20 Best Online Portuguese Courses In 2020 (Native Speaker Opinion)

  • Written byMaria Inês Teixeira
  • Read time25 mins
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20 Best Online Portuguese Courses In 2020 (Native Speaker Opinion)

Anyone who’s thought of learning Portuguese online will tell you an inconvenient truth.

There are lots of outdated, old-school, uninteresting resources for learning Portuguese out there.

Fortunately, the demand for Portuguese (both Brazilian and European) keeps growing. That’s great news for us language lovers who are always on the hunt for efficient, interactive tools that help us learn better!

With that in mind, here’s a selection of online tools you can take to learn Portuguese. Please notice that some pros and cons for each course might be subjective.

It’s a good idea to decide what kind of features are essential to you before signing up and paying for a full course.

 

1. Rocket Portuguese

Rocket Portuguese

Variety: Brazilian only.

Cost: $99.95 (one-time payment) with options to pay $19.00 (monthly) for 6 months instead.

Summary: Rocket Languages takes you through the most common phrases and pronunciation rules step by step, in a course organized by modules. You’ll be taking interactive audio lessons, but also more structured language and survival lessons with different topics. Then, you can use some of Rocket Languages’ games and quizzes to test your knowledge. See this review of Rocket Portuguese.

What I like:

  • Perfect for beginners who crave for guidance and structured lessons.
  • You earn points with everything that you do in Rocket Portuguese and can establish daily goals to keep yourself accountable, if that’s the type of strategy that suits you.
  • You have lifetime access to the course after the one-time payment.

What I don’t like:

  • The background speaker in English who guides you through the course may cause you to get bored or annoyed after a couple of lessons (if you prefer learning independently).
  • It isn’t recommended that you skip lessons or explore content, but rather stick to the outlined plan.
  • Advanced learners might find the content unchallenging.

2. Babbel Portuguese

Babbel Portuguese

Variety: Brazilian only.

Cost: 12.99€ (monthly), 29.97€ (quarterly) or 71.88€ (annually). Other options exist, such as paying 47.94€ every six months or 99.00€ annually for access to all languages Babbel offers.

Summary: Babbel is an award-winning app, as well as the first-selling one. It delivers Brazilian Portuguese lessons through everyday conversations, placing vocabulary in context. It also relies on repetition to help you memorize important vocabulary, and invites you to recall information and write it down as soon as you learn it. See this Babbel review to learn more.

What I like:

  • Dialog-based learning, putting vocabulary and grammar in context right from the start.
  • Short questionnaire at the beginning in order to customize content to your native language, needs, availability and goal with the language.
  • Solid review system.
  • Bite-sized lessons that don’t feel overwhelming and allow the information to sink in.
  • Speech recognition.

What I don’t like:

  • Method can get a little repetitive after several levels.
  • Not the best option if you need lots of real-time speaking practice and the support of a teacher.

3. Brazilian Podclass

Variety: Brazilian only.

Cost: $34.51 (monthly) or $355.81 (annually).

Summary: This podcast course was created by the experienced Brazilian teacher Marina Gomes and contains more than 550 lessons, each with a 15-30 minute audio lesson and a written guide.

What I like:

  • Word-by-word transcript of each episode (5 to 9-page PDF files).
  • Relevant, updated topics that help you understand Brazilian culture (carnival, hobbies, beach, street markets, etc.)
  • 30-minute lessons that are easily digestible.
  • Material presented in both English and Portuguese.
  • All episodes are downloadable.

What I don’t like:

  • Relatively costly.
  • No speaking practice, apart from pronunciation exercises based on repetition.

4. Glossika

Variety: Brazilian and European.

Cost: $30 (monthly) or $299.88 (annually) for access to all languages.

Summary: Glossika helps you learn Portuguese through lots of listening and spaced repetition. A unique Glossika feature is that it doesn’t focus on grammar, but rather on patterns. Here’s an epic, detailed review of Glossika with Glossika’s founder, Mike Campbell, if you’re interested in discovering more about the method behind the tool.

