Is Lisbon Safe? Staying Safe In The Portuguese Capital City

Reema Bharti

Reema Bharti

· 9 min read

Yes, Lisbon is generally safe for both residents and tourists, but like all cities, it's wise to stay cautious.

Lisbon! The land of nostalgic trams, flavorful pastries, and melodies that tug at your heartstrings. If you're planning a trip to this Portuguese gem, you're in for a treat. But as with any travel, it's smart to know what to expect, right? From safety tips to nightlife nuances, here's my firsthand account of what it's really like when you visit Portugal and in particular, Lisbon.

Lisbon, Portugal safety

The moment I landed in Lisbon, the city's beauty and charm were obvious. But like any traveler, I had a big question in my mind about this popular tourist destination: "Is this place safe?"

To my surprise, Lisbon felt very safe! I mean, no place is 100% free of issues, but I didn't find myself worrying too much. During my stay, I noticed that locals and tourists walked the streets comfortably, even at night.

Families, groups of friends, and even solo female travelers like me seemed at ease, and it is a very safe city. Of course, always using some common sense goes a long way, like not flashing expensive items.

I've visited a lot of European cities, and compared to many, Lisbon really stood out in terms of safety. To give a number, in 2019, the Global Peace Index ranked Portugal as the third most peaceful country in the world. That's impressive, right?

Kids play in parks, seniors sit in cafes, and people chat on street corners. For instance, in places like Alfama and Baixa, I often saw children playing football and old folks gossiping away. It felt just like home. This major city is quite safe, similar to a lot of other European cities.

Lisbon, Portugal safety

How safe is Lisbon?

Now, you might wonder, "Just how safe is Lisbon compared to other cities?" Well, based on my own experience and the stories of fellow travelers, Lisbon is one of the safer capitals in Europe.

In my two-week stay, I used a lot of public transportation. Buses, trams, and trains – I tried them all! Most times, even when they were packed, I never felt uneasy or worried about pickpockets, even at train stations and other crowded tourist areas.

But still, I always kept my belongings close, specially at railway and tram stations. It's always good to be cautious and a responsible tourist.

Remember the number I shared earlier? Being the third most peaceful country says a lot about safety. It's not just about lack of wars but also how secure everyday people feel in their own neighborhoods.

For example, in Bairro Alto, a popular nightlife spot in Lisbon, I saw a lot of police patrols. That made me, and many other party-goers, feel safer. Also, here's a list of the safest neighborhoods in Lisbon for you to stay in.

Lisbon crime rates

The crime rates in Lisbon are quite low.

Let's talk numbers now. When I was planning my trip, I did a bit of research. The crime rate in Lisbon is lower than in many other major European cities.

Petty crimes like pickpocketing are the most common, especially in touristy areas, as they target tourists, but not too much violent crime. But let's be clear: this doesn't mean Lisbon is crime-free.

To put things in perspective, in 2020, for every 100,000 residents, there were about 33 reported robberies in Lisbon.

That might sound like a lot, but when you compare it to other cities, it's quite low. Take Barcelona, for example, where the rate was 225 robberies for every 100,000 residents.

One time, while wandering around Rossio Square, I heard about scams like the "gold ring" trick. Someone drops a ring, says it's gold, and tries to sell it to you.

Just like in many cities, there are people trying to make a quick buck. But these examples are rare. If you're alert and use some common sense, you'll be just fine!

So, in a nutshell, while no city is perfect, Lisbon is quite safe. It's a place where stories and memories are waiting to be made.

Just remember to be careful, like you would anywhere else, and enjoy everything this beautiful city offers.

Is Lisbon safe for tourists?

Yes, Lisbon is safe for tourists.

When I first touched down in Lisbon, my eyes were filled with the sights of beautiful old buildings, bustling streets, and picturesque trams.

But, being a tourist, I had one big question: "Is it safe for someone like me?" The good news? Absolutely! I felt that Lisbon wrapped me in a warm embrace, welcoming me as a friend.

