Tourism Culture

10 Bad Things about Portugal That You Should Know Before Visiting

Reema Bharti

Reema Bharti

· 8 min read

The bad things about Portugal that travelers should be aware of include the high cost of living, and pickpocketing in crowded areas. Portugal is a country known for its beautiful landscapes, rich history, and warm hospitality. However, like any other destination, it has its drawbacks that travelers should be aware of before planning a visit. Portugal, being a popular tourist destination, has its own share of negative aspects. There are several factors that can make your trip less enjoyable. Poor public transport, language barriers, unpredictable weather, and monotonous nightlife are also some of the other unwanted aspects of Portugal.

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. Portugal is praised for its breathtaking coastlines, rich history, and warm hospitality. Living in Portugal comes with its own set of challenges.

There are definitely some bad aspects of Portugal, like dealing with inefficient public transportation, facing language barriers, and unpredictable weather patterns, that give residents pause.  Addressing the negatives about Portugal, it's important to note a few drawbacks.

Lastly, despite its overall safety, Portugal, like any other country, has its share of petty crime, particularly in tourist-heavy areas, necessitating vigilance and caution.

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. Although Portugal’s slower pace of life can be appealing, it can be hard for foreigners to adjust to when it comes to adjusting to the pace of work and getting things done. The main reasons for the economic downfall in Portugal are the increase in unemployment and national debt in the country.



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 a decline in the job market.

Due to a 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 a 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 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 tourists during this overcrowded season.

The 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 make them work at low incomes. People are merely able to earn to feed their families.

Portugal’s minimum wage is €665 per month, which makes it difficult for the whole family to survive. In 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. 


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 need 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 the 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.

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, making it difficult for passengers to get a fair deal.

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 improperly.

The official language of Portugal is Portuguese, and the language barrier can be a significant challenge for those who are not fluent.

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.

For example, it is common for people living in Portugal to speak very quickly and use idiomatic expressions that do not translate well into other languages.

This can make it even more difficult to understand what the outsider is saying.

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.


High Number of Road Accidents

Rough and undeveloped roads in Portugal lead to several road accidents daily. The government should plan out a proper structure for roads which are mostly used by people living in Portugal and even 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 the development of Portuguese universities and Portuguese society.

Decades of effort have been put into promoting equity and inclusion in education and a 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 the 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 good hospitals have enough doctors and staff. There are both private and government hospitals open for the citizens of Portugal.

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


Property Market Issues

Like many other European countries, Portugal is an expensive place to live. It has beautiful apartments 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 house 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.

Rental contracts in Portugal can be tricky to navigate, so it’s important to enlist the help of a professional to ensure that the contract is properly understood.

For example, in the Algarve, an apartment where he earns 1,000 euros per month in long-term rental can easily be rented out for 250 euros per night, and this is what tourists demand.

At the same time, income tax on short-term rental income is much lower than on long-term rental income.

One of the major issues facing foreigners living in Portugal is the high-income tax rate. Expats must be prepared to pay a significant portion of their earnings.

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.

Rent is also expensive when living in Portugal, especially in major cities like Porto.

One bedroom apartment

Tips for Traveling to Portugal

Portugal is a beautiful country that offers a lot to explore to foreign residents, from its rich culture and warm weather to its delicious port wine and scuba diving opportunities. As an expat Portugal offers many advantages: a pleasant warm climate, the Atlantic Ocean, mountains nearby, and a low crime rate.

If you are planning a trip to Portugal, here are some tips to help you make the most of your experience.

1. Prepare your finances: Before arriving in Portugal, make sure you have sufficient funds to cover your expenses, including bank account and income taxes. Make sure you have a residence permit if you plan on staying for an extended period. The cost of living in Portugal is relatively low compared to other Mediterranean countries, so you can enjoy affordable prices on everything from accommodation to everyday life expenses.

2. Learn some Portuguese: While English is widely spoken in Portugal, it is always a good idea to learn some basic Portuguese phrases. This will help you navigate daily interactions, while also allowing you to connect more meaningfully with locals.

3. Transportation: Portugal's location makes it easily accessible by car, but you need to have a valid driving license and ensure that you have adequate insurance. Alternatively, public transportation such as buses and trains offer reliable and affordable options. Taxi drivers in Portugal are generally friendly, but make sure that you negotiate a fair price before getting in.

4. Accommodation: When looking for affordable accommodation in Portugal, it is always important to consider proper insulation as many properties are not equipped with central heating systems. Always check rental contracts carefully before signing to ensure you know what you are agreeing to.

5. Plan Your Trip: Portugal is a relatively small country, so you can plan multiple-day trips to get the most out of your travel experience. The city centers of Lisbon and Porto are popular destinations, but there are plenty of hidden gems throughout the country. With its rich culture and history, you can explore everything from ancient ruins to museums and art galleries.

6. Live like a local: Portugal has a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, which makes it easy to live comfortably. The minimum wage is relatively low, so if you are working and earning good money, you can enjoy life-changing decisions such as investing in property or learning a new skill.

Portugal is a beautiful and welcoming country that offers plenty of opportunities for travelers to explore. With these tips, you can ensure that you make the most of your trip to Portugal, experiencing everything the country has to offer while also connecting meaningfully with the locals.



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.

While Portugal may seem like an ideal location for expats looking for a warmer climate and low cost of living, there are real challenges that foreigners need to be aware of before making the move.

These include high-income tax rates, a challenging bureaucracy, and issues with language and culture shock.

Those planning to move to Portugal should be prepared to navigate these challenges for a smooth transition and a comfortable life in this beautiful country.

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

Despite the low cost of living, properties in Portugal can be expensive. Homebuyers should expect to pay high prices for a small one-bedroom apartment.

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

Happy Travelling!

Frequently Asked Questions on Bad Things about Portugal 

1. What are the negative things about Portugal?

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?

Yes, Portugal is a beautiful country to live in. It is known for its 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. The housing and property market in Portugal is tough to afford. During seasonal times, the rent owners increase the rent to earn a good amount from the tourists. 

5. Is the 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.