What I like:

  • Full sentence practice in context, so that learning new vocabulary feels more natural.
  • 7-day free trial.
  • Customized content based on your level.
  • Lots of listening and repeating to help information sink in.
  • No grammar study (it’s an advantage if you dislike using grammar to learn a language!)

What I don’t like:

  • No grammar study (it’s a con if you like having some grammar guidance.)
  • Price might be too high if you have no interest in learning other languages apart from Portuguese.

5. Instituto Camões

Variety: European only.

Cost: One-time fee of 180€ (self-study option), 250€ (basic option) or 320€ (premium option).

Summary: Instituto Camões is the most prestigious organization in Portugal devoted to European Portuguese education. They offer online courses with several degrees of interaction, from absolute independent study (doesn’t depend on a teacher or classmates) to options that include private tutoring, as well as speaking and writing practice. It’s a great option if you’re looking for a holistic approach to Portuguese and would like to get certified by a credible organization.

What I like:

  • Three different course options with different levels of interaction.
  • Levels A1 to C1 (absolute beginner to advanced).
  • Receive an official certificate by the most prestigious European Portuguese institute in Portugal.
  • Evaluation is dynamic, inviting you to submit different assignments, participate in discussions, have conversations on Skype and write your own articles in Portuguese.
  • The Premium option includes individual tutoring.

What I don’t like:

  • Courses last for 12 weeks, which may be a con if you dislike deadlines and structured learning.
  • The self-study option includes reading, listening and grammar practice, but no writing or speaking.
  • Evaluation is continuous, meaning you must submit several assignments, be present and be active in your course.

6. Learn-Portuguese.org

Variety: European only.

Cost: $82.11 per beginner course (A1-A2) and $105.91 per intermediate course (B1-B2). Bundles available.

Summary: Mia Esmeriz is a professional, certified Portuguese teacher who has learned plenty of languages herself. She created this platform to teach European Portuguese and has a couple of interesting video courses for beginners and intermediate learners. Each level (with 30 to 90 minute-long lessons) is composed of 10 to 12 recorded lectures where she explains grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation concepts.

What I like:

  • Free 3-day crash course which includes worksheets and solutions.
  • Lifetime access once you purchase a course.
  • Possibility of buying in bundles.
  • Fit for learners who prefer having a teacher explain concepts in an entertaining, casual way before practicing.

What I don’t like:

  • Costly, considering the course is video-based and less complex than many other options online.
  • Might be boring if you prefer a hands-on approach, rather than having a teacher explain the language to you.

7. Lingodeer

Lingodeer

Variety: Brazilian only.

Cost: $11.99 (monthly), $29.99 (quarterly), $55.99 (yearly) or $99.99 (lifetime).

Summary: Lingodeer’s motto is “Learn languages smarter, not harder.” The platform and app has been conquering users who love learning through detailed explanations and grammar-based curricula with a structured, step-by-step plan. You’ll have plenty of options to customize your experience!

What I like:

  • Variety of exercises that make lessons engaging.
  • Opportunity to review content, customizing content according to what you got wrong.
  • Affordable.
  • Detailed explanations and grammar-based curriculum (if you like this kind of approach).
  • Customizable: choose your background color, script, the voice of the narrator, and your own routine.

What I don’t like:

  • Detailed explanations and grammar-based curriculum (can be a disadvantage if you prefer other methods, such as chunking and no-grammar approaches).
  • Not so appropriate for intermediate and advanced learners who want to be challenged.
  • No speaking practice.

See this Lingodeer review.


8. LingQ

Variety: Brazilian and European.

Cost: For Premium members: €12.99 (monthly), €71.94 (half-yearly), €107.88 (yearly), and €191.76 (every 2 years). For Premium Plus members: €39.99 (monthly), €233.94 (half-yearly), €419.88 (yearly), and €815.76 (every 2 years).

Summary: LingQ is a learn-in-context platform. It gives you access to 1000s of hours of audio with transcript, access to all 25 languages, downloadable audio lessons, and the possibility of tracking all of your learning activity: and this is only the free version. Premium members get more perks, and Premium Plus members get access to writing corrections and live tutoring.

