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22 Online Portuguese Courses Ranked From Best to Worst (2020)

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So, you’re looking for a Portuguese course?

Whether you’re planning a trip to Portugal or Brazil, or are just excited to learn the language, we’re here to help you find the best option for you.

We’ve spent countless hours researching and trying out various courses to help you figure out which ones are worth your time (and possibly money) and which ones ought to be avoided.

We’ve compiled this list of 22 Portuguese courses, loosely grouped into four tiers based on how enthusiastically we’d recommend them.

This way, you can spend less time stressing and trying to figure out which course to use, and more time actually studying.

Top Tier

These are our top picks for learning Portuguese. Whether you’re hoping to cover all facets of the language or become conversationally fluent, these courses are sure to give you the most bang for your buck.

 

Pimsleur

Best for improving oral communication skills

Brazilian and European Portuguese

Price: $15- $19.95 per month

Pimsleur is not only one of the biggest names in language learning, but they also have some of the best courses.

Their lessons are well structured and build upon each other quite well so previous material is always being reinforced. The focus on conversational lessons also prompts students to actively produce the language and start speaking Portuguese from the get-go. There’s no doubt that, with hard work and consistent application, students will eventually become competent speakers.

Since the emphasis is on the oral language, there is less focus on the written language and grammar, so we’d recommend supplementing your studies with other resources.

Check out our full, in-depth review here.

Pros:

  • Great course for beginners
  • Each lesson builds upon what came before
  • Will get you speaking Portuguese quicker than other courses
  • Subscription is affordably priced
  • The app is designed well, including interesting cultural notes

Cons

  • Lessons tend to be a bit dry
  • Less focus on the written language and grammar
  • The practice activities included aren’t particularly great

Visit Pimsleur

 

PortuguesePod101

Best for improving listening comprehension

Brazilian and European Portuguese

Price: $8 – $47 a month

PortuguesePod101 offers lessons for students from the beginner to advanced level, though there’s much more content at lower levels. They have a huge catalog of audio and video lessons that cover an incredible range of topics and scenarios that you’re likely to encounter on a trip abroad.

The progression from beginner to advanced levels was clear, as the beginner lessons were mainly in English and then progressed entirely to Portuguese. A necessary challenge for those wanting to become fluent!

While PortuguesePod101 offers a ton of in-depth information on vocabulary, cultural context and grammar, the course doesn’t offer much in terms of speaking practice. With that being said, it’s still definitely one of the better platforms for beginners and intermediates who are interested in learning Portuguese.

Check out our full, in-depth review here.

Pros:

  • Less English is used as you move up levels
  • In-depth explanations of grammar points and cultural information
  • Huge range of topics and real-life scenarios

Cons:

  • The platform can be confusing to navigate
  • Lessons are often stand-alone and don’t always build on each other

Use the coupon code “ALLLANGUAGERESOURCES” to get 25% off your subscription.

Visit PortugusePod101

Babbel

Good as an affordable resource for beginners

Brazilian Portuguese

Price: $12.95 a month

Babbel is another huge name in the language learning industry that provides quality courses, for a variety of languages, at an affordable price.

Although the lessons are engaging and can give you a solid foundation for learning the basics, it’s not a particularly unique resource. It’s somewhat similar to Duolingo, though better suited for more serious students.

Babbel helps students assimilate what they’ve learned by giving them the opportunity to review and practice the words from previous lessons. Their courses have a progressive and repetitive structure, which gives students more opportunity to reinforce what they’ve learned. And unlike Duolingo, their focus is on conversational language that you’re likely to use if you were to visit Brazil.

Overall, Babbel is an affordable and comprehensive course for beginners.

Check out our full, in-depth review here.

Pros:

  • Affordable and comprehensive tool
  • A good starting point for beginners
  • Lessons build upon each other really well and reinforce what you’ve learned

Cons:

  • Not especially unique or exciting to use

Visit Babbel

Memrise

Best as a supplementary tool for reviewing vocabulary

Brazilian and European Portuguese

Price: Free or $8.99 a month

Memrise is a language learning tool that does exactly what its name suggests. It helps students memorize Portuguese vocabulary! By utilizing mnemonics, students are more likely to retain the words they’ve learned and establish a solid foundation for Portuguese.

