There are some awesome courses for learning Spanish online, along with more than a few that are terrible and cost far too much money. Fortunately, we’ve tried most of them and can help you avoid those less desirable ones.
In this post, we’ll look at a few dozen popular Spanish courses. Most cost money, but there are some good free ones included as well.
In most cases, it’s not a clear-cut choice, where one course is clearly better than another. Each program has its own strengths and weaknesses while suiting different types of learner styles and budgets.
Because of this, we grouped them into tiers. The top tier courses are our favorites, second-tier courses are pretty good (and very much worth checking out), 3rd-tier courses have more weaknesses and are a bit harder to recommend but still have some strengths, and 4th tier courses are generally not worth using.
Top Tier – The best online Spanish courses
Best for those with free time and a desire to become fluent fast.
Baselang is my favorite online Spanish course and the one that would lead to fluency the quickest. They offer unlimited 1-1 Spanish classes with tutors from Latin America. They also have an excellent curriculum that will guide you on your path and teach you everything you need to know.
Often, I wanted to take a lesson without planning to do so ahead of time, and I’d be able to book one and get started only a few minutes later. With Baselang, you could make progress very quickly. However, it only makes sense to use if you’re able to put considerable time into studying.
Best for learning Spanish from a story.
This beginner Spanish course from Olly Richards of I Will Teach You A Language approaches learning Spanish a bit differently. From the first lesson, you’re thrown right into a Spanish story and will learn through a method called “Guided Discovery.”
So, instead of learning grammar rules in isolation, you’ll first come across them in the story. It’s a pretty fun and unique approach to learning. In their section about cognates, you’ll realize you know much more Spanish than you thought.
The course also comes with lots of practice exercises and worksheets. Review.
Best for improving speaking and listening skills.
I never used to recommend Pimsleur because I felt that the cost of their courses was just too high. Fortunately, they’ve since added a subscription option which makes it significantly more affordable.
Pimsleur is a bit different than most other courses because it’s nearly entirely focused on the oral language – speaking and listening, while mostly ignoring grammar and the written language.
Students who work through the course will likely end up with above-average communication skills but have some weaknesses with grammar, reading, and writing which would need to be worked on later. Review.
Best for false beginners or intermediate level learners.
News in Slow Spanish is one of the more fun resources for Spanish learners.
They have a beginner course that’s ideal for those who have studied some Spanish before but haven’t used it in a long time, as well as materials for intermediate and advanced students. As the title suggests, they offer news stories narrated at a slower pace, making them easier for Spanish learners.
However, their lessons are also excellent for studying grammar and learning new expressions. Materials are available in either Spanish from Spain or Latin America. Review.
Best for those that want a more thorough version of Lingodeer, Duolingo, Babbel, Busuu, etc.
Fluencia came from the creators of SpanishDict.
Unlike many courses on this list, it’s only available in Spanish and not any other languages. This focus has paid off and helped them put together a high-quality course.
While you may find the lessons somewhat similar to Lingodeer and other courses, on Fluencia, they’re a bit more in-depth. The addition of cultural information also makes it more enjoyable to use. The $15 per month price is fair, but others may prefer a cheaper or free alternative. Review.
Best for casual learners who want a well-structured course.
Price: Free / $104 per season
Coffee Break Spanish makes all of their audio lessons available for free anywhere that you listen to podcasts. They also sell a premium course, with four seasons, each costing $104.
The lessons are the same, but the paid version includes some extra features and videos. Coffee Break Spanish is excellent for students who feel a bit overwhelmed with the idea of learning a second language.
The lessons are quite relaxed and feel sort of like you’re learning with a friend. In fact, one of the hosts is learning alongside the listener. They teach you words and sentences before eventually putting it all together into a dialogue. Review.
Best for beginners that prefer quick lessons on an app.
