15+ European Portuguese Courses (With Reviews)

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Last updated on June 7, 2024 | Est. Reading Time: 11 minutes

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

Practice Portuguese

Practice Portuguese learning studio
A sneak preview inside the Practice Portuguese learning studio

Practice Portuguese began life as a podcast, but it’s much more than that. These days, it’s a language learning app (for computers and phones) that’s somewhat similar to other apps like Duolingo or Babbel. Here, you can learn grammar, vocabulary, and basic conversation—from A1 to B2 and all focused on European Portuguese.

The language learning studio is very impressive, as most other apps like this don’t cover European Portuguese, but equally useful are the ‘shorties.’ These are short audio dialogues that are around three minutes long on average that cover everything from ordering food at a restaurant to getting pulled over by the police. These are also marked as A1, A2, B1, and B2. Some also go as high as C1, but the majority is focused on beginner and intermediate level learners.

At €12.75 per month (just for Portugalist readers), this is one of the most affordable language learning courses and resources. Even if you sign up for another course, this is definitely an app you should keep handy.

  • Levels: A1, A2, B1, B2, and some C1 content
  • Type: App with audio and some video content.
  • Cost: €12.75 per month
  • Buy it: PracticePortuguese.com

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: €27.99 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 two suggestions:

  • 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.

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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.

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There are 30 comments on this article. Join the conversation and add your own thoughts, reviews, and stories of life in Portugal. However, please remember to be civil.


  1. Perhaps worth adding that the Universities of Lisbon and Porto offer a Summer Course in Portuguese ( all levels from beginners up ) for Foreigners.
    Lasting three or four weeks, I think. ( Just google to find dates etc. ~you enroll online.)
    Very well taught ( regular University lecturers ) and excellent value ( less than Euros 400 for all tuition ).

  2. Sue Tyson-Ward put out another book, “Beginning Portuguese: With Two Audio CDs” which is in the “Practice Makes Perfect” series and is an updated version of her older book with cassettes called “Time for Portuguese”. It’s definitely NOT like her “Basic Portuguese” which is closer to a grammar workbook; no dialogues or audio recordings, as you’ve noted.

    Here’s the link on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Practice-Makes-Perfect-Beginning-Portuguese/dp/0071753419

    Apart from the fact that it has recordings of the dialogues and some exercises on the CDs, it’s organized rather like “Get Started in Portuguese” in the “Teach Yourself” series as each chapter has an introductory dialogue followed by brief explanations of grammar and a few exercises.

    I actually like “Beginning Portuguese” as a self-instructional primer for European Portuguese as there are 60 short chapters which can be each worked out within 30 minutes of good but leisurely studying. You get a decent sense of accomplishment clearing a chapter. Lastly, even though it’s focused on European Portuguese and all of the dialogues use Portuguese natives rather than Brazilians, Tyson-Ward does add remarks in the vocabulary lists and notes where Brazilian usage differs from European.

  3. I have done the Pimsleur European Portuguese curse ad I found it really useful because I downloaded it onto my phone and I listen to it in the car very easily. Are there any other courses available that can download and be used as easily? What happens after lesson 30 on Pimsleur? Is that it?

    • Hi Jo,

      Unfortunately that’s it for Pimsleur. They only have one level for European Portuguese.

      There are other good courses out there, but I think Pimsleur is definitely the most suited to driving or using in the gym. Michel Thomas may be worth looking at.

      The Practice Portuguese podcast is a good resource to look at as well, but it doesn’t get you interacting in the same way that Pimsleur does.

  4. Hi 🙂 thank you for adding my course Learn European Portuguese Online to this resource list! I would just like to add that I now have level B1 out for intermediate students and I am currently working on level B2. I hope everyone that opts to do my course, enjoys it! Muito obrigada 🙂
    Mia from Learn European Portuguese Online

    See Mia’s courses

    • I clicked and viewed your “why you should buy my course” videos, all in English. Sounds interesting. But I’d really like to see a sample lesson – perhaps just the first five minutes of the first lesson – to get an idea of what the course itself is like. You may want to consider adding that to your website.



  6. Hi. I was disappointed this article does not list even one live, in-person class. During
    the pandemic year, I’ve had enough online action and would now prefer to participate in a live classroom format. In October, I checked out courses at FCSA-Lisbon, but their next class doesn’t begin until January 2022. Please let us know your top picks for live classroom language courses in Lisbon. Obrigado.

  7. Hi James, I have poor hearing and need to lipread. Are there any courses with video which show people speaking portuguese?

    • Hi Dia,

      Mia Esmeriz’s course could be an option (at least the A1-level which I’ve seen). The screen contains a powerpoint slide and then a video of Mia speaking in the top corner.

