How to Learn Portuguese: 6 Helpful Ways to Learn Portuguese Fast

Kelsey Wetherbee Published on November 28, 2022

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Are you learning Portuguese and need to find high-quality resources?

In this article, I’ll show you the most effective ways to learn Portuguese and the best resources you can use. There’s everything from the best language-learning apps and courses to the best Portuguese books, YouTube channels, and podcasts. No matter your level or learning style, you’re sure to find something suitable for you.

The team at Langoly has over 5 decades of combined language learning experience, and we’ve tested and reviewed over 600 language products. We’ve helped millions of readers through the language learning process, and this article will help you find the best tools to improve your Portuguese skills.

Best Portuguese App

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Try Rocket Portuguese

Best Portuguese Course

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Try Brazilian PodClass

Best Portuguese tutors

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Try italki

Portuguese is the official language of both Portugal and Brazil, and one of the official languages of 7 other African countries. The majority of Portuguese speakers live in Brazil (211 million speakers), but it’s also one of the most spoken languages in Europe with 10 million speakers in Portugal. Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese are quite different. Some of the biggest differences are the pronunciation of words and the use of você or tu to talk about “you” in an informal setting. Have no fear though – this guide to the best ways to learn Portuguese includes both Brazilian and European!

How to Learn Portuguese: Achieve Fluency with These 6 Proven Methods

The best way to learn Portuguese fast and effectively is to use a variety of tools. One resource can’t cover every topic necessary to learn a language so using more will help to fill in any gaps. For example, you could use a book to study grammar and sentence structure, but taking a class with an online tutor will take your conversation skills to the next level.

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The methods and resources included on this list were selected because of their effectiveness to learn Portuguese. We follow a strict testing methodology to make sure any products we recommend are high quality and worth your time. Any of the products you see below will help you master the different aspects of Portuguese!

Use the Best Portuguese Apps

Language apps are an easy and convenient way to learn Portuguese. You can study wherever you can use your phone or other device. The apps on this list, Rocket Portuguese, Mondly, and Babbel, are some of the most effective apps for learning Portuguese. They have quality lessons and content and their interactive activities make learning Portuguese fun. Best of all, they each have a free trial, so you can try them risk-free.

Commitment: Low
Price: Low-Medium
Convenience: High

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Rocket Portuguese

Rocket Portuguese has a comprehensive course that gets you conversational quickly. It doesn’t waste time with complex grammar topics and instead focuses on what you need to know to have a conversation. The lessons are audio-based and include useful practice exercises to help you remember what you learn. I enjoyed the cultural notes that are included in the lessons because they add context to the vocabulary and grammar. You can try Rocket Portuguese with a 7-day free trial, or read more about it in this Rocket Portuguese review.

Mondly

I recommend Mondly for beginners because it focuses on teaching the most important aspects of the language through interactive lessons. It offers flexibility because you can choose which lessons you want to take, and in what order. Mondly also uses innovative technology to track your progress and it even has AR (augmented reality) lessons to make learning an immersive experience. You can read more about Mondly in this review or try it for free for 7 days.

Babbel

Babbel is one of my favorite apps because, instead of long audio lessons, you learn through a series of interactive activities and repetition. Each lesson involves learning new vocabulary and grammar, and you practice in different ways until it’s locked into your memory. Each lesson is short (max 15 minutes) so you can easily complete a few during each study session. Babbel offers one free lesson so you can see if you like it, or you can read more about it in this Babbel review.

Take an Online Portuguese Course

Online Portuguese courses are a perfect option if you like to learn in a structured way. They follow an organized layout, and they make the most of your time because the lessons build on what you’ve previously learned. They are often accompanied by independent study material so you are getting the best of both worlds: guided instruction and independent practice. Brazilian PodClass, Lusa Language School, and Speaking Brazilian are my top choices.

Commitment: High
Price: Medium-High
Convenience: Medium

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Brazilian PodClass

Brazilian PodClass has over 550 podcast-style lessons. The lessons consist of a 15-30 minute audio clip that includes a dialogue between Portuguese speakers, and each lesson also comes with extensive notes explaining important concepts from the dialogue. I’m a visual learner, so I appreciate that every lesson includes a transcript of what is said in the audio. You can preview a few of the lessons for free to see if you like the style.

Lusa Language School

Lusa Language School is an in-person and online language school that teaches European Portuguese. There are various options to take classes online. You can sign up for an intensive course or a part-time course, and you’ll be placed in a small group class. There’s also the option to sign up for private one-on-one lessons. This is the best option if you want to learn the European dialect because all the teachers are native speakers from Portugal. You can check out their website for more details to see if it’s the right option for you.

Speaking Brazilian

Speaking Brazilian is an online school that teaches Brazilian Portuguese. There are options for different courses based on your level, as well as the option to take 1-on-1 classes. The group classes have 6-10 students, and you take lessons once a week via Skype. This is a fun way to learn if you like the social aspect of taking classes with other students. To get started, take the free placement test to see what your level is and what courses you can join.