I found that many areas are geared towards tourists. Like Belem and Chiado, for example, where there are museums, shops, and cool cafes.

Everywhere I looked, there were families with kids, couples, and groups of friends laughing and taking pictures. It was a comforting sight.

To give you some facts, Portugal's tourism has been booming in the last decade. In 2019 alone, over 24 million tourists visited. With such numbers, it's clear the city is a top choice for many travelers, and safety is a big part of that.

Sure, as a tourist, you might be a target for some petty crimes. For instance, in crowded areas, pickpockets can be a minor concern. But a simple tip? Carry a money belt. I did, and it gave me extra peace of mind.

Lisbon, Portugal safety

Is Lisbon safe for solo travelers?

Yes, Lisbon is safe for solo female travelers.

As a solo traveler myself, Lisbon felt like a haven. I've traveled alone to many places, and Lisbon is right up there among the friendliest and safest for lone wanderers.

I met other solo travelers in cafes and hostels. For instance, in a charming cafe in Alfama, I bumped into a fellow solo traveler from Australia. We shared stories and tips. One thing we agreed on? Lisbon's vibe feels secure and relaxed for people traveling alone.

Of course, being alone means you should be a bit more cautious. It's just basic travel sense. But out of the countless solo trips I took, never once did I feel out of place or threatened in Lisbon.

Is Lisbon safe at night?

Yes, Lisbon is safe at night.

Nighttime in Lisbon is a magical experience. The city comes alive with music, laughter, and lights. But is it safe? From my experience, I'd say a big YES.

I had many nights out, from visiting fado houses to dancing in Bairro Alto, and each time, I felt secure.

The city is pretty active at night, especially on weekends. There are many spots, like Cais do Sodre, where people gather to enjoy nightlife.

I remember one night, while waiting for a tram, I saw groups of friends, couples on dates, and even families with little kids out and about.

However, like in any city, there are a few areas that can be sketchy at night. It's always good to do a bit of research beforehand.

I did, and I was good to go. For example, I avoided dimly lit alleys and stuck to well-lit main roads. Common sense stuff, really.

So, whether you're out for a late dinner or just a moonlit walk by the Tagus River, Lisbon at night feels safe and alive. Just be aware of your surroundings, and you'll have an unforgettable time!

Areas to avoid in Lisbon

  1. Chelas

Chelas was one of those places I heard mixed things about before visiting Lisbon. While it's true that every city has its rough patches, Chelas stood out in conversations.

Some locals mentioned that this area had higher crime rates compared to the more touristy spots.

During my trip, I decided to explore many parts of Lisbon, but after talking to local friends and doing some research, I decided to skip Chelas.

Especially during the night, it seemed wiser to hang out in more familiar areas. For example, in Baixa and Alfama, I felt more relaxed and safe.

  1. Cova Da Moura

Another place I was cautious about was Cova Da Moura. Some folks told me it’s vibrant with culture and has a strong sense of community.

However, others warned me that it might not be the safest spot for tourists, especially if you're not familiar with the surroundings.

While I'm sure there are lovely people and hidden gems there, it's always good to be cautious.

Instead, I focused on areas where I could easily blend in and feel secure, like Belem or Chiado.

  1. Portugal Novo

Portugal Novo was also on the list of places I heard about.

From what locals shared, it’s one of those areas that has struggled with housing issues and social challenges. Some mentioned makeshift houses and complex alleyways.

Even though I'm a curious traveler, safety is always a top priority. So, I chose to appreciate Lisbon from areas more recommended for tourists.

Like in Bairro Alto, where I could enjoy nightlife, or Rossio Square, where the atmosphere is always lively.

Remember, it's all about balance. While it's great to explore, it's also good to know where you might want to tread lightly. Safe travels!

Areas to avoid at night in Lisbon

  1. Monsanto

Monsanto is this vast green park in Lisbon, a haven for nature lovers during the day. It's beautiful, with trails and stunning viewpoints.

But when the sun sets? It becomes a different story. Locals advised me to avoid Monsanto at night, primarily due to its isolation.

