I must confess: I'm tired of all the poor recommendations people give for what they call "best" online Spanish courses.
Today I'm going to set the record straight.
Spanish is without doubt the most popular foreign language in the world - in the language market, the demand for quality Spanish courses (as well as apps and books) is enormous.
This is great because it means we have so much content at our disposal, but it also means an overwhelming amount of choices!
So in this post, I'll tell you exactly what works and what passes the test for the best Spanish courses available.
I've done the research and spent considerable time with these courses.
I'll let you know my opinion as a seasoned Spanish student on what works for online courses and classes.
Table Of Contents
Disclaimer: Sometimes I use affiliate links, including some of the recommendations made below. This helps me continue to create great content for Spanish and other language learners.
The best online Spanish courses online (listed in order of preference)
This is Olly Richard's flagship course for Spanish that has become enormously popular in the polyglot community.
The course focuses on the power of "story", using clever, level-appropriate stories to teach and explain Spanish. I can't recommend this enough.
A little pricey though.
- Unique, story-based method
- Easy to follow
- Reputable course creator
- Teachable platform
- Not cheap
Price: $297 (single payment).
Rocket Spanish is unmatched in terms of its depth and comprehensiveness.
If you're looking for a course that takes you from knowing nothing to knowing almost everything about Spanish, this is it. The Rocket Spanish crew have put together one of the most impressive online courses for Spanish I've ever come across.
Highly recommend this one + its Spanish travelogue (at least take advantage of the free trial).
See my extensive Rocket Spanish review.
- Most comprehensive online Spanish course ever made
- Very easy to follow the progression from beginner to advanced
- Downloadable content
- Leaderboard and active forum community
- No video lesson components
Price: $99.95 (level 1), $249.90 (levels 1 & 2), $259.90 (levels 1,2 & 3)
Pimsleur's very well-known as one of the best Spanish courses in existence.
It's been around for ages and is still immensely popular due to its effectiveness at teaching you Spanish. It's 100% audio though - no videos or visuals.
Read my other review of Pimsleur.
- Based on proven research
- Convenient course style
- No visuals
- Feels a bit outdated
Price: $14.95 per month
Do you like Spanish podcast courses?
SpanishPod101 is a content-rich course that delivers podcast lessons with detailed lesson notes. There's also a lot of video content on there as well.
This one has become very popular in recent years and one I love to recommend.
- Huge community of active users
- Ever-expanding content
- Downloadable lesson material
- Advanced levels don't cover as much as they should
- Some videos are old and outdated
- Podcast banter gets a little annoying after a while
Price: $4 per month
5. Babbel Spanish
You've probably seen this Spanish course advertised all over the place - it's got a BIG budget.
I love Babbel - definitely a good app to have on your phone when you're commuting or standing in line. It's like Duolingo but way more professional and comprehensive in what it covers.
Highly recommend this Spanish course (plus it's quite cheap).
- Good variety of lesson exercises
- Produced by in-house lingusts and experts
- Can get repetitive and boring after a while
- Lessons can't be downloaded
- Limited selection of languages
Mondly's an excellent Spanish course (and quite new too).
It hasn't been around for long but in a short time, it's become a popular course option covering many languages, including Spanish.
It's also the only Spanish course that offers VR (virtual reality).
- Beautifully designed
- Easy-to-follow lesson path and progression
- Quality Spanish content
- A little too cookie-cutter in its approach
People either love or hate Glossika.
I love it.
It's very different to everything else on this list. You'll find a bunch of random sentences repeated over and over again that might have you scratching your head at first.
But trust me: it's the best comprehension and speaking trainer I've ever seen.
- Very unique SRS approach
- Widest variety of languages and sub-varieties
- Best listening comprehension and speaking trainer
- Confusing for new learners
- No explicit grammar explanations
- Overpriced slightly
8. Mango Languages
What I love about Mango Languages is its simplicity.
It's very linear, leading you in a path from beginner to low-intermediate Spanish. You'll get a sentence or word on screen (a bit like a slide), that uses color-coding to highlight patterns.
You can also switch between loose and literal translations which is very cool.
- Can switch between loose and literal translations
- Color-coded patterns
- Very clean and simple to use
- Lacks depth
- Some languages are better than others (Spanish is great though)
See this excellent Mango Languages review.
Lingodeer is fairly new and kind of reminiscent of Duolingo and Babbel.
I find it does a better job in some respects at explaining Spanish grammatical concepts and is quite well-designed. Still room for improvements however to the course structure.
- Detailed explanations of grammatical concepts
- Well-designed app
- Poorly structured
- Lacks depth
10. Michel Thomas Spanish
Michel Thomas is another big name that's been around for decades (like Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone).