What I like:

  • Fit for all levels: you’ll be able to develop your Portuguese even if you’re an advanced learner.
  • Content is curated from the start to fit your favorite topics.
  • Wonderful if you can’t decide between Brazilian and European Portuguese (or if you’d just like to learn both at the same time): unlike other platforms, LingQ doesn’t force you to choose. By selecting the Portuguese language option, you get content in both dialects. They’re properly labeled, so you’ll always know which dialect you’re reading.
  • Learn through listening and reading, acquiring vocabulary in context from the very start.
  • Contains a free version that allows you to get familiar with the platform and have some fun before committing to something more serious.

What I don’t like:

  • Platform is a little crowded and not so user-friendly compared to others. It seems there’s too much going on visually.
  • The perks that a Premium account gets you may not be worth paying the price: make sure you compare features and benefits carefully before making a decision.

9. Lusa Language School

Variety: European only.

Cost: Intensive course starts at €95,00 (one week/10 hours) going up to €320 (four weeks/40 hours). The online part-time course starts at €155 for a full 5-week, 20-hour course. Please check the current prices here and feel free to reach the school directly, as apparently there are frequent discounts!

Summary: If you’re tired of apps and prefer the traditional classroom experience, Lusa Language School offers plenty of online courses that help you develop all skills: speaking, reading, writing and listening. You’ll have a teacher and other classmates to keep you company and a regular schedule you can count on!

What I like:

  • Choose between an online intensive course, an online part-time course or private one-to-one lessons.
  • The longer the course, the less you pay per week.
  • Perfect if you love learning from a teacher and interact with classmates.
  • Homework assignments that keep the language present and challenge all skills.
  • If you have studied at LUSA before and have a preferred teacher, the school helps you continue your studies with them.

What I don’t like:

  • Requires your presence on specific days and at specific hours.
  • Homework assignments, which can be a con if you have a busy schedule.
  • Costly when compared to language apps (although it isn’t too costly for a regular language school).

10. Mango Portuguese

Mango Portuguese

Variety: Brazilian only.

Cost: $7.99 (monthly) or $79.99 (yearly) for a single language. $17.99 (monthly) or $179.99 (yearly) for all languages.

Summary: Mango Languages has collected plenty of fans due to its blended flashcard and learn-in-context method. Learners are exposed to conversations in Portuguese from the very start, not just isolated words. The cultural notes that come with each lesson promise to help you boost your cultural IQ while helping you improve pronunciation, reading skills and memorization.

What I like:

  • Includes both listening and reading practice.
  • Allows you to practice pronunciation by comparing your recording with that of a native speaker.
  • Introduces useful expressions in context immediately, rather than giving you isolated words before you get a chance to look at full sentences.
  • App is inclusive. It provides both written explanations and the audio version of those explanations.
  • Provides the guidance of a female voice that resembles a teacher, accompanying you through each step, inviting you to recall information and reproduce what you hear.
  • Perfect if you love learning more about cultural context and traditions at the same time you learn the language itself!

What I don’t like:

  • The lessons include (at times) lengthy audio explanations and transitions in English, which can get pretty tiring if you have no need for the audio.
  • If you don’t feel the need to have the guidance of a teacher and prefer discovering content by yourself, this might not be the app for you. You might get a little annoyed by the constant interference of the female voice in English.

11. Mondly

Mondly Portuguese

Variety: Brazilian only. The app claims to offer both Brazilian and European Portuguese, but unfortunately, what is sold as European Portuguese is still Brazilian: I tested some lessons myself by clicking the flag of Portugal and all of it was 100% the dialect spoken in Brazil!

Cost: €9.99 (monthly) and €47.99 (yearly) for one language only. One-time payment of €99.99 for access to all 41 languages.

Summary: Mondly combines conversation-focused curriculum with speech recognition, bite-sized lessons and a repetition system to help you develop fluency and memorize words better. It allows you to pick from 33 native languages apart from English, so you can learn a second language with your own as a starting point.