      The Journey from Portuguese with Carla also includes a lot of videos where you can see Carla and Marlon speaking. I think most of the lessons would fall into this format. There’s a story that’s part of the course that’s a little more cinematic and so may not always have close ups on the speaker but these videos are usually only a few minutes long and have subtitles.

  8. Hello-

    Do you offer College Prep European Portuguese? I have a student interested in taking Portuguese for 4-years, and graduating high school with a Seal of Biliteracy.

    • Hi Wendy,

      I think you would need to speak to a tutor directly (perhaps try Italki.com if there aren’t any Portuguese tutors in your area). The courses listed in the article would be extremely helpful, but are self-learning courses and aren’t necessarily aimed at College prep.

  9. Did anyone listen to any sample audio in various book/CD combo options?

    Without seeing sample book pages and listening to sample audio, I would be buying the set blindly. Any suggestions?

    Thank you.

    • You can preview most of the courses (as opposed to textbooks) as they are online-based.

      Recently published books might publish the audio online. I know the audio files for Colloquial Portuguese are online (here) but not sure about the others.

  10. I use preply and have a lesson with a live person in Portugal. It has been a great experience. I also use LinGO – the app could be better but the pronunciations are correct.

  11. Can you recommend a coursebook for European Portuguese aimed at young learners? My son is 9 years old. I’m looking for materials that present and all communicative practice of age-appropriate language (vocabulary, functions, grammar). I’ve found bilingual dictionaries for kids, but we need a coursebook that can facilitate teaching of the language in a holistic way. Thank you!

  12. James, I just spent 5 months learning online with Babbel. I recently learned the focus was Brazilian Portuguese and not European! I absolutely loved the Babbel app options. Do you have a suggestion on a good next step to actually learn European Portugese when having a Brazilian foundation? I learn better at my own pace and the several options flash cards, speaking, and writing were SO helpful!

  13. Hello, we just started our residency/citizenship journey from the US. We are in our 50’s so learning a new language is a bit more difficult than when we were younger. I know we need to pass an A2 level exam. That exam has it’s own requirements. I believe writing, reading, and listening, but I am not sure?
    Are any of the above resources geared toward the language exam for Portuguese residency?

    • Hi Michelle,

      Practice Portuguese and Mia Esmeriz’ courses are both broken down by level, so you can focus on the A1 and A2 content easily. I don’t think either of them focus on the A2 exam specifically, but they do make a point of showing what level the content is at. Other courses like Pimsleur or Michel Thomas, while good, tend to be a bit vaguer and label their content as for beginners, sometimes including a few intermediate level items in there as well.

      You might find this article and this article useful.

  14. Hi! I want to learn Portuguese so that I can speak with my family in Portuguese.
    I live in Canada and have Portuguese speaking family in Portugal and my grandmother who lives with me in Canada. So, I’m not exposed to native Portuguese very often.

    I’ve been using the Memrise app since march 2023. I’ve been using it everyday, as well as messaging my family in Portuguese (by using google translate) and viewing Portuguese content on Facebook. I also spent one month in Portugal where I was exposed to native speakers everyday and definitely improved my Portuguese. I’ve been looking for an in-person lesson near me, but there is nothing to offer.

    So I turn to the internet and here is my question: I’ve been learning Portuguese for almost a year, I have good comprehension, although I’m not sure of my level. I would say I’m past beginner. Now I’m looking for a new app and also potentially a course. But since I am no longer at beginner level, I want to find some resources that I can start learning at say, level B1 instead of learning from the beginning.

    Do you have any recommendations for new apps to use? And any courses available? I may be open to doing self-taught but I’m not very familiar with it.

    I’m 16 years old so it is important to note I’m still in school and only have time to take courses/learn Portuguese in the evenings/weekends.

    Thank you for reading my very long comment, can’t wait to hear from you!

    • Hi Makaila,

      Firstly, congrats on getting so far with Portuguese. That’s incredibly impressive given you’re still in school.

      I would consider Practice Portuguese as this is very affordable and has a good amount of content at the B1 and B2 level. It’s also very useful as it has a lot of audio content and one of the hardest parts about learning European Portuguese is understanding spoken Portuguese. I wouldn’t write off the A1 and A2 content completely. If you’re self taught, it’s very easy to miss out pieces of grammar.

      It’s great you’re looking for tutoring too. My recommendation would be to look at iTalki as you can take lessons online. If you can do an iTalki lesson once a week or once every two weeks, it’ll really help you.

      One last point: Google Translate tends to use Brazilian Portuguese, so it’s better to use Deepl.


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