However, it’s important to recognize that memorizing is only a small part of language learning. Those wanting more comprehensive lessons on speaking, reading, and writing, will definitely need to look to other platforms. Although Memrise also offers courses on food, grammar, and slang, most of them are user-created and vary in quality and substance.

Check out our full review here.

Pros:

  • Great for beginners
  • Helps with memory retention
  • An incredible tool for learning vocab

Cons:

  • Not sufficient on its own to become fluent
  • Quality of the user-created courses may vary

Visit Memrise

Semantica

Best for learning authentic Brazilian Portuguese

Brazilian Portuguese

Price: $15- $19.95 per month

Semantica is a fantastic resource for learning Brazilian Portuguese as it teaches students in a way that keeps them truly engaged. Using videos about authentic real-life situations, Semantica immerses students in a Brazilian environment to help them learn to speak and understand the language.

As such, the majority of the content is primarily in Portuguese. Students using Semantica will definitely learn a lot and come away with a better understanding of Brazilian culture. It manages to be both entertaining and effective.

Although there is a wealth of material to explore, there are limited opportunities for students to practice writing or speaking. The grammar analysis could also have been more in-depth. Despite this, Semantica is one of the best resources for improving comprehension skills, increasing your level of Portuguese, and enhancing your understanding of Brazilian culture. A win on all fronts!

Check out our full, in-depth review here.

Pros:

  • Video lessons immerse students in Brazilian life
  • Encourages students to start using Portuguese immediately
  • Semantica staff are very helpful

Cons

  • Grammar could be better explained
  • Limited opportunity to practice writing and speaking

Visit Semantica

Lingodeer

Best for those wanting an introduction to Portuguese

Brazilian Portuguese

Price: $11.99 a month, $29.99 a quarter, $55.99 a year, or $119.99 for a lifetime subscription

Lingodeer isn’t as well-known as some other language learning apps, but it’s effective at teaching various languages, such as Portuguese. It’s a great way to get an introduction to Brazilian Portuguese as it’s super easy for anyone to learn the basics.

It includes plenty of opportunities for students to review what they’ve studied. Even better? It uses a variety of exercises to ensure students have a well-rounded education and are less likely to get bored with the content.

While Lingodeer is a great starting point, those wanting to become fluent may have to look elsewhere as it lacks the conversational aspect and more advanced lessons that other courses have.

Check out our full, in-depth review here.

Pros:lingodeer

  • A variety of exercises helps keeps things interesting
  • Well designed and easy to use app
  • Affordably priced

Cons:

  • Insufficient for developing conversational skills
  • Unlikely to take you past the intermediate level

Visit Lingodeer

Second Tier

Although these courses didn’t make our first-tier cut, they could still be the ideal course for you. After all, everyone has their own preferences when it comes to studying materials.

Foreign Service Institute

Good for those wanting a comprehensive free course

Brazilian Portuguese

Price: Free

The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) offers a variety of language courses that are free and comprehensive. Lessons consist of audio files and their corresponding textbook. Although there is a lot of content, the material isn’t very engaging as it’s primarily text-based.

Less self-motivated students may find it hard to consistently stick with the lessons. The course is also quite old, in fact, it was written with a typewriter, but the content is still solid. Overall, the FSI courses best suit students who want a free resource and don’t mind the dated and dense feel.

Pros:

  • Free
  • Comprehensive and well-structured
  • Covers a lot of material via audio clips and the attached PDF

Cons:

  • Can be difficult to get through by yourself
  • Very dense and outdated

Visit FSI Portuguese

Glossika

Good for Intermediate students wanting to practice speaking

Brazilian and European Portuguese

Price: $30 a month

Glossika uses an intuitive approach to help students improve their Portuguese by making them listen to native speakers and repeat what they’ve said. It’s intended to have students pick up the grammar points, pronunciation, vocabulary, and language structure, naturally.

It’s not suitable for beginners as some of the vocabulary and sentence structures will be too advanced for those new to the language. Instead, intermediate students would benefit most from Glossika as it can help them practice the language structures found in Portuguese.

While there is value in this type of learning, Glossika’s functions are still limited. The lack of explanations on grammar and lack of cultural context means that Glossika is only best used as a supplementary resource for those wanting to go further with their studies.

Check out our full review here.

