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Is Iberia Safe? Discover Vital Safety Tips for Your Next Adventure

Thinking about jetting off to the vibrant landscapes of Iberia? You're likely buzzing with excitement but might be wondering, "Is it safe?" It's a valid question that crosses the mind of many travelers. After all, knowing you're stepping into a secure environment can make or break your travel plans.

Tobi Miles
April 8, 2024
Is Iberia Safe? Discover Vital Safety Tips for Your Next Adventure

Let's dive into the heart of Iberia, exploring the safety concerns you might have. Whether it's your first time visiting Spain and Portugal or you're a seasoned traveler, understanding the safety landscape is crucial. So, buckle up as we embark on a journey to uncover the truth behind Iberia's safety, ensuring you're well-informed for your next adventure.

Key Takeaways

  • Spain and Portugal are among the safest countries for tourists, with Portugal often ranking in the top 5 safest countries globally.
  • Both countries have low crime rates, especially violent crimes, but visitors should remain vigilant for petty thefts like pickpocketing in crowded areas.
  • Efficient emergency services and high-quality healthcare are readily available in Spain and Portugal, ensuring safety and support for tourists during emergencies.
  • Public transportation in both countries is reliable, clean, and safe, making it an excellent option for travelers.
  • Road safety is a priority, with well-maintained roads and clear signage aiding those who opt to rent a car.
  • Learning basic local phrases and keeping aware of your surroundings, particularly in tourist-heavy areas, can enhance personal security.

Overview of Safety in Iberia

When planning a trip to Spain and Portugal, it’s paramount to consider your safety. Thankfully, both countries boast a high level of security that continually attracts millions of tourists every year. But, understanding the specifics can help you navigate your journey with even more confidence.

Safety Rankings

Believe it or not, both Spain and Portugal rank impressively well on global safety indexes. What does that mean for you? Well, it’s a green flag indicating that you’re choosing destinations where safety isn’t just a priority; it’s a given.

  • Spain often finds itself among the top 20 safest countries in the world.
  • Portugal goes even further, sometimes breaking into the top 5.

Crime Rates

When diving into the nitty-gritty, it's crucial to look at crime rates. The good news? Both Spain and Portugal boast lower crime rates compared to many other popular tourist destinations. Still, being vigilant about pickpocketing in crowded places is wise.

Emergency Services

You'll find comfort in knowing that both countries offer efficient emergency services. Quick response times and an array of multilingual operators ensure that help is just a call away, should you ever need it.

Health Care Quality

Traveling can come with its share of uncertainties, particularly concerning health. Both Spain and Portugal offer top-notch healthcare services to their citizens and visitors alike. Hospitals are well-equipped, and staff are usually bilingual, easing the stress of a medical emergency away from home.

Road Safety

Renting a car to explore the stunning landscapes of Iberia? You’re in luck. Spain and Portugal maintain high standards of road safety. Well-maintained roads and clear signage make navigating a breeze, though paying attention to different driving styles is always smart.

Public Transportation

For those of you leaning towards the convenience of public transportation, both countries offer reliable, clean, and safe options. From the metro systems in major cities to extensive bus and train networks, getting around couldn’t be easier or safer.

Safety Tips

While Iberia is generally safe, here are a few tips to ensure your trip is smooth sailing:

  • Always keep an eye on your belongings in crowded places.
  • Learn a few basic phrases in Spanish or Portuguese. It can go a long way!
  • Familiarize yourself with local emergency numbers.
  • Stay updated on local news and advisories during your visit.

Crime Rates in Iberian Countries

When planning your travel, it's crucial to consider the safety of your destination. The Iberian Peninsula, comprised mainly of Spain and Portugal, presents an interesting case study in terms of crime rates. Understanding these figures can offer you peace of mind or prompt you to take extra precautions.

Crime Rates Compared

Both Spain and Portugal boast relatively low crime rates, especially when compared to worldwide averages. But when you dive deeper into the numbers, a nuanced picture emerges.

Spain's Crime Situation

Spain, known for its vibrant cities and bustling tourist spots, has managed to keep its crime rates at an impressive low. Violent crimes are rare. However, petty crimes like pickpocketing and bag snatching are more common, especially in areas heavily frequented by tourists. Major cities such as Barcelona and Madrid have seen sporadic increases in these petty crimes, prompting local law enforcement to ramp up their presence in these areas.

Portugal's Crime Landscape

Portugal, often lauded for its peaceful environment, tells a similar story. Ranked consistently as one of the safest countries globally, it maintains low rates of violent crimes. The most common issues travelers might face include petty theft and minor scams, which are more of an annoyance than a serious threat.

Deciphering the Data

To understand the safety level in Iberia, it's important to look at the crime index and safety index provided by global databases. Here, lower crime index and higher safety index numbers generally indicate a safer environment. In recent years, both Spain and Portugal have demonstrated admirable scores.


Crime Index

Safety Index





Very Low

Very High

These indexes underscore both countries' commitments to ensuring safety and security for both residents and visitors.