It's not quite as good because of the excessive teacher control, but I like the clear, easy-to-understand explanations the teacher gives of Spanish. For non-European languages, Michel Thomas is pretty awful, but for Spanish it's excellent.
A great course at least for getting you started.
- Stress-free learning environment
- Grammar is explained clearly
- Works great European languages like Spanish
- Teacher has too much control
- No opportunity to improve Spanish comprehension
- Lacks real depth and only covers the basics
11. News in Slow Spanish
Another podcast-esque course for Spanish, News In Slow Spanish is suited to higher-level learners.
As the name implies, it gets you listening to Spanish news broadcasts that are slowed down and easier to listen to. An excellent listening comprehension and vocabulary trainer.
Slightly overpriced though.
- Great listening comprehension trainer
- Lets you learn about Spanish culture as well
- Interesting course content
- Not suitable for new learners
- Not useful on its own
12. Duolingo Spanish
Duolingo wouldn't be my first choice for a Spanish course, but for a completely free option, it's great.
If you looking for a Spanish course option that doesn't carry any financial risk, this is a good place to start. It does actually cover a lot but the content is community-sourced, so translations and so on aren't always practical.
- Totally free to use
- Covers quite a lot of in-depth Spanish grammar and vocab
- Easy introduction to Spanish
- Tedious and annoying after a while
- Bizarre translations and privacy-invasive
Fluencia is basically like Lingodeer in many ways, and quite comprehensive.
The best part about Fluencia is that it's a language course designed specifically for Spanish (meaning there's no cookie-cutter aspect here).
- Content-rich and quite comprehensive
- High quality Spanish dialogue material
- Not suitable on its own
- Feels like a clone of other popular courses and apps
14. Fluenz Spanish
Fluenz is very good and run by a world-famous teacher named Sonia Gil who is respected.
However, it's damn expensive.
If you've got the money for it, it covers quite a lot for a Spanish course.
- Covers all language skills quite evenly
- Sonia Gil is a highly respected teacher
- Doesn't live up to market hype
Memrise is one of my favorite online course platforms for Spanish.
It's completely free to use (there is a premium component but it's unnecessary), and it sources courses or "decks" from the online polyglot community. The courses teach phrases and vocab.
Some of the courses contain audio and are amazing, some aren't.
- Extremely effective gamified flashcard app
- Tons of useful vocabulary decks
- Can also be used to learn Spanish sentences and phrases
- Insufficient on its own
- Only some courses include audio
You'll like Busuu for Spanish as it's beautifully designed and easy to use.
The problem is it's lacking sufficient depth to take you to high levels. If they added more content, it'd be incredible.
Still worth a look and very cheap to sign up.
- Very nice and clean design
- Spanish is arguably their best language course
- Lacks good course depth
17. Rosetta Stone Spanish
Everyone knows Rosetta Stone.
It's the single largest and well-funded language company in the world, having dominated the industry for decades. They have their own patented voice recognition and a truly unique, immersive method.
I love it as a Spanish course.
Some people don't because it lacks explanations but that's not what it's designed for.
- Research-based and proven method
- Intuition-based learning style
- Patented voice recognition technology
- Doesn't explain anything
- Formal language used which isn't always appropriate
18. Coffee Break Spanish
Another podcast course for Spanish. 😄
Coffee Break is very good if you want quick, easy Spanish lessons. The content varies (some is totally free).
- Lots of free content
- Reasonably good grammar explanations
- Excellent source of natural Spanish dialogue material
- Paid content is too expensive
Price: Prices vary
19. Language Transfer
If you like Michel Thomas, Language Transfer is kind of similar in its approach.
For a Spanish course that doesn't cost a cent, this is excellent. These guys have worked hard to produce a quality product anyone can listen to.
- Short, effective audio lessons
- Similar to Michel Thomas in style but in some ways better
- Not a proper course
- Kind of cookie-cutter in that it's replicated for other languages
Ever heard of FSI?
It's an old, diplomat course that the US government created which is one of the most comprehensive you'll ever find.
Problem is - FSI is extremely antiquated.
StudySpanish.com is basically a rehashed and repackaged version of the Spanish FSI course.
- Based on FSI which is extremely comprehensive
- Quality dialogue recordings
- You're paying for something that is already technically 'free'
These are the best online Spanish courses you'll find
There are obviously loads more courses (and apps) I could cover here, but the online Spanish courses I've listed above are hands down the best available in 2020.
No matter what you do, definitely get yourself a teacher, tutor or conversation partner for Spanish as well.
italki is best for this.
Without daily usage, it doesn't matter what course you use - you'll never improve.
So make sure you're actively using your Spanish.
Is there a good Spanish course that I didn’t mention?
Let me know about it.
Want to see my favorite language resources and courses?
I listed them here.