If you’re dreaming of achieving fluency in a second language, Spanish is a wonderful choice. Its sounds are a pleasure to hear, it’s the second most frequently spoken language in the world, and it’s considered relatively easy to pick up! 

For many people, online courses are now a better option than traditional language schools for their convenience, flexibility and price. Here are our picks for the best courses for studying Spanish online. Hopefully, you can find a course suitable for your needs and be able to get started as soon as possible, without having to trawl through the research yourself. For extra motivation, we’ve also got five reasons you should feel good about deciding to learn Spanish online. 

10 Best online Spanish classes

Here’s our breakdown of the market-leading Spanish courses online for this year. 

1. Preply

English for Business Communication Preply course

We’re a little biased of course! But we’ve got good reason for believing that Preply is a great option for learning Spanish. Preply is a database of online tutors in dozens of languages. You can filter our tutor list to find the perfect Spanish language mentor for you — including when they’re available to teach, what kind of Spanish they teach, and importantly, how much they charge for lessons. Lessons start from around $5 per hour and are 1-on-1, so it’s immeasurably better value than sitting in a classroom sharing your professor’s attention with a dozen other students. 

Unlike many online courses, Preply lessons are based on speaking. In our experience, even the shyest student feels comfortable speaking Spanish in a private video chat with a kind tutor. It’s a psychologically safe space to start practicing aloud, and, therefore, a fast way to get to a conversational level. Best of all, there’s no inflexible curriculum. You and your tutor are free to decide what lessons should focus on, how much homework to set, and how often to meet. Give it a try and you’ll be amazed at the speed of your progress. 

2. Cervantes Escuela International Intensive Course  

Improve your spanish online

Attending a language school has a level of prestige attached to it. For some learners, this is a real selling point: it’s another name to add to your CV, after all. If gaining your Spanish skills at a famous institution matters to you, but you want to learn online, Cervantes Escuela International’s distance-learning courses are a solution to consider. The Cervantes International School is recognized by the prestigious Cervantes Institute, the Spanish government’s official body for advancing the study of the Spanish language. 

Cervantes’ intensive courses are offered at several levels: A0, A2-B1, A1-B2 and C1+. There’s an assessment test over the phone to check you’ve chosen the correct course for your abilities. The word “intensive” is not an exaggeration. Students are expected to attend 10 hours of group classes on skype, and fit 40 hours of study in around that. There’s a certificate of achievement on offer at the end. At 440€ for four weeks, the price tag is pretty hefty. However, if you want the format and pace of a traditional language course, but just can’t get there in person, it’s the closest online substitute. 

3. Baselang

Baselang is a good option for those who want to study as much Spanish as possible in a short space of time. They offer unlimited Spanish lessons over video chat for $149 per month. True, it’s a lot of money upfront, but if you commit to taking three or four lessons every week, the cost of each lesson is relatively low. Baselang also offers a “grammarless” study option, where you can learn Spanish “as a child does” without memorizing conjugation charts — which is excellent if reading about el imperativo brings you out in a cold sweat! 

Baselang is great for those who have the time to make the most of the “unlimited lessons” offer: university students on their holidays, people having a career break, or retirees. But learners should be wary of the all-you-can-eat buffet effect: that feeling when you’ve paid the set price, but just don’t feel that hungry anymore. Unless you are the kind of person who thrives on pressure, it might work out cheaper to use a service where you can buy online lessons one at a time, and take them at a pace that fits with your lifestyle. 

4. Coffeebreak Spanish

If the thought of all-you-can-study Skype lessons had you running scared, Coffeebreak Spanish is at the other end of the commitment spectrum. It’s designed for people who want to learn Spanish but can only dedicate a little time — about a coffee break’s worth — to studying each day. “Lessons” on this course take the form of 15-20 minute podcasts, with each series roughly divided into a level — absolute beginner, intermediate, upper-intermediate and advanced. 

If you just want to listen to the podcasts, they’re available for free on all major listening apps. However, if you want interactive materials, you can purchase their full course for around $100 per season. Each level contains 40 bonus audio lessons to supplement the podcasts, 40 video lessons, and 40 files of lesson notes. Since it’s not a subscription, after paying this one-off figure, you can use these resources forever! 

If you want to get to a conversational level, you’ll probably have to supplement your Coffeebreak Spanish lessons with some interactive speaking practice. However, this course is great value for money nonetheless, and the podcast has a very loyal following.

 5. The News in Slow Spanish

The News in Slow Spanish is another podcast-based course. This course does what it says on the tin: it’s a world news audio show, in slow-paced, intermediate Spanish. It’s great for those who are bored of working through schematic syllabuses that always start with the same topics. 

