Holidays 2020: Portugal could be one of the safest destinations to visit
Holidaymakers hoping to jet off abroad may be feeling wary at the moment, as a constant stream of global coronavirus updates sweeps the global media. However, the good news is that some much loved holiday hotspots remain infection-free. Of all of these holiday nations, could Portugal be the ultimate destination?
Portugal, nestled in the south-east of Europe, has long been favoured by Britons seeking stunning stretches of sandy beaches and crystal blue ocean waters.
Furthermore, with an impressive 300 days of sunshine every year, it promises beautiful weather for those looking to escape grey skies.
Some of its most popular regions include capital city Lisbon and coastal resort The Algarve.
Meanwhile, its impressive low crime rate and cheap flight offering mean that its a great destination for singles, groups and families looking for a break from the day-to-day.
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Lisbon is Portugal’s capital and offers a mix of city and coast
Portugal has no confirmed cases of coronavirus
At the time of writing, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Portugal despite having worked its way into 35 countries globally.
Neighbouring Spain has confirmed 11 cases of the disease, with two deaths so far.
A hotel in the Canary Islands is currently under quarantine after a guest tested positive for the illness.
Luckily, the virus has not yet surpassed the border, meaning travellers can be near-certain their holidays won’t be interrupted.
Of course, all travellers are being urged to be cautious when passing through international airports, dubbed “the most dangerous place” for contracting the virus by travel expert Simon Calder.
Despite this, he says: “It’s still the case that it’s not very easy to catch this if you follow normal travel procedures.”
The World Health Organisation, as well as the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, emphasise the importance of practising good hand hygiene and utilising hand sanitiser where soap and water are not available.
The CDC adds: “Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.”
However, both authorities maintain that travel is still safe so long as these practices are put in place.
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Portugal boasts a low crime rate
Portugal is well-known for its low crime rate, classed as “low” by crime rate index Numbeo.
According to the crime tracking site, the crime index falls at just 29.88 with the safety index sitting at 70.12.
By comparison, the UK has a crime index of 43.71 and a safety index of 56.29.
Though Portugal has seen a “moderate” increase in crime over the last few years, crimes tend to be centred around the illegal use and dealing of drugs, or petty crimes such as stealing.
According to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office: “Crime rates are low but pickpocketing, handbag snatching and theft from cars and holiday properties are common in major tourist areas and can be accompanied by violence.
“Be alert, keep sight of your belongings at all times and beware of thieves using distraction techniques.
“Be especially vigilant on public transport (particularly the popular numbers 15 and 28 trams in Lisbon) and at busy railway and underground stations and crowded bus and tram stops.
“Do not carry all your valuables together in handbags or pockets. Leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
“Avoid leaving items in an unattended car, even for a short period; if you have no alternative, hide them in the boot before you reach your destination. Remember that foreign-registered and hire cars are often targeted by thieves.
The FCO also urges travellers to become accustomed to their holiday accommodation and ensure all entryways are locked.
Thanks to Portugal’s popularity amongst Britains, many budget airlines offer direct routes to some of the region’s most-loved resorts.
Ryanair, easyJet, Jet2 and TUI are some of the big names offering purse-friendly flights to the country.
Holidaymakers can bag a bargain flight to Ryanair from as little as £12, depending on departure airport and date.
Ryanair flies to Lisbon, Faro and Porto non-stop.
easyJet offer flights starting at £28.99, with routes to Faro, Porto and Lisbon.
TUI boasts holidays, including hotel stays, to the Algarve, Madeira, and Porto Santo Island from as little as £244 per person.
Or, bag a cheap seat with Jet 2 from as little as £25.
Destinations include Faro, The Algarve and Lisbon’s coast.
The airline also offers holiday deals for under £400.