If you’re moving to Portugal, it’s important to find out what you’ll need to do if you encounter an emergency and need to call one of the emergency numbers – especially if you don’t speak Portuguese.
There are emergency numbers in Portugal for a range of instances, from medical issues to reporting crimes or lost property. This guide contains advice on the following:
- Emergency services in Portugal
- Fire services in Portugal
- Police in Portugal
- Healthcare and accidents in Portugal
- Mental health services in Portugal
- Drug and alcohol services in Portugal
- Children, family, and youth services in Portugal
- Utility and telecommunications services in Portugal
- Road and traffic emergencies in Portugal
- LGBTQ+ services in Portugal
- Homelessness services in Portugal
- Animal services in Portugal
- Tourist services in Portugal
- Lost or stolen property in Portugal
- European-wide emergency numbers
- What to do in an emergency in Portugal
- Emergency terms and phrases in Portugal
Emergency services in Portugal
In any kind of emergency in Portugal, you can call the emergency number (112) from any telephone to speak to the emergency services. Depending on the nature of your query, the operator subsequently routes you through to the medical service, fire service, or police.
When calling the emergency services, it’s important to try to remain calm and speak clearly when providing your name, exact location, and the nature of the emergency. Many operators speak some English but are unlikely to be native speakers.
It’s important that you only call 112 in a genuine emergency, however; in fact, misuse can result in delays for callers who require immediate help.
Fire services in Portugal
If you encounter a fire in Portugal, call the emergency number (112) to report it immediately. If you encounter a forest fire, call 117.
The Portuguese fire service is made up of professional as well as volunteer firefighters (Bombeiros). There are 2,000 professional firefighters in addition to 40,000 volunteer firefighters in Portugal. Both are represented by the Portuguese Firefighters League (Liga dos bombeiros Portugueses).
Police in Portugal
There are three main police organizations in Portugal: the Judicial Police (Policia Judiciária or PJ), the National Gendarmerie (Guarda Nacional Republicana or GNR), and the Public Security Police (Policia de Segurança Publica or PSP).
The PJ deals with complex and high-level criminal investigations on a national scale, such as terrorism, cybercrime, and money laundering. The GNR is Portugal’s paramilitary security organization; they are generally responsible for policing all areas of the country except for major cities, which is the responsibility of the PSP.
- Environment SOS (GNR): 808 200 520
- Transit SOS (GNR): 808 201 855
- Sea rescue: 214 401 919
- Maritime Police: 210 911 100
Healthcare and accidents in Portugal
In a medical emergency, you can get help regardless of your insurance coverage or residence status. However, you must provide evidence to access further treatment once your condition is stable.
In a health emergency in Portugal, call the emergency number: 112. However, for non-emergency situations, visit your doctor, who can prescribe you medicine or refer you to a specialist if necessary. For general medical advice, you can also call Health Line 24 (Saúde 24) at 0808 24 24 24.
The Portuguese Healthcare Service website provides lists of hospitals, doctors, as well as pharmacies in your area. You can also use the online tool to select the service you require and your district to obtain contact details for your nearest healthcare specialist. For a map of Portuguese pharmacies, see online.
Some other useful emergency numbers in Portugal for healthcare include the following:
- Sea rescue: 214 401 919
- Portuguese health portal: see online (in Portuguese only, however)
- Cancer helpline: 213 619 542
You can find out even more about the Portuguese healthcare system in our full guide to healthcare in Portugal.
Mental health services in Portugal
Mental healthcare services in Portugal are provided through the Portuguese health service. Your first port of call is to contact your doctor, who can also refer you to a specialist if necessary. Some mental health services are available through the public healthcare system, but others are only on offer privately.
- Suicide/crisis helpline (SOS Voz Amiga): 0800 202 669
Drug and alcohol services in Portugal
- Alcoholics Anonymous: 217 162 969
- Anti–Alcoholic Portuguese Society: 213 571 483
- Drug abuse helpline: 1414
- Narcotics Anonymous (Narcoticos Anonomios): 800 202 013
Children, family, and youth services in Portugal
- Child abuse hotline (SOS Criança): 800 202 651
- Spousal abuse helpline (SOS Mulher): 0800 202 148
- Victim support helpline (Associação Portuguesa de Apoio à Vitima): 707 200 077
- Ministry for Youth and Sport: 800 203 030
- Portuguese Youth Institute (Instituto Português da Juventude): see online.
Utility and telecommunications services in Portugal
- Water issues: call Águas de Portugal at 800 201 600 (burst pipes) or 800 222 425 (water cuts) or 800 or you can also go online.