It’s far easier to follow a news program in Spanish than you might think, because the chances are, you know what kind of topics are currently making headlines, and will be able to listen out for them. What’s more, if you make a habit of listening to your news already, then this will fit beautifully into your existing routine! New podcasts are added almost every day, so you’ll always find something topical. 

As Spanish courses go, it’s reasonably priced, at $22.90 USD per month. The first seven days are free, so you can test it out before parting with your cash. Once again, there is no speaking practice on offer here, which will almost certainly hold you back from getting to a conversational level. That said, some polyglots swear that listening practice is the secret to learning new languages. If you’re patient, but not the kind of person to work through a textbook, this podcast-based course is a useful option to explore. 

6. Chatterbug 

Not sure whether to take lessons over Skype, or to invest in an online course to work through independently? Chatterbug is a great solution for those who want both. You can buy access to self-study Spanish materials, and there are also live video-chat lessons with online tutors. According to Chatterbug, they go together “like peanut and jelly.”  

The pricing is pretty flexible. In general, the more live lessons you want to have, the more you’ll pay. The “lite” package, with one live lesson per month and full access to online content, costs $20. Their most popular “serious” package costs $140 per month, and offers eight live lessons, with the chance to buy more.

Some reviewers complain of mistakes in the self-study materials, but at $20 per month, there’s no denying they are good value for money. Learners tend to find the live lessons the most effective part, since there’s a chance to talk through any problems in real time, with a fluent speaker. These lessons work out at about $18 for a 45 minute 1-on-1 skype chat — if this is the main aspect of Chatterbug that appeals to you, you might find better value elsewhere. 

7. Spanishdict YouTube channel

If you’ve ever taken an online course before, you’ll know that the term “online course” is often used as shorthand to mean “series of instructional videos.” Given this, there’s no reason that a YouTube channel shouldn’t be just as valuable as a series of videos marketed as an online course. Spanishdict’s YouTube channel is proof of this logic! 

Spanishdict.com is a huge name in the world of online Spanish learning, and their website offers a whole package of free resources to explore. Their YouTube course is divided into four playlists or “volumes” that explain basic-to-intermediate level vocabulary and grammar. They are completely free, and easy to follow along to. There are no accompanying exercises, so you’ll need brilliant self-motivation to treat this as a course, rather than a series of YouTube videos. However, there’s a lot of well-presented expertise on offer here. The comments sections are calling it “Dora the Explorer for adults” — muy bien!   

8. Coursera

In the digital age, is there really any need to physically go to a great university to get a qualification from a great university? The people behind Coursera firmly argue “no.” Coursera is a database of online courses created by top universities around the world — otherwise known as MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses).

Take a course on Coursera, and you’ll watch video lectures, and complete assignments and quizzes. Prices vary, but you can “audit” most courses for free, meaning you’ll only need to pay if you want feedback on your work from a professor, or an official qualification. Like traditional universities, there are also fee-waiver scholarships available for those who can’t afford to pay. 

Another great advantage is that Coursera courses often specialise in precise areas. There’s a dedicated course for learning medical Spanish, for instance, and one for sports and travel. True, the lack of speaking practice might hold you back, but if you’d like a prestigious and specialist qualification, then this is definitely an option to explore. 

9. AilMadrid 

Imagine if someone walked into a language school and said “let’s just move this whole operation online.” That’s exactly what happened to AilMadrid, a language school in the Spanish capital, during the Covid-19 pandemic. They now offer 20 different online classes per week, with intensive courses starting from 142€. Courses are offered at every CEFR level, and are based around video-chat lessons that last 50 minutes each. There’s options for learning full-time, or for studying longer term and in smaller portions. 

One of the main things that differentiates AilMadrid is its emphasis on the social aspect of the language school experience. You’ll be in a “virtual classroom” with 6-8 other students, with chances to chat privately and work in pairs and groups. There are also informal “after-school activities” like at traditional language schools — three per week — that include online museum tours and salsa-dancing lessons. 

The commitment to “a language traditional school experience” is a little wacky, but at least you know you’ll be following tried-and-tested methods. You might even make some new online friends! 

10. Babbel

Finally: an honorable mention to a famous language learning app. Babbel is often compared with Duolingo, but its offer to students is very different. It’s designed to be treated as a low-intensity course, rather than a game. You’ll work through 20-minute interactive “lessons” on grammar rules and vocabulary conventions that are clear, without ever skimming over complexities. There’s also a flashcard section that allows you to quickly revise vocabulary. 

The great thing about this course is that you don’t have to work through it to unlock new sections. You can flick back and forth to topics that confuse you. If you’re really stuck on the difference between a direct and an indirect object pronoun, you can repeat the lesson for as long as it takes! If you want to skip ahead to learn some Business Spanish phrases, that’s no problem either. 

Pricewise, Babbel is relatively expensive for a language learning app, but relatively cheap if viewed as a language course: $12.95 / month for 1 month, $8.95 / month for 3 months, $7.45 / month for 6 months and $6.95 / month for a year. 

