15+ European Portuguese Courses (With Reviews)

/ Last Updated: July 24, 2023 / 26 Comments

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It may feel like there aren’t many courses for learning European Portuguese, especially when you compare it to the number of Brazilian Portuguese resources, but there are actually more than 15 different courses and textbooks available. And that’s before we get onto podcasts, apps, and other helpful resources.

That’s right! You don’t have to come and take a course in Lisbon or Porto to study European Portuguese — although that would be a lot of fun — you can now study European Portuguese online from wherever you are in the world.

Ready to aprender Português? In no particular order, here are all the self-learning courses that specifically cover Portuguese from Portugal.

European Master Course

Mia learn european portuguese

Mia Esmeriz is a Portuguese language teacher from Porto, with a Masters in teaching Portuguese As a Foreign Language from Porto University. She is a native speaker and has been teaching Portuguese for more than ten years, both online and offline.

Mia offers video-based courses that cover A1, A2, B1, and B2 Portuguese. Each level (e.g. A1 or A2) has around 10 videos, and each video is somewhere between 40 and 60 minutes long, so there’s quite a lot of information in each course. The videos have a strong focus on grammar, but also cover vocabulary and essential phrases, and have mini games, quizzes, and songs to break things up.

Courses can be purchased individually or as a bundle, and there’s a discount if you purchase them in a bundle: a 4-course bundle is 15% cheaper than purchasing them all individually.

As well as the A1-B2 courses, Mia also offers additional like her Speech Course which focuses on real-life European Portuguese pronunciation.

  • Levels: A1, A2, B1, B2
  • Type: Online Streaming Video Lessons
  • Cost: $399 + Tax (approx) for a bundle (e.g. A1 & A2)
  • Discount: 15% off with this link or by using code 15PORTUGALIST
  • Buy it: learn-portuguese.org

The Journey

the journey - portuguese with carla - screenshot

One of the most creative courses on the list, “The Journey” follows a story in which Carla, the protagonist, follows up a strange letter she has received from her estranged father.

As well as following Carla’s journey, the course takes you on a journey in learning Portuguese — from beginner to some quite advanced lessons. It’s very in-depth and ideal for those that want something they can really sink their teeth into.

  • Levels: None given, but probably A1-B2
  • Type: Streaming videos + quizes
  • Cost: €25 per month (discounted for first 3 months)
  • Buy it: PortugueseWithCarla.com

Michel Thomas Total Portuguese

total portuguese michel thomas cover

Michel Thomas’ Total Portuguese is an audio course that takes you from beginner to intermediate over the course of several CDs or MP3s. Each lesson is quite short, usually less than 10 minutes long, and it includes a mini lesson and then a section where you (and the students in the class) try to put what you’ve learned into practice to form sentences.

The course is both interactive and practical and, by the end, you should have a good foundational level of Portuguese as well as the confidence to begin creating sentences and speaking with native Portuguese speakers.

While the course doesn’t really focus on CEFR levels (e.g. A1 or B2), the Start course is equal to A1, the Foundation course is equal to A2 and the Intermediate course is equal to B1, but “for the listening and speaking skills only: reading and writing also needs to be learnt separately.” These course names are confusing, but if you buy the Total course, you’ll be covered from start to Intermediate (excluding reading and writing).

  • Levels: Foundation Portuguese, Intermediate Portuguese
  • Type: Audio Course
  • Cost: ~ $152
  • Buy it: MichelThomas.com

Pimsleur’s European Portuguese

Pimsleur is a popular course that, like the Michel Thomas method, is entirely audio-based. The focus is on repetition, but also learning to create your own simple sentences. It’s ideal for listening to in the car, on a bus, or while walking the dog.

The course’s biggest strengths are that it’ll get you comfortable at forming your own sentences, and, like Michel Thomas, it’s great for building your confidence, which is very important in the beginning.

Pimsleur can be access through its website, Pimsleur.com, and through its apps.

