Is Porto safe to visit? A comprehensive safety guide
Located in northern Portugal along the Douro River, Porto is one of the oldest European centers, occupied by the Romans in the fourth century. It is the country’s second-largest city, with about 230,000 inhabitants and an urban area with 1.3 million people. It was a flourishing settlement on the river’s south bank but is now an idyllic city, receiving 1.6 million tourists each year.
Porto’s weather is pleasant year-round, with plenty to offer, rain or shine. The best time to visit Porto depends on your interest or what you want to experience, but like many places in Europe, its busiest months are July and August. Besides the warm weather offering endless days to enjoy the city’s sunny beaches, August is Portugal’s holiday month, where locals join the crowds of international tourists.
When visiting Porto, you’ll want to enjoy and discover its magnificent sights and attractions without worrying about your belongings or dragging them around. That’s why it’s best to leave your luggage with the Bounce luggage storage platform in Porto to focus on your adventure and well-being.
Is Porto safe to visit right now?
Whether you’re visiting for work or recreation, you probably wonder if Porto is a safe city to travel to. According to the 2022 Global Peace Index, Portugal is the sixth most peaceful country worldwide and the fifth in Europe. It means you can leave your worries behind because this picturesque Portuguese city will offer nothing but pleasant experiences from the day you arrive to your departure.
The crime rate in Porto is low, and there’s no serious risk of natural disasters. Violent crimes also rarely happen; when they do, they generally do not affect tourists. However, these aren’t reasons to let your guard down, as petty theft, including bag snatching and pickpocketing, isn’t new to the capital of northern Portugal. As long as you use common sense and keep your wits about you, you can avoid trouble.
Of course, we’ll educate you on how to stay safe in Porto, but you should be responsible for your well-being and the safety of your belongings. There’s no such thing as a perfect safety guide, so do further research and learn more about your destination, especially if you’re an inexperienced traveler. We also recommend that you remain informed of your government’s safety guidelines and travel advisory on the city or country you plan to visit.
Top petty crimes and scams in Porto affecting tourists
Petty crimes and scams are common, regardless of where you go. Even a safe destination like Porto isn’t safe from frauds and petty thieves waiting for a perfect opportunity to steal from you. Here are some of the most common offenses you should look out for and ways to protect yourself and your belongings:
Street vendor scams
There are many vendors in the streets of Porto, and during your visit to the city, you’ll most likely meet several of them. Some scammers hand in souvenirs or flowers, which tourists happily receive, expecting them to be a gift. However, they will demand payment, making it hard to reject them as you already have the product in your hands. Therefore, don’t take anything from a stranger unless you’re willing to pay for it.
Another street vendor scam targets people who come from bars late at night. Once their victim is drunk, they sell them overpriced products. Usually, in scams like these, the vendors aren’t pushy, so they will back down if you’re still in your right mind to refuse their offer.
Part of the experience is exploring the local nightlife but do drink responsibly when traveling. Remember the golden rule of safe drinking in public: keep an eye on your drink.
Fake products and services
One of the most common scams in Porto involves fake products or services. The most common are discounted tickets to tourist attractions. When you get there, you’ll find out that what you have is an imitation, and you won’t be allowed inside. Besides tickets, there are also cases of fake property rentals and parking spaces. To avoid these kinds of scams, thorough research and attentiveness are must-haves.
Pickpocketing and bag snatching
There’s a medium to high risk of pickpocketing and purse snatching in Porto, so drop off your bags at a luggage locker and only take your essentials. Don’t make yourself an easy target by being swamped with huge, heavy bags or easily distracted. Instead, store your bags with Bounce and relieve yourself of worry.
Petty thieves are skilled and may work in groups, so exercise caution when around public places, like tourist sites, beaches, hotel lobbies, restaurants, and transport hubs, including bus and train stations. Don’t bring too much cash or leave your things unattended.
Is Porto safe to travel alone
Many places are fun to travel to with a group or a companion, but the case is different with Porto. Whether you’re with your family and friends or traveling alone, a safe and exciting trip is guaranteed in this fascinating city. It’s ideal for solo travelers, and numerous itineraries can be completed on your own.
Portugal is also one of the safest travel destinations for women, ranking 7th on the Bounce Women Travel Safety Index. Solo female travelers can relax and rest assured that they’ll have a trouble-free vacation in Portugal’s second city.
Besides the usual precautions of not walking alone at night or in secluded areas, you can minimize the possibility of things going wrong by not sharing your private information with a stranger and avoiding reckless behaviors.
Safest neighborhoods in Porto
Crime rates in Porto are low, and most neighborhoods are safe to stay in or visit. But as a major city and one of the largest in the country, there are certain shady areas that are worth removing from your itinerary to ensure your safety. Here are the safest Porto neighborhoods and a few places you might want to avoid.
Cedofeita is renowned as the art district of Porto, with many museums and design institutions in the area. For such a trendy neighborhood, one would expect it to be crowded and chaotic, but that’s not the case. It’s where people go if they want a quiet time in Porto. The neighborhood is both exciting and peaceful, so you can have lots of fun without being too worried about your safety at the same time.
Foz is another ideal neighborhood for a relaxing visit to Porto. Here you can find some of the best beaches in the city and 16th-century architecture. The area is peaceful because it’s mainly residential. Though far from the city center and other famous attractions, it has beautiful sights and sources of entertainment you can enjoy.
If you want to go to a quiet neighborhood but still be near the city center, Bonfim is perfect for you. It’s only 15 minutes from the busiest district in Porto, but it’s not too crowded and generally peaceful. This is because the area is primarily residential and doesn’t have famous landmarks. However, there are still many dining and shopping options you can check out.
Most Porto neighborhoods are safe, but there are some streets and neighborhoods you don’t want to be in due to high crime rates or drug trafficking problems. If there are sketchy areas you should consider avoiding, these would be Bairro do Aleixo, Cerco do Porto, Lagarteiro, and the Pasteleira area. Also, be extra cautious in the dark alleys of Riberia and the São Bento Train Station.
Is Porto public transportation safe?
When it comes to getting around the city, you can rely on the affordable, efficient, and safe public transportation in Porto. It’s also comfortable and well-maintained, but you should be vigilant and aware of your surroundings, as pickpockets typically operate in these settings and in train and bus stations.
If you’re traveling a long distance and your bag is stowed under the bus, check when any luggage is removed to ensure your belongings aren’t accidentally taken. You should also avoid entering an empty metro carriage and take a taxi when traveling at night, as fewer people are on board after 8 PM.
Taxis are generally safe but beware of scamming taxi drivers, who will overcharge or take long routes, especially if you’re coming from the international airport. Only take licensed taxi drivers from a reputable taxi company.
Important emergency numbers in Porto
No matter how prepared you are, emergencies can happen at any time, and it’s important that you know whom to call when they occur. Look up the emergency services hotline for Porto even before you get there. You should also be aware of your country’s embassy number and save the number on your phone.
- Portugal country code: +351
- Porto area code: +351-22
- National Emergency number: 112
- Health line for emergencies: 808 242 424
- Maritime Police: 210 911 100
Staying safe in Porto
Porto is a paradise for nature lovers, thrill seekers, historians, and food enthusiasts. It’s laid-back but can also be colorful and energetic, depending on what you’re seeking and your interest. You can ensure that your trip is memorable for all the right reasons with proper preparation and by learning and applying basic Porto safety rules.
Whether you’re here for a short weekend getaway or plan to spend an entire month with loved ones, you’ll benefit from our guide on Where to Stay in Porto: The Ultimate Guide. Also, get tips on How to Get Around Porto to navigate the city on foot, by private vehicle, or by public transport.