What I like:

  • Allows you to choose your native language apart from English, so you can learn a second language based on your own.
  • Uses chatbots throughout the course so you can practice responding in the context of an everyday conversation.
  • Very similar to Duolingo in practice, which can be a plus if you’re used to Duolingo and want somewhat of an upgrade without losing the sense of familiarity.
  • If you love competition, you’re likely to enjoy the fact that Mondly allows you to earn points by completing lessons. You compete with other users from around the world, which can be a motivational factor!

What I don’t like:

  • Big disappointment when I noticed that their European Portuguese course is actually Brazilian Portuguese. If you’re after the Brazilian dialect, go for it! If you’re after European Portuguese, you’re much better off with other apps or platforms.
  • Method can get a little repetitive after a while, especially if you’re a beginner.
  • Platform feels a little overly crowded in design and elements. If you’re a fan of a clean, minimalist design, you might be better off with another product.
  • Similar to Duolingo in that it relies on very strict vocabulary categories and translation, which can be a disadvantage if you disliked Duolingo in the first place.

12. Pimsleur

Pimsleur Portuguese

Variety: Brazilian and European.

Cost: $21.95 (per 5 lessons) or $119.95 (per full level, which includes 30 lessons) for European Portuguese. For Brazilian Portuguese, the cost is $575.00 for a complete course (levels 1 to 5) or $150.00 (per level).

Summary: Pimsleur is a language learning platform based on recall, the principle of anticipation, and vocabulary in context of everyday conversations. Dr. Pimsleur’s rules are made pretty clear at the beginning of each course: repeat the words you hear aloud; never look up words or write down vocabulary during a course (focus on the audio instead); never try to memorize words on purpose; never expose yourself to more than one audio lesson a day…but complete one every day! See this review of Pimsleur to learn more.

What I like:

  • Immediate exposure to challenging conversations that lead you to the most important vocabulary straight away.
  • Syllable-by-syllable guidance, so you can perfect your pronunciation.
  • Lots of repetition to allow the information to sink in.
  • Brazilian Portuguese course includes flashcards, reading practice, quick match quizzes, and exercises for developing your survival skills.

What I don’t like:

  • Guidance by an English speaker who interferes often, which can be annoying or distracting if you prefer exploring content on your own.
  • If you’re a seasoned language learner who enjoys feeling quick progress as soon as you get started, you might feel the lessons progress way too slowly.
  • The European Portuguese course seems severely underdeveloped in comparison to the Brazilian Portuguese course.

13. Philipe Brazuca

Variety: Brazilian only.

Cost: One-time payment of $297 for the VIP course, with lifetime access to all content.

Summary: Philipe is a Brazilian teacher from Paraíba who has dedicated his platform to teaching Spanish speakers how to speak Brazilian Portuguese. His website includes a free, 7-day mini course for Portuguese enthusiasts and a VIP course. The best part is that you can follow Philipe on YouTube or check out his blog to get a feel for his style before committing to a membership.

What I like:

  • You have the company of an enthusiastic, energetic teacher who leads you through the modules.
  • No grammar books (an advantage if you dislike studying grammar when learning a new language).
  • Access to a community of other Portuguese learners who can help you with your own journey.
  • Support via Whatsapp to help you with your questions.
  • Monthly group video calls that allow you to practice speaking with the teacher and the classmates.
  • A great way to learn Portuguese through Spanish, whether that’s your native language or a second language you can already speak very well.

What I don’t like:

  • If you’re after an app that allows you to practice independently and without the guidance of a teacher, this isn’t it.
  • If you can’t speak Spanish, other products will be a better choice.
  • If you can speak Spanish but already tend to mix languages up, learning Portuguese through Spanish might confuse you even more.
  • No certificate.

14. Plataforma de Português Online - Alto Comissariado para as Migrações

Variety: European only.

Cost: Free.

Summary: The High Commission for Migration is a governmental organization whose platform allows you to learn European Portuguese for free. It’s as easy as creating a free account and you can start learning immediately!

