What are the best Spanish courses online? Speak, listen, read & write.
It all started on Sesame Street, the day Maria and Luis taught Big Bird how to say “hola”. Beyond the 5th grade, I studied French but still absorbed Spanish all around me in New York. Sesame Street laid my Spanish language foundation with more opportunities to learn season after season. The rest came via Puerto Rican and Dominican schoolmates, Panamanian neighbors and Telemundo.
As the second mother tongue in the world, Spanish is very much worth learning. In the beginning, it can be confusing as with any other new language. However, it’s not that difficult to learn. It’s just incredibly fast. In this post, I share a roundup of the best Spanish courses online so you can get past saying “hello” and also keep up with the pace.
Spanish Courses Online – Overview
¿Hablas español? – There are around 600 million Spanish speakers on the planet. That’s 7.6% of the human population, the lion’s share of who speak it as their mother tongue. Instituto Cervantes found that “Spanish is the third-most-used language on the internet.”
Spanish is indeed a language you are likely to use in international business and education. In fact, you will now need not only speak but also read and write the language as the world has gone online. So, let’s learn Spanish. But, what are the best Spanish courses?
The list below will help you find the best ones, whether for fun, travel, educational, personal, or professional purposes. Before diving in, let’s briefly look at the type of diplomas, exams, and learning levels available to ease your decision-making process.
DELE – The Instituto Cervantes, the hispanophonic answer to Alliance Française (if that helps), offers learners an opportunity to get a Spanish Diploma. DELE hosts annual exams and certifies both adults and “young learners”. In-person exams are offered at centers in more than 100 countries worldwide. Due to COVID, they may now be available online too.
Some of the Spanish courses we will cover offer DELE exam preparation. Diploma levels range from Breakthrough A1 (basic ability to communicate) to Mastery C2 for your linguistic ninjas. The DELE Spanish Diploma is an official, internationally recognized accreditation that certifies a person’s degree of fluency in Spanish.
ECELE – The Mexican government has a similar program entitled Examen de Certificación de Español como Lengua Extranjera (ECELE). It also offers exams at multiple levels and internationally recognized certification.
CEFR – The Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for Languages provides a proficiency scale broken down into two levels each for Basic (A1, A2), Independent (B1, B2), and Proficient (C1, C2) speakers. The scale helps guide curricula, desired outcomes in teaching and learning, and the design of teaching materials. CEFR does not provide any testing or certifications but materials and assessment guidelines for use by educators.
Best Spanish Courses Online 2021 – Our Top Picks
|Pimsleur||Rocket Languages||Udemy Languages||Rosetta Stone|
|14.95/month||from $99/Level 1||from $11.99/course||from $8.99/month|
|Free 7-Day Trial||Free Trial. Discounts.||No trial available||Trial Available|
|Visit Website||Visit Website||Visit Website||Read Review|
If you want to join the more than 22 million students who are studying Spanish as a foreign language, here are now some of the best Spanish courses online.
After just four weeks, Baselang says you will be able to confidently engage in a 30-minute conversation in Spanish. Connor Grooms, Baselang’s founder, calls his proprietary system “Grammarless”, eschewing the standard learning process for a more immersion-based experience. Native speakers from all over Latin America teach via video chat.
This is a premium service with two options: the Grammarless immersion-style and another, more traditional learning mode. In this latter method, they say their approach is still unique in that they teach the most important and most useful words and phrases first.
Baselang’s DELE prep program is apparently no longer available. Learner reviews say while the grammarless option is unique and effective, it requires a big time commitment and if you already have some Spanish under your belt, Baselang is not for you.
Rating: 4.7 ★★★★☆ | Price: $149/month.
2. Pimsleur by Simon and Schuster
Founded by Dr. Paul Pimsleur Ph.D., Pimsleur is one of the longest-running language programs and offers some of the best Spanish courses online. Others mimic the Pimsleur Method with programs such as pimsleurapproach.com, so caveat emptor.
The Pimsleur Method teaches by recall in intervals, anticipation, participatory learning, and core vocabulary education. “Learn the hardest thing first and the rest will then seem easy,” Dr. Pimsleur was known to say. You can learn Latin American (5 premium levels) or Castillian Spanish (2 premium levels), and Alexa can even help.
You can test their Spanish online classes 7-days free without obligations and also look into other languages at the same time. The monthly premium plans can be cancelled any time.
