One of the most common questions travelers ask about this Portuguese capital is…
Is Lisbon safe to visit for tourists? Yes, Lisbon is considered one of the safest capital cities in Europe. You don’t have to be worried while walking the streets and exploring this city. However, it’s important to use common sense and be aware of your surroundings as it’s still a major city and crime can happen anywhere in the world.
This charming city attracts travelers from all over the world with its rich history, interesting architecture and fun culture. But it can be hard to enjoy a place when you are worried about your safety. Thankfully, you don’t have to be worried about safety in Lisbon.
We were living in Lisbon for a month and during our whole time nothing happened. I (Ashley) felt very safe as a female walking around during the daytime and nighttime. Now, that’s not to say we didn’t take any precautions. We’ve been full-time travelers since 2018 and we are careful no matter where we go…whether that’s Lisbon, Athens or even Medellin, Colombia!
In this article, we will share the safety statistics, the kinds of crimes you need to be aware of and the 7x most helpful tips you can implement for your trip to Lisbon.
Key Snapshot For Lisbon Safety In 2023
Lisbon is a safe city for tourists, but like anywhere else, crime still exists. Here’s the key takeaways of whether or not Lisbon is safe for travelers:
- Portugal is ranked #5th within Europe on the Global Peace Index.
- Lisbon has a relatively low crime rate and petty crime is usually more prevalent than violent crimes which are very rare.
- The kinds of crimes you have to watch out for in Lisbon are pickpocketing, common scams and sketchy ATMs.
- Police patrol the city from time to time but if you’re in danger, the emergency number to call is 112.
- While Lisbon is safe for tourists, you still need to use common sense and stay vigilant, especially at crowded plazas or on any modes of public transportation.
As a smart traveler yourself, the best advice we can give you is to simply use common sense. For example, if you don’t feel safe walking home at night (for whatever reason your gut is trying to tell you – listen!), take an Uber/Bolt home instead.
You can still enjoy Lisbon without being too worried about safety as it’s one of the safest major cities in Europe!
Is Lisbon Safe For Tourists To Visit In 2023?
Lisbon is ranked 7th on the Global Peace Index, making it one of the safest places not just in Europe, but in the entire world as of 2023. The crime rate is relatively low and it feels very safe to walk around the city. This is part of the reason it’s grown over the last few years as a top destination in Europe.
Are you a solo female traveler, digital nomad, family or expat? You can have peace of mind that this city is generally safe – even if you are all alone! We highly recommend you still use common sense when walking through big crowds or visiting certain neighborhoods late at night.
It is important to stay vigilant as petty crimes like pickpocketing, scams and petty theft still happen in the city. Lisbon is a major city with a big population of 500,000 people! Make sure you don’t venture into bad neighborhoods or make yourself an easy target for thieves. Simply using your common sense will get you far in a safe city like Lisbon, Portugal.
Here’s everything you need to know about Lisbon safety, the crimes to watch out for and helpful tips to keep you safe throughout your travels.
Quick Lisbon Safety Statistics & Facts
Don’t want to just rely on hearsay? We get that! That’s why we wanted to add this section about the key statistics and facts about Lisbon safety in general to help give you a more informed perspective.
Let’s dive into the numbers!
Portugal’s Safety Compared To Other European Countries
Lisbon is ranked as the #7th safest city in the world and the 5th safest within Europe on the Global Peace Index – after countries renowned for safety like Iceland and Denmark. If you thought Portugal was this ‘cheap’ or ‘dangerous’ city in Europe, you are utterly wrong.
Portugal has also moved up one spot on this Global Peace Index from the last report in 2022. That means that this country is actually getting safer for its local people and its foreign visitors.
Overall Crime Rate In Lisbon
According to Numbeo, Lisbon’s crime rate index is a low 24.98 (out of 100). The lower the number = the lower the probability of crime to occur. If you’re still wondering, is Lisbon safe? This rate means that Lisbon is considered a safe city for tourists visiting and locals living there.
|Crime Rate Index||Safety Index|
What about the safety index? Lisbon’s stands at 70.67 out of 100. In this case, the higher the number = the more safe a city feels.