What I like:

  • Platform available in Portuguese, English, Spanish and Arabic.
  • Ability to clear up your doubts and talk to a tutor directly.
  • Complete the course at your own pace.
  • It’s surprisingly easy to get started: just create a free account!
  • Introductory video to the course is dubbed in English and Arabic (apart from Portuguese), so you can get a clear idea of how the course works and how European language levels are defined before getting started.

What I don’t like:

  • Introductory video to the course isn’t dubbed in Spanish, even though that option should be available.
  • Language used in the entire platform (eg: topics, menu) can feel conservative and formal compared to other language apps.
  • Interactions are somewhat basic.

15. Portuguese Lab

Variety: European only.

Cost: $35 (monthly) or $350 (annually).

Summary: Portuguese Lab might be one of the most modern, well-developed European Portuguese platforms out there. Susana Morais, a language enthusiast and Portuguese teacher, created a website where you can learn through a podcast (with side resources), in-depth courses, a skills builder, the grammar vault and a community.

What I like:

  • Diverse platform with plenty of courses dedicated to different interests.
  • Support of a community that can help with your questions and struggles.
  • Well-developed podcast and transcripts to go with your practice.
  • Exercises that support different skills (reading, writing, pronunciation, vocabulary).
  • 30-day money-back guarantee.

What I don’t like:

  • No speaking practice.
  • A little costly comparing to other platforms.

16. PortuguesePod101

PortuguesePod101

Variety: Brazilian only.

Cost: Pricing depends on the amount of months you want to buy to have access to the materials. For example, a Basic account will cost you $8 for a month of access, $21 for three months of access, $36 for six months of access, all the way up to $96 for two years of access. Premium and Premium+ accounts have the same system, but different pricing. You can check all of this info on their website.

Summary: PortuguesePod101 provides over 1180 audio and video lessons, as well as detailed PDF lesson notes so you can keep track of your progress with Brazilian Portuguese.

What I like:

  • Flexibility and control over which content you want to explore first.
  • Possibility of replaying specific sentences in the entire lesson, rather than having to go back to the beginning or having to replay the entire thing!
  • Cultural insights that give you more information about Brazil in each lesson.
  • Advanced lessons maintain the level of challenge, they’re not just reviews of old material.
  • Quite affordable when compared to other options, especially considering there’s a lot of content for free.

What I don’t like:

  • Platform might feel a little overwhelming if you’re used to clean, linear language apps and courses that take you step by step.
  • Might be a good complement, but not enough of a tool to get you speaking Brazilian Portuguese as soon as possible.

UNIQUE OFFER: Use the code MEZZOGUILD to save 25% on any of their Portuguese course options.


17. Practice Portuguese

Variety: European only.

Cost: €15 (monthly).

Summary: If you’ve ever wanted to study European Portuguese online, you’re likely to be familiar with Practice Portuguese. They are one of the strongest platforms for this purpose and work around a high-quality podcast and a learning studio where you get to practice grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation.

What I like:

  • Podcast is incredibly developed, not only including transcripts but also chapters. It provides key vocabulary, phrases and a quiz to test your comprehension.
  • 400+ Lessons (in 60+ Units) are immediately unlocked so you can learn at your own pace and skip to the material that you find more interesting.
  • Verb section that allows you to focus on grammar (conjugations of over 250 verbs most commonly used in Portugal), but does not make it mandatory in case you dislike grammar.
  • Includes mini-dialogues and videos so you can practice listening comprehension skills.
  • Very generous in price, considering the amount of materials included.

What I don’t like:

  • Some of its system strongly resembles that of Babbel and can get a little repetitive. If you’ve enjoyed Babbel, however, this could be an advantage.

18. Cudoo

Variety: Brazilian and European.

Cost: $24.99 per course (between 49-61 lessons).

Summary: Cudoo isn’t specialized in language learning, but the platform does offer an incredible variety of courses to develop your skills (marketing, psychology, productivity, entrepreneurship, etc). If you’re planning on working in Portugal or Brazil, Cudoo might help, as it focuses on both basic and business language.

What I like:

  • Focus on Business Portuguese in both dialects.
  • Self-paced.
  • Lifetime access after purchasing an individual course.
  • Certificate of completion.
  • Full refund within the first 7 days of purchase, no questions asked (if you end up not enjoying the course or find out it’s not for you!).

