Culture Tourism

Top 7 Strange Laws in Portugal

Reema Bharti

Reema Bharti

· 5 min read

Portugal has its fair share of odd legalities that will leave you scratching your head in disbelief.  There are some of the most strange laws in Portugal that you probably never knew existed. From peculiar regulations on what you can wear to unexpected rules about where you can walk your dog, Portugal has its fair share of unusual legislation. Prepare to be surprised as we navigate through the strange legal landscape of this beautiful country. 


Top 7 Strange Laws In Portugal That You Should Know About 

Top 7 strange laws in Portugal are listed below. 

Yes, the phrases you provided are grammatically correct. Each sentence follows a simple structure and effectively communicates a rule or regulation. Here they are individually:

1. Dogs must have a passport.

2. No gambling in public places.

3. It is illegal to eat on public transport.

4. Driving in flip flops is illegal.

5. No walking barefoot in commercial establishments.

6. Prohibition of alcohol consumption in specific public areas.

From regulations governing the behavior of pets to prohibitions on seemingly innocuous activities, Portugal's legal landscape boasts its fair share of strange and unexpected rules. These weird laws shed light on the unique cultural nuances and societal norms that shape life in this captivating country. Here are more details about these strange laws. 

Dogs Must Have a Passport

When it comes to traveling with your furry friend in Portugal, it's essential to remember that dogs are required to have a passport. This might seem strange at first, but it's aimed at ensuring the health and safety of both pets and people.

The passport serves as documentation of the dog's vaccinations, including rabies, which is crucial for preventing the spread of diseases.

So, if you're planning to bring your canine companion along for the journey, be sure to have their passport ready to avoid any complications at border control.


No Gambling in Public Places

In Portugal, engaging in gambling activities in public places is strictly prohibited by law. This includes activities such as playing cards, dice games, or any other form of betting or wagering.

While gambling is legal in licensed establishments such as casinos, it's important to remember that doing so in public spaces can result in fines or even legal consequences.

So, if you're feeling lucky, it's best to head to a designated gambling venue rather than trying your luck on the streets of Portugal.


Illegal to Eat on Public Transport

One strange law in Portugal that might catch tourists off guard is the prohibition of eating on public transport. Whether you're on a bus, tram, or metro, snacking while in transit is considered a breach of etiquette and can result in reprimands from transport staff. This rule is in place to maintain cleanliness and prevent littering on public transportation.

So, if you're feeling peckish during your journey, it's best to wait until you reach your destination before indulging in a snack.


Driving in Flip Flops Is Illegal

While flip flops might seem like the perfect footwear choice for a summer drive, in Portugal, they're considered inappropriate for driving. According to Portuguese traffic laws, it's illegal to operate a vehicle while wearing flip-flops or any other type of footwear that could impede your ability to control the pedals effectively. 

This regulation is intended to ensure the safety of drivers and passengers on the road. So, if you're planning to hit the road in Portugal, be sure to swap out your flip-flops for more suitable driving shoes.


No Feeding Pigeons

Feeding pigeons might seem like a harmless pastime, but in Portugal, it's actually against the law. Many cities across the country have implemented regulations prohibiting the feeding of pigeons in public spaces. This measure is aimed at reducing the population of pigeons, which can pose health risks and create sanitation issues in urban areas.

So, if you're tempted to share your snack with the local bird population, it's best to resist the urge and avoid breaking this strange law.


No Walking Barefoot in Commercial Establishments

In Portugal, walking barefoot in commercial establishments such as restaurants, shops, and banks is considered inappropriate behavior.

While this might seem like a strange rule to visitors from other countries, it's actually rooted in cultural norms and hygiene standards. Shoes are seen as essential attire in public spaces, and going barefoot is generally frowned upon. So, if you're planning to do some shopping or dining out in Portugal, be sure to keep your shoes on to avoid any awkward encounters or misunderstandings.


Prohibition of Alcohol Consumption in Specific Public Areas

Another strange law in Portugal is the prohibition of alcohol consumption in specific public areas. While enjoying a drink in a park or on the beach might be common in other countries, in Portugal, it's strictly regulated.

Many municipalities have designated areas where alcohol consumption is allowed, such as licensed beach bars or outdoor cafes. However, drinking alcohol in unauthorized public spaces can result in fines or legal consequences.

So, if you're planning a picnic or beach day in Portugal, be sure to check the local regulations regarding alcohol consumption to avoid any unwanted trouble with the law.