Rating: 4.8 ★★★★★ | Price: $14.95/month | Free trial: Get 7-days free here.
An option for language learners who have already had some training, Speechling is a non-profit, web-based resources designed to help you perfect diction. They combine technology and person-to-person coaching in a simple 3 step process.
Speechling relies upon the principles of spaced repetition and uses adaptive learning algorithms to help learners with such nuances as intonation, rhythm, pronunciation and choice of words. Although they offer many language learning tools for free, there is a premium level that provides more.
Rating: 4.7 ★★★★☆ | Pricing: $19.99/month | Free plan: Yes
4. RocketLanguages Spanish Courses
RocketLanguages is an online and app-based course designed to help you in all the usual ways a language course should. It was co-founded by CEO Jason Oxenham, who teamed up with Mark Ling in 2004 to find a better language learning system.
Rocket Spanish is a premium service available in course levels 1-3. In addition to targeting grammar and pronunciation, they educate you on Spanish culture. They teach using virtual flashcards, audio lessons and reinforcement activities.
Many learners swear by Rocket for helping them master their language of choice over years of learning. Some lamented that customer service was non-responsive to requests for help with technical issues.
User Reviews: 4.8 ★★★★★ | Info: Visit website. Free trial + discounts.
Pricing: Level 1 from $99 | Level 1/2 from $249.90 | Level 1/2/3 from $259.90
5. Rosetta Stone Spanish Courses
This education system was founded in 1992 by Allen Stolzfus with the vision of using computer technology to simulate the way children learn their mother tongue.
So who’s Rosetta, then? The namesake Rosetta Stone is an artifact that linguists used to unlock the secrets of Egyptian hieroglyphics. Similarly, their patented speech software, TruAccent, unlocks accent and pronunciation for learners.
Like other platforms, they offer both Castillian and Latin American Spanish options in premium, subscription-based courses. Some reviewers say forgoing grammatical explanations early in the process can belie the assertion that you can safely say “hablo Español” from the first lesson.
That said, while you may not complete lesson one being able to have a conversation, their immersion-based system is helpful over time.
Rating: 4.8 ★★★★★ | Price: from $8.99/month. $249 lifetime | Free trial: Yes
6. Spanish with Vicente – Courses, Videos
Spanish with Vicente consists of some of the most individual and best Spanish courses online coming along with interactive activities and exercises. This is a premium immersion experience with a monthly subscription fee. There is also a podcast, that along with PDF transcripts helps learners to improve their audio comprehension.
Vicente founded his school Academia de Español Online in March 2017 to bring his passion for teaching language to the world via the web. Learners say this is a great system for intermediate speakers who want a fast-paced, immersion experience. There are in-depth Spanish courses that will teach everything from grammar to vocab to culture.
Rating: 4.8 ★★★★★ | Price: €12/month | Subscription: Cancel anytime.
7. Glossika Spanish Courses
Considering the way babies and small children repeat what they hear, Glossika founder Mike Campbell favors pattern repetition over grammar study as the best route to fluency.
Glossika apparently has the magical capability to predict when learners are due to forgetting some of what they learned. Glossika’s learning system works by having learners repeat strategic, syntactical patterns based on their proficiency level.
Then, you get a day to “sleep on it” and come back the following day to recall for Memory Consolidation. This helps shift what you’re learning from your short-term memory into your long-term memory. Glossika offers Castilian and Mexican Spanish among the 60 languages that members can access with their paid subscription.
Learners applaud high-quality dialogue and progress-tracking software. It is among one of the best Spanish courses online we came across and worth a try.
Rating: 4.8 ★★★★☆ | Price: $30/month | $24.99/month annually | Trial: Yes
8. Spanish for Beginners Course
A Udemy course created by Peter Hanley, Spanish for Beginners starts at Level 1. The process is based on constant repetition and building new vocabulary into previously taught sentences and phrases as you go. “El Método” allows you to “painlessly absorb structures and vocabulary at A1 level”.
Some learners complained that the course moves too quickly. Others enjoy the rapid pace and the fact that no note-taking or traditional study is required. This is a Spanish course for beginners that will arm you with the basics to function in context if that’s what you need for an upcoming meeting or trip.
Rating: 4.75 ★★★★☆ | Price: from $11.99 (save up to 95%) | Info: View website.