What I don’t like:

  • Platform isn’t specialized in language learning.
  • Some courses contain fewer lessons, yet cost the same.

19. Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone Portuguese

Variety: Brazilian only.

Cost: $35.97 (for 3 months), $119.88 (for a year), $167.76 (for two years) or $199 once for access to all languages. I wouldn’t recommend this last option for reasons I’ll explain below.

Summary: Rosetta Stone uses a no-translation immersion method that invites you to learn Portuguese without having to worry about understanding each and every single word. It’s quite an effortless method in which you still get the chance to customize your plan and choose a level that challenges you. You can find a detailed review of Rosetta Stone here).

What I like:

  • 3 days of full access for free, so you can try the product before making a decision.
  • Choose a plan according to your Portuguese level and personal interests.
  • Practice all skills per lesson. Start with the main lesson, then proceed to pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, reading and writing. You also have the option of selecting a pair of skills and excluding others (for example, pursuing a reading/writing course only.)
  • You’re immediately exposed to Portuguese without translations, challenging you to associate useful phrases with images from the very firt lesson.
  • Subscription includes a weekly tutoring session with a real teacher.

What I don’t like:

  • Pricing isn’t transparent at all: apparently, different countries can be charged differently (and not just in terms of currency exchange rates), not to mention the frequent discounts some users receive randomly that make it difficult to understand the true price of the product.
  • Method can get a little repetitive over a large period of time (match word with image).
  • Many online reviews claim the platform hasn’t changed much in the last 15 years.
  • Tutoring sessions aren’t always private (other learners might join), which can be an advantage or a disadvantage. Here, I write it as a con because you might not get enough attention or feedback when sharing your time slot with others.
  • You might not want to buy the lifetime, all-language subscription, considering their content is copy-pasted across different languages.

20. Speaking Brazilian

Variety: Brazilian only.

Cost: $35 (monthly) or $350 (annually). As for private classes, expect $75 (1 hour), $675 (for 10 hours) or $1,275 (for 20 hours).

Summary: Virginia Langhammer is a Brazilian teacher from São Paulo who is passionate about language learning, traveling and teaching. She lives in New York and has created this platform to teach Brazilian Portuguese and Brazilian culture. By joining her Speaking Brazilian Academy, you’ll have access to interactive live conversation classes once a week, a live Q&A session with Virginia once a month, access to new lessons every month, and support via Whatsapp. If that sounds like too much, you can also book private classes with the Speaking Brazilian team.

What I like:

  • A dynamic, fun teacher who is familiar with language learning to guide you.
  • A healthy variety of courses to choose from depending on your level and interest.
  • Free live classes to learn directly from a Brazilian teacher.
  • Whatsapp support to keep you engaged and a live Q&A session that allows you to ask questions directly from your teacher.
  • Courses are planned for you: all you have to do is take them.
  • Opportunities for speaking practice, especially if you take private lessons.
  • Classes are 100% in Portuguese.

What I don’t like:

  • You might not be able to enroll whenever you’d like, as enrollment periods exist.
  • You’ll have to plan your schedule around the times that lessons are available.

Summary: Best online Portuguese courses

This list should give you plenty of opportunities to compare pricing, methods and materials so you can select the best Portuguese course for you.

Some useful questions to ask yourself before getting started are: what’s your goal with Portuguese, if you have any at all? Is there a particular skill you’d like to develop at the moment, or are you okay with a course that helps you develop all at the same time? Do you enjoy having concepts explained to you in your mother tongue before practicing Portuguese, or do you prefer immediate immersion instead?

It might also be a good idea to confirm that the product you’re about to purchase actually offers the variety you’re interested in.

A surprising amount of apps and platforms claim to offer Brazilian or European Portuguese, but end up providing a course that contains mistakes.


Know of a Portuguese course we didn’t mention?

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Donovan Nagel - B. Th, MA AppLing
I'm an Applied Linguistics graduate, teacher and translator with a passion for language learning (especially Arabic).
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