10 Bad Things about Portugal That You Should Know Before Visiting

Reema Bharti

Reema Bharti

· 5 min read

There are some bad things about Portugal, just like any other country, even though it has a rich history, beautiful places, and a lively culture. Portugal is a great place to visit and live, but it also has problems with money, society, and the environment. Understanding these problems helps us know and like Portugal better. 

10 Bad Things about Portugal 

10 bad things about Portugal are economic issues, overcrowded streets, limited public transport, low income, language problems, road accidents, education problems, and healthcare issues.

All these issues are explained in the article further.

Economic Issues

Portugal has been going through an economic downfall for a long time now. Economic issues can affect any country very badly.

Portugal has been devastated even after being a touristy place because of various reasons that need to be taken care of.

Main reasons for economic downfall in Portugal are increase in unemployment and national debt in the country.

Financial issues


One of the main reasons for the economic downfall in Portugal is Unemployment. People are unable to get jobs in the country which leads to decline in job market.

Due to lack of job opportunities, citizens are unable to earn money. They often need to move out of their country to earn well and provide for their families.

As compared to other European countries, the unemployment rate of Portugal is higher. It makes it difficult for the families living in Portugal to survive.

In 2020, the employment rate in Portuguese countries was 7.1% which is higher than countries in Southern Europe .Therefore people living in Portugal are finding it more difficult to earn as compared to others in different European countries.

National Debt

Mainly due to the financial crisis that occurred in 2008, Portugal's government has high national debt. The banking sector went corrupt which was later helped out by the IMF and other European countries.

There is no industrial development in Portugal which leads to lesser job opportunities for the locals. Hence the people are forced to work at lower wages to earn bread for their family.

Portugal's economic condition is in danger after all these situations happening across the country.

Overcrowded Tourist Places 

Portugal is a beautiful place for people to visit and look around. Every year thousands of tourists visit Portugal for the beautiful sceneries and landscapes around.

Popular tourist destinations in Portugal which get overcrowded due to tourists. Such places include Lisbon, Algarve, Porto, Lagos and Albufeira.

These places get crowded mostly in the seasonal time. Overcrowded places make tourists uncomfortable.

Visiting places around Portugal can be chaotic for the tourists during this overcrowded season.

Government and the locals should make proper arrangements during the seasonal times when there are thousands of tourists arriving in Portugal.

Low Salaries 

Due to unemployment and national debt in Portugal, people living there are forced to work at low salaries.

Less job opportunities in the country makes them work at low incomes. People are merely able to earn to feed the family.

Portugal’s minimum wage is €665 per month, which makes it difficult for the whole family to survive. At some industries in Portugal, workers are paid €500 for a month.

Especially in rural areas where there is no development, the incomes are even lower. People living there usually do odd jobs and more than 1 job at a time to earn better. 

Living in Portugal country


Portugal attracts people from all over the world, but foreigners may wonder how much time and process they have to go through before and after arriving in Portugal.

Portuguese bureaucracy means long waiting times The Portuguese slow pace of life is not always rainbows and sunshine.

Many documents needs to be requested and countless appointments to be made regarding a particular topic. This requires many phone calls and a lot of paper printing.

Because the procedures and laws for obtaining or exchanging some Portuguese documents have evolved over time.

With the introduction of technology, it may be difficult to find the information you need on official websites.

The Portugal government should look over this serious matter and make it easy for the tourists to come over without any issues.

Public Transportation Limitations

Another common issue that prevails in Portugal is lack of public transportation. To travel from one place to another in the county, public transportation is important. 

But public transportation is unreliable in portugal. Buses and trains delay arriving on time or get canceled. 

Always make sure to carry cash with you as the bus driver might not accept an ATM card.

For example, it's unlikely that you'll arrive more than 15 minutes later than your proposed schedule, but if you have a meeting or are about to catch a plane or connecting train, it can make your life difficult.

Taxis in Portugal can be difficult to navigate, especially for those new to the area.

Portuguese taxi drivers are known for traveling longer distances than necessary, which can lead to higher fares.

People can fall victim to this tactic and end up paying more than they should.

Some taxi drivers may refuse to use the meter or charge extra for luggage or overnight travel.

This happens everywhere, and is not necessarily more common in Portugal than in other countries, but as an expat, especially as a tourist, you should be careful.

Language Barrier 

Portuguese find it difficult to communicate in English. Though some of the Portuguese people speak English, there are still a lot of them who speak english in an improper way .

While talking to tourists, it becomes important for Portuguese to know some English words. Otherwise it leads to misunderstanding and frustration.

Along with the language issues, cultural differences can also increase language barriers for foreigners in Portuguese language speaking countries.

Despite the language barrier in Portugal, tourists from different countries can get help from the people around them.

Taking courses or hiring a tutor to improve your language skills is also an option for people who speak Portuguese.