Price: $11.99/mo, $29.99/quarter, $55.99/year, $119.99/lifetime
Lingodeer is no longer completely free, but isn’t necessarily any more expensive than similar products. It’s a bit newer and not as well-known compared to other popular apps, but I like it more.
The app teaches Spanish by having you complete lots of different exercises, not unlike Duolingo, Babbel, Busuu, and so on. The lessons are all bite-sized, making it easy to study in small chunks.
I liked the fact that audio sentences were all recorded individually, making the recordings sound very natural sounding. Additionally, throughout the lessons, there are lots of grammar explanations. The variety in types of exercises also helps keep things interesting. Review.
Best for beginners that want to learn how Spanish works.
Language Transfer is a resource that’s loved by lots of people and completely free. Besides just Spanish, the creator offers classes in several other languages.
The Spanish course has 90 audio lessons with the majority lasting around ten minutes long.
In these lessons, the host acts as a teacher. Alongside the listener, is a student that learns from the host. He explains the language in an obvious way, with lots of explanations that will help you understand how the Spanish language works. Review.
A few of the resources mentioned in the video are apps and not courses, so they can be found in our post about the best apps for learning Spanish. Be sure to subscribe and stay tuned for the second video where we cover 12 more good apps and courses for learning Spanish.
Tier 2 – Spanish courses that are quite good
Okay all-around but nothing special.
Babbel teaches Spanish in a way that’s pretty similar to Duolingo, Lingodeer, and Fluencia.
Compared with Duolingo, I think it could be worth paying for as it takes things a bit deeper, explains grammar and cultural elements, teaches more useful language, and has better quality audio recordings.
However, if I personally were choosing amongst these four similar courses, I’d choose either Fluencia or Lingodeer. Review.
Best for learning vocabulary.
Price: Free – $8.99/mo
Memrise is one of the most popular language learning resources online. Although they offer a paid subscription, the free version gives you access to free flashcards as well as limited access to the “paid” courses.
I’m not sure if I’d recommend subscribing to Memrise, but the free Decks are definitely helpful.
It has a bit narrower of a focus than the other courses. I wouldn’t recommend using it to try and learn Spanish as a whole, but it’s really useful for helping you to remember words. Basically, it’s a gamified flashcard deck, where anyone can add courses.
Their use of a spaced repetition system makes it so that you only spend time reviewing words that you haven’t yet mastered. Review.
Best for improving listening comprehension.
SpanishPod101 is a course that teaches primarily using audio lessons, a lot like podcast episodes.
There is a ton of content that has been added over several years. Because of this, it can be a bit confusing to navigate sometimes but you can also jump around to lessons more than with most courses. Lessons are suitable for absolute beginners as well as advanced level students and everyone in between.
Typically, a couple of hosts will listen to a dialogue and then go through it line by line, explaining essential vocabulary and grammar. Review.
Best for improving pronunciation.
Price: Free – $19.99/mo
I wasn’t sure if I should include Speechling in this list. It’s not a course so much as it is a useful tool that’s sort of organized like a course.
With Speechling, it’s really easy to get feedback on your pronunciation. Their paid plan costs $19.99 per month and allows you to submit an unlimited number of recordings to a teacher for feedback.
They also have a free plan that’s very useful. You’re able to record yourself mimicking sentences, practice dication exercises, use their flashcards, practice listening, and answer fill in the blank and multiple choice exercises. Review.
Good for lessons from universities.
Price: Free unless you want a certification
These two platforms offer free courses from universities around the world, including both lessons for those learning Spanish and for advanced Spanish speakers wishing to learn about a different topic.
It’s free to enroll in the courses and access the materials, but if you’d like to receive a certification when you complete the course, that’ll cost extra.
Not surprisingly, since the courses come from universities, most of them are a bit more formal than other options on this list.
Good for getting users to stay motivated.
Duolingo is one of the most popular resources for language learning around. Although they have a premium plan available, most users would be more than happy with the free version.
