How to Learn Portuguese: The Complete Guide to Online Courses, Apps, Resources & Tips

Updated on: October 12, 2023

Obrigado, como está! Portuguese, a language of rich culture and rhythms, attracts students from all over the world. Whether you're drawn to Brazil's vibrant streets or Portugal's historic charm, starting to learn Portuguese opens doors to many experiences.

Learning Portuguese connects you with over 260 million Portuguese speakers worldwide. Imagine the thrill of conversing with locals during your travels or creating deep friendships with Portuguese-speaking communities. Additionally, mastering Portuguese can significantly boost your career prospects, providing a competitive position in international business, tourism, and translation industries. With Brazil's economic prowess and Portugal's global influence, your skills will be in high demand.

Portuguese is rapidly gaining global popularity. It is one of the world's most spoken and official languages of several countries, including Brazil, Portugal, Mozambique, and Angola. This linguistic diversity brings both cultural richness and professional opportunities. Moreover, Portuguese is a window to exploring literature, music, cinema, and more. As a learner, you'll join a vibrant community of enthusiasts eager to share their love for the language.

Online Portuguese Language Courses

Online Portuguese courses provide a structured and efficient path to learning from scratch. They offer expert guidance, interactive resources, and the flexibility to study independently. With easy access anytime, anywhere, these courses empower learners to build confidence in their language skills. Here are some examples:

  • "Portuguese Lab" offered on Udemy: It provides comprehensive lessons covering grammar, vocabulary, and practical conversation skills. This course offers interactive exercises and quizzes to reinforce your learning, and you can study at your own pace.
  • Coursera collaborates with renowned universities to offer free Portuguese courses. These courses provide in-depth lessons covering grammar, vocabulary, and cultural insights, offering a holistic language learning experience. Coursera's interactive assignments and quizzes ensure that you grasp the material effectively and can apply it in practical situations. Additionally, with the option to earn certificates upon course completion, you can proudly showcase your newfound skills to potential employers or peers, enhancing your language proficiency and professional credentials.
  • FluentU: Offers an immersive learning experience by teaching Portuguese through real-world videos like music videos, movie trailers, news, and inspiring talks. It's an engaging way to improve your listening and comprehension skills while exposing you to authentic Portuguese language and culture.

Portuguese Language Tutoring

Tutors provide tailored one-on-one support, making your learning practical and highly personalized. This ensures focused instruction, timely feedback, and addressing unique challenges and goals: 

  • Italki is a fantastic platform that seamlessly connects language learners with native Portuguese speakers for personalized tutoring. On Italki, you'll discover certified teachers, community tutors, and conversation partners, providing diverse learning experiences. This variety allows you to select the level of formality and focus that perfectly aligns with your language goals. With Italki, you can immerse yourself in real conversations, refine your pronunciation, and receive valuable feedback from native speakers, transforming your Portuguese into a dynamic and highly personalized objective.
  • Tandem offers a unique approach to language learning by facilitating language exchange with native speakers. You can connect with Portuguese speakers who want to learn your language. This mutual exchange allows for interactive and engaging conversations, promoting cultural exchange alongside language acquisition. Tandem is an excellent choice if you value interactive learning and building connections with native speakers.
  • Preply provides access to professional Portuguese tutors who can structure your learning process. You can choose from various tutors with different specialties and teaching styles. Whether you aim to improve your conversational skills, prepare for exams, or delve into Portuguese literature, Preply offers tailored lessons to help you achieve your goals. With Preply, you'll benefit from structured, goal-oriented learning with expert guidance.

Apps for Learning Portuguese

These tools offer flexibility and convenience, allowing you to take language lessons anywhere with your smartphone or tablet. You can easily integrate language learning into your daily routine, whether commuting, waiting in line, or having a few spare minutes.

