More Safety Tips in Portugal

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Most Viewed Warnings and Dangers in Portugal

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo

    Minho Guardrails

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Dec 1, 2004

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    After finishing our most northerly Portugal drive in the 'Geraz do Minho' region, we decided to take a mountainous shortcut back toward Lamego. As we wound our way up and down the switchback roads to make our way through the Parque Natural do Alvao, just north and west of Vila Real, we could not help but notice how far down it was if you happened to go over the edge! These red and white stone blocks embedded in the ground were there to do 'guardrail' duties - and we saw quite a few of them that had been knocked out of the ground and were lying on their side!

    At one high point, we came around a turn to find the traffic stopped while a shepherd rounded up one of his wayward goats. I meant to get a photo of this fine beast as he walked down the road toward me, but he suddenly bolted as he got closer. I guess that I should have had the shutter button partially depressed to prime the focus. It was too late when the camera finally decided to obey my command to SHOOT.

    Slow Shutter Release
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  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo

    Monsanto Rocks

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Mar 27, 2005

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    On our drive from Castelo Branco to Covilha, we took the scenic route near the Spanish border so we could take in one of the most interesting places that we visited on the entire trip.

    The mountaintop village of Monsanto was once voted the 'most Portugese village in Portugal', and it really was something else!!

    As we passed through the tiny hamlet of Relva, only minutes away from Monsanto itself, we came upon these two huge boulders that had obviously fallen over. I did not like the look of it, so close to the road, so stopped the car to see what I could do to help. As you can see, I have managed to get one of them partially upright but had to quit at that - it was just too heavy to reach the full upright position. Whatever you do, don't try this without proper training!!

    Just Straightening These Boulders
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    Stone Sidewalks

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Dec 1, 2004

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    As soon as we arrived in Lisbon, the very first thing that impressed me about Portugal were the sidewalks. Not only here, but everywhere in the country, the custom is to use millions of hand-cut stone blocks to lay 'cobblestone' sidewalks. I found that this practise really provided a nice complement to the old buildings lining the streets.

    However, one problem with this custom is that the sidewalks tend to undulate with little hills and valleys as you proceed along. Of course, in some cases the stones have been dislodged (but not very often) or the footing can be slippery because they have been so polished by the countless footsteps! Bring good walking shoes, these sidewalks are not friendly to high-heels!

    Incidently, the same practise is used on the streets (with bigger blocks) in the centre of most towns and villages. I read somewhere that making all these stone blocks was a job given to convicts!

    Displaced Sidewalk Stones in Lisbon
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  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo

    Bells of Lamego

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Dec 1, 2004

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    When we first checked into our northern Portugal hotel in Lamego, located on the opposite side of the square from the city's famous Shrine and at the top of its twin 686-step staircase, we were amazed at our good luck! It was only later that afternoon, after we had climbed back to our accommodations and were resting in our room, that we noticed a pattern developing!

    Over the next two days, we were able to listen to the bells just outside our room every 15 minutes between 7 AM and 9 PM. At the top of the hour, a major display of music was put on, followed by a gong or two at 15 minutes past and before the hour, while the half-hour brought a short melody!

    Fortunately, we are early risers anyway, so the 7 AM wake-up session served as good motivation to get the day underway!

    Night View - One Tower of the Shrine
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    Mountain Peaks

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Dec 1, 2004

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    If you venture into the Serra da Estrela, Portugal's highest mountain range, near Covilha, you had better be prepared for changeable weather! The highest peak in this range is 1993 m (6539 ft) but, by Royal decree, a small tower was built in this area (at Torre) to raise the peak's height to 2000-m so Portugal could claim at least one mountain top with that height!

    My 'Covilha' page details our wonderful experiences up in these mountains, with their bleak windswept and rocky appearance. The remnants of the morning's rain clouds were still scudding low and occassional clouds would sweep past us as we stood there admiring the scene. During the winter months, snow is common here and you can even do some skiing in these mountains if you wish!

    Near the Top of the Serra da Estrela
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  • micas_pt's Profile Photo

    Taxi drivers

    by micas_pt Written Jan 16, 2004

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    I guess that this is a warning that you might find in many cities all through the world - taxi drivers. Yes, you might find some taxi driver that will drive you through the longest path so that they earn more. In Portugal, all taxis have a taximeter inside the vehicle. To make sure that the driver applies the correct fee, look at the window - taxis have a table there with the prices, which may vary according to the period of the day (night is more expensive) or the day of the week (weekends are more expensive). You will pay an extra fee for putting your luggage on the back of the taxi. But not all taxi drivers will try to earn more money, as many of them are honest people. They have a ID card with their name and number; if you are not satisfied take not of that number and complain about taxi driver.

    Porto

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    Strong sun

    by micas_pt Written Jan 16, 2004

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    During summer months, the sun is very strong. So if you are on the beach make sure you apply frequently some sunscreen. In Portugal doctors recommend that you go to the beach: before 11am, after 5pm. Even if not in the beach but visiting some city, you may also get sunburnt, so I would advise you to wear sunscreen and carry some water with you.

