One of the best ways to become fluent in a language is to immerse yourself in a country where it’s spoken. But sometimes it’s fun to step out of your comfort zone and travel to a new place you might not have even thought of visiting. So put your Portuguese language skills to the test by planning a trip to one of these Portuguese-speaking countries that may be lesser known than Portugal or Brazil — but are certainly no less exciting. Here’s a list of six Portuguese-speaking countries to add to your list of travel destinations.
Portuguese-Speaking Countries That Aren’t Portugal Or Brazil
Portuguese is one of the three official languages (along with Spanish and French) of Equatorial Guinea, a small country on the west coast of Central Africa. If you’re into rainforests and wildlife, this lush and biodiverse country is a must-see. Its capital city, Malabo, provides a cool mix of modern industry, colonial architecture and traditional markets.
Cabo Verde (Cape Verde)
Cape Verde, or Cabo Verde in Portuguese, is an archipelago made up of 10 volcanic islands in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of northwest Africa. Home to nearly 400,000 Portuguese speakers, Cabo Verde boasts a wide array of landscapes — green valleys, steep mountains, seaside villages and, of course, incredible ocean views. These stunning islands have been independent from Portugal since 1975.
An autonomous territory in southern China, Macau has become a huge tourism hub — sometimes it’s even referred to as the “Vegas of China.” Macau was a Portuguese colony for several centuries and was only returned to China in 1999, so Portuguese language and culture is still visibly present in the food, the architecture and the language. There are around 19,000 Portuguese speakers in Macau.
Mozambique, located on the coast of southeast Africa, is home to a lot of Portuguese speakers (over 10 million), which makes sense because it was a Portuguese colony until 1975. Today, this country is a beach lover’s paradise, complete with turquoise waters and gorgeous sand dunes. It also has a pretty vibrant nightlife and a number of remote islands to explore.
Timor-Leste (East Timor)
Another former Portuguese colony, Timor-Leste, may be more familiar to you by its English name “East Timor.” The Southeast Asian country, which became a sovereign state in 2002, makes up the eastern half of the island of Timor. Just under 6,000 Portuguese speakers live in Timor-Leste, but it’s worth visiting as it’s a beautiful, lightly traveled country with mountains, jungles and reefs galore.
São Tomé and Príncipe
Our list of Portuguese-speaking countries includes one more island nation for good measure. São Tomé and Príncipe is a country of two islands, located off the western coast of Central Africa, and is home to about 200,000 Portuguese speakers, as it gained independence from Portugal in 1975. If you’re interested in ecotourism, this country is for you. The jungles there are largely unspoiled and well-conserved, and the outdoor activity options are endless. Another plus: the country is a major cocoa producer and has been nicknamed the “Chocolate Islands.”