Of course, to really master Spanish, you’ll need some live speaking practice too. However, if you’re already living in a Spanish speaking country, or working with a tutor or language exchange partner, Babbel can be an affordable way to consolidate your knowledge of grammar and build a basic vocabulary. 

 

5 benefits of learning Spanish online

Imagine if you had to wait for your professor to rewind a tape every time you wanted to hear Spanish spoken aloud… it sounds wildly inefficient and limiting doesn’t it? That’s just one of the reasons we’re immensely privileged to be learning a language in the digital age. Thanks to online courses, you can now: 

Spain Flag in Pole

1. Learn on your own schedule 

The surest to become fluent in Spanish is to create a study schedule and stick to it long-term. A successful study schedule is one with momentum, but that also fits comfortably into your lifestyle. Online classes are unbeatable when it comes to hitting this sweet spot!

The best online courses require enough commitment of time and energy to nudge you towards your fluency goals. However, unlike traditional, in-person classes, they aren’t such high commitment that they could dominate your free time! Many online classes are self-directed, or at least, highly flexible. That means you’ll never be rushing to get to a class after work in the rain, or have to plan your social life around getting to class. Best of all, a learning habit that fits easily around your other commitments is more likely to stick long-term. 

2. Make anywhere your classroom 

One of the greatest benefits of learning anything online is that we’re no longer geographically tied to education centers. If you live in a small town without a language school or university, the opportunity to study Spanish online is an absolute game-changer! 

Even if there are opportunities to learn Spanish in person near where you live, the flexibility to study remotely still has huge benefits. If you’re feeling tired after work, it’ll be a lot easier to persuade yourself not to cancel a lesson if the location of that lesson is at home, on your sofa. Best of all, you won’t be losing out on quality. According to a recent MIT study, online courses are just as effective as courses taught in a classroom or a lecture hall. 

3. Enjoy a lighter learning process  

For many people who learn a new subject as adults, the decision to “go back to school” can come with mixed emotions. Do you remember what it felt like to sit in a classroom as a kid? How did it make you feel? Unless your school was Hogwarts, “bored,” “tired” and “frustrated”might be higher up the list than “inspired.”

Thankfully, online learning is pretty much the most entertaining way to learn Spanish there is, short of running away and joining a Mexican circus. Language learning apps have been developed to hold our attention, using the same techniques that make video games so addictive and satisfying. Thanks to online learning, you can work on your Spanish vocabulary whilst flicking through your phone! That’s a lot less stressful than pouring over grammar exercises in a textbook. 

4. Gain the same knowledge for less money 

Classes at a language school are not — traditionally at least — flexible on price. The price you see in the brochure is the price that this particular course costs, and if you can’t pay it, you don’t get to study. By contrast, there are online courses on offer at every price point. If one doesn’t suit your budget, there’s always another option to consider instead. 

After all, if you attend a traditional language course, you’re effectively paying for several things beyond study materials and your teachers’ expertise. You’re also paying to rent, furnish and heat the classroom space, extra so that the class can afford to run if it isn’t fully subscribed, and to get physical, printed copies of all your resources. 

Online courses are cheaper for professors to host, so they’re cheaper for students to take as well. On Preply, for instance, you can filter our list of Spanish tutors by how much they charge per hour. It’s a great way to learn the same skills without gambling a lot of money.

5. Get personalized lessons

get a personal tutor

Every time you go to a new class in Beginner’s Spanish, the first few months will be pretty similar no matter where you are in the world. You’ll learn basic greetings, the alphabet, how to introduce yourself and talk about your daily routine. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s a convention because all of these things form a necessary foundation to learn more!

But what if you’ve had a few false starts with learning Spanish, and already know these basics? Or what if you’re just bored of this kind of content? Online courses are much more adaptable to your own preferences. 

For instance, if you try an online tutoring service like Preply, you can ask your tutor to focus on elements of Spanish you’d like to learn. Perhaps you’re happy to do mechanical grammar exercises by yourself, but need a real-life human to practice speaking with. Perhaps you want to learn the vocabulary you’re likely to need on a hiking holiday! Whatever your preferences, there’s always something your tutor can do to personalize the class. 

A brief afterword

Spanish pronouns

The best online Spanish course for you will depend entirely on your priorities and goals. Hopefully, this list has given you a better idea of the different options available, and you’re now asking the right questions to find your perfect online course: which learning styles appeal to me? What’s my budget? How much time can I afford to dedicate to this per week? Do I want to study long or short term? 

We think Preply’s offer is the strongest on the table for its simplicity, price and focus on the skill that matters most — your spoken Spanish! However, if you dedicate enough time and energy to any of these well-constructed courses, you’ll probably be thrilled with the results. Disfruta chicos! 



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