective governance. This political continuity plays a crucial role in maintaining law and order throughout the country, ensuring a peaceful and secure atmosphere for its residents and visitors.

Portugal’s strong commitment to democracy and the rule of law has fostered an environment where political transitions occur smoothly and without major disruptions.

The nation’s political stability is also due to positive diplomatic relationships with other countries in the European Union.

Natural disaster preparedness

Situated along the Iberian Peninsula and the Atlantic Ocean, Portugal is susceptible to natural disasters such as wildfires and occasional seismic activity.

However, the country has invested significantly in disaster management and mitigation strategies. Robust fire prevention and response programs are in place, especially during the dry summer months, to combat wildfires and protect rural areas.

Additionally, Portugal has stringent building codes and construction practices to withstand seismic activity.

Safety Tips for Portugal

While Portugal is one of the safest countries in the world, it’s always a good idea to follow some practical tips to ensure your peace of mind and enhance your overall experience.

By following these normal safety precautions, you can help ensure a safe and stress-free experience while living in or visiting Portugal.

  • Stay aware: Be mindful of your surroundings, especially in crowded or tourist areas, to avoid potential pickpocketing or petty theft. Keep your belongings secure. Exercise caution, and avoid walking in quiet and poorly lit streets, especially at night.
  • Use reputable transportation: When using public transportation or taxis, choose reputable providers and be cautious of unofficial taxis.
  • Beware of scams: Be cautious of scams, which usually target tourists. Don’t engage with overly persistent street vendors or strangers offering unsolicited assistance.
  • portugal safety tipsWatch out for pickpockets: They often operate on public transportation, especially tram lines that they know are popular with tourists, inter-city bus or train stations, and on crowded streets in popular tourist destinations.
  • Health precautions: Ensure you have travel insurance. Portugal generally has good healthcare, but it’s essential to be prepared.
  • Respect local laws: Familiarize yourself with local laws and regulations, including traffic rules and customs. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse.
  • Weather awareness: Be aware of the local weather conditions and heed any warnings or advisories, particularly if you plan outdoor activities.
  • Safe beach practices: If you visit the coast, be cautious of strong currents and heed lifeguard warnings. Follow beach safety guidelines and avoid swimming alone in remote areas.
  • Stay informed: Stay informed about current events and developments in the area you plan to visit. Make sure to monitor local media and travel advice from the Portuguese authorities.
  • Respect local customs: Show respect for local customs, traditions, and cultural norms to avoid inadvertently offending anyone.
  • Emergency numbers: Familiarize yourself with local emergency numbers, including the police (112). If you are robbed, go to the nearest police station and report the problem to the local authorities. There are tourist police stations in Lisbon, Porto, Praia da Rocha (Portimão) and Cascais. To contact tourist police stations in these cities, call 342 1634 or 342 1623 or email [email protected]

The Safest Places in Portugal

Portugal is considered a safe country, and safety is not limited to specific places. However, some areas within Portugal are known for their exceptionally low crime rates and high safety standards.

Here are a few regions and cities often considered among the safest in Portugal:

Azores: The Azores archipelago, located in the North Atlantic Ocean, is renowned for its tranquility and low crime rates. The islands’ remote and close-knit communities contribute to a strong sense of security.

Madeira: Like the Azores, the island of Madeira is recognized for its safety. The capital city, Funchal, is particularly known for its peaceful atmosphere and low crime levels.

Sintra: This picturesque town near Lisbon is famous for its safety and is a popular destination for both tourists and residents seeking a serene environment.

Cascais: Located on the coast near Lisbon, Cascais offers a safe and family-friendly atmosphere, making it a preferred choice for many expatriates.

Aveiro: This charming city is often regarded as one of the safest places in Portugal, with its canals and tranquil surroundings.

Lisbon: Portugal’s capital, Lisbon, is considered one of the safest European cities. It offers a mix of historic neighborhoods and modern areas, with low crime rates in many parts of the city.

