Portugal Register Travel insurance Destinations
Last updated: November 29, 2017 11:00 ET
Still valid: December 3, 2017 15:09 ET
Latest updates: An editorial change was made.
Portugal – Take normal security precautions
Safety and security
Violent crimes toward tourists are rare in Portugal. Non-violent petty crimes, such as pickpocketing and bag snatching, however, are on the rise. The petty thieves are very skilled, and often work in groups. Be vigilant in public areas, all tourist attractions, beaches, restaurants, hotel lobbies, bus stations, train stations and airports.
In Lisbon, exercise caution at all train and underground stations, and particularly on electric trams numbered E28, to Castelo de S o Jorge; E25, to Prazeres; and E15, to Bel m.
Exercise caution when travelling to Queluz and Sintra, to visit the castles and palaces, as well as to the Costa da Caparica beach, south of Lisbon. If visiting the Estoril coast and the village of Cascais, be especially careful at Guincho Beach, Cabo da Roca and Boca do Inferno (Mouth of Hell).
In Porto, do not walk alone after dark, especially along the waterfront of the Douro River.
Do not let your guard down outside of the main cities, as thieves may be watching and can strike anywhere. Be especially careful in the Algarve region in such towns as Lagos and Albufeira, as well as in small coastal towns along and up to the north side of the country, such as Aljezur, Nazar , Ericeira and Peniche, where petty crimes have been reported.
If you are robbed, go to the nearest police station to report the crime and obtain a police report. There are tourist police stations in Lisbon, Porto, Portim o and Cascais.
Spiked food and drinks
Never leave your drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances. Drugs may be present that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.
There is a threat of terrorism in Europe. Terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities and there is a potential for other violent incidents, which could target areas frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. Continue to exercise normal security precautions.
Rental cars and vehicles with foreign licence plates are frequently targeted for break-ins. Avoid leaving personal items and documents (especially passports) in plain sight in a vehicle.
If you experience car trouble, stop at a gas station or rest stop, if possible. If you must stop unexpectedly, be aware of your immediate surroundings and keep a careful watch on bystanders, including those who offer to help.
Be suspicious of anyone signalling you to stop on roads or highways. Thieves have been known to use this tactic to steal valuables, unattended bags and even the vehicle.
Incidents of thieves on motorcycles slashing rental car tires when the car is stopped at an intersection have been reported. This forces the vehicle to stop on the side of the road and allows for the thieves to approach and distract the passengers by offering assistance, while another steals belongings that are within reach. If this occurs, when possible, lock your doors and call your rental car agency or emergency services from within the car. Avoid opening your window, unlocking the car or stepping out of the vehicle. Official assistance and road monitoring vehicles are present on Portuguese highways and will come to your assistance. When possible, wait for the police to arrive.
Do not open the trunk before you finish parking when you arrive at your destination; this prevents thieves from knowing what is hidden in the trunk.
Whenever possible, use secure parking facilities, especially overnight. Do not leave your vehicle unattended and ensure that windows are closed and doors are locked at all times.
Excessive speeds, unpredictable driving habits and reckless motorcyclists create hazards. Be aware that slow-moving machinery may be found travelling on rural and national roads.
Local and inter-city train and bus services are good.
Taxis are widely available. Confirm the fare prior to getting into the taxi or ensure that the meter is used.
A ferry runs between the islands of Madeira and Porto Santo.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
A tourism information kiosk in the arrivals area of the Lisbon airport offers a wide range of tourism information, including expected taxi fares, and sells taxi vouchers at standardized prices for many locations in the city and metro area. Use a taxi from the queue or kiosk and do not accept rides from someone who approaches you.
Daily domestic flights link the mainland to the islands of the Azores, as well as to Madeira.
Demonstrations occur frequently in larger urban centres and have the potential to suddenly turn violent. They can lead to significant disruptions to traffic and public transportation. Avoid all demonstrations, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.
Beaches and water activities
While beaches are generally considered safe, do not leave your personal belongings unattended.
During the summer months, deaths by drowning have occurred on beaches and in swimming pools. Take warning flags on beaches seriously. The Portuguese Maritime Police have the authority to fine bathers who disobey the lifeguard s warning flags. Don t swim at beaches that link to/from rivers, as the water currents can be very strong. Don t dive into unknown water as hidden rocks or shallow depths can cause serious injury or death.
In the fall and winter months, be cautious when walking along beaches close to the water s edge because waves can be very unpredictable in size and may come onto shore further than expected and with strong undertows. Do not visit beaches or coastal areas during periods of severe weather warnings. Exercise caution and follow the advice of the local authorities.
Look out for signs warning of cliff erosion. Falling rocks are a hazard and authorities can fine those who ignore warning signs.
In marine areas, coral, jellyfish and other ocean life found along reefs can poison, sting or cause infection if touched or stepped on. Ask local authorities about the presence of such species and whether they are dangerous.
General safety information
You must carry identification at all times. Keep a photocopy of your passport in case of loss or seizure.
Exercise normal safety precautions. Ensure that your personal belongings and passport and other travel documents are secure at all times. Pay attention to your surroundings, avoid showing signs of affluence and do not carry large sums of cash. If possible, carry only the documents, cash and belongings you will need for the day, and leave all other items in a hotel safe.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Portuguese authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Customs officials may ask you to show them a return ticket.
Upon entry into Portugal, non-European Union (EU) foreign nationals that will be staying in non-commercial accommodation and have transited through another Schengen country by air en route to Portugal must register their entry at any immigration office, or police station if entering by a land border, within three business days of arriving in the country.
Portugal is a Schengen area country. Upon arrival, Canadians are required to present a passport that must be valid for at least three months beyond the date of expected departure from the Schengen area. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Temporary passport holders may be subject to different entry requirements. Check with diplomatic representatives for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Tourist visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days*
Business visa: Not required for stays up 90 days*
Work visa: Required
Student visa: Required
* The 90-day period begins upon initial entry into any country of the Schengen area. Stays are cumulative and include visits to any Schengen area country within any 180-day period.
Canadian citizens do not need a visa for travel to countries within the Schengen area. However, visa-free travel only applies to stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period. Stays are cumulative and include visits to any Schengen area country.
If you plan to stay in the Schengen area for a longer period of time, you will need a visa. You must contact the high commission or embassy of the country or countries you are travelling to and obtain the appropriate visa(s) prior to travel.