Pros:

  • Improves speaking and listening skills through repetition
  • Available in lots of languages
  • Encourages students to actively use Portuguese

Cons:

  • Not suitable for beginners
  • Expensive for what is offered
  • The sentences are the same for every language

Visit Glossika

Portuguese Lab Academy

Good for learning in a structured way

European Portuguese

Price: $35 a month

Portuguese Lab Academy is one of the few courses on this list which we haven’t yet had the chance to try. It looks very promising but there isn’t much (or any) impartial information about it online.

It seems to be in-depth and suitable for beginners and intermediate learners. The courses use a step-by-step system and are broken down into fundamental Portuguese, grammar topics, and pronunciation. It also comes with additional resources such as short stories, Portuguese news, and speaking and writing tasks.

The website is easy to navigate and designed very well. It also comes with a ton of extra material and the courses are taught in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Each course appears to build on each other according to this framework, so there should be a natural progression from beginner to intermediate. Since it’s taught by a Portuguese teacher, the course also allows you to ask questions and receive feedback.

Pros:

  • A clearly laid out structure
  • Website is easy to navigate and nicely designed
  • Offers extra resources and support

Cons:

  • Not much information available

Visit Portuguese Lab Academy

Practice Portuguese

Good for learning from native speakers

European Portuguese

Price: $12 a month

Like Portuguese Lab Academy, Practice Portuguese only teaches European Portuguese. Unfortunately, we haven’t yet had the chance to test out their course ourselves and there is no real information about it online from users. But, it looks to be a solid course at an affordable price.

It initially began as a podcast and now offers over 400 lessons for students to immerse themselves in Portuguese expressions and vocabulary. Their lessons consist of grammar explanations, audio and video material with everyday conversations, and speaking practice.

Pros:

  • Offers a ton of content
  • Allows students to go at their own pace
  • Free podcast available

Cons:

  • Not much information about the course online

Visit Practice Portuguese

Duolingo

Good for keeping students motivated

Brazilian Portuguese

Price: Free, with the option to remove ads and download offline lessons for $9.99 a month.

Duolingo may be the most well-known language learning platform in the world. Their courses use gamification to make learning fun. By providing rewards, students are encouraged to keep coming back for more to extend their study streaks. Duolingo is, therefore, a fantastic resource for students who need that extra push.

However, the structure of Duolingo’s Portuguese course is all over the place and doesn’t provide a useful build-up of essential phrases and vocabulary. The content is also lacking as it is poorly explained and isn’t as effective as other courses. It can be fine to use as a supplementary tool, but we wouldn’t recommend studying Portuguese with Duolingo alone.

Check out our full Duolingo review. 

Pros:

  • The gamification helps keep students motivated and coming back each day
  • Good for learning Portuguese vocabulary
  • Free

Cons:

  • Lacks emphasis on grammar
  • You’ll likely struggle to understand how the language works

Visit Duolingo

Udemy

Good for the wide variety of courses

Brazilian and European Portuguese

Price: $10+

Udemy contains user-created courses on a variety of skills, including languages. There are over 40 different courses available for Portuguese that aims to teach students basic vocabulary, Brazilian culture, and even music. With so many choices available, students may have some luck finding a teaching style and content they’re looking for. Past students also like to leave reviews so you can see whether the course is worth investing in.

However, the content and quality can vary significantly between each one. The prices for courses are all different, however, Udemy has tons of sales. If you add a course to your cart and wait a day or two, you’ll almost certainly be given a coupon code lowering the price to around $10.

Pros:

  • Courses are relatively cheap
  • Large variety of courses focusing on different things such as culture, language, and even cooking

Cons:

  • Courses are user-created so quality and content will differ

Visit Udemy

Third Tier

These courses are our bronze medallists – good contenders but could do with an upgrade. Although we wouldn’t go out of our way to recommend them, we wouldn’t fault you for choosing one of these either.

Instituto Camões Portuguese for Foreigners

OK if you don’t mind the high price tag

European Portuguese

Price: 180 – 320 Euro

Created by the Portuguese government, this website is entirely in Portuguese (although some sections can be translated into English). It offers various courses that are conducted in three different modalities, including self-learning, basic, and premium.

Each mode allows for the development of oral and written comprehension skills, however, the basic and premium courses include interaction with a tutor and assessment exercises.

The courses appear to follow a curriculum and thus offers a natural progression. It even offers a wide range of materials to help students learn the language, including storybooks, mini-biographies, and a reference guide for everyday situations.

