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Where do you seek healthcare in times of need? Take a look at this list of the top 5 best hospitals in the Algarve.

Last Updated on October 21, 2022 by Laila Oliveira

Europe is known for having the best healthcare facilities in the world. You might not know this, but Portugal also ranks very well when it comes to the quality of healthcare not only in Europe but across the globe. Consequently, you’ll find the best hospitals in the Algarve region too.

Healthcare in the Algarve region is just as good as, if not better, most cities in Portugal. The Algarve region is home to several private and public hospitals, not to mention the other smaller clinics that complement the bigger hospitals. We understand that, as an expat, it can get quite difficult to get the right hospital for your needs. 

Having said that, we have compiled a list of the best hospitals in the Algarve to help in those times when you need proper medical attention. Keep reading to stay prepared during times of need. 

What are the best hospitals in the Algarve?

The Algarve region is privileged enough to have several public and private hospitals that take care of the local population’s health. In addition, this region also has several other medical clinics and emergency care facilities that help deal with emergency cases. Take a look at the 5 best hospitals in the Algarve:


Centro Hospitalar Universitario do Algarve

The University Hospital Center of Algarve is a public hospital located in Faro. It is one of the biggest hospitals in the Algarve region where specialized healthcare is offered and easily ranks as one of the best hospitals in the Algarve. 

Founded over 40 years ago, this hospital has continually been on the quest to provide nothing but the best healthcare for the residents of the entire Algarve region.

Hospital de Portimão

This is another excellent public hospital located in Portimão. While this small town is famous for its pristine beaches, you should also know that it is home to one of the biggest public hospitals in the Algarve region. Although not known for providing specialized care, it does a great job of providing all-rounded medical care for the local population and beyond.

Hospital de Lagos

The Hospital de Lagos closes the list of the three major public hospitals in the Algarve region. Located in the old town of Lagos, this public hospital is among the most senior healthcare in the Algarve region, built in the 15th century.

Hospital Particular do Algarve – Gambelas

The Hospital Particular in Gambelas was built in 2009 and has quickly become one of the best private hospitals in the Algarve region. The hospital prides itself on patient satisfaction in all the healthcare services they provide. This hospital is expanding to introduce different departments that will take care of the healthcare needs of the local population.

Hospital Particular do Algarve – Alvor

The Hospital Particular in Alvor is another good private hospital within the Algarve region. This hospital was the first unit of the HPA Health Group and the very first private hospital in the Algarve region. It has become quite a popular healthcare facility because of spearheading the use of technology in the medical field.

How to have access to the Portuguese public health system?

Fortunately, the Portuguese public health system serves everyone who lives in the country and needs medical attention. For Portuguese locals and EU residents, medical care in public hospitals is free. In fact, they don’t need to produce any documentation beforehand. 

For expats who want to enjoy healthcare in Portugal, you first need to be a legal resident. However, those on short visits, like tourists and non-residents in Portugal, need to have private medical insurance before getting healthcare in Portugal. 

It is worth mentioning that this doesn’t apply to EU citizens on a short visit to Portugal. They can get medical care through the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Another point worth mentioning is that nationals from countries with reciprocal healthcare arrangements with Portugal are also eligible to get subsidized medical help whenever needed.


Public or private hospitals?

As mentioned earlier, the Algarve region is home to both public and private hospitals. The public healthcare system in Portugal is run by the Serviço Nacional de Saúde (SNS). Better referred to as the Portuguese National Healthcare System. 

The Portuguese Health Ministry is the overall body tasked with managing the SNS. On the other hand, private hospitals are not governed by the SNS. Instead, they are run by large private healthcare organizations. Just like in different countries around the world, private healthcare is usually more expensive than public healthcare. 

However, private healthcare in Portugal is not as expensive as in other countries in Europe or North America. Besides the cost of healthcare, one significant difference between the two is the waiting time. Unfortunately, the Portuguese public health system has the same problems as any other public healthcare worldwide. 

The lines are often long, and there are staff shortages, especially for specialized doctors. On the other hand, private hospitals provide a wider range of services, and you will have a better chance of getting medical attention from an English-speaking doctor.

Are hospital costs expensive in the Algarve?

Healthcare in the Algarve region and the whole of Portugal is quite subsidized compared to other European countries. You will be happy to find out that most medical healthcare for individuals with legal residency is free. 

However, most dental care and emergency services that don’t result in hospitalization are not free in public hospitals. Private healthcare can be expensive, but with good medical insurance, you will be able to mitigate some of the expenses from private healthcare.

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What’s the difference between health centers and hospitals?

While both hospitals and health centers offer medical care, knowing exactly which one to visit when you need medical help is vital. Health centers often referred to as clinics, are smaller than hospitals and offer routine and preventative care. 

These are the facilities you should visit when you need quick check-ups or medical attention that do not require you to stay overnight. Generally, they are less equipped than fully-fledged hospitals. 

On the flip side, hospitals are the big facilities that you get referred to by your general practitioner from the health center. Hospitals have the capacity to deal with minor and also major medical interventions whenever necessary. When you need specialized medical attention, the best place to seek such services would be from a hospital, either public or private.

Where should I go if I have a health emergency?

When you have a medical emergency, you have two options to choose from while in the Algarve region. The first option, which is the most popular, is going to the nearest hospital and heading directly to the emergency department. 


Remember to carry your identification document with you. You will get admitted and given a colored wristband depending on the severity of your condition. The other option you can also pursue is visiting emergency healthcare facilities (serviço de urgência básica) away from the hospital. While they might not be equipped for surgery, they can handle other minor medical emergencies.

Should I have health insurance in Portugal?

You can get your healthcare insurance through employment-based contributions to the Social Security Institute or private healthcare. The first option is popular for locals and legal residents, while the latter is common among Non-EU short-term visitors. If you want full healthcare coverage, it is necessary to get private healthcare insurance. 

This is because public health insurance doesn’t cover all the treatments you might need from a hospital. Private healthcare insurance is growing in popularity among Portuguese locals. Other than supplementing the services of public healthcare insurance, having private insurance also gives you the luxury of choice when it comes to the type of hospital you can visit.

You can choose to go to a private hospital where the lines are much shorter, and the services are quicker.

Does Portugal have good hospitals?

Healthcare in Portugal is not only popular in Europe but across the globe. In fact, two of Portugal’s hospitals feature among the top 100 hospitals in the world, which says a lot about the quality of healthcare in Portugal. 

There are over 200 hospitals in Portugal, both private and public, that provide quality healthcare services ranked well based on international standards. Cheap or affordable doesn’t always mean low-quality services.

The Portuguese healthcare system is not only affordable but also provides top-notch medical care. In addition, hospitals in Portugal are easily accessible to everyone, which is a far cry from other countries. 

On the flip side, it is also necessary to mention that public hospitals are often understaffed, making the queues longer.

Living in the Algarve means having access to good healthcare

Living in the Algarve means different things to different people. For some, the promise of good all-year-round weather is the major draw. While for others, it is the picturesque beaches and expansive coastline.

Regardless of your reasons for moving to the Algarve, you should know that you never need to worry about the quality of healthcare in this region. There are plenty of private and public hospitals where you can get the best as far as healthcare is concerned.

If you are ready to move and start a new life in the Algarve, our experts at Viv Europe can make that happen for you. Our immigration experts are well-versed in the process and have been involved in the successful relocation of many people from across the globe. 

If you have any further queries, consider joining our Facebook Group – All About Portugal For Expats. It’s an opportunity for you to talk to others who have been through the process before. Contact us today, and let’s get you settled in one of the most sought-after destinations in the world.



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