In Portugal, some strange laws have left both Portuguese citizens and visitors scratching their heads. One such law states that if someone's broken hot water system leads to a hot patch on a Portuguese beach.

Portugal, like many countries, has its share of peculiar laws that may seem odd or outdated to outsiders. One such example is the law that forbids urinating in the ocean, which may have been enacted to maintain hygiene but seems unusual nonetheless.

These unusual legal systems offer insights into Portugal's cultural and historical context, highlighting how laws can sometimes reflect unique societal norms and values.

Following are the unusual legal traditions:

  1. In Portugal, a peculiar law states that if someone's broken hot water system leads to an unusually warm patch on a Portuguese beach, they may be subject to certain rules and regulations. This law aims to ensure the safety and comfort of beachgoers and maintain the natural balance of the beach environment.

  2. As a European country, Portugal has its own set of unique laws and regulations. While some laws may seem strange to other European countries, they are designed to protect the rights and well-being of Portuguese citizens and maintain social order within the country.

  3. Despite these peculiar laws, Portugal is a beautiful European country with a rich history and a vibrant culture. It is important for both residents and visitors to be aware of these laws and to respect the rules of the country to have a safe and enjoyable stay.

  4. It is the responsibility of Portuguese citizens to pay taxes, and this law is enforced to ensure proper financial contributions to the functioning of the Portuguese state. Additionally, licensed premises are subject to specific rules and regulations to maintain public safety and accountability.

  5. Additionally, licensed premises in Portugal are subject to a new law that restricts the playing of dubious songs related to sexuality.

  6. Under the new law in Portugal, public displays of dubious sexuality are prohibited. This law is in place to promote respect and social harmony within Portuguese society, and to discourage any offensive or obscene behavior that goes against established social rules.

  7. It is important to note that laws in Portugal, like in any other country, are put in place to maintain order and protect the rights of its citizens. Smoking inside public places is illegal in Portugal, as it poses risks to public health. Moreover, public bathrooms marked "Lawless Highway" are strictly prohibited, and engaging in offensive acts or singing obscene songs in public places is considered an offense.

  8. These are just a few examples of the unique and sometimes strange laws in Portugal. It is always advisable to familiarize oneself with the local laws and regulations when visiting or residing in a foreign country to avoid any legal complications.


In summary, Portugal's law landscape is punctuated by a collection of intriguing and sometimes perplexing laws.

From the requirement of passports for dogs to the prohibition of certain activities in public displays, these regulations reflect the unique blend of tradition, practicality, and societal values found in this European country. As such, it has many common features with the legal systems found in most of the countries in Continental Europe.

While some may find these laws unusual or even humorous, they serve as a testament to the Portuguese state's commitment to maintaining order, safety, and respect for public spaces.

FAQs on Strange Laws In Portugal 

Q: What are some other laws that are ban and not allowed in a public place in Portugal?

A: Weird laws that are ban by legal systems of Portugal constitution includes swimming into an unusually warm patch of water at a Portuguese beach, smoking in indoor public places, and other social rules. All this means that someone's broken the law.

Q: Is same sex marriage a criminal offence?

A: No, same sex marriage is not a crime and it is not prohibited by portuguese citizens. Along with some other countries in Europe, Portugal is a country where same sex marriage is legal in Portual's law system and not prohibited by the constitution.

Q: Is gambling illegal in Portugal ?

A: yes, the new law meant that all online gambling operators must obtain a licence and pay taxes to the Portuguese state.

Q: Are there any strange laws regarding smoking in Portugal?

A: Yes, smoking inside public places is strictly prohibited in Portugal. This law aims to protect the health and well-being of both smokers and non-smokers.

Q: What is the law about hot water on Portuguese beaches?

A: If someone's broken hot water system leads to an unusually warm patch on a Portuguese beach, they may be subject to certain rules and regulations. This is to ensure the safety and comfort of beachgoers.

Q: Are there any peculiar laws in Portugal?

A: Yes, Portugal has some peculiar laws. These laws may seem unusual to outsiders but often have specific reasons or historical backgrounds behind them. It's essential to be aware of and respect these laws to avoid any legal consequences.

Q: Can public displays of "glorious things" be considered a crime in Portugal?

A: Public displays that involve obscenity or offensive content can be considered a crime in Portugal. The intention is to maintain societal norms and standards within public places.

Q: Does age play a role in certain Portuguese laws?

A: Yes, age can be a determining factor in certain Portuguese laws. Different age brackets may have specific regulations and restrictions concerning activities like smoking, alcohol consumption, or driving.

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.