9. Online Spanish Courses – Udemy
Being on the Udemy campus, let’s take a look inside their Spanish department. Peter Hanley has Level 2, 3 and 4 courses using El Método to help you work towards fluency. Many of the other online Spanish courses promise quick learning for English speakers.
Niche courses include “Medical Spanish” and a course in English and Spanish for engineers. A course by Alan La Rue gives you the chance to “Learn Spanish with a Story.” The class uses storylines to help people learn the language and culture of Spain.
The course is good for beginners, as well as people who studied Spanish way back in school and need a refresher in the basics. Some learners had trouble keeping up with the pace of the slides through the lesson, but most reviews were positive. One learner said she was able to complete a job application in Spanish after taking this course.
Overall, while not always perfect and practical, you can certainly find some of the best Spanish courses for beginners at an affordable price here.
Rating: 4.6 ★★★★☆ | Price: from $11.99. Lifetime. Up to 95% off. Visit website.
10. Mango Languages – Spanish Courses
Mango uses an adaptive learning algorithm to tailor your learning to your pace and style. They aim to prepare you “to start the conversation with confidence.” Contextual scenarios teach you Spanish that you would use in reality. Also, the system records your voice to compare it to native speakers and help you fine-tune.
Mango even includes notes on culture and grammar to create a complete context in each lesson. In the first Latin American Spanish lesson (Castilian available), they explain that when entering a room, it is customary to greet each person with a handshake. Two females or a male and a female who know each other well might also kiss on the cheek.
This culture note accompanied the lesson on how to say Hola, Buenos Dias, Buenas Tardes and Buenas Noches. Mango was co-founded by Jason Teshuba, Ryan Whalen and Mike Goulas, who say theirs is a company of “risk-takers and ambitious innovators.”
Many happy reviewers enjoy the chunk-based learning method, finding it easy to follow and effective. One complaint was that it was hard to make the voice recordings and they offer no recommendation of what kind of mic works best.
Rating: 4.6 ★★★★☆ | Price: $7.99/month. One Language | Free test lesson: Yes
11. Coffee Break Spanish Lessons
Brought to you by Radio Lingua, Coffee Break Spanish allows you access to a large library of free podcast audio. Each lesson is about the length of a 15-20 minute coffee break. On the premium level, they offer an online Spanish course attached to each podcast series.
Radio Lingua is based in Glasgow, Scotland, where a team of teachers is led by Co-Director Catriona (it’s first names only, apparently). They eschew the categorization of Spanish into separate dialects, rightly how dynamic the language is in its international use.
Mark teaches Spanish at Coffee Break. His approach is a core of Castilian, supplemented by alternative terms used elsewhere in the Spanish-speaking world. Coffee Break Spanish has earned good ratings on the podcast charts. Reviews of the free podcast material are generally favorable, with mixed feedback on their premium online Spanish courses.
Rating: 4.5 ★★★★☆ | Price: $104 Online Lessons. | Free podcasts: Yes
12. Learn Spanish – Specialization, Coursera
Offered by UC Davis, Coursera’s specialization process offers you the opportunity to gain individual certificates for each of the four online Spanish courses. Once you complete the four and a capstone project, you can also earn a specialization certificate.
You will build a working vocabulary for “Meeting People”, “Cultural Experience”, “Sports, Travel, Home” and “Careers and Social Events” from Dr. Robert Blake. Dr. Blake is the Director of the University of California Consortium for Language Learning and Teaching.
Like other Coursera courses, you engage in peer review exercises where you need to video record and upload your projects. Some learners say the course is not the best option for beginners. Discussion forums are another Achilles heel for Coursera in general and Learn Spanish is no exception. Forums appear abundant with posts but lack true engagement between learners.
Positive reviews suggest that this online Spanish course is optimal for “self-learners” and applaud the rapid pace. You can take the course for free with no certificate at the end. No University of California certificate. If that’s ok with you…
Rating: 4.7 ★★★★☆ | Pricing: Free with Premium Certificates
13. Online Spanish Courses – edX
The offering of online Spanish courses on edX is populated by Spanish universities in general. Boston University joins the mix with an AP course in Spanish and Language and Culture. Once you’ve hit your stride, you can jump into “The Spain of Don Quixote”, a fascinating Spanish language exploration of Spain’s golden age with full English subtitles.