One of the biggest drawbacks of Pimsleur’s European Portuguese course is that it only goes to level 2. In comparison, Pimsleur’s Brazilian Portuguese goes to level 5. Because of this, many people who complete the European course find themselves lost and unsure which course to progress to next. Another downside is that it is quite basic in comparison to the other courses. However, it is

  • Levels: Level 1
  • Type: Audio Course
  • Cost: $20.95 per month
  • Buy it: Pimsleur.com

Portuguese Academy

Portuguese Lab Academy is a comprehensive online learning academy that mixes videos with scripted dialogues with quizzes, vocab flashcards, and grammar exercises.

Get Started in Portuguese: Absolute Beginner Course

get started in european portuguese
  • Levels: A1, A2
  • Type: Book & CD
  • Cost: ~ $30
  • Link: Amazon.com

Get Started in Portuguese is part of the Teach Yourself series, a series of books similar to the “For Dummies” books. The book is written by Sue Tyson-Ward, who has written several books about learning both European and Brazilian Portuguese.

This book and accompanying CD are designed to take absolute beginners to an A2 level of Portuguese.

Plataforma de Português Online


Plataforma de Português Online is a free online course that covers European Portuguese levels A1, A2, B1, and B2. It’s good considering that it’s free, but unfortunately the site can be slow and sometimes stops working altogether.

It’s a nice addition to any of the other courses, particularly for vocab, but it probably won’t be enough on its own.

ELearning from the Camões Institute

The Camões Institute offers a number of distance-based courses in European Portuguese. You can either study by yourself at the basic level or, if you go for the premium option, you get some interaction with a tutor.

The Camões Institute also have a range of Portuguese courses for specific purposes including Portuguese for BusinessIntroduction to Legal PortugueseCreative Writing – AdvancedJournalistic Writing, and Portuguese for the Hotel Branch.

Distance Learning from the University of Coimbra

  • Levels: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1
  • Type: Distance learning
  • Cost:
  • Link: ed.uc.pt

The University of Coimbra’s Open University or distance learning section offers some Portuguese courses, which normally take place during the academic year. The levels available are A1, B1, B2 and C1. It can be hard to find C1-level courses, so this is useful for anyone wanting to take their Portuguese from intermediate to advanced.

There are also courses in academic writing in Portuguese, as well as several courses in other disciplines like computer programming.

Ponto de Encontro: Portuguese as a World Language

ponto de encontro textbook cover
  • Levels:
  • Type: Book & Website
  • Cost: $150
  • Link: Amazon.com

Ponto de Encontro is the Portuguese textbook used at several major universities including Berkeley, Texas, and Harvard. This book looks at Portuguese as a world language — it doesn’t specifically focus on European Portuguese, and is designed in a way that both Brazilian and European Portuguese learners can learn Portuguese from the same textbook.

For the book itself, the cost isn’t prohibitive (usually it’s around $20), but when you factor in the cost of the access card which gives you access to videos, audio, and other teaching material on Pearson’s MyLab, the cost jumps to around $150.

Colloquial Portuguese: Beginner’s Course

colloquial portuguese textbook cover
  • Level: Beginner
  • Type: Book with accompanying CDs or MP3s
  • Cost: $43/£34
  • Link: Amazon.com

Colloquial Portuguese: Beginner’s Course contains 13 lessons, as well as a guide to pronouncing Portuguese words. The book covers Portuguese for common situations (such as going to the supermarket) while also delving into Portuguese grammar at the same time.

If you buy the textbook, but it doesn’t come with a CD, you can stream the audio MP3s at routledgetextbooks.com.

Colloquial Portuguese doesn’t say which level on the CEFR scale it takes you to but, as it only offers 13 lessons, it’s likely to be around A1.

