Can You Fly A Drone in Portugal? (Answered)


In this blog post, we’ll explore the question, “Is drone flying allowed in Portugal?”.

So, let’s jump in and discover everything you need to know — regulations, penalties (if any) and safety tips to keep in mind!

Can You Fly A Drone in Portugal

Can You Fly a Drone in Portugal?

Yes, you can fly a drone in Portugal. However, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the local regulations and guidelines to ensure a safe and legal flying experience. Here drone flights are regulated by the National Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC), which has specific rules and restrictions in place to protect public safety and privacy. By adhering to these regulations and respecting the local authorities’ guidelines, drone enthusiasts can enjoy capturing stunning aerial footage while exploring Portugal’s beautiful landscapes.

Overview of Drone Regulations

Let’s take a look at some of the key points for drone regulations:

Maximum Altitude Limits

  • Drones are strictly not permitted to fly higher than 120 meters (400 feet) above the ground level, in order to prevent encounters with manned aircraft.
  • If intending to fly in ‘controlled airspace’ (typically around airports), drone operators must obtain explicit permission from the relevant air traffic control authority, notwithstanding the general altitude limit.

Distance Restrictions

  • Drones should always be kept within the visual line of sight (VLOS) of the operator, which typically should not exceed 500 meters horizontally and 120 meters vertically.
  • It is not allowed to fly drones within 1 kilometer of airports and aerodromes without receiving explicit permission from the aviation authority.

Prohibited Activities and Actions

  • It is prohibited to fly drones over densely populated areas or large gatherings of people unless necessary permissions are obtained from the National Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC).
  • Drone operators must always maintain visual contact with the drone and must not fly the drone more than 120 meters above ground level.

Privacy and Data Protection Considerations

  • All drone operators must respect individuals’ privacy rights by not capturing images or recordings of people without their explicit consent, in accordance with the National Data Protection Commission (CNPD) rules.
  • Stored data collected by drones, such as video footage or photographs, should be appropriately secured and must not be shared publicly or with third parties without the necessary permissions, adhering to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Commercial Operations

  • All commercial drone operators must obtain a license and registration from the National Civil Aviation Authority (Autoridade Nacional da Aviação Civil, ANAC), including passing an examination and providing proof of insurance.
  • Commercial drones should avoid flying in ‘no-fly zones’ which include areas near airports, over urban areas, or above 120 meters without prior permission from ANAC.

Penalties for Violating Drone Regulations

Violating drone regulations in Portugal can result in hefty fines and even jail time depending on the nature of the offense. The National Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC) regulates drone usage and can impose fines up to €4,000 for individuals and up to €250,000 for corporations if the rules aren’t followed. For example, if you operate your drone in a no-fly zone or invade someone’s privacy by capturing them without consent on video, you could be facing these penalties.

In addition to fines, serious offenses can even lead to imprisonment. If you endanger the safety of an aircraft or if your drone operation results in severe injury or death of an individual, you could face criminal charges. Depending on the scale of the offense, you might end up serving several years in prison. Always remember to respect local laws and regulations when flying your drone.

Tips for Safe and Responsible Drone Flying in Portugal

To ensure a positive drone flying experience and comply with the regulations, here are some essential tips to keep in mind:

  1. Know the Laws: It’s crucial to familiarize yourself with Portugal’s specific drone regulations, which include not flying above 120 m and always maintaining visual contact with your drone.
  2. Respect Privacy: Never fly your drone over private property or record without consent as it infringes on individuals’ privacy rights and is against Portuguese law.
  3. Maintain Distance: Ensure you keep a safe distance of 30 meters from people, vehicles, and buildings to avoid accidents and respect others’ safety.
  4. Check Weather: Always check the local weather forecast before flying a drone as adverse weather conditions can cause control issues and potential accidents.
  5. Insurance Coverage: Consider obtaining liability insurance for your drone to cover property damage or injury to others. This is not mandatory but highly advisable for safety reasons.


Can I Fly My Drone at Night in Portugal?

Yes, you can fly your drone at night in Portugal. However, ensure that you comply with local regulations, which may require your drone to be equipped with lights for visibility. Always prioritize safety during your nighttime drone operations.

Can You Bring a Drone to Portugal?

Yes, you can bring a drone to Portugal. However, you must adhere to Portuguese aviation regulations while operating it. Be conscious of privacy laws, no-fly zones, and safety measures to ensure responsible drone usage.

Do I Need a License or Permit to Fly a Drone in Portugal?

Yes, you need a license to fly a drone in Portugal. The National Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC) mandates drone operators to obtain a license and register the drone, irrespective of its size or the purpose of the flight.


Before you launch your drone into the Portugal skies, it’s crucial to understand the area’s drone laws and regulations.

This applies not only to Portugal but also to other destinations around the world. For example, if you’re heading to Scotland, it’s important to know the specific rules and guidelines for drone flying there. Similarly, if you have dreams of capturing breathtaking footage of Rome or exploring drone opportunities around Vietnam, it’s essential to be aware of the local drone regulations in those locations as well.

Drone laws are subject to change, and information in this blog may become outdated; always consult official sources for the latest regulations.

So, whether you’re planning a leisurely flight or engaging in commercial drone operations, make sure to fly responsibly, and stay informed.

Resources and Further Information:

Photo of author
Peter Karanja is a licensed drone pilot from Kenya, freelance writer and drone enthusiast. He has been using drones for land survey, GIS, and photography for the past three years. Being a drone user, he loves writing about drone applications, safety tips for using drones, and the best ways to get the most out of a drone.

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