Porto: Portugal’s second-largest city, Porto, is also known for its safety, especially when compared to several European cities such as London and Paris. It has a vibrant cultural scene and a reputation for being a secure destination for both residents and tourists.

Why Portugal Is an Outstanding Country to Live In

Safety & low crime rates

Portugal stands out as an outstanding country to live in, and one of its most compelling attributes is its safety and low crime rates. The country’s commitment to maintaining a secure environment has created a sense of peace and well-being for its residents, making it an ideal place to call home.

Moreover, Portugal’s reputation as one of the safest nations in the world has sparked considerable interest among international investors and expatriates seeking a secure haven for their families and businesses.

The combination of safety and low crime rates, along with its high quality of life, affordable cost of living, family-friendly atmosphere, and attractive tax system, makes Portugal an alluring destination for those looking to embrace a secure and fulfilling life abroad.

High quality of life

Portugal offers its residents an exceptional standard of living characterized by access to quality healthcare, a robust educational system, and a rich cultural heritage. 

The country’s breathtaking landscapes, warm climate, and vibrant cities contribute to a lifestyle that is both relaxed and fulfilling.

The emphasis on work-life balance and a strong sense of community fosters a contented existence.

Moreover, the affordability of everyday necessities, from housing to daily expenses, further enhances the overall quality of life in Portugal.

This combination of factors makes Portugal a top choice for those seeking a gratifying and enriching life experience.

Affordable cost of living

One of the pros of living in Portugal as an expat is the country’s affordable cost of living.

Compared to many other countries in Western Europe, such as the UK, France, and Germany, Portugal offers a more budget-friendly lifestyle without compromising on quality.

Portugal is also inexpensive when compared to the United States. In fact, according to Numbeo, a single person’s estimated monthly costs are €617.90 without rent, which is 39.8 percent lower than in the US.

This affordability extends to various aspects of life, such as utilities, healthcare, dining out, leisure, and education.

Just keep in mind that the cost of living tends to be higher in major cities such as Porto and Lisbon, which is Portugal’s capital city.

Family-friendly environment

Portugal’s warm and welcoming culture, coupled with its strong sense of community, makes it an ideal place for families to thrive.

Portuguese society places a high value on family, and this is reflected in the numerous family-oriented activities, schools, and recreational opportunities available.

The country boasts a safe and peaceful atmosphere, ensuring parents’ peace of mind as their children explore and grow. Additionally, Portugal’s access to quality education and healthcare further contributes to its family-friendly appeal.

Investment opportunities

Portugal has been actively encouraging foreign investment through various programs, including the Golden Visa scheme. This program, among others, has made Portugal an attractive destination for investors worldwide.

With its stable economy, access to European markets, and strategic location, Portugal provides a favorable environment for both business and real estate investment.

Additionally, the country’s growing tech and startup ecosystem, along with its renewable energy sector, has caught the eye of international investors.

Attractive tax system

The Portuguese government has structured an attractive tax policy, which makes the country a desirable destination for expats.

Foreigners living in Portugal can apply for the Non-Habitual Residency (NHR) tax system, which presents an array of tax benefits over a 10-year period. It offers a special personal income tax treatment, allowing recipients to enjoy tax exemption on nearly all foreign source income.

How to Move to Portugal?


Living in Portugal can be a rewarding experience, and the country offers immigration schemes available to non-EU citizens.

There are various visa categories, such as work visas, student visas, and family reunification visas. The specific requirements and application process vary depending on the type of visa you’re applying for.

Some of the most popular programs for individuals seeking Portuguese Residency are the Portugal Golden Visa and the D7 Visa.

Here are some other residency visas available in Portugal:

Frequently Asked Questions about Safety in Portugal

Is Portugal safe?

Yes, Portugal is generally considered a safe country. It consistently ranks as one of the safest countries in the world, with low crime rates and a stable political environment. Portugal’s commitment to safety, effective governance, and welcoming atmosphere makes it a secure and appealing destination for residents and visitors alike.