For an even bigger challenge, Valoración de Futbolistas con el Método AHP is all in Spanish with no English subtitles. Universitat Politècnica de València offers a professional certificate in Basic Spanish. Three courses promise to prepare you to use the language in a range of roles in multinational companies.
Review: 4.7 ★★★★☆ | Price: Free Spanish classes with Premium certificates.
14. Lengalia Spanish Courses
Founded in 1990, Lengalia offers 24 Spanish courses starting from Level A0 for true beginners. They offer Spanish courses for all the levels of the CEFR, so you can study with the assurance that you are being taught from well-informed curricula.
A free placement test determines what your Spanish CEFR level is coming in the door. Then, you can earn a certificate that reflects what Spanish CEFR level you have achieved. There are a vocabulary trainer and a verb conjugator with onscreen practice activities.
All of this was the brainchild of José Delgado, who founded this Spanish learning program under the name Vita Lingua in Hamburg 30 years ago. The school he envisioned specializes in the Spanish language and culture. It is a premium, subscription-based program that also includes podcasts and live tutors.
Some learners called it “rather boring”, with its grammar focus and practice exercises. This may appeal to academics. Others say it offers you a goodly amount of value, resources and tools for what they charge. It’s up to you to decide whether this is one of the best Spanish courses online.
Review: 4.7 ★★★★☆ | Price: $29.99/1 month. $4.99/month annually. | Trial: Yes
16. Lingodeer Spanish
This app, originally focused on the languages of East Asia (filling a gap where Duolingo is said to be deficient), is now expanded to offer Spanish and numerous other languages. It combines audio with simple pictures and activities in a quiz style, festooned with badges and the option to “share” your achievements.
Unlike Duolingo, Lingodeer is a premium Spanish learning program. It offers free introductory Spanish lessons and a “Travel Phrasebook”. You will need to pay to unlock the whole Spanish lesson catalog, use it across devices, but also access other languages, lesson tips and office learning.
For your money, users say Lingodeer is indeed the better alternative. In the introductory lesson, I learned how to say boy, girl, male lawyer and female lawyer. I guess if I had a virtual family court date coming up in Mexico City, I’d be ready to go!
Review: 4.6 ★★★★☆ | Price: $11.99/month. $99 Lifetime. | Free trial: Yes
17. Spanish VIP
This also a tutor-based immersion system with Spanish classes available from 8am to 6pm EST. Spanish VIP is a premium service that allows you to take as many classes as you wish, with a “conversational or your money back” guarantee.
They are currently offering one month of free lessons for you if you are “Stuck in Quarantine”. The headline reads “Corona sucks… but your Spanish doesn’t have to!”
Mary Quevedo is the Head of Education. In their Venezuela and Colombia-based offices, their social impact goal is to create jobs for 1000 people in places where many live below the poverty line.
Happy learners say the program is highly effective alone or as a complement to a university course. Unhappy learners had problems scheduling lessons and trouble getting customer support to fix the problem.
Review: 4.6 ★★★★☆ | Price: from $49/month | Free trial: Yes
18. Live Lingua
This immersion-based course links learners with live tutors who aspire to get you thinking in Spanish. Live Lingua offers exam prep for DELE and ECELE. Live Lingua was cofounded and family owned by Mr. and Mrs. Ray and Laura Blakney as a bricks and mortar language school back in 2008.
It quickly shifted into the online world, and not a moment too soon. Thankfully, they still employ Frida Blakney as their “Morale Officer” (she’s the black Labrador pictured with a tie in the Meet Our Staff section). Their program is a premium offering charged by the hour.
When you enroll and pay, Live Lingua shares some of your fees with Save the Children in their sponsorship program. Learners say they appreciate the abundance of free resources and the fact that the Spanish courses are personalized. Some did not like the website layout or reliance on email to schedule lessons.
Review: 4.7 ★★★★☆ | Price: $16/hour | Free trial lesson: Yes
SpanishPod101 immediately gives you three reasons why you can learn and speak Spanish with their program. Their short audio and video lessons, their study tools for rapid learning, and guidance from your own personal teacher are their selling points.
They don’t specify a dialect, but they cover both Latin American and Castilian, with subdialect instruction sprinkled about. Study tools include word lists and virtual flashcards. You can get their program at various premium levels, including lifetime memberships that give you access to multiple languages.
