Anyone spending time in Portugal’s capital should consider diving into the local language – though it may be tempting to get by with English (and it’s entirely possible in Lisbon), learning Portuguese is invaluable when travelling around the country. Here’s our pick of the best language schools in Lisbon.
SPEAK is more than a language school; it’s an immersive language and culture program as well as an international community. Part of the program’s beauty is that students can also sign up as ‘teachers’ in order to offer their own native language in an ‘exchange’, although this isn’t required. In-class sessions are 90-minutes,with one class a week for 12 weeks, so it’s easy to work around a busy schedule. Each 12-week program costs €25.
Faculdade de Letras
This program belongs to the University of Lisbon within the Faculdade de Letras (the Humanities Department). It is a viable option for students already enrolled in a program at the University, and is especially recommended for the local Erasmus students.
Language learning at Portuguese Connection is divided into three main categories: immersive, custom designed, and extensive. Students are able to develop a program to suit their specific needs – a number of interesting custom courses integrate interests such as surfing and arts (there is even a wine course). Class sizes are also small so students receive more attention and experience.
Praça do Príncipe Real 23, Lisboa, Portugal, +351 21 194 4364
It may not be in Lisbon central, but Margarida’s School in Estoril is a short (and lovely) train ride along the coast on one of the main lines towards Cascais. Founded by Margarida Alberty in 1981, this school has a longstanding reputation for teaching Portuguese, and offers classes for both adults and children. Language learning options include regular and express courses, as well as private lessons.
Av. Portugal 616, Estoril, Portugal, +351 21 468 1571
CIAL Centro de Linguas
The CIAL Centro de Linguas (Center of Languages) has a school in the Algarve in addition to Lisbon, and has been teaching Portuguese since 1959. In addition to traditional classes, language exchange, and lessons based around favorite activities, the Centro de Linguas also offers business-related courses. There are options to learn Brazilian and African Portuguese languages too, as well as cultural programs that will get students out and seeing more of Lisbon.
Rua Actor Taborda, 55-1º E/ 3º, Lisboa, Portugal, +351 21 794 0448
Lisbon Language Café
Its central location, just a couple of blocks from the Mercado da Ribeira in Cais do Sodré, is just one of many conveniences offered by the Lisbon Language Café. Others are the experimental class for €9.99 and the zero enrollment fee. This is a fairly young program, having opened in 2014, but gained popularity quickly by offering students either Portuguese and/or English courses. Take a look at their different programs on their website.
Rua Instituto Industrial 18 3d, Lisboa, Portugal, +351 925 611 952
Lisbon Language School
This is another central school, located in bustling Bairro Alto, that offers flexible programs and small-medium class sizes (from two to ten students per group, depending on the program chosen). Anyone wanting to learn Portuguese as quickly as possible should consider the Lisbon Language School since the programs are divided into regular extensive (two-and-a-half months), an intensive course (two to three weeks), and a small groups course where the students choose their schedule.
Tv. da Cara 14, Lisboa, Portugal, +351 932 143 409
Português Et Cetera
One interesting aspect of Português Et Cetera is that students have the option to live with a local during the duration of their program, fully immersing them in the language. This school is another that takes a practical approach to teaching Portuguese, with students invited to events meant to help them feel integrated into the city and culture. Located just around the corner from the Santa Justa Elevator, it’s another great spot in the heart of the city.
Rua do Carmo, 51, 2ºC, Lisboa, Porugal, +(351) 969 056 067