Unfortunately, we haven’t yet had the time to try their courses ourselves and the most complete ‘review’ we could find of it was from this Reddit thread.

As the whole website is in Portuguese, it may be hard for beginners to navigate and use the site. The courses are also on the more expensive end of the spectrum.

MarcaCamões_H

Pros:

  • Structured courses from the Portuguese government
  • Different modes of courses for different learners

Cons:

  • Entire website is in Portuguese and is hard to navigate
  • Courses are expensive

Visit Instituto Camões

Mango Languages

Ok for beginners

Brazilian Portuguese

Price: $7.99/mo for one language, $17.99/mo for all languages

Mango Languages offers a variety of lessons that are designed to help beginners learn a ton of languages, one of which is Brazilian Portuguese. Plus, a subscription grants you access to all of the languages they offer. The course offers lots of drilling exercises to prepare students to speak in a natural environment.

While it’s not a bad course, there are other better and cheaper resources out there. So, unless you can get free access from your library or elsewhere, we wouldn’t recommend using Mango Languages as your first choice.

Check out our full review here.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Cultural and grammar notes help you better understand the language
  • A subscription gives you access to over 70 languages

Cons:

  • Not enough grammar practice
  • Not suitable for advanced learners

Visit Mango Languages

Easy Portuguese

Ok as a supplementary resource for vocabulary and grammar

Brazilian Portuguese

Price: Free

Easy Portuguese offers free text resources for beginners learning Portuguese. Their materials are very basic and mostly consist of vocabulary lists with some audio. It also offers some useful phrases for common scenarios such as when you’re at a hotel or restaurant, along with text explanations for beginner and intermediate grammar.

Overall, this resource may be useful as an additional resource for vocabulary or grammar. However, those wanting to learn Portuguese more thoroughly should consider another course.

Pros:

  • Offers a range of vocabulary lists for various situations
  • Occasionally includes audio clips to help with pronunciation

Cons:

  • Old and basic website
  • Not a lot of material

Visit Easy Portuguese

Busuu

An enjoyable app with some pitfalls

Brazilian Portuguese

Price:$9.99/month for Premium and $13.99/month for Premium Plus

Busuu is another popular language learning app with over 10 million downloads on the Google Play store. They offer a familiar learning platform, not much different than Babbel, Duolingo, or Lingodeer – just without as much value.

However, they also provide students with the opportunity to have their speech and writing corrected by a native speaker. As this function of the app is free, it’s worth checking out but avoid paying for their course.

One of the biggest setbacks of Busuu is that they tend to gloss over important grammar explanations leaving you stuck to figuring things out yourself.

Overall, Busuu can be helpful, but you’ll find much better courses out there that will provide a more comprehensive experience.

Check out our full, in-depth review here.

Pros:

  • Provides an opportunity to have your writing and speech corrected by native speakers for free
  • It’s nice that there are some written exercises/creative prompts.

Cons:

  • Doesn’t provide as much value as similar apps
  • Doesn’t put a large emphasis on grammar instruction

Visit Busuu

Avoid These Courses

We pride ourselves on recommending the best, so unfortunately, some courses don’t make the cut. If you want to see which ones are best left on the internet’s shelf, keep on scrolling.

Mondly

Ok if you want to try their VR course (which isn’t great)

Brazilian Portuguese

Price: $9.99 a month

Mondly’s language courses are below average and unsuitable for those wanting to properly learn Portuguese. Although it does include features such as voice recognition technology and a chatbot to help students practice conversations, it’s unlikely to teach students anything beyond simple conversational skills.

While it includes quizzes and challenges, the lessons are quite limited and only rely on repetition while lacking important explanations. Overall, Mondly is cheap enough that it wouldn’t be a huge mistake to use, but other courses in the same price range are quite a bit better.

Check out our full, in-depth review here.

Pros:

  • Includes features such as monthly challenges to encourage users to practice
  • Among the first language learning companies to make a VR course

Cons:

  • Content is the same for all levels and languages
  • Not well-structured and lacking clear explanations
  • Low quality compared to other alternatives

Visit Mondly

Rocket Portuguese

ok for beginners who thrive on repetition

Brazilian Portuguese

Price: $149.95

On the surface, Rocket Portuguese appears to be a solid course. In fact, you’ll find rave reviews of it by doing some googling. But, that’s due to the high affiliate commissions they pay for sales and not the actual quality of their product.