Violent Crimes In Lisbon
Extremely violent crimes are very rare in Lisbon, Portugal. Again, the crime rate index and safety index show that in general, it is a very safe city. In saying that, violent crimes can happen anywhere at any time, even in Lisbon. This isn’t to scare you, but it’s just a fact that danger lurks around!
Fortunately, you don’t have to be scared or worried about violent crimes. Again, Portugal is ranked #5th safest in Europe, according to the GPI. So it’s an excellent destination for every traveler, offering peace of mind so you can explore fully!
Petty Crimes In Lisbon
Now you know that violent crime is very rare…what about petty crimes?
Well…that’s a different story.
Petty crimes such as pickpocketing and street scams can still occur in Lisbon, especially in crowded areas or on public transport systems. While they occur, I’d say they are less frequent than your average European city, like Venice, for example. My friends went there for 3 days and in that short time span, their wallets were stolen by a grandma. Seriously!
These kinds of petty crimes rarely happen in Lisbon and that’s why we love visiting this city. It’s just way safer than those popular destinations like Paris or Barcelona – notorious for pickpockets and scammers on most corners!
You don’t always have to look over your shoulder and you can have more peace of mind when traveling in Lisbon. But again, remember to stay vigilant and take the necessary precautions before you go and get all lazy about it!
What Kind Of Crimes Happen In Lisbon?
Crime still occurs in Lisbon as this world isn’t perfect and there are some terrible people out there. However, Lisbon is still generally quite safe for tourists and locals!
When you are planning your trip to Lisbon (or Europe, in general), it’s important to be aware of the kind of crimes you COULD experience. These aren’t to scare you but to help you know know what to expect and to prepare you for your trip.
Here’s the kind of crimes that occur in Lisbon, Portugal:
Ahh yes, the European classic…
…pickpocketing is notorious in this region of the world! This is probably the most frequent petty crime that happens in Lisbon and across Europe in general. Thieves are very skilled at stealing without you noticing!
Some of them attack in groups and dress like ‘normal people’. Often one person will distract you and the other will take your phone from your bag or nab your watch. That’s why it’s important that you ensure you aren’t an easy target for them.
I have to make this clear: We personally didn’t experience pickpocketing in Lisbon. We felt very safe the entire time and had peace of mind while walking around. But we are mentioning that this can happen, although none of our friends or anyone close to us experienced this while touring Lisbon either.
My pickpocket story in Barcelona: I want to share this even though this happened in Barcelona – it still revealed the pickpocket tactics they use. Soo…my friend and I boarded a very PACKED metro to the point it felt like people were leaning into me. I had a coat on and I stupidly put my phone in the exterior pocket. The thief stole my phone from my pocket BUT as they took it out – my screen lit up. I noticed that was my lock screen and instinctively grabbed it out of their hands. They acted dumb and I ran out of that train just a little traumatized.
Pickpocketing happens very quickly and usually you don’t even know it has happened. This is because the thieves target very high-traffic, crowded areas like a big tourist hotspot or public transport.
A place to watch your stuff in Lisbon is the highly-visited Tram 28. Thieves will board in the hopes that the crowds will be big (which they always are) and they can sneak their hands in to steal something. Remember to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions to keep your stuff safe, like wearing a belt bag (even if some people think it looks ridiculous – I don’t, just FYI).
A pet peeve we had about walking in the heart of the city center is the number of drug dealers that will approach you. We have had this happen to us quite a bit, especially in the main streets such as Rua Augusta! For some reason, they always talked to Matthew and not me but anyway, he turned them down every time.
They aren’t on every corner but it can start to feel like that if you walk the length of the streets. It’s best to avoid interactions or any involvement with drugs in a foreign city as a tourist. Politely say no and walk away, they are usually harmless and will eventually leave you alone after you reject them.
There are a lot of ways to be scammed. No matter where you are in the world, there are scams happening every day. We found that these common scams don’t happen as often though in Lisbon, Portugal. Here are some examples of scams to be wary of:
- People trying to give you something for ‘free’ (then they might demand payment later)
- Restaurants and bars overcharging you and being unclear about their prices
- Someone too willing to take your photo on your phone/camera, might run off with it
While these kinds of scams rarely happen in Lisbon, that doesn’t mean they NEVER happen! If you use common sense, keep your wits about you and generally be aware of your surroundings – you shouldn’t run into any safety issues in Lisbon!