They excel at making learning Spanish more fun and keeping students to come back and study a little bit each day. You learn the language through lots of exercises and repetition, and the website also includes some helpful grammar notes.
One frustration I had is that the audio and sentences can sometimes be a bit unnatural. Still, it’s a quality product and a good way to get started with Spanish. Review.
Good for their depth of content.
The Foreign Service Institue of the US government offers free language courses, including six Spanish ones. They’re very dense and feel dated, but they’re free and overall really solid.
The first of four volumes of the FSI Basic Spanish Course includes a pdf file with over 700 pages of instruction and 12+ hours of audio recordings, and that’s just the first volume of only one of the courses. Although it’s not the most exciting course, if you stick with it, you’ll learn a ton.
Good for their thorough academic approach
Price: $187 – $378
Fluenz isn’t as exciting to use as many other courses. The lessons can be quite repetitive and slow while lacking the gamification that some other courses have. However, their lessons are very thorough and they do a good job explaining important aspects.
The lessons are structured well with the learning objectives scaffolded so that learners come away mastering the lesson content. If it weren’t for the high price, it’d be much easier to recommend. Review.
Good for learning grammar.
Lengalia’s courses are available to everyone from the beginner up to advanced levels of Spanish.
They’re split up into different topics such as grammar, vocabulary, business Spanish, podcasts, and so on. They do a great job of organizing content and giving you exercises to practice what you’ve learned. The practice exercises can get monotonous, but they do try to build on each other and throw in some variety. You can even get an official CEFR certification if that’s something you are interested in.
Interestingly, they often link out to other free material that has already covered the topic they’re discussing. You can also message their tutors with any questions you may have. One month costs $34.99 but the price per month lowers significantly if you purchase a full year of access. Review.
Good for 1-1 and group online classes.
Lingoda is an online language school offering courses in English, German, French, and Spanish.
They have lots of lessons around different topics for various levels that you can either schedule with a private teacher or as part of a group class.
The monthly cost varies depending on the plan you choose, but the basic package, containing 10 group classes, costs $109 per month. You can also purchase a one week trial to see if it’s a good fit for you. Review.
A respectable app that’s similar to others
Price: $9.99/month for Premium and $13.99/month for Premium Plus
Busuu is another language learning website/app that’s very similar to Duolingo, Babbel, Lingodeer, and Fluencia, but without as much depth. The interface is intuitive and there are some nice creative/written prompts. One of the biggest downfalls of the app is that the grammar explanations aren’t as well done as competing resources.
However, there’s one awesome feature that is unique to Busuu – their language exchange component.
In this part, you can record yourself speaking or write a short passage, and then get feedback from a native Spanish speaker. They’re incorporated well into the lessons and even offer picture and video prompts to help you think of a topic. Review.
Tier 3 – Could be the right course for certain learners
Good for the mixture of all important aspects.
Price: $99.95 – $259.90
Rocket Spanish is an okay enough Spanish course. They teach useful language and provide tons of opportunities to practice every area of the language.
However, I found the audio lessons to be very cheesy and the jokes to be a bit cringe-worthy at times. The review exercises also become too repetitive and are a bit old-school in the way you memorize items basically through brute force.
You can learn a lot from Rocket Spanish but I’d personally struggle to stick with it long-term. I think you can get better value for your money with some of the other courses on this list. Review.
Good for the wide variety of courses.
Price: Free – $10
Udemy is a platform where you can learn just about any skill imaginable, which obviously includes Spanish.
The courses on Udemy are all user-created, so the content and quality can vary significantly. There’s also a wide range of prices but they regularly have site-wide sales, which lower the cost for all courses to around $10. In fact, if you add a course to your cart and wait a day or two, you’ll almost certainly get an email with a discounted price.
There are over 180 Spanish courses on Udemy, and around 15 that are free.