    Guincho

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    Complaining about service

    by micas_pt Written Jan 16, 2004

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    Restaurants, hotels and other places related to this kind of service have, by law, a book where customers can write their complains about service or products. It is called in Portuguese "Livro de Reclamações" and it could be translated as "Complaint Book". Everything you write there will be sent to the Tourism Service and the hotel or restaurant will have to justify what and why it happened. I would advise you not to play with this, but use it if you feel that service and products weren't good. Probably the manager will try to "solve" things so that you don't write on that book, because it might have serious consequences for the place. It happened to me asking for this book and they answered that they couldn't give it to me as it was closed in someone's desk and that the manager was out in a meeting and had the key with him. If this happens you should insist and write down on your complaint that they tried to difficult the access to the book. If this persists, you may call the Police.

    Ponte de Lima

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  • micas_pt's Profile Photo

    Pickpockets

    by micas_pt Written Jan 7, 2004

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    As in any other country, you should use some sense when standing in crowded places and keep your wallet safe. Pickpockets are common in Portugal, mainly in big cities and touristy places. Bus, underground, Algarve, Lisboa, Porto or other crowded places or cities are usually affected by this "activity". If something of the kind happens you should contact Police immediately and cancel all your cards.

    Braga

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    Prices

    by ant1606 Updated Sep 18, 2006

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    A few occasions gave us the impression that prices might be different for locals and for tourists when the price list is not presented before ordering. We finally had it confirmed when I paid 2.4 Euro for a beer and, two minutes later, a local guy sitting at the next table paid 1.70 Euro for exactly the same size of beer glass.
    Not much of a rip off though, as the same serving amount in our homecountry Italy would cost about 4 Euro.
    In a different place, we drank a 0.2 liter glass of beer for the price of 0.70 Euro and a 0.4 liter glass for 1.80 Euro. This was puzzling as well but considering the general bargain prices across Portugal it just added some fun to the trip.
    On the other hand, no wrong checks were ever found when dining out or for accommodation.

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  • dr.firas's Profile Photo

    Take note

    by dr.firas Updated Nov 30, 2004

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    Well I shall admit the only possible way to visit Belem is either by bus, *which is the easiest and cheapest*, or by Taxi, there are trains also that passes, but I guess the best thing to do is taking the Bus, it is fast and you will get out just in front of Monastery of Jeronimos, to start you visit!

    Lisbon

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    Porto Wine

    by dr.firas Updated Dec 21, 2004

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    MMMMMMMMM Porto, the best wine and my favorite one!
    OK it is not a standard wine, even the taste is different, Porto is calssificated as a strong alcohol drink, and as a backed wine, it has some sort of mixed taste with a good wine and something *I don't know how to say really* like whisky!
    it is very easy to fall in love with this great alcoholic drink, and once you try you will sure consider it as one of the favorites drinks!
    so it is indeed very Dangerous, it could lead you to alcholism without your feeling!
    so if you are sure that you could be modirated, Porto is the best wine a person can have ;-D

    Portugal
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  • xicomelo's Profile Photo

    Worst nightmare!

    by xicomelo Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Fires are the worst nightmare of any Portuguese citizen living in the country. On summer, there are many fires all over the country. So, never make fire on a forest not even drop a cigarrete out. Altought it's danger is also a crime punished by the Portuguese law.

    Any information about a fire should be give to national fire number: 117.

    To know what regions are in high risk of fire for each day, visit
    http://web.meteo.pt/previsao/risc_class_conc.html

    Fires

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  • dr.firas's Profile Photo

    Porto positive warning!

    by dr.firas Updated Nov 9, 2004

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    MMMMMMMMM Porto, the best wine and my favorite one!
    OK it is not a standard wine, even the taste is different, Porto is calssificated as a strong alcohol drink, and as a backed wine, it has some sort of mixed taste with a good wine and something *I don't know how to say really* like whisky!
    it is very easy to fall in love with this great alcoholic drink, and once you try you will sure consider it as one of the favorites drinks!
    so it is indeed very Dangerous, it could lead you to alcholism without your feeling!
    so if you are sure that you could be modirated, Porto is the best wine a person can have ;-D

    Lisbon

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  • risse73's Profile Photo

    Portugal Travel: Regarding the question of safety

    by risse73 Updated Mar 20, 2008

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    Portugal is quite a safe country to visit. I was fine during my visit there in 2003 as a solo female, traveling from the northern part of Porto all the way to Lisboa. I felt safe the whole time.

    As to "safety" and "danger," well, both are relative concepts after all. It depends on circumstances, who's telling the story, and who's depicting the narrative of a particular place.

    Danger will follow you no matter where you go in the world, whether it's Timbuktu, Antarctica, the boondocks or whichever corner it is. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy after awhile.

    Of course, it helps to be positive and keep an open mind, yet also have the "street smarts" and commonsense so as not to fall prey into the hands of dubious characters or be in less wholesome places at an inopportune time.

    Goodluck & Safe Travels!!!

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