With fewer people around and its dense wooded areas, it can feel a bit eerie. One evening, I thought about taking a late walk there but chose a bustling square instead. It just seemed wiser to stay in well-lit, populated spots at night.

  1. Red Light Districts

Like many big cities, Lisbon has its red light districts. I've been told they're intriguing and offer a glimpse into the city's night culture.

However, they can also attract some sketchy activities once the sun goes down. When nighttime falls, these areas can become hubs for pickpockets and other petty crimes.

While I'm all for adventure, I opted to enjoy the city's other vibrant nightlife offerings instead.

  1. Cais do Sodré

Ah, Cais do Sodré! By day, it's a transport hub and a cool place to hang out by the river. But at night, it transforms into a buzzing nightlife spot.

While it's lively with bars and clubs, it can get a bit rowdy, especially on weekends. I visited once and noticed that as the night wears on, things can get a little unpredictable.

It's not necessarily "unsafe", but it's good to be alert, especially if you're not used to crowded nightlife scenes.

Where to stay in Lisbon

My first time in Lisbon, I wondered, "Where should I stay?" But guess what? I found that there's a neighborhood for everyone! Here are a few favorites:

  1. Baixa:

This is the heart of Lisbon. It's flat, which is great for walking. You'll find many shops, cafes, and historical spots here. I stayed in a lovely little hotel near Rossio Square. Mornings there were a treat with pastries, like the famous "pastel de nata", everywhere!

  1. Alfama:

This is the old soul of Lisbon. Cobbled streets, ancient houses, and the sound of Fado music in the evening. One night, I stayed in a cozy guesthouse here. The view? Breath-taking!

  1. Bairro Alto:

If you're into nightlife, this is the spot. Loads of bars, restaurants, and fun. I remember a hostel I booked here. Met some great fellow travelers!

There are other areas too, like Belem and Chiado. Each has its own charm. Just think about what you love to do, and pick a place. Easy!

Lisbon, the Portuguese capital is a safe city

Travel tips for staying safe in Lisbon

When I was prepping for my Lisbon adventure, a few pals gave me some super handy safety tips.

And now, after having experienced this incredible city, I'd love to share those, plus a few more I learned along the way.

Here are some travel tips for staying safe in Lisbon:

  1. Stay Alert in Crowded Areas: Lisbon's iconic spots like Tram 28 or Belém Tower are must-sees. But remember, where there are tourists, there might be pickpockets. When I rode the tram, I made sure my backpack was in front of me. It just felt safer that way.

  2. Choose Well-lit Routes at Night: I'm a bit of a night owl and love exploring cities after dark. In Lisbon, I always made sure to stick to brightly lit streets. For instance, when I walked back from dinner in Alfama, I took the main roads even if it meant a slightly longer route.

  3. Keep Important Documents Safe: Instead of carrying my original passport, I kept a photocopy. I met other travelers who did the same. It's a small step, but it gives peace of mind.

  4. Stay In Touch: Whenever I ventured out, I made sure someone knew where I was. I'd often share my location with a friend back home using my phone. Plus, I always had a local SIM card to make calls if needed.

  5. Know Some Basic Portuguese: Trust me, a little goes a long way. Phrases like "Não, obrigado" (No, thank you) can be handy, especially if street vendors approach you.

  6. Check Reviews: Before booking a hotel or even a local tour, I'd dive into reviews. Places with good reviews, especially about safety, always got my vote.

  7. Stay Hydrated and Sun Protected: Lisbon can get quite sunny. Always having a water bottle and wearing sunscreen became my daily ritual.

  8. Respect Local Customs: It's simple but important. In Lisbon, for example, folks appreciate if you dress modestly when visiting churches.

  9. Emergency Numbers: I jotted down some key numbers, like police or medical assistance. Thankfully, I never had to use them, but it felt good to be prepared.

Remember, most of these tips aren't just for Lisbon. They're good practices for any city you travel to. Stay safe, explore with confidence, and enjoy every moment!

