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Living in Porto?

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Porto at a Glance

Living in Porto

Ready to enjoy the experience of living in Porto, one of the cultural capitals of Europe? Porto offers you amazing architecture, historic places and lots of festivals and activities. Read more about this amazing destination for expatriates in our guide, covering culture, healthcare, safety and more!

Culture and Leisure

Porto is seen by many as the cultural capital of Portugal, and was in 2001 named the joint European Capital of Culture with Rotterdam. As one of the oldest city centers in Europe, Porto was made a UNESCO Heritage site in 1996. Consequently, one of its main cultural attractions are its historic buildings, some of which, such as the famous Romanesque Cathedral, date back to the 15th century.

In addition, expatriates living in Porto can experience the city's traditional cuisine and port wine at one of its many restaurants; it also has a buzzing nightlife with lots of bars and clubs open until late on the weekends.

The city also lots of public art, including Ângelo de Sousa's Avenida da Boavista, and many art galleries and museums. Porto is famous for its music halls and concert venues, like the grand Coliseu do Porto and the São João National Theater, which host concerts, events, and plays throughout the year.

Living in Porto in the summer also gives you the chance to take part in one of its many festivals, including the historic São João Festival and the Queima das Fitas.

Healthcare in Porto

Portugal has an advanced, developed healthcare system with public and private options. Public healthcare is maintained and operated by the state's Portuguese Serviço Nacional de Saúde (SNS), and is funded through taxes. An expatriate’s access to public healthcare whilst living in Porto is determined by both their country of origin and the status of their visa.

As an EU citizen, you have the right to use the state healthcare system free of charge, but there may be extra costs incurred for specialist procedures or treatments.

As an expatriate from a non-EU country, you will have to pay to access the public healthcare system, but the amount will depend on your country of origin and the treatment you require. However, once you have a residency permit, you will be able to apply for a National Health Service "user card", which will give you access to healthcare as an expatriate living in Porto.

You can also take out private health insurance and use the private healthcare system should you wish.

Safety and Security in Porto

Porto is an extremely safe and welcoming city. While, like any other major city, it does have a medium rate of petty and street crime, incidences of violent and serious crime are few and far between.

However, as an expatriate living in Porto you should keep your wits about you, especially when using public transport and in crowed tourist areas, as pick pocketing is not uncommon. It is a good idea to keep your passport, wallet and other valuable possessions secured in a bag that cannot be opened easily. However, you needn’t take any more precautions than you normally would in any other major European city.

In general the people of the city are very friendly towards expatriates living in Porto, and will help you if you are in need. Should you require it, the emergency police number is 112.

InterNations Expat Magazine