Good for the in-depth grammar lessons
Spanish with Paul is a video course with over 80 hours of content. Unfortunately, it’s just not that fun to work through. The lessons all follow a similar format using Powerpoint slides to present the content. There also aren’t any native speakers in the course and you don’t actually have to produce much Spanish yourself.
Having said that, it is incredibly thorough with regards to grammar. He does a good job of getting learners to understand how Spanish works so that they can use it themselves. Plus, he gives away a good amount of content for free on his YouTube channel. Review.
Glossika is an audio course that has a narrower focus than most other courses on this list.
You won’t learn any grammar and there are no explanations. Instead, you practice Spanish by basically listening to lots of sentences and then repeating them. While it’s not terribly exciting, it’s definitely an effective way to improve your listening and speaking skills.
The sentences are the same for every language so the cultural elements for each language are ignored. However, this is helpful if you want to study multiple languages at once. Review.
Okay for 1-1 online instruction.
Live Lingua takes free Spanish courses from places like the FSI, DLI, and Peace Corps and arranges private 1-1 lessons over Skype.
The lessons are actually pretty affordable, starting at $16 per hour and becoming cheaper if you purchase more. However, you could just as easily use these free materials, and find a tutor on italki for about half the price. I tend to prefer the cheaper and more flexible options, but the fact that the teachers have more experience with the materials could make it worthwhile for some.
Live Lingua does however have some specialized courses that you probably would have a hard time finding elsewhere so if they have one that interests you then Live Lingua could certainly be beneficial. Review.
Okay for studying lots of languages as a beginner.
Mango Languages is another one of those courses that are pretty good, but probably not good enough to justify paying for, especially when compared with other Spanish courses.
One major benefit is that for their monthly subscription, you’ll get access to courses for over 70 languages. The design is also nice, allowing you to switch between literal and understood translations, along with words being color coded to match the English translation. Review.
Tier 4 – Most of the time, these courses should be avoided
Bad, but their AR and VR may be worth trying (I haven’t yet).
Mondly is another website/app that has courses for a bunch of different languages – sort of like Busuu, Babbel, Duolingo, and Lingodeer. However, their course isn’t as good as some of those alternatives.
The design isn’t particularly good, the content is the same for all languages, and the lesson structure could be improved. It’s not terrible, but it’s a below average course when there are plenty of better options available. Review.
Bad, unless you insist on their immersion approach.
Price: $36 for three months
Nearly everyone has heard of Rosetta Stone, and most would agree that it’s not a very good course for language learners.
The exercises are too repetitive and basically amount to matching pictures and words without any explanations. Although it looks sleek, I would rather use any of the free resources I mentioned earlier.
They’ve at least added a subscription option, making it more affordable than purchasing their CDs. Review.
Bad, unless you go back in time 10-20 years.
Price: $67 – $145
Synergy Spanish is marketed to learners between the ages of 30 and 96 years old. I’m not exactly sure why people in that age range would want to use a below average product.
Synergy Spanish just felt old, boring, and not worth the $67+ price. You’re given a lot of English to Spanish translations and are prompted to speak throughout the course. While you could definitely learn a great deal from this course, I think other courses do a better job. Review.
Bad, unless you love the FSI program and want better audio recordings.
Price: Course – $200. Subscription – $9.99/mo
StudySpanish has repackaged the freely available FSI Spanish Basic Course and is selling it for $200. The only significant improvement is that the audio has been re-recorded and sounds better. Other than that, the material is the exact same.
They also offer a subscription to their site for $9.99 per month but the materials included for this cost are simply not very good. Any other course on this list would be much more deserving of your money. Review.
There are lots of good online Spanish courses to choose from, for all budgets and learning styles. But, there are also more than a few below average products that are overpriced and not at all worth using. Regardless of which course you choose, you’ll need to put in the time studying – but it’s worth the effort. Learning Spanish is a lot of fun and it really can open up so much of the world to you. You can also take a look at our best Spanish apps page if you’re interested in some apps to learn or improve your Spanish.
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