Emergency services in hospitals are operational 24 hours a day. The two main hospitals in Porto are 'Hospital Geral de S. João' and 'Hospital Geral de Santo António'. There are also many other clinics and health centres, both public and private. Some of these are also operational 24 hours a day.
Access to private health centres requires the payment of the respective charges or, alternatively, a valid health insurance. For EU citizens to have access to public health services, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is necessary. In this case, you just need to pay for a fee (“taxa moderadora”).
Like in most European countries, the national emergency number is 112.
There is also available a telephone number to help with health questions - Linha de Saúde 24. For further information please click here.
Besides the services already mentioned, the U.Porto provides, through its Social Services, free medical and psichological support to its students. For further information, please visit the U.Porto Health Portal and the webpage of the Academic Integration, Health and Sports Department.
The most common security services in Porto are PSP - Polícia de Segurança Pública and GNR - Guarda Nacional Republicana. PSP acts mostly in urban areas, while the GNR acts mainly in less populated areas. There are also other police services, such as GNR-BT (Traffic brigade of the GNR), PJ (Intelligence Police, which is responsible for crime investigation) and the local police (Polícia Municipal).
Running water is drinkable in almost the whole country.In Porto, the quality control of the water is guaranteed by SMAS (Serviços Municipalizados de Águas e Saneamento – Tel.: 800 206 235).
In addition, excellent mineral water is available in Portugal, as well as natural sparkling water.
In Porto, waste is picked up from Monday to Friday after 20h30, depending on the area of the city. The Câmara Municipal do Porto (C. M. Porto) (Town Hall) is responsible for waste disposal. Therefore, people are asked to place their waste out in adequate containers after that time, so it can be collected. Waste disposal before the requested time may imply payment of fines.
So as to provide the best possible environment in the city, there is also a vast network of Ecopontos, where the inhabitants may proceed to the disposal of waste eligible for recycling.
STCP – Sociedade de Transportes Colectivos do Porto is responsible for managing public transportation services (bus) in the urban and suburban area of Porto. Passengers should enter the bus by the front door and leave by the back door. To wait for the bus at the bus stop, you need to queue by the stop sign and to the right.
If you intend to use the bus occasionally, you should buy a ticket in advance. You can buy this ticket, know as "pré-comprado", at STCP shops (including Andante) shops, bookshops and newsstands. One ticket bought in advance costs 1.60 EUR and allows you to travel twice within the city of Porto (T1). A pack of 10 tickets to travel within this area (T1) costs 6.80 EUR.
You can also purchase tickets from the bus driver, but the price is considerably higher: 1.30 EUR, which you can use only for that trip.
If you intend to travel more often, you can also buy a monthly pass, which is available in several different options. A monthly pass which allows you to travel for an unlimited number of times within the city (A) costs 22.25 EUR. To have a monthly pass you need to buy in advance a card, which costs 5 EUR.
Alternatively, you can use the Andante in any STCP bus.
The urban and suburban area of Porto also has a light rail service, known as Metro do Porto. The Metro do Porto presently has 5 operational lines: Line A: Estádio do Dragão – Senhor de Matosinhos; Line B: Estádio do Dragão – Póvoa de Varzim; Line C: Estádio do Dragão – ISMAI; Line D: Hospital de S. João – João de Deus; Line E: Estádio do Dragão – Airport. The network of the Metro do Porto is growing gradually, so that two new lines are already planned: Line F: Belchior Robles – Casa da Música; Line G: Casa da Música – Santo Ovídio.
To travel in Metro do Porto you need a ticket called Andante. Andante is a travel system which allows to travel with the same card (a magnetic card) in different means of transport (bus, light rail and train) of different companies (STCP buses, Metro do Porto, CP and other companies). This card is available in two versions and can be used for an indefinite amount of time:
If you use the Andante as a monthly pass, please note that you can only use it within the corresponding areas ("zonas"). If for example you study in Asprela and you have bought a monthly pass for zones C6 and C1, you can go from your Faculty to the Reitoria or even go shopping downtown. However, you cannot use your ticket to go to Foz and have a drink in a terrace, as Foz is a C2 zone. If, on the other hand, you have a blue Andante, the number of areas is flexible. This means that the number of areas you travel is counted from the place where you touch your Andante for the first time, and within one hour. The Andante single tickets, however, are only valid to travel within a ring of areas around a center point (the place where the ticket has first been validated), up to any stop within the range of rings allowed. To check the number of areas you are allowed to travel in is simple: you just have to take into account the place of your departure (where you have first validated your ticket). If you validate your ticket for the first time in area C1, you can travel with a Z2 single ticket to any of the areas that surround it. This means that you can travel within the area where you have first validated your ticket (area C1) and in the areas that make up the first ring (C2, C6 and S8).