Find an Online Portuguese Tutor

Taking classes with a Portuguese teacher is a proven way to learn the language. You get individualized lessons and immediate feedback. Finding a teacher that lives near you might be hard, though. Thankfully, there are many online platforms that can connect you to a Portuguese teacher in Brazil, Portugal, or anywhere else in the world. It’s important to find a reputable platform that will connect you with a qualified tutor and protect your payments. italki, Preply, and Verbling are safe and secure and have hundreds of tutors available to teach Portuguese classes.

Commitment: Medium
Price: Medium-High
Convenience: Medium

italki

italki is a massive online platform that can connect you with a native Portuguese teacher. There are currently over 570 Portuguese teachers to choose from. The majority are from Brazil, but there are also teachers from Portugal. You can filter teachers by what country they are from, price, availability, and more. I liked that I could try a discounted trial lesson with a few different teachers to find the right fit for me. You can also read more about it in this italki review.

Preply

Preply is a platform similar to italki where you can find a teacher that gives online lessons. There are over 700 Portuguese teachers from all over the world available for classes. You can search their profiles to see their availability and read past student reviews. The teachers customize their curriculum to focus on what you want to learn, such as conversation, test prep, or even Portuguese for business. Being able to sort tutors by these specialized topics is a feature unique to Preply. You can also read more about the platform in this in-depth Preply review.

Verbling

Verbling is another platform with tons of qualified teachers. In order to be hired by Verbling, Portuguese teachers must have previous experience teaching their target language and I appreciate that students can see teachers’ qualifications listed on their profiles. Every teacher profile has a video, past student reviews, and availability. You can try a free trial lesson to see if you like the Verbling platform, or you can read more about Verbling in this review.

Study with High-Quality Portuguese Books

Books are a classic way to study and learn a language. If you’ve taken a language class before, chances are the curriculum followed a book. Books are helpful for self-study as well though. Most have detailed grammar explanations and practice questions, and some even have audio files available online to complement the book’s content. Ponto de Encontro, Complete Brazilian Portuguese, and The Everything Brazilian Portuguese Book are the three books that scored highest in our testing. You can also find other quality options in our Portuguese book guide.

Commitment: Low
Price: Medium
Convenience: Medium

Ponto de Encontro

Ponto de Encontro is a unique Portuguese book because it teaches Portuguese as a world language. It has notes on how to learn both Brazilian and European Portuguese in the same book, which I think is helpful. This extensive volume teaches all important aspects of language, such as grammar and vocabulary. There are practice exercises to see if you are mastering the material. I liked the comprehensiveness of the book and that it was well-organized. You can learn more about the book here.

Complete Brazilian Portuguese

Complete Brazilian Portuguese focuses on the 4 skills necessary to learn a language: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. It’s designed to be a self-study option for learners to move from beginner to intermediate, although it’s not recommended for absolute beginners. There are cultural notes about Brazilian life, practice tests, and audio of Brazilian conversations so you can hear proper pronunciation. Although the book is quite thorough, I recommend adding in additional audio practice from outside sources, like the YouTube channels and podcasts mentioned later in this article. You can read more about Complete Brazilian Portuguese here.

The Everything Brazilian Portuguese Book

The Everything Brazilian Portuguese Book is a gradual introduction to the language. It starts with the alphabet and there are explanations in English, making it a good choice for absolute beginners. The book includes vocabulary lists, practice tests, and English-Portuguese/Portuguese-English dictionaries. The included audio CD helps you practice listening and pronunciation, too. You can see if this book is a good choice for you here.

Watch Portuguese YouTube Videos

YouTube videos are an entertaining way to practice Portuguese, especially listening and comprehension skills. Some channels imitate a classroom setting and teach typical grammar and vocabulary topics, while others create content completely in Portuguese so you’re learning about language and culture at the same time. The YouTube channels on this list are the most helpful ones I found during my review and testing. You can check out even more channels on this list.

Commitment: Low
Price: Low
Convenience: High

Street Smart Brazil

street smart brazil logo

Street Smart Brazil has entertaining videos that focus mostly on vocabulary and common slang used in Brazilian Portuguese. Most videos are short (less than 10 minutes) and cover important expressions that you should know if you want to talk to someone from Brazil. I enjoyed the videos that teach idiomatic expressions the most. These will take your Portuguese to the next level and make you sound more like a native speaker.

Portuguese with Carla

Carla teaches European Portuguese (she’s from Portugal) through her videos that focus on necessary vocabulary and phrases. She explains the concepts in English and then you practice the correct Portuguese pronunciation. She has also posted quite a few podcast lessons on YouTube. Although they don’t contain video, they’re extensive in length and detail and I think they’re worth checking out. You can find her videos and podcasts on the Portuguese with Carla channel.

