What is healthcare in Portugal like?

Facilities and Health Information

Good medical care is available, but facilities may be limited outside urban areas. Public hospitals offer services at costs lower than private hospitals, but sometimes do not maintain the same comforts as hospitals in the United States. You should obtain insurance that covers medical services from a private Portuguese hospital or clinic. Private hospitals will ask for a credit card or other form of payment upon admission. In a life-threatening emergency, you can ask for a public ambulance by calling the national emergency response telephone number, 112. On the other hand, private ambulances should only be used for transport, not life-threatening emergencies, and usually require on-the-spot payment. Note that the responsiveness of emergency services is not up to U.S. standards.

Prescription Medicines: Travelers sometimes request that relatives or friends in the United States mail prescription medicines to them in Portugal, but doing so violates Portuguese law and usually results in the shipment of medications being impounded by the Portuguese customs office. When this occurs, your medications may not be released. If you use prescription medicine, you must bring a sufficient supply with you to cover your anticipated stay in Portugal, along with a copy of your physician's prescription. Should an unforeseen need for prescription refills or new medications arise, Portuguese pharmacies generally carry equivalent medications to those found in the United States; however, they may be sold under a different brand, may not be available in the same dosage, and may require a prescription from a local doctor.

Drinking Water Source - % of rural population improved


Drinking Water Source - % of total population unimproved


Drinking Water Source - % of urban population improved

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 99.7% of population

total: 99.9% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 0.3% of population

total: 0.1% of population

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate


Hospital Bed Density - beds/1,000 population


People Living with HIV/AIDS


Physicians Density - physicians/1,000 population


Sanitation Facility Access - % of urban population improved

improved: urban: 99.9% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 99.9% of population

unimproved: urban: 0.1% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0.1% of population

Sanitation Facility Access - % of rural population improved


Disability Access In Portugal


While in Portugal, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodations considerably different from what is available in the United States. General information on this subject is available on the website of Portugal’s Tourism Board.

Public transportation: Public transportation vehicles in general have specially reserved seats for individuals with disabilities, but some vehicles may not be equipped to load and secure wheelchairs mechanically.

Trains: The State Railway Operator, Caminhos do Ferro Portugueses (CP) has a service called “integrated mobility service” (SIM) aimed at helping passengers with reduced mobility. English-speaking customer service representatives can be reached by phone at 351 808 208 746 (7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Monday-Friday). SIM staff provide for train and station accessibility; assistance during boarding/exiting or during the train ride; and they also assist with trip planning. Some train stations are equipped with elevators. Note that while SIM service is free of charge, requests for information or assistance must be made at least 48 hours before travel. Additionally, CP offers discounts to residents of Portugal of up to 25 percent upon presentation of the “cartão do deficiente” (disabled person’s card). The card is available from CP ticket offices and is valid for two years. To qualify, applicants must have a Portuguese taxpayer ID number and provide certified proof of disability and proof of annual income. For additional information, please visit CP’s website.

Subway (Metro): Thirty-one of Lisbon Metro’s 52 stations offer full accessibility to people with disabilities. There are no reduced fares for passengers with disabilities. There are, however, elevators and moving walkways at main stations that provide access from the platform to street level, as well as payment machines adapted for passengers with disabilities and/or visual impairment. Passengers with visual disabilities can travel with their guide dogs as long as their service animals are leashed and muzzled. Check Lisbon Metro’s website for more information.

Porto’s new metro system affords accessibility for passengers with disabilities system-wide with a network of elevators, ramps, and spaces for wheelchairs onboard metro cars. Check Porto Metro’s website for more information about accessibility available only in Portuguese.

Airports: All Portuguese airports provide wheelchairs and bathrooms to accommodate disabilities.

Parking: Parking for people with disabilities, designated with a wheelchair symbol, is available in most supermarkets and commercial centers. Some lots offer free parking to vehicles displaying a disabled parking sign. There are no discounts for street parking.

The National Help Line for the Disabled (Linha Nacional de Apoio à Deficiência) can be reached by phone at 35121 795-9545 (10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. Monday – Friday). Assistance is only available in Portuguese.


You are responsible for ensuring that you meet and comply with foreign entry requirements, health requirements and that you possess the appropriate travel documents. Information provided is subject to change without notice. One should confirm content prior to traveling from other reliable sources. Information published on this website may contain errors. You travel at your own risk and no warranties or guarantees are provided by us.

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