Watching Portuguese TV can be a great way to learn a few new Portuguese words and phrases and immerse yourself in the sounds of the Portuguese language.
Unless your Portuguese is already at a very good level, you’re going to need to watch TV with Portuguese subtitles (legendas).
That way, you can listen and read at the same time and you’ll have a much better understanding of what’s going on. As you progress, you’ll get to a point where you can watch the shows without subtitles.
Note: TV shows are just one type of subtitled content that you can use to learn Portuguese. If you’re looking for more options, take a look at this bigger guide to Portuguese subtitled content which includes recommendations for several YouTube channels and Ted talks in Portuguese.
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European Portuguese TV Shows
Of all the TV stations, RTP seems to have the most subtitled content. Their shows can also be accessed online from anywhere in the world and there’s no need to sign in.
Unfortunately, however, there doesn’t seem to be a way to searching RTP for shows with subtitles so you’ll have to refer to the list below. Another challenge is exporting those subtitles, but don’t worry: there’s a guide on how to do that below.
Warning: While there are some good Portuguese TV shows out there, the ones that have accompanying subtitles aren’t the most exciting.
Non-Fiction Shows & Documentaries
- Literatura Agora
- Literatura Aqui Season 2 (& Season 3)
- O Povo Que Ainda Canta
- Visita Guiada & (Season 4)
- Palcos Agora
- Voz do Cidadão
- Mundo dos Sentidos
- Sei Quem Ele É
- Biosfera Season 14 (& Season 15)
- A Arte Elétrica em Portugal
- Água Vai, Pedra Leva
- Love Me Love Me Not
- Os Filhos do Rock – Making Of
- Parque da Pena
- Portugueses pelo Mundo
- Show me Lisbon
- Madeira Prima
Comedy TV Shows
Other TV Series
- Madre Paula
- Os Nossos Dias
- Aqui tão longe
- Água de Mar (Season 1, Season 2, and Season 3)
- Filha da Lei
- Miúdo Graúdo
- O Sábio
- Os Boys
- Cuidado com a Língua! (Season 9 & Season 10)
- Histórias de Mar
- Era Uma Vez
- Animais Anónimos (Season 1 & Season 2)
- Invasão Plâncton
- Missão Abóbora
- Visiokids – Ciência para Crianças
Downloading Subtitles from RTP
It’s possible to download the subtitles from RPT as a text file. You can then go through the file and make a note of all the words that you don’t know (ideally adding them to Memrise or a notepad where you can review them later).
On RTP shows, the subtitles file is a .VTT file. What’s that? It doesn’t really matter. Here’s how to get the subtitles.
- Open the episode you want to watch (select one of the links above)
- Click to view source code (press CTRL+U in Chrome, for example)
- Search the text (CTRL+F in Chrome) for .VTT
You’ll see a URL for a file ending in .VTT.
- Copy that URL into another tab in your browser and press enter.
The .VTT file will download. You can then open up the file with a program like Notepad.
Live TV on RTP
This page on RTP shows all of their shows that are subtitled.
Sic doesn’t seem to have much in the way of subtitled content online, but if you’re based in Portugal you can watch many of their shows with subtitles using teletext.
Live TV on Sic
Check the SIC TV listings to see which shows have 888 in their list (the teletext channel for subtitles).
Brazilian Portuguese TV Shows
For anyone learning Portuguese, especially Brazilian Portuguese, Netflix is a fantastic resource. Not only does it have plenty of great TV shows and films that you can watch, but you can also change the audio of non-Portuguese TV shows into Portuguese.
And, there’s also a way to show both Portuguese and English subtitles at the same time.
What to read next
- The big, main guide to learning Portuguese
- This guide to courses that cover European Portuguese
- This guide to learning Portuguese completely online