Best time to visit Lisbon

Wondering about the best time to visit Lisbon? I've been in different seasons, and here's the scoop:

  1. Spring (March to May): The weather is mild, and flowers bloom. It's not too crowded either.

  2. Autumn (September to November): Similar to spring. Plus, you get to enjoy wine festivals!

Summer is great too but remember, it can be crowded and hot. Winter? A bit chilly, but fewer tourists.

How to avoid pickpocketing in Lisbon

Lisbon is quite safe, but pickpockets? They're everywhere in the world. Here's how to avoid pickpocketing in Lisbon:

  1. Use a money belt: It's like a secret pouch under your clothes. Super handy.

  2. No back pockets: I never put anything valuable there. Ever.

  3. Beware in crowded spots: Places like tram 28 or busy squares. That's where pickpockets like to hang out. I always held my bag close and zipped it up.

Remember, it's all about being alert. Just a bit of caution, and you'll have a fantastic trip!

Tourist Police Station

On my third day in Lisbon, I stumbled upon something pretty cool: a Tourist Police Station! Right in the heart of the city, near Rossio Square, this station is dedicated just for us travelers.

If you ever lose something or find yourself in a pickle, they're the folks to go to.

I popped in just to get some info. The officers were super friendly. They gave me maps, tips, and even a small booklet with emergency numbers.

It's such a relief knowing there's a place that caters to tourists' needs. They even had multiple languages on offer!

So, if you're ever in doubt or need help, remember there's a whole station just for you in Lisbon.

Drug Dealers in Lisbon

Walking through some parts of Lisbon, like near popular squares, I noticed folks approaching tourists, offering drugs. It caught me off guard the first time.

But, with time, I realized it's a common thing in some areas. The key? Just say "no, thank you" and keep walking.

It's not aggressive or dangerous, but it's something you might encounter. Just stay aware, and remember, buying drugs is illegal and can land you in serious trouble.

Discrimination and Hate Crimes

Lisbon felt welcoming and open-hearted. However, no place is perfect. I've heard of isolated incidents of discrimination or hate crimes against certain groups.

But from my experience and chats with locals, these are not common. The city prides itself on being diverse and accepting.

Still, if you ever feel discriminated against, reach out to the authorities. They're there to help. Lisbon is for everyone, and every traveler should feel at home.

Drinking on the Streets

Ah, the streets of Lisbon! So lively, with folks chatting, laughing, and yes, sometimes having a drink. I noticed that in some areas, especially where there's nightlife, people often enjoy drinks outdoors.

But here's the thing: while it's not illegal, it's important to be respectful. I saw signs in places like Bairro Alto, asking folks to keep the noise down.

So, if you fancy a street-side sip, go for it! Just remember to be mindful of the locals and keep the city clean. Cheers!


Lisbon, with its sun-kissed streets and inviting culture, is indeed a traveler's dream. Just like with any destination, a bit of caution and local know-how can make your trip smooth and memorable.

So, pack those bags, wear your best walking shoes, and get ready to be charmed by this European wonder. Boa viagem!


  1. Is Lisbon safe for female solo travelers?

Absolutely! I traveled alone and felt comfortable. Just stick to well-lit areas at night and be aware of your surroundings.

  1. Can I drink tap water in Lisbon?

Yes, the tap water in Lisbon is safe to drink. Plus, it tastes pretty good! Check out this more elaborate guide answering all your queries about tap water in Lisbon.

  1. Is English widely spoken in Lisbon?

For sure! While Portuguese is the official language, many locals, especially in the city center and tourist areas, speak English quite well.

  1. Do I need to tip in restaurants or cafes?

Tipping isn't mandatory, but it's appreciated. If you enjoyed your service, leaving a small tip (5-10%) is a kind gesture.

  1. Are public transports safe in Lisbon?

Yes, they are! The trams, buses, and metro are safe. Just keep an eye on your belongings, especially during busy times.

  1. Can I use Euros everywhere?

Yes, the Euro is the official currency. Most places accept credit cards too. But it's always good to have some cash for smaller shops or markets.

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.