- Electricity issues: call Energias de Portugal at 800 506 506 or you can also go online.
- Gas leaks/issues: call your supplier – Galp Energia (800 508 112) or Medigás (808 201 150).
- Phone issues: for mobile phones, contact your network provider. For landlines, contact Portugal Telecom at 16 200 or you can also go online.
Road and traffic emergencies in Portugal
In a road emergency in Portugal, call 112 or one of the other emergency numbers instead to contact the police, medical service, or fire brigade as appropriate.
What to do in the event of an accident in Portugal depends on its severity. In a minor accident with no injuries, both parties should exchange details and fill out an accident report, which you then submit to the insurance companies. However, if there is a disagreement over what happened, don’t sign any documentation at the scene.
In the event of a more serious accident, contact the emergency services immediately. Some other key contacts are the following:
- Traffic Police (Guarda Nacional Republicana): 219 223 000
- National Road Safety Authority (Autoridade Nacional de Segurança Rodoviária): 707 200 011.
LGBTQ+ services in Portugal
- International Lesbian and Gay Association Portugal (Associação ILGA Portugal): call 218 873 918 or go online (in Portuguese only, however).
- Opus Gay: one of the oldest gay associations in Portugal. Call 213 151 396 or go online (in Portuguese only, however).
- Rede Ex-Aequo: association for LGBTQ+ people aged 16-30. Call 968 781 841 or go online (in Portuguese only, however).
- Clubo Safo: lesbian association in Portugal. Call 960 046 617 or you can also go online for additional information.
Homelessness services in Portugal
- National Social Emergency Line: 144
- Lisbon Housing First (Crescer): 213 620 192 or online (in Portuguese only, however).
- CASA Homeless Support Center (Centro de Apoio ao sem Abrigo): 96 004 13 74
Animal services in Portugal
- Portuguese Director General of Veterinary Services (Direcção-Geral de Veterinária): see online.
- Associação Animal: organization campaigning for animal protection in Portugal. call 962 358 183 or see online (in Portuguese only, however).
- Sociedade Protectora dos Animais (SPA): animal protection charity. Call 213 423 851 or go online (in Portuguese only, however).
- Associação Protecção Animais Algarve (APAA): English-language organization promoting protection of animals in the Algarve. Read even more about APAA online.
Tourist services in Portugal
- Embassy Worldwide: find your country’s embassy in Portugal online.
- British Embassy in Lisbon: call 21 392 392 4000 for urgent help or you can also visit them online.
- US Embassy in Portugal: call 21 727 3300 or you can also visit them online.
- Visit Portugal: tourist board, see online.
Lost or stolen property in Portugal
If you lose an item on public transport in Portugal, you should contact the relevant transport company (e.g., CP for items lost on a train). You can also contact the Public Security Police (PSP) to report a loss or theft at 218 444 530.
If you lose a bank card, report it to the local police station. The police then provide a certificate (Auto de Denúncia de Furto) for the issuing bank. You should also report the lost or stolen card to SIBS (Sociedade Interbancária de Serviços) at 808 201 251 or 217 813 080.
European-wide emergency numbers
If you have an emergency anywhere in Europe, you can call 112 to access emergency services. Calls to 112 are free and can be made from any landline, payphone, or mobile phone.
What to do in an emergency in Portugal
When you call one of the emergency numbers in Portugal, you should follow these tips:
- State your name, telephone number, the location where help is necessary, the situation and if it’s still happening, how many people require help, and whether there are weapons or dangerous substances involved.
- Don’t forget the code to your parking lot or apartment building.
- Never hang up until you are invited to do so.
- If you have existing medical problems or regularly take prescription drugs, make sure you at least know how to say their names in Portuguese to the operator.
- If you have children, cite their ages and how much they weigh (in kilograms) in case you need to call an anti-poison center or to administer medication.
- In a situation where you’re dealing with intoxications, make sure to inform them of what was taken and also, if possible, give them the rest of what was consumed.
Emergency terms and phrases in Portugal
- Doctor: Médico
- Medicine: Medicina
- Pharmacy: Farmácia
- Maternity: Maternidade
- Emergency: Emergência
- I need a doctor: preciso um médico
- Call an ambulance: Chame uma ambulancia
- Where is the nearest hospital?: Onde e o hospital mais próximo?
- I feel ill: Estou doente
- I’d like to make an appointment: Gostaria de marcar uma consulta
- Health center: Centro de Saúde
- Hospital: Hospital