Where Does Crime Usually Occur In Lisbon?
You know the kind of crime to look out for…
Now, you need to know WHERE to keep an extra eye out!
There are potential high-crime areas where thieves and scammers like to hang out. It’s easy to figure it out because it comes down to this: highly concentrated areas of people are where you’re most likely to get caught out. If there’s a huge crowd, it just makes it easier for crime to happen.
For Lisbon specifically, these are the areas we felt crime could occur and where you should exercise extra caution:
When you enter or exit a train station, it’s usually a little dark and may feel a bit sketchy. That’s because it probably can get a little scary and this is where you have to take the right precautions. If you’re a solo female traveler, it’s best to avoid sketchy metro stations late at night. I was going home from the gym one time by myself and it just felt like something could happen (obviously it didn’t because Lisbon’s pretty safe).
For metro stations, just be aware of who is around you and if anyone is following you. Once you get out of the metro stations, there’s usually people around to scare off any creeps!
Main Plaza (Squares)
The main plazas or squares in Lisbon are heavily populated with tourists. This makes them hotspots for petty crime like pickpocketing to occur.
While these locations are usually safe in Lisbon, just be aware of your surroundings and belongings in a crowd. Regularly check your belt bag (or pockets) for your things!
Lisbon’s iconic Tram 28 has had a few instances where pickpocketing has occurred. Keep your bag in front of you and hold on to it if you can, as it gets very crowded in a small space.
Be mindful of personal space on the tram. Use common sense and don’t forget to enjoy the ride around the historic Alfama district!
Dodgy ATM Machines
ATMs in Lisbon are usually reliable. However, there’s the odd one that will be plonked on a random corner on a random street. It’s pretty uncommon in Lisbon but sometimes people will tamper with ATMs in order to steal or read your bank cards.
You can go to the ATMs inside banks or choose only trusted bank ATMs like Santander or Millenium. If they have ‘Multibanco’ on them, it’s also great for tourists because there are little to no fees to withdraw money!
7x Helpful Tips To Stay Safe In Lisbon
Lisbon is a beautiful and vibrant city that draws 5.4 million tourists each year. And that number keeps growing as the popularity grows!
You already know that this city is in the top 5 safest cities in Europe. But it’s always a good idea to take extra precautions and implement some safety tips to ensure you have an enjoyable visit.
After being Lisbon digital nomads for a month, we have experienced first-hand what Lisbon’s safety is really like. Here are our top 7 tips to keeping safe in Lisbon so you can enjoy your travels and experience this wonderful city to its fullest!
Let’s get started!
1. Stay In The Right Areas Of The City
There are right areas to stay in Lisbon and wrong areas to stay. So pick the right ones! These neighborhoods are charming and have enough tourist foot traffic to help you feel more at ease. Here are some areas we recommend:
- Principe Real
- Barrio Alto
You can easily catch public transport within a few minutes walk and they usually have some police presence to keep you safe.
Which areas should you avoid? The (very) general rule of thumb is…the further out of the city center you stay, the higher the risk of potential crime happening. Here are some neighborhoods to avoid in Lisbon:
We have been to these areas in the daytime and felt pretty safe. However, I could see how at night the area might start to feel a little sketchier (especially for solo female travelers).
2. Don’t Tempt Anyone
One of the best ways to make yourself an easy target is to show off your valuable items! If you have your expensive jewelry, handbags, cameras or equipment on display – it might draw some unwanted attention.
You can keep your valuables safe in the hotel’s lock safe. If you don’t tempt anyone, you are less likely to run into trouble!
3. Be Aware When Amongst Crowds Of People
You already know this…right?!
Crowded areas can attract thieves looking to score that day. The best thing you can do is take extra precaution by hiding your belt bag (or hugging it), putting a lock on your backpack and simply being ultra-aware of your surroundings.