Portuguese Dips

The Portuguese Dips channel has videos that explain important language topics entirely in Portuguese. The host speaks slowly and clearly, and there are subtitles available. I felt that I could understand the videos even though I have a lower level. He also has quite a few videos on idiomatic expressions, or common phrases, that show you how Portuguese is really spoken. He already has over 160 videos on his YouTube channel.

Listen to Portuguese Podcasts

Podcasts are a perfect way for people on the go to sneak in some Portuguese practice. They are hands-free, so you can improve your listening and understanding while on your way to work, cooking dinner, or relaxing on the couch. And there’s such a wide range of topics, you’re sure to find something you enjoy listening to. PortuguesePod101, Coffee Break Portuguese, and Todo Mundo Pod are three options with tons of episodes already available.

Commitment: Low
Price: Low
Convenience: High

PortuguesePod101

portuguesepod101 homepage

PortuguesePod101 is both an app and an online platform with many study tools to help you learn Portuguese. But, in my opinion, the best feature is the podcast lessons. There are thousands to choose from that take you from beginner to advanced. Each lesson has a transcript and lesson notes too, so they’re easy to follow. Additionally, there are quizzes, vocabulary lists, and more included if you get a paid subscription. You can try PortuguesePod101 for free or read our complete review to learn more.

Coffee Break Portuguese

Coffee Break Portuguese is an effective way to study Portuguese if you’re an auditory learner. Each episode teaches grammar and vocabulary necessary to communicate in common situations. The main teacher, Rafael, is from Brazil, but is frequently joined by Catarina from Portugal who explains differences between the different Portuguese dialects. I liked that they compared both dialects so I could learn the differences. All the podcasts are completely free, but if you really want to learn Portuguese, it’s best to sign up for the complete course which gives you access to additional study materials and bonus lessons.

Todo Mundo Pod

Todo Mundo Pod was made specifically for Portuguese language learners. A native speaker talks naturally and uses common expressions during each episode, but speaks at a slower speed so it’s more understandable. Each episode covers an interesting cultural topic about Brazil. All the audios are available for free, but you can get a premium membership if you want to download the transcripts and other additional material available for each episode.

How to Learn Portuguese: Final Thoughts

Hopefully this list has helped to guide you to the Portuguese language resource that’s right for you. No matter what your learning style is or why you’re learning the language, you’re sure to find a high-quality option that’s right for you. Be sure to take advantage of any free trials available so you can see if it’s the right choice for you before you pay. If you stick with it, you’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll be able to converse with Brasileiros or Portugueses in no time!

Want to learn more? Check out our Portuguese resource page.

How to Learn Portuguese: FAQ

How long does it take to learn Portuguese?

According to the US Department of State, it takes 600 class hours to learn Portuguese to a proficient level. But this number depends on various factors, such as your ability to acquire language and if you already speak a language that is similar, such as Spanish, French, or Italian.

To see how long it will take you to learn Portuguese, check out this Fluency Calculator.

How can I learn Portuguese quickly?

The best way to learn Portuguese quickly is to study frequently and consistently. There are some ways to make this process easier too. Finding a language learning resource, like an app, book, or course that you enjoy using will help you learn faster and make the process painless. It’s also a good idea to immerse yourself in the language with YouTube videos and podcasts.

How do I learn Portuguese at home on my own?

There are many ways to learn Portuguese at home on your own. One of the most popular methods is to use a language app. There are lots of choices out there, but the best is Rocket Languages. If you prefer a more structured way to learn, you can try an online course or a comprehensive book.

How hard is it to learn Portuguese?

For English speakers, Portuguese is considered an easy language to learn. This is because the two languages share linguistic similarities. Additionally, if you know another Romance language such as Spanish, French, or Italian, this will make it even easier to learn Portuguese since these languages are closely related.

How do I learn Portuguese fluently?

There are many ways to learn Portuguese, but if you truly want to be fluent, you need to talk with native speakers. Now, there are tons of online platforms such as italki and Preply that can connect you with an online Portuguese tutor. If that doesn’t fit your budget, you can try an app like Tandem or HelloTalk that lets you chat with Portuguese speakers for free.

How do I learn Portuguese for free?

One of the most popular options to learn Portuguese for free is to use the language app Duolingo. Duolingo offers its entire Portuguese course without charge, although you are frequently interrupted by ads. Other apps, such as Drops and PortuguesePod101 offer limited content for free. There are also many YouTube videos and podcasts in Portuguese that are completely free.

Kelsey Wetherbee

Kelsey is the Content Manager and Editor of Langoly. She is a TEFL-certified English teacher with more than eight years of classroom experience in three different countries. She’s an avid language learner with an advanced level of Spanish and is currently studying French. Whenever possible, she loves to travel and enjoys meeting people from all over the world. Connect with Kelsey on LinkedIn.

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