Travelling In Portugal: The Dos and Don’ts

Salema Beach, Portugal by F H Mira (Creative Commons)

Salema Beach, Portugal by F H Mira (Creative Commons)

Portugal is one of the most popular European travel destinations, attracting roughly 1.9 million Brits every single year. However, if you are planning to visit this beautiful country then there are a number of things you need to be aware of.

Understanding the do’s and don’ts of visiting Portugal will help you to have the best possible holiday experience.

Be aware of street crime

Street crime is a worry in Portugal, even though overall crime rates are pretty low. In the major tourist parts of the country, pick-pocketing and holiday apartment theft isn’t uncommon.

To avoid being the victim of such crimes, always be aware of your possessions while you are travelling and be sure to take extra safety precautions when out and about. Don’t flash cash or valuables in public and keep everything in a securely fastened bag that is attached to your person securely.

Backpacks are easy to get into without your knowledge, so when travelling around during the day, opt for something a little more discreet that fastens across your body or over your shoulder.

Watch out for warning flags

It’s important that you take the warning flags seriously as anyone (including tourists) disobeying the flags on beaches will be fined. You should never attempt to enter the water when there is a red flag present. A yellow flag means you shouldn’t swim, but you can paddle at the edge of the water.

Green flags mean you can swim safely, while chequered flags alert you to the fact that the beach is currently unmanned. There should also be separate local advice given out if jellyfish have been spotted in the water.

Golden sands of Porto Santo Beach in Portugal © Creative Commons - Joao Maximo

Golden sands of Porto Santo Beach in Portugal © Creative Commons – Joao Maximo

Give the walk to Madeira a miss

One of the main activities tourists love to partake in on holidays to Portugal is the walk to nearby Madeira. It is quite a difficult walk, so if you aren’t used to walking on uneven and steep terrain, you may want to sit it out.

You should never push yourself as this could lead to injury. If you do decide to go, only take a route that matches your fitness level. There is so much to see and do in the country, so if you have to give this a miss, you won’t be stuck for alternatives.

Research local laws

There are several laws you need to be aware of before you travel to Portugal. Some of them are similar to the UK, such as possessing and selling drugs, but there are others you might not expect.

The sorts of laws you might not expect are to do with licensing. As the Brits love a game of bingo, this one is particularly important. If you attempt to play bingo anywhere other than in a licensed venue you could be fined up to 700 Euros.