If, for example, you study in Asprela and go shopping in Santa Catarina you should use a Z2 ticket (as you will be travelling within two close areas, from C6 to C1). If you are quick, you can still travel to a terrace in Foz using the same Z2 ticket, since areas C6 (Asprela), C1 (downtown) and C2 (Foz) are also surrounding areas. On your way back, to travel directly from Foz to your Faculty you can use another Z2 ticket, since, although you departure from C2, go through C1 and your trip ends in C6, areas C2, C1 and C6 are close areas.
A trip within the Z2 area costs 0.85 EUR, whereas a trip within Z3 costs 1.10 EUR. If you buy 10 trips, you will pay 8.50 EUR and 11.00 EUR to travel within zones Z2 and Z3, respectively. In this case, you will get a free trip. Z2 and Z3 tickets are valid for one hour, within the corresponding area, after you first touch your ticket.
You must touch your ticket whenever you use public transports in Porto. Even though you will only pay for one trip within one hour, you have to touch your ticket every time you use a bus or metro. To touch the ticket, you must place your Andante close to the validator (less than 10 centimetres). A green light indicates that you have correctly touched it and you can go on board. You should touch your ticket at all times, even if you have a monthly pass.
Transports within Portugal are mainly by land. Therefore bus services are available (bus companies), as well as railway (CP) all over the country. However, you can also travel by plane. There are regular flights to and from all the international airports, including Madeira and The Azores (TAP, Portugália, Aerocondor and SATA).
Besides regular transports, you can also go on tours, both bus tours and boat trips (several types of cruises are available in different rivers). There are also helicopter tours.
Youth Hostels (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Camping Sites (+351 218 126 890) are two cost-effective types of accommodation in Portugal. They are particularly useful for short visits to Porto, either for tourism, on a trip to prepare a longer stay (e.g. for studying or doing research), or as a provisional accommodation.
If you have a membership card of your national youth hostel or camping service, you can stay in any Portuguese Youth Hostel at cost-effective prices
The youth hostel Pousada da Juventude in Porto (email@example.com) is located in Rua Paulo da Gama. The nearest camping sites are: Parque da Prelada (Rua Monte dos Burgos, Porto), Angeiras (20 Km from Porto), Medas (Gavinho, Gondomar - 30 Km from Porto), Solverde (Espinho 17 Km from Porto) and Marisol (Madalena, V. N. N. Gaia 10 Km from Porto).
Portugal has been enhancing its service policies over the last few years, including hotels and restaurants. Therefore, all hotels and restaurants in Portugal have a complaints book. When customers are unsatisfied with a service, they can ask for the complaints book (also known as 'Livro Amarelo'). They can be asked to show their ID.
The IPJ - Instituto Português da Juventude, which is also responsible for managing the youth card and the youth hostels (+351 226 177 257), besides many other activities, publications and projects, provides assistance to young people.
Besides the libraries in all Faculties, there are also public libraries usually run by the city hall (Câmara Municipal do Porto).
The main libraries are:
There is an aural library at the 'Biblioteca Pública Municipal' which provides blind people, as well as physically handicapped and elder people, with an alternative to printed books: sound recorded books. This service was created in 1971 and is developed by a permanent team of speakers, both professional and volunteers. The library has around 4,500 audio recorded books.
Besides there are public libraries in Matosinhos and Vila Nova de Gaia.
Since opening times vary from library to library, we advise you to check the specific timetables of each library.
Cultural life in Porto has always been a rich one. Therefore, there are several bookshops and stationers all over the city (many of them with high quality standards), besides the ones in the Faculties. Some of them are nationally and internationally renowned.
Some of them are able to import foreign editions of books you may need. Import is usually very fast.
Existing tourism offices are able to provide a range of services and usual information.
There are several tourism offices available in Porto. The main tourism office is located by the city hall, but there is another one by the river, in Vila Nova de Gaia (related to the Porto Convention Bureau), and yet another one in Praça do Infante. There is also a AICEP office in Praça D. João I.
There are tourism information offices as well in the main railway stations and at the airport.
Porto is a traditional commercial city. Porto is known for its several shops and venues where you can buy all types of goods. The areas of Santa Catarina, Boavista and Cedofeita are especially known for their intense commercial activities. There are also shopping centres within the city boundaries and on its outskirts.
Several markets take place on a regular basis where you can buy almost anything, usually at cheap prices. There are also permanent markets in some locations in the city, as well as in other cities.
Being a traditional commercial city, Porto has a special traditional market: 'Mercado do Bolhão' (a beautiful forged iron building, in Rua Sá da Bandeira). Usually, markets are open from Monday to Friday, from 07.00 to 17.00, and on Saturdays from 07.00 to 13.00.