  • Stay Vigilant in Crowded Places: Popular tourist spots are prime targets for petty thieves. Keep your belongings close and be mindful of your surroundings.
  • Learn Basic Phrases: Knowing how to ask for help in the local language can be a lifesaver in unexpected situations.
  • Emergency Numbers: Familiarize yourself with the local emergency numbers. In Spain and Portugal, 112 is the number for all emergency services.
  • **

Safety Tips for Travelers

Traveling to new places opens up a world of experiences; however, ensuring your safety should always be top of mind, especially when exploring countries like Spain and Portugal. While both are relatively safe, staying vigilant can help you avoid common pitfalls that tourists might face.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

The first rule of thumb in keeping yourself safe in any country, including Spain and Portugal, is simply paying attention to your surroundings. Crowded tourist spots, while enticing, can also be hotspots for petty crimes.

  • Keep an eye on your belongings. Pickpocketing thrives in crowded places.
  • Always look confident, like you know where you're going. This makes you less of a target.

Learn Some Local Phrases

Communication can be your best tool in avoiding and dealing with adverse situations. Knowing basic phrases in Spanish or Portuguese can be immensely helpful.

  • Basic greetings and polite phrases: These help you blend in and are key in asking for help.
  • "Help!" and "Emergency": Crucial in attracting immediate attention.

Use Secure Transportation

While both Spain and Portugal offer reliable public transport options, it’s essential to opt for the safest modes, especially at night.

  • Licensed taxis are always a safer bet over unmarked vehicles.
  • Public transport in these countries is generally safe, but avoid less crowded, poorly lit stations and stops during off-peak hours.

Stay Informed

Keeping up-to-date with local news can alert you to any areas or times to avoid. It's also wise to know the current political and social climate, especially during election seasons or public demonstrations.

  • Check local news outlets regularly.
  • Stay updated through your embassy in case of any significant updates or warnings.

Record Important Information

In an unlikely event that you need assistance, having critical information on hand can make a significant difference.

  • Emergency numbers: 112 is your go-to for emergency services in both Spain and Portugal.
  • Local contacts: Have the contact information for your country’s embassy or consulate.
  • Accommodation details: Keep a note of your accommodation address and contact details.

Secure Your Valuables

Petty theft being the most common crime against tourists in these countries, securing your valuables can help you avoid these unwanted situations.

  • Use money belts or hidden pouches for important documents and money.
  • **Don’t flash

Emergency Services and Contacts

When traveling to Spain or Portugal, it's crucial to have a list of emergency services and contacts. It's not just about having a great time; it's about staying safe while you're at it. Here's a breakdown of important numbers and tips to keep you secure.

Know Your Numbers

In any emergency, knowing whom to call can make all the difference. Spain and Portugal both use 112 as their primary emergency number. This number connects you to police, fire, and ambulance services. It's free and accessible from any phone, including mobiles, even without a SIM card.

Local Police and Tourist Assistance

  • Spain: For non-emergencies, you can contact the local police at 091. If you're a tourist in need of assistance, Spain offers a SATE (Servicio de Atención al Turista Extranjero) service in major tourist cities. They can help you report crimes, replace stolen documents, and provide legal advice.
  • Portugal: The PSP (Polícia de Segurança Pública) can be reached at +351 21 765 4242 for tourist support. They offer similar services to Spain's SATE and are particularly helpful if you find yourself in a tricky situation.

Embassies and Consulates

Always have the contact information for your country’s embassy or consulate. They can be invaluable in serious emergencies, such as if you lose your passport or need evacuation assistance. Websites for both countries’ foreign affairs departments provide lists of foreign embassies and consulates.

Health Care Services

For health-related inquiries or emergencies:

  • In Spain, beyond calling 112, you can contact health information services like +34 061 to get advice on what to do or where to go.
  • In Portugal, the SNS 24 service (+351 808 24 24 24) offers health advice and directs you to the nearest health facility if needed.

Keep This Information Handy

It's a good idea to write these numbers down or save them on your phone. Additionally, note the address and contact number of your accommodations. Sharing this info with a travel companion or someone back home can add an extra layer of safety to your trip.

  • Learn a few emergency phrases in Spanish or Portuguese.
  • Download a local map and emergency services app on


Traveling through Iberia should be an exciting and safe experience if you're well-prepared. Remembering the emergency number 112 and keeping a list of local contacts can make all the difference. It's also a great idea to familiarize yourself with a few emergency phrases in the local languages. With these precautions in place, you'll not only enjoy the stunning landscapes and rich cultures but you'll do so with peace of mind. So pack your bags and set off on your adventure knowing you're ready for anything. Safe travels!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the primary emergency number in Spain and Portugal?

The primary emergency number for both Spain and Portugal is 112. This number can be dialed for any type of emergency situation.

Should travelers to Spain and Portugal learn emergency phrases in Spanish or Portuguese?

Yes, travelers are advised to learn basic emergency phrases in Spanish for Spain and Portuguese for Portugal. This can aid in communication during emergency situations.

What type of emergency services can be accessed by calling 112 in Spain and Portugal?

By dialing 112 in Spain and Portugal, you can access medical assistance, fire services, and police help.

Is it important to have local police and tourist assistance contacts while traveling in Spain and Portugal?

Yes, having specific contact information for local police and tourist assistance services in Spain and Portugal is important for receiving focused help in case of localized issues or inquiries.

What should travelers do with the emergency contact information for Spain and Portugal?

Travelers should keep all emergency contact information readily available, share it with fellow travelers, and store it in their phones for quick access during their stay in Spain and Portugal.

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
April 8, 2024
A nomadic wordsmith savoring the world's flavors and penning stories that turn every journey into an epic.
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