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Northern Portugal is a popular tourist destination partly because it is a friendly and relatively safe place to visit. The overall crime rate in all of Portugal is not high. However, tourists in Porto and Lisbon are always good targets (as in any large city in the world) for becoming victims of small crimes such as purse snatching and pick pocketing, and there have been repeated problems late at night in Porto's nightclub district. There have also been occasional carjackings in the past year (most of which could have been avoided by the simple expedient of driving with locked doors). Tourists should be aware of this and remain street smart, especially while visiting Porto, although the risk of crime is much less in other areas of Northern Portugal .
There are hospitals and various medical facilities located throughout Northern Portugal, but many of the public hospitals are not as high quality as what would be found in some other countries – including the United States. Private hospitals, such as the CliPóvoa chain based in Póvoa de Varzim (with a branch in Porto, among other places) are quite good. The Hospital de São João in Porto is one of the best hospitals in the country, although waiting times for non-emergencies may be long. A new 700-bed teaching hospital will be opened in Braga in 2011, in conjunction with the medical school of the Universidade do Minho-- it will replace Braga's somewhat delapidated facility, the oldest section of which was built by Archbishop Diogo de Sousa some 500 years ago! People choosing to travel to Northern Portugal who have known medical issues and who will definitely need medical attention while in Portugal should speak with their doctor prior to traveling. For these individuals, a vacation to Northern Portugal (as to anywhere) should only be done with the advice of a doctor.
For emergencies, most of the hospitals in the area do have English speaking doctors. For information on whether or not a private health insurance policy will cover medical issues while visiting in Northern Portugal, the insurance agency should be contacted directly.
Overall, Portugal is a safe country and there are no known health risks for visitors.