Learners applaud the introduction of Learning Paths to the SpanishPod101 system which improved the structure of their programs. Some say the grammar section is poor since this system is not a go-to for grammar.
Review: 4.5 ★★★★☆ | Premium Plans: from $2.99/month | Free plan: Yes
How to Choose the Best Spanish Courses Online
These two questions can help you choose the best Spanish courses online.
How do I enjoy learning? There is indeed more to consider, but the teaching method is a point of differentiation between many of the programs. Do you prefer 1:1 tutoring where you see someone face to face? Do you take lots of notes? Are you motivated by badges, bells, and whistles?
Why do I need to learn Spanish? Your why is critical. Am I trying to get a particular job or promotion? Do I just want another language under my belt? In connection with this question, think about whether you want certification.
If you want a DELE or ECELE Diploma, then you should seek out a program that specializes in exam prep for the level you are at. Some online Spanish courses are offered by well-regarded universities, whose names will adorn your certificate. Thinking about these questions can be very helpful in making your choice.
Tip – Although all the worthwhile Spanish learning programs are premium, by and large, they offer free trials. As you narrow down the field, a tryout can help you settle on “the one”. You may also get some Spanish courses during annual or seasonal sales campaigns.
Best Spanish Courses Online 2021 – Review Verdict
Wrapping up our tour of the best Spanish courses online. Spanish is indeed an important language to have at least basic proficiency in. The more proficient you are, in Spanish the more doors may open for you in many areas of your life.
For anyone ready to learn or improve their Spanish, there is a wide range of online course programs available. All of them allow you to learn right at home via your computer or device. What you will not find widely are totally free options.
If you’re serious about learning Spanish, then you need to factor your education into your budget as an investment in yourself. Microcredentials are on the rise at the moment, so consider courses that offer certifications for professional use. Even if your goal is to move beyond your Sesame Street Spanish, you have many great learning options.
Best Spanish Courses Online 2021
- Pimsleur by Simon and Schuster
- RocketLanguages Spanish Courses
- Rosetta Stone Spanish Courses
- Spanish with Vicente – Courses, Videos
- Glossika Online Spanish Courses
- Spanish for Beginners Course
- Online Spanish Courses – Udemy
- Mango Languages – Spanish Courses Online
- Coffee Break Spanish Online Lessons
- Learn Spanish – Specialization, Coursera
- Online Spanish Courses – edX
- Lengalia Online Spanish Courses
- Live Lingua
- Spanish VIP
- Lingodeer Spanish
Five Things to Know About Spanish
5 Things that might bend your Anglophonic brain.
The car red. In Spanish, an adjective comes after the verb in a sentence. So to speak of a red car in Spanish, one must say el coche rojo, or the car red.
He or she? Like the other languages of love, all the nouns are either masculine or feminine. You will have to learn which ones are which as you go along.
Two mandatory contractions. In English, we can say “he will” or “he’ll” as we please. In fact, we have a long list of such options for fun language flexibility. Not in Spanish! There are only two, and they are not optional.
One is “al” (from a possible, but incorrect, “a el”), as in voy al cine (I’m going to the movies). The other is “del” (from a similarly spastic sounding “de el”), as in vengo del banco (I’m coming from the bank). This rule has a few exceptions. If you were coming from El Salvador, for example, then saying vengo de El Salvador is acceptable.
Dropping Pronouns. In Spanish, the pronoun connected to a verb is frequently omitted in a sentence. The fact that the conjugation of verbs is very pronoun-specific renders the pronoun redundant in a sense.
For example, in Spanish, the pronoun “we” is “nosotros”. The conjugation of the verb to make or to do (hacer) for nosotros is hacemos. Spanish speakers can eschew nosotros and simply say “hacemos” to say that we are doing or making something.
The Subjunctive. This is a set of verb tenses used to express abstract concepts, emotions, the unknown, desires and doubts. It’s a mood. This is just a heads up for those of you who are serious about learning this language. Fasten your seatbelt for your upcoming subjunctive lesson!
Other Online Spanish Courses & Resources
Check out our list of best language learning apps.
AIB – Spanish for Beginners
Spanish con Vicente
Thanks for reading. What are the best Spanish courses online? What is your learning experience? Can you recommend any? Let us know in the comments below.
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