Citizens of the EU, European Economic Area and Switzerland should carry a European Health Insurance Card – EHIC – which entitles you to basic healthcare in all member states. Beware of unofficial websites charging for the EHIC, this is free of charge from the NHS for British citizens, and EU/EEA and Swiss citizens resident in the UK. For more information about the EHIC go to:
Under this system most medical care in Spain is free at the point of delivery, although some items, like prescriptions, are not. More details here:
In France you have to pay up front, then reclaim what you have spent from either the French or the UK authorities. More details here:
In Portugal most healthcare is state-funded. Please see here for more details:
The EHIC card does not cover the cost of things like any private treatment, mountain rescue or emergency repatriation and we strongly advise that in addition to carrying the EHIC you also take out a comprehensive travel policy including private medical expenses.
It is essential that non-EEA citizens have private medical cover, and again, we recommend that you consider a comprehensive travel policy to cover emergencies like mountain rescue.