The lessons can be monotonous, but they do allow for the opportunity to practice a variety of different skills. The course probably works best for beginners looking for a combination of audio and visual content along with lots of explanations and practice activities.

Despite the appealing and easy to use platform, the course is lacking while also being fairly expensive. As such, you’d be better off choosing a course from one of the higher tiers.

Check out our full, in-depth review here.

Pros:Rocket

  • User platform is easy to navigate and looks visually appealing
  • Uses gamification to motivate learners

Cons:

  • Lessons are sparse and don’t go into great detail
  • Expensive and not good value for money
  • The lessons are lifeless and boring
  • Heavy emphasis on repetition

Visit Rocket Portuguese

Rosetta Stone

Only good for those who prefer the immersion approach

Brazilian Portuguese

Price: $36 for 3 months

Rosetta Stone places heavy emphasis on immersive teaching by cutting out all the English from their lessons. It also employs a natural progression so that the units get progressively harder and covers a range of topics. Although this is good in theory, it does have significant limitations that can impact a student’s learning experience.

The repetitive nature means that the lessons can quickly become monotonous. The lack of explanations can lead to unnecessary confusion that could have easily been cleared up. Instead, students spend their time matching pictures to words and may never understand how the language works.

While Rosetta Stone has its positives, we believe you’d be better off investing in a different course.

Check out our full, in-depth review here.

Pros:

  • Lots of material covered
  • Very easy to use and navigate

Cons:

  • Main units are very repetitive
  • Heavy reliance on pictures without explanation or cultural context
  • Fairly expensive

Visit Rosetta Stone

Michel Thomas Method

Only good for those who like learning from other people’s mistakes

European Portuguese

Price: $11.99 – $100

While we hated The Michel Thomas Method when trying it for French, that was largely due to our distaste for the critical teaching style of Michel Thomas himself. Fortunately, the Portuguese course isn’t taught by him.

Still, that was only part of the problem and we’d recommend other courses instead. Their audio lessons feature two students learning the basics from a Portuguese teacher. In theory, this structure allows you to hear the students’ answers and learn from their mistakes.

Unfortunately, this style of teaching is probably best left in the classroom. You only get minimal value out of this and are better off finding a course that actually lets you apply and consolidate what you’ve learned.

For beginners, it may provide a quick boost of some foundational phrases and grammar, however, those wanting to advance further will need something more comprehensive. There just isn’t that much content in the course.

Check out our full, in-depth review here.

Pros:

  • They offer one free lesson for you to try

Cons

  • Not great value for money
  • Monotonous lessons conducted mostly in English

Visit Michel Thomas

Transparent Language

Only ok for learning rare languages

Brazilian and European Portuguese

Price: $24.95 per month or $149.95 per year

The Transparent Language courses basically amount to an endless exercise in repetition and memorizing word lists in isolation. As such, you never really learn how to use Portuguese or even form sentences for yourself. You won’t get any insight into either Brazil or Portugual’s rich cultures or be able to use much Portuguese.

As such, there’s absolutely no reason to use this course. Even if you were studying a more obscure language like Buriat, Kazakh, or Turkmen, we’d only recommend Transparent Language as a last resort.

Check out our full, in-depth review here.

Pros:

  • Offers a large range of languages
  • Can potentially learn the basics of reading and writing

Cons:

  • Grammar and structure of the language are ignored
  • Ignores cultural context
  • Very repetitive and ineffective
  • Teaches words in isolation

Visit Transparent Language

Final Thoughts

Have you tried any Portuguese courses? Which ones and how did you like them? We’d love to hear about them in the comments section.

You may also be interested in our posts about Portuguese podcasts or Portuguese apps.

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Comments (1)

I spent nearly 3 weeks using duolingo for Portuguese. Fortunately I am fluent in Spanish and Portuguese is similar. Two things that annoyed me were the lack of explanation of why my answer was deemed wrong, it made it seem arbitrary. After all I´m learning and need to know if what I wrote is wrong or is just another way of saying it. I did not feel I was progressing as a lot of the levels were very similar, so there was lots of repetition. It is OK as an introduction since it is fee, and because we are quarantined I had lots of time. But I found it neither exciting nor well organised. Hence I started looking at other reviews, as the ones on your site.

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