Português em Foco

portugues em foco book
  • Levels: A1, A2
  • Type: Textbook with CD
  • Cost: ~ $36
  • Link: Possibly out of print, but you can find copies on Amazon and eBay

Português em Foco is a textbook and CD combo that covers A1 and A2 Portuguese. The book contains texts, grammar exercises, and a list of useful expressions and vocabulary.

Passaporte para Português

passaporte para portugues textbook cover
  • Levels: A1, A2, B1
  • Type: Textbook
  • Cost: ~ $45
  • Link: Amazon

Passaporte para Português is a course that aims to take Portuguese language learners from absolute beginner to B1 level in around 180 hours of study – equivalent to an hour a day for six months.

Two books are available: one covers A1 and A2 level Portuguese, and another covers B1 level Portuguese.

Dialogar em Português

dialogar em portugues textbook cover
  • Levels: A1, A2
  • Type: Textbook with CD
  • Cost: $32/£25
  • Link: Lidel.pt

Dialogar em Português covers A1 and A2 level Portuguese. Like most other courses at this level, the lessons are structured around everyday situations such as eating out at a restaurant, transport, and shopping.

Olá! Como está?

ola como esta textbook cover
  • Levels: A1, A2, B1, B2
  • Type: Textbook with CD
  • Cost: £43
  • Link: Lidel.pt

Olá! Como está? covers levels A1 – B2. The package includes an audio CD.

Aprender Português

aprender portugues 1 texbook cover
  • Levels: A1, A2, B1, B2
  • Type: Textbook with CD
  • Cost: ~ $50
  • Link: Wook.pt

Aprender Português is a series of books that covers levels A1/A2, B1, and B2. Each level is supported with exercise books and a CD.

Avançar em Português

avancar em portugues textbook cover
  • Levels: B2
  • Type: Textbook with CD
  • Cost: $14/£25
  • Link: Lidel.pt

Avançar em Português covers B2 level Portuguese. The coursebook is accompanied by a CD.

Português Atual

portugues atual textbook cover
  • Levels: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2
  • Type: Textbook with CD
  • Cost: Around $33 per level
  • Link: Lidel.pt

Português Atual is a series of textbooks (with a CD) that covers each of the levels in the CEFR framework. It’s one of the few resources that covers the C1 and C2 levels of European Portuguese.

Book one, Português Atual 1, focuses on A1/A2 Portuguese. Book 2, Português Atual 2, focuses on B1/B2. Book 3, Português Atual 3, focuses on levels C1 and C2.

Other Resources

The materials above are all structured courses, but sometimes you need other resources like podcasts, simple books, and vocab apps to help you with your learning. This is especially true if your course is strong on one or two areas (like grammar or listening) but not so strong in others.

Here are three suggestions:

  • Practice Portuguese – A podcast and learning studio with lots of interesting conversations complete with transcripts. (Read more about Practice Portuguese)
  • Italki – A place to find Portuguese tutors for individual lessons over Skype or just conversational practice. Other similar sites include Preply and Verbling.
  • HelloTalk – A tandem exchange app where you can connect with native Portuguese speakers who are learning your language and correct each other’s mistakes.

And, be sure to have a read of the following articles on Portugalist as well:


Which course is best?

Unfortunately, there’s no perfect course and each of these language courses has its own strengths and weaknesses. Many people like the Michel Thomas or Pimsleur courses, for example, because they build your confidence and get you constructing sentences quickly, but they lack a reading and writing component.

Which courses are free?

Currently the only course that’s free is the Plataforma de Português Online from the Alto Comissariado para as Migrações (Portuguese government). While the course is good, particularly because it’s free, it isn’t as easy to use as most of the paid courses.

Written by

James Cave is the founder of Portugalist and the author of the bestselling book, Moving to Portugal Made Simple. He has visited just about every part of Portugal, including Madeira and all nine islands of the Azores, and lived in several parts of Portugal including Lisbon, the Algarve, and Northern Portugal.

You can contact James by emailing james@portugalist.com or via the site's contact form.

Originally published: August 2017 & Last Updated: July 24, 2023.

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