  • Duolingo offers a delightful way to start your Portuguese learning process. Its user-friendly interface and gamified approach make learning enjoyable from day one. You'll practice reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills through bite-sized lessons, ensuring a well-rounded language experience. Duolingo's daily goals and rewarding achievements keep you motivated as you progress in Portuguese, making it a perfect choice for beginners seeking an engaging and fun introduction to the language.
  • Drops is a visually engaging app that focuses on expanding your Portuguese vocabulary. With its fun and interactive approach, you'll effortlessly remember words and phrases through quick, daily sessions. Drops uses eye-catching graphics and a variety of topics to keep your learning experience enjoyable and educational. Its visually stimulating interface enhances retention and engagement, making vocabulary acquisition not just effective but also an enjoyable part of your daily routine.
  • Rosetta Stone offers an unparalleled immersive language learning experience. The app employs a dynamic immersion method that closely mimics how we naturally acquire our first language. You'll naturally and intuitively develop your Portuguese skills through a combination of visual and audio cues, just as if you were a child learning to speak. This makes Rosetta Stone an ideal choice for learners who seek a holistic and immersive language acquisition approach, enabling you to master Portuguese with confidence and authenticity.

Portuguese Language Learning Books

In the digital age, books remain valuable for learning Portuguese amidst countless online resources; their structured approach, comprehensive content, and portability make them trusted companions. A physical book provides a tangible connection to the language, enhancing your skills at home or traveling to a Portuguese-speaking destination.

  • "Complete Portuguese: The Basics" by Living Language: This book offers a comprehensive approach to learning Portuguese, covering essential grammar, vocabulary, and cultural insights. It includes audio recordings for pronunciation practice.
  • "Practice Makes Perfect: Basic Portuguese" by Sue Tyson-Ward: This book is designed for beginners and focuses on building essential language skills through exercises and practice. It covers grammar, vocabulary, and common phrases for practical communication.
  • The "Portuguese for Dummies" series offers practical language learning books tailored to beginners. These books provide step-by-step guidance on Portuguese grammar, vocabulary, and conversational skills. With clear explanations and helpful exercises, they are ideal for self-paced learners who want a structured approach to mastering Portuguese.

How to Learn Portuguese Language for Free

Accessing free Portuguese resources online is an excellent way to achieve language proficiency without breaking the bank. Explore various strategies to enhance your Portuguese skills and discover more valuable online learning materials.

  • BBC Languages - Portuguese: The BBC provides free Portuguese lessons online, including audio and video resources, language tips, and cultural insights to help you learn and practice.
  • Open Culture: Open Culture offers free Portuguese courses from top universities and platforms like MIT, Coursera, and more. These courses cover a wide range of topics and proficiency levels, allowing you to choose the one that suits your needs.
  • Portuguese Dictionary with Audio: This online resource offers a free Portuguese-English dictionary with audio pronunciations. It's a valuable tool for improving your vocabulary and pronunciation.

Portuguese Language Learning Videos and Podcasts

Learning Portuguese becomes immersive and enjoyable through videos and podcasts, providing opportunities to listen to native speakers, practice pronunciation, and engage in conversations for an enriched learning experience. 

  • PortuguesePod101 offers a wealth of free podcasts that cater to learners of all levels. You can access grammar, vocabulary, and cultural insights lessons from beginner to advanced. Each podcast episode is designed to be engaging and educational, providing practical language skills you can apply immediately. With PortuguesePod101, you can learn Portuguese on the go or during daily activities.
  • The YouTube channel "Easy Portuguese" takes a unique approach to language learning. It presents real-life conversations on the streets of Brazil, providing a window into everyday Portuguese spoken by native speakers. With subtitles in both Portuguese and English, you can follow along, understand the context, and improve your listening skills. Easy Portuguese offers a dose of authenticity and cultural immersion, perfect for those seeking practical language skills.
  • "Portuguese with Carla" on YouTube offers in-depth video lessons covering many Portuguese language topics. Carla's clear explanations and friendly teaching style make complex grammar rules and vocabulary easy to grasp. Her videos also delve into Portuguese culture and provide valuable insights. Whether you're a beginner or an intermediate learner, "Portuguese with Carla" offers a structured approach to mastering the language.