Learn Portuguese

High Number of Road Accidents

Rough and undeveloped roads in Portugal lead to a number of road accidents on a daily basis. Government should plan out a proper structure for roads which are mostly used by people living in Portugal and even the tourists.

Driving in Portuguese countries like Lisbon and Porto can be a nightmare for portuguese people, with heavy traffic, narrow roads, one-way streets, roundabouts, steep hills, confusing signage systems, and aggressive drivers.

Additionally, many roads are in poor condition covered with potholes and uneven surfaces, making it difficult for people to travel.

It is also difficult to find a place to park your car as parking spaces are limited.

Education System Challenges

The Portuguese Education system needs changes to be implemented to improve education and the future of the children residing there.

The Portuguese government has advanced the development of a comprehensive legal framework for inclusive education. This will help in development of Portuguese universities and Portuguese society.

Decades of efforts are put into promoting equity and inclusion in education and special focus on students with special educational needs.

Progressive measures aimed at addressing student diversity are being implemented across the country.


It is important to strengthen the governance of education by developing strategies to improve understanding of inclusive education and creating consistent funding systems that support equity and inclusion.

Fund collection should be supported by well off businesses in the country, government, and other educational ministries.

These funds should be used effectively for the resources and needs of students in the country. 

Resources include books, uniforms, notebooks, shoes and food. Mid-day meals must be mandatory at schools in rural areas. This would force children to attend school regularly and learn good things.

It would support them to study well and excel in exams.


Capacity development is also a key priority for Portugal, by expanding professional learning opportunities for teachers, promoting collaboration and building best practices to address all aspects of diversity.

Promoting responsiveness to student diversity at school level includes the introduction of professional learning programs. It promotes inclusive educational practices, and strengthens strategies to monitor and evaluate inclusive practices at school and district levels.

It will be an important step for Portugal's development efforts.

Healthcare Variability In Urban & Rural Areas 

Healthcare is another important factor when measuring the development of a country. Healthcare conditions in Portugal are better in urban areas.

There is a large variability in the healthcare sector in urban and in rural areas. People residing in rural areas do not have good facilities and healthcare machines.

Hospitals are not well developed with a lack of doctors and nurses. 

Whereas in urban areas there are good hospitals having enough doctors and staff. There are both private and government hospitals opened for the citizens of Portugal.

Government must take care of people by providing them good hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Healthcare facilities must be the top most priority of the government in the case of development of the country.

Property Market Issues

Like many other European countries, Portugal is an expensive place to live. It got beautiful apartment and buildings. For foreigners it becomes expensive when they visit Portugal and roam around.

One of the biggest factors is the high cost of housing in major cities such as Lisbon and Porto, as well as parts of the Algarve region.

Many Portuguese and foreigners have difficulty in finding housing options at affordable cost in Portuguese residency.

Many houses owners living in Portugal prefer short-term rental contracts over long-term rentals. This is the strategy followed by them so that they can raise prices of rent during seasonal times.

During the tourist season, the rents go higher making it difficult for people to find homes at relatively low cost.

Also, income tax on short-term rental income are much lower than on long-term rental income.

This means that finding affordable long-term rental property can be difficult for Portuguese residents, especially for many expats who need long-term accommodation.

Buying property in Portugal becomes a tough job as permanent residence at an affordable price is not easy.

One bedroom apartment


So if you are planning to move to Portugal, please go through this article. This will let you know about the difficulties and problems in Portugal.

Portugal is a beautiful country. It has warm weather, stunning beaches to visit, and rich culture to explore.

If you are planning to visit beautiful cities of Portugal anytime soon, this article will help you to know about the preparations you need to do to visit a new country.

Happy Travelling!

Frequently Asked Questions on Bad Things about Portugal 

1. What are the negative things about Portugal?

Ans. The negative things about Portugal are Low incomes, economic issues, unemployment, national debt, improper education system, transport and language issues, and bureaucracy.

2. Is Portugal a good country to live in?

Ans. Yes, Portugal is a beautiful country to live in. It is known for the beautiful scenic environment, good lifestyle and relaxed surroundings.

3. What is Portugal Famous for?

Ans. Portugal is famous for its beaches, food, rich culture, water adventures, wine market and beautiful sceneries around.

4. How does the housing and property market affect life in Portugal?

Ans. Housing and property market in Portugal is tough to afford. During seasonal times, the rent owners increase the rent to earn a good amount by the tourists. 

5. Is language barrier a big issue in Portugal?

Ans. For Portuguese speakers the language barrier can be a big issue in Portugal. To earn from the tourists, the Portuguese sellers need to communicate in English. Otherwise miscommunication and confusion will be created among the buyers and sellers.

Reema Bharti

Reema Bharti

I am a globe-trotter with a passion for exploration. From the sun-kissed coasts of Portugal to the snow-capped peaks of Switzerland, my travels are as diverse as they are inspiring. My journeys through Spain, Finland, Austria, and Germany have fueled my soul and shaped my writing.