a VirtualTourist member asked on Jul 27, 2016
My wife and I who are in our 50s will be visiting Lisbon in August for 5 days. We have booked a place which is about 4 minutes walk from Martim Moniz. The place is located between the neighborhood Baixa and Mouraria. We would like to know if this area is safe to walk at night? Also any security tips to make our stay nice will be greatly appreciated.
Lisbon feels quite safe, when my husband and I have walked around at night. Obviously in the more touristy areas it's very busy during the summer, so if you stick to those places you would be fine. Pickpocketing is the biggest issue, especially around Rossio and on the little historic trams as they get very crowded, so you would need to be vigilant and take precautions with purse/wallet security.
Pickpocketing and petty theft are the only things you really need to be aware of. Never underestimate the skill of a pickpocket. Many are as skilfull as top-level table magicians.
But please don't over-worry. There is absolutely no need to do so. You just need to use basic city commonsense, as you would in any city or large town anywhere.
See below for what I mean by 'basic city comonsense'. Context: I am a very small late-middle-aged female traveller who almost always travels alone. I follow my own advice, almost always walk everywhere in the places I visit (including Lisbon) and have never encountered any issues anywhere I've travelled.
1. Keep most cash, cards and valuables in the hotel safe. Only take with you what you need.
2. Keep most cash and all cards safely underneath your clothing. Keep only a small amount in purse or wallet.
3. Never put cash or wallet or phone in external pockets (this includes men's front trouser pockets).
4. Wear bag straps across your body.
5. Never use a bum-bag/fanny-pack. They are easy to steal and easy to steal from. they scream 'I am a tourist and all my valuables are right here!'.
6. Don't leave bags hanging on the back of chairs in cafes, bars etc. Never leave them unattended and, if you're sitting outside, don't put them on the floor unless you keep your foot on them.
Don't leave your phone/wallet on a cafe/restaurant/bar table either, especially if you're sitting outside. Here's how that one works:
A nice person comes up with a map and politely asks for help. The map is put on the table while you try to help out. When the person says 'thank you so much' and goes away you'll find your phone (or wallet or whatever) has also disappeared. You notice and spend a minute or so checking the floor/your pockets etc.....by then the thief has long gone.
7. Avoid dimly-lit and deserted places after dark.
8. Stay alert for pickockets in very crowded situations.
9. Be aware of distraction techniques. Distraction is a very comon pickpocketing ploy everywhere (not just Lisbon). Someone will ask you for help, show you a map, tell you there are bird droppings on your coat and offer to help clean it off...all types. Don't get drawn into conversation with beggars, hawkers, touts etc. While you are distracted an accomplice does the pickpocketing. Just say 'No, obrigado' firmly and keep walking.
10. Be aware of who is around you when using ATMs. Not so much for outright robbery (very unlikely in European countries) but for getting your PIN and then pickpocketing your card. If you feel uncomfortable, go somewhere else.
Basic commonsense, as I said. So just follow those guidelines, relax and exnjoy your visit to Lisbon...it's a super city to explore. :-)
No need to be overly-concerned about safety -nightime and/or daytime- in Lisbon. It's a safer European city than most and Portugal itself has been voted many times over as most peaceful country. Yes, in Lisbon, picpocket is a concern and pretty much endemic in the city's public transportation system especially in the crowded trams and buses. But there's a lot a traveler can do to prepare/observe vigilance to pre-empt this petty criminal behavior. VT member Leics has given here for you very important safety tips along this line.
The Martim Moniz and Mouraria neighborhoods are Lisbon's colorful ethnically diverse enclave, very colorful, vibrant with wide selection of produce and merchandise from far-flung places. And if you're looking for ethnic cuisines at very affordable prices, you're in the right place. You should not feel unsafe here nor at any neighborhood of Lisbon for that matter. Pickpockets tend to congregate and conduct their shady business in heavily touristic areas and venues. But in the end, it's much preferrable to stay off the streets of any large city during late hours of the evening.
Thanks for all the advice. Looking forward to enjoy Lisbon.
Thanks and Regards
You're welcome. Have fun in Lisbon.