Popular/Common Portuguese Phrases

Mastering common phrases in Portuguese is the key to effective communication in everyday situations. These phrases act as crucial building blocks, assisting you in establishing connections with native speakers. These essential expressions serve as the foundation. Let's explore the following examples:

Common Phrases

  • "Olá" (Hello): A simple yet friendly greeting to start conversations.
  • "Por favor" (Please): Politeness goes a long way in Portuguese-speaking countries. Use this when making requests.
  • "Obrigado/a" (Thank you): Show appreciation with this common expression. Use "obrigado" if you're male and "obrigada" if you're female.
  • "De nada" (You're welcome): Responding to someone thanking you.

Basic Questions and Responses

  • "Como está?" (How are you?): A common way to ask about someone's well-being.
  • "Estou bem, obrigado/a" (I'm fine, thank you): A typical response to the question above.
  • "Qual é o seu nome?" (What is your name?): A question for introductions.
  • "Meu nome é..." (My name is...): Follow up with your name when asked.

Useful Expressions for Directions and Shopping

  • "Onde fica...?" (Where is...?): Handy for asking directions.
  • "Quanto custa?" (How much does it cost?): Essential when shopping or inquiring about prices.
  • "Eu gostaria de..." (I would like...): Useful for ordering food or purchasing.
  • "Desculpe" (Excuse me/I'm sorry): Use this to apologize or get someone's attention politely.


Learning the Portuguese language begins with the right tools, a consistent routine, and a commitment to regular practice, with a wide array of resources available, from online courses and mobile apps to books and multimedia content.

So, take that first step today, whether it's downloading a language app, enrolling in an online course, or simply practicing a few phrases each day.

With dedication and consistency, you'll unlock Portuguese communication; before you know it, you'll be conversing confidently. Obrigado/a (Thank you), and boa sorte (Good luck) on your Portuguese learning!


How long does it take to learn Portuguese? 

The time it takes to learn Portuguese varies depending on your previous language experience, daily practice, and language learning goals. Achieving basic conversational proficiency may take about 6-12 months of consistent effort. However, becoming fully fluent may take several years of dedicated study and practice.

How hard is it to learn Portuguese? 

Portuguese is generally considered a moderately challenging language for English speakers. It shares similarities with other Romance languages, like Spanish and Italian, which can make learning easier if you're already familiar with one of them. The difficulty also depends on your personal aptitude for languages and the effort you're willing to invest.

How can I learn Portuguese quickly? 

To accelerate your Portuguese learning, immerse yourself in the language as much as possible. Combine formal lessons with daily practice, watch Portuguese-language content, converse with native speakers, and use language-learning apps. Setting specific goals and maintaining consistency are key to rapid progress.

How can I learn Portuguese at home on my own? 

Learning Portuguese at home is entirely possible. Start with online courses, language-learning apps, and resources like books, podcasts, and YouTube videos. Join online language exchange communities or find language partners for practice. Consistency is vital, so establish a regular study routine.

How can I become fluent in Portuguese? 

Achieving fluency in Portuguese requires dedication and patience. Focus on building a strong foundation in grammar and vocabulary through courses and self-study. Practice listening and speaking with native speakers whenever possible. Surround yourself with Portuguese content, such as movies, music, and books. Ultimately, fluency comes with time, practice, and a genuine passion for the language.

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Carolina is a skilled content strategist and storyteller with over 7 years of experience in language education and the development of engaging learning materials. Leveraging her background in linguistics and scriptwriting, she crafts immersive stories and content that help language learners grasp new concepts. Carolina's work in the film and media industries allows her to bring a creative lens to language instruction and utilize multimedia tools to connect with diverse learners.