Are Americans welcome in Portugal?

Yes, Americans are welcome in Portugal. Portugal is known for its warm and friendly hospitality towards tourists and expatriates from various countries, including the United States. The country has a thriving expatriate community, and English is widely spoken, making it relatively easy for Americans to communicate and integrate into Portuguese society.

What are the risks of traveling to Portugal?

Traveling to Portugal typically involves low risks. However, use common sense and exercise normal precautions to prevent pickpocketing, particularly in crowded tourist areas. Make sure to respect ocean safety, drive attentively on winding and narrow roads, and stay informed about local weather conditions.

Is Portugal safer than the USA?

Portugal is safer than the United States when comparing crime rates and overall safety. Portugal has a lower crime rate and almost no gun crime.

Is Portugal or Spain safer?

Both Portugal and Spain are generally considered safe countries for residents and travelers. However, Portugal is a bit safer. According to the 2022 Global Peace Index ranking, Portugal country ranks seventh among the safest countries in the world. Spain, on the other hand, ranks 32nd.

What is the safest city in Portugal?

According to research and the Global Peace Index, Portugal is one of the safest countries in the world. Some of the safest cities in Portugal are Lisbon, Porto, Madeira, Azores, Aveiro, and Braga.

Why is crime so low in Portugal?

Portugal’s low crime rate can be attributed to several factors. Effective law enforcement, with a well-trained police force, plays a pivotal role in preventing and investigating criminal activity. Stricter gun control laws and progressive drug policies contribute to a safer environment.

Is Lisbon, Portugal, safe?

Yes, Lisbon, Portugal, is generally considered safe for residents and tourists. It’s one of the safest cities in Europe. While Lisbon, like any major city, may have some petty crimes such as pickpocketing, violent crime rates are low. The city has a strong police presence, and public spaces are generally well-monitored.

Is Porto, Portugal, safe?

Yes, Porto, Portugal, is generally considered a safe city for residents and tourists alike. Like Lisbon, Porto is known for its relatively low crime rates and overall safety. Violent crime is uncommon, and the city has a visible police presence, particularly in popular tourist areas.

Is Portugal safe for women travelers?

Yes, Portugal is generally considered safe for female travelers. The country is known for its safety and low crime rates, making it a welcoming destination for women exploring the country alone or with friends.

What should I be careful of in Portugal?

In Portugal, it’s important to be cautious about bag snatching, pickpocketing, and theft from cars, which can sometimes occur. To minimize risks, it’s advisable to keep valuables discreet and out of sight. Stay vigilant and pay close attention to your belongings.

Is it safe to drink water in Portugal?

Yes, it is generally safe to drink tap water in Portugal. The country has strict regulations governing water quality and sanitation, and tap water is of high quality in most urban areas.

What should I do in case of an emergency while in Portugal? Is the emergency services system reliable?

In case of a serious emergency (medical treatment/ambulance, fire, and police), dial the National Emergency Number 112 from any phone (landline or mobile). The emergency services system in Portugal is generally reliable and responsive. You can also access consular assistance if required

Is Portugal safe to live?

Yes, Portugal is generally considered a safe and desirable country to live in. The nation consistently ranks as one of the safest countries in the world, with low crime rates and a stable political environment.

Where is the best place to live in Portugal?

This will depend on what you are looking for. If you thrive in a bustling urban city, Lisbon is the best bet. Porto is perfect for those seeking a balance between history and modernity. If you prefer a quieter, more peaceful life, consider Coimbra or Braga. For beach enthusiasts, the Silver Coast of Portugal or the picturesque Algarve region are great choices.

Is it safe to use public transportation in Portugal?

Yes, it is generally safe to use public transport in Portugal. The country has a well-developed and efficient public transportation system, including buses, trams, trains, and the metro in major cities like Lisbon and Porto. These services are commonly used by both locals and tourists.

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