Review: “The Journey” from Portuguese With Carla

Last Updated: July 24, 2023 / 7 Comments

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You may have come across Portuguese With Carla before. Carla runs a popular podcast, YouTube channel, and website where she teaches European Portuguese alongside her husband Marlon. Their latest innovation, The Journey, is an incredibly creative way of teaching European Portuguese – from beginner to advanced. 

The Journey follows a story, which the trailer below gives a preview of. In it, the main character, Carla, receives a letter informing her of an inheritance left behind by her estranged father. What starts off as a simple letter ends up taking them on an adventure through Portugal. 

The story itself is engaging and the cinematography is fantastic, especially for a language learning course. Each scene is followed by a lesson, which breaks down the grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation used in that section of the story.

What’s a typical lesson like? 

As mentioned, in each lesson you view a new scene from the story as you follow Carla’s adventure. The video is then followed by a lesson, which breaks down different aspects of grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary used in the scene. After that there are quizzes, where you test yourself on what you’ve learned. Each lesson also has an “exposure” section, with further lessons, usually following a video, explanation, and quizzes. You’ll need to pass each lesson in order to move onto the next one. 

The lessons are all incredibly in-depth, although the creative use of story and fun scenes really helps to keep challenging subjects engaging. Both Carla and Marlon speak very clearly and are very capable of breaking down grammar and pronunciation concepts in an easy to understand way. 

Other Features

The main section is the story and the lessons that follow, but the course includes a number of other features such as:

  • Cultura Tuga – Cultural lessons which give insights into life in Portugal and an opportunity to sample different accents from around the country 
  • Conversational Builders – Fill-in-the-blanks sample conversations that help you to simulate a real Portuguese conversation. You can even request for your answers to be corrected
  • Vocab Sets – Language learning flashcards on Memrise, complete with accompanying audio
  • Live Practice – Small group Zoom classes with 3-5 other members and one native Portuguese speaker who moderates and corrects as needed (additional cost applies)
  • Exams – Graded exams, such as the B2, which follow the official grading guidelines and even include an oral section. There’s even a certificate if you pass
  • Toolbox – A short collection of language learning tips and techniques
  • Forum – An area to hangout with other language learners, get tips for your upcoming trip to Portugal, and answers to cultural questions
  • Note-taking – Take notes as you watch the lessons, which are all stored in a central notebook that you can refer to later

What level does it cover?

The Journey isn’t aimed at one specific level (for example A1 or B1) but aims to take you on a journey from beginner to upper intermediate and some of the material goes right up to C1-level. In this sense, it’s very good value for money: many language learning courses require you to purchase a separate course for each level. 

Even though it’s aimed at everyone, from beginner to lower advanced, beginners will probably feel like they’re jumping in at the deep end when starting the course. The course does cover everything you’ll find on a beginner’s course – for example pronunciation or the differences between ser and estar – but the audio is initially more complex than what you’ll find on other beginner’s courses. However, it’s more realistic than other courses and you can always switch on the subtitles whenever you need them or refer to the accompanying transcript.  

Overall, although most language learners will get a lot from this, it’s probably best suited to those at the upper-beginner (A2) or intermediate (B1 and B2) level – those with some familiarity with listening to Portuguese but who need to tidy up their grammar, pronunciation, and listening comprehension. 


While you can access the website for the browser on your phone, The Journey requires your full attention and is probably best viewed on a computer. It’s not like Pimsleur, for example, which you can easily listen to while driving or in the gym. Then again, this is because this course goes into much more detail than any audio-based course. 

You will need an internet connection to access the course and do the quizzes. 


The Journey costs €25 per month or €250 if paid annually, with a three-month 25% discount with this link. There’s also an option to take a one-week free trial to see if the course is right for you. 

Find out more at

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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.

You can contact James by emailing or via the site's contact form.

There are 7 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. This is an excellent course! It is challenging, enjoyable, and rewards every bit of effort you invest in it. Carla and Marlon are passionate about Portuguese and language learning. They are also very kind, funny and intelligent.

  2. This is an excellent course! It is challenging, enjoyable, and rewards every bit of effort you invest in it. Carla and Marlon are passionate about Portuguese and language learning. They are also very kind, funny and intelligent.

  3. That is an absolutely disgraceful comment Stephen. As a signed up member I can say, without hesitancy, that an incredible amount of work has clearly gone into this site - it should not be dismissed with a one sentence general criticism. I am amazed at your crassness. It is a superb website offering one of the most professional approaches to learning European Portuguese. The quality of the many innovative teaching tools, the audio content and video content are first rate. The 24/7 online chat box to post queries is excellent and responses are always given, no matter how trivial the query.

  4. Hi Stephen.

    We were surprised to read this message from you.

    You started your 1 week free trial on The Journey on January the 9th and your first renewal (which was on the 16th, the day you wrote the message above) failed. You were notified of this by email. So you have never actually been charged by us.

    Your credentials are created when you first sign up for the trial. The first ever message we received from you was on the 29th of January telling us you didn’t know what your credentials were to which we responded on the same day with a solution. Our response was read, but unfortunately we never got a reply back from you.

    We should add, customer service is something we pride ourselves in. In addition to email we have a chat button on our site and we generally respond within the same working day.

    If there’s anything else we can help you with, reach out to us, we’ll be glad to help.

  5. Thanks for your comment, Kurt!

    This course covers some C1 material towards the end so should be perfect for taking you through the B1 and B2 levels. Once you get to C1, it can be difficult to find materials for that level, but that's a bridge you can cross once you get there!

    Get the book Moving to Portugal Made Simple on Amazon now

  6. Partly guided by Portugalist, I have been learning European Portuguese (EP) online through Pimsleur, Drops, Memrise, and the ubiquitous Duolingo.
    Most had some shortcomings; Pimsleur has only the first course in EP, Drops is full of mistakes and inconsistencies, Duolingo is geared towards Brazilian Portuguese, and Memrise - which I like very much - has only courseware worth for about one year of 10-15 minutes of daily studies.

    Having an entertaining, in-depth (C1 and C2 level) new course in conjunction with Memrise available could just be the tool for me to break out of the A2 level mould.

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