5 things that could go wrong in a safe city
Are you an Erasmus student just packing, getting ready for the best student experience of your life? Are you an international student unpacking trying to understand what to do and what not to in Lisbon? If you are (and maybe even if you aren’t) – it is natural if you feel concerned about your safety. Find out how to keep yourself and your stuff safe in Lisbon!“Is Lisbon safe?” is a really common question coming from international students who’ve never been here. The short answer is that yes, it is safe in Lisbon and it’s got a great reputation and statistics to match. It does have some things you should look out for. These are the 5 biggest dangers you face in the city:
1. Trouble neighbourhoods
There are two or three streets you should avoid. They’re usually very far from the centre of the city so nothing that you might just stumble upon but still. A high level of poverty and low levels of education and employment result in the usual cocktail of petty criminality. More often than not, it’s mostly bored kids getting together in groups. Some neighbourhoods with a particularly bad reputation are: Cova da Moura, Casalinho da Ajuda, Quinta da Princesa, Santa Filomena and Damaia. To stay safe in Lisbon: avoid them if possible, be careful if not.
In the main touristic areas, sometimes a wallet goes missing from the pocket where it was last seen. Pay special attention when riding the trams: these light-fingered thieves seem to prefer the views of this overground transport to taking the Metro. 28E is a particular favourite among pick-pockets. Not to be confused with the photographers of the Pickpocket Gallery a local gallery where some great photography exhibitions are held.
If you own a car, don’t leave valuables where they can be seen. Not unless you have good insurance covering both your car and your property. This kind of incident doesn’t happen every day, but being careful pays off. If you don’t own one, and walk or cycle around the city, be careful with cars too. Make sure you’re looking the right way – or look both ways just to be sure, before crossing the road.
A lot of us have done something stupid just because we’re in a country where nobody knows us. Don’t jump on moving trams or trash cars. Don’t buy drugs from the dealers in Baixa. Stuff like that. Drink plenty of liquids, eat as healthily as you can and all that other stuff mother told you to do.
5. Cardiac concerns
This may sound corny before you get here, but watch out for the city’s mermaid charms. It is not uncommon for students and travellers to arrive one day and be falling in love even before they have started unpacking. If you feel any worrying symptoms, like the urge to call home and announce you will be staying here forever, the only known antidote we know is a good hour or two in a queue and a dose of Portuguese paperwork. Go get your N.I.F. (fiscal ID) sorted or head for Marquês de Pombal’s metro station to get your transport pass done.
I suppose if that doesn’t cure you, you can always just move here. Let’s face it: it could be a lot worse than that. If you’re going to stay living and studying in Lisbon for good, you might as well start browsing for the perfect place to stay in. Try UniPlaces: we’ve a place that is meant just for you.
Thank you to everybody who allowed us to use their photographs.
Photo credits: the talented Luísa Dias of InMotion for most of the pictures, David R. of Nimages, Manuel Faisco of Graffiti Land and Ricardo Junqueira, our in-house photographer for their contributions.
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And remember! If you need to find University housing in Lisbon – or you know someone that does – you’ll find the student home you’re looking for on Uniplaces.com.