4. Double Check Your Bills
At restaurants and bars, it’s important to check your receipt to ensure they don’t overcharge you for anything. Sometimes, it might only be a few euros, but it still matters. You can always ask them about your bill and let them explain the charges.
They may or may not do this on purpose, and if you’re feeling generous – you can give them the benefit of the doubt. Unless they outright want to cheat you!
5. Don’t Wander The Streets Late At Night
This safety tip applies to Lisbon but honestly, it also applies to most places in the world. If you are a solo female traveler, I’d avoid walking in the sketchier neighborhoods past 9:30pm, especially in areas with fewer people around. Or even after dark, if you want to take extra precaution.
If you can, stick to well-lit streets in Lisbon and if it gets too late…don’t risk it and book an Uber/Bolt to your accommodation.
6. Be Vigilant In Metro Stations
This seems to be where trouble can hang around. Whenever I was alone, I fast-walked out of those metro stations in sketchy areas because they just felt creepy to me. Maybe that’s a personal thing but if you’re like me, practice extra precaution!
Don’t get me wrong: Lisbon’s metro stations are generally safe! Just be aware of your surroundings and keep a safe distance from strangers especially later into the night.
7. Get Travel Insurance
Still wondering, “Is Lisbon safe?”. If you’re unsure and want to take the right precautions, investing in a good travel insurance will give you a little more peace of mind.
Emergency Numbers To Keep Handy
Want to be prepared in case anything happens? Good idea! These are some emergency numbers to keep in your Notes (but hopefully you won’t need to use them):
- Lisbon Emergency Number: Dial 112
- Forest Fire Emergency Number: Dial 117
- U.S. Embassy in Lisbon: +351 21 727 3300
- Australian Embassy in Lisbon: +351 21 310 1500
The most important number to remember is 112. This is the police number and they will help you out if you are in danger. But remember: you are in Portugal. They may or may not speak English but don’t hesitate to reach out if you really need it.
BOTTOM LINE: Is Lisbon Safe For Tourists To Visit in 2023?
So what’s the bottom line – Is Lisbon safe or not?
Overall, Lisbon is a safe city to visit for tourists in 2023. The crime rate is quite low compared to other European capital cities, allowing you to fully enjoy and explore this great city!
The safety concerns stem mainly from petty crimes like pickpocketing in crowded areas or street scams. While you will feel very safe in Lisbon, it’s important to not let your guard down! Use your common sense and be aware of your surroundings especially late at night, as you would in any other city.
This charming city gets 5.4 million tourists each year because of its pleasant weather year-round, interesting architecture and countless activities to do. With that many visitors, it may seem like crime is inevitable (which it is). However, Lisbon is ranked #5 on the Global Peace Index for European countries just under famously safe countries like Iceland and Denmark.
Implement the safety tips and don’t forget to enjoy your trip to Lisbon! It’s an awesome city for every kind of traveler – no matter the time of year you visit.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Safe Is Lisbon For Solo Female Travelers?
Lisbon is relatively safe for solo female travelers. It’s important to not walk around creepy streets late at night in the wrong areas like Anjos or Intendente. As a female traveler myself, I felt very comfortable walking around Lisbon but it’s a good idea to take extra precaution at night or in crowded public transportation.
Is Lisbon Safe For Digital Nomads?
Overall, Lisbon is a hotspot for digital nomads. You’ve got precious cargo (aka your laptop) in that backpack right? Your stuff will generally be safe in your accommodation, coworking spaces or even cafes (although we don’t recommend leaving it unattended). We also always use a VPN which you need as a digital nomad to protect yourself from cybersecurity attacks, especially if you connect to public Wi-Fi- networks.
What is The Crime Rate In Lisbon?
How Does Lisbon’s Safety Compare To Barcelona?
Lisbon is much safer than Barcelona, in my opinion. Barcelona has an infamous reputation for pickpocketing. I feel WAAAY safer in Lisbon. When I visited Barcelona, I got pickpocketed in a crowded train. Thankfully, I saw my phone in the thief’s hand and without thinking – I just grabbed it! Nothing like that (or even close to it) happened to me in the entire 4 weeks we were living in Lisbon!