Your search is over.
You can kick your feet up and relax.
No more swimming in a sea of Google results.
No more sifting through recommendations from well-meaning friends.
We’ve got all the best online Spanish beginner courses right here under your nose. Best of all, they’re affordable or even free.
Why you need ’em is your business. Maybe you’re aiming for a promotion at work, trying to fulfill a college requirement or just hoping to chat with your neighbor who recently relocated from Madrid.
Your reasons. Your business.
Just know you’re definitely not alone in your search. Spanish online learning is hugely popular—and the good news is that Spanish itself is one of the easiest languages for native English-speakers to pick up.
You just need to know where to start.
So let’s get to it. I promised the goods and I plan to deliver.
Beyond Basic: Have Fun and Learn Spanish Online for Beginners
If you’ve already started searching for online beginner Spanish courses, you know that there are tons of options. Of course, that doesn’t mean all of those options are great.
So in the spirit of saving time and energy (yours!) this list has been whittled down to eight reliable choices. But there’s also enough variety among them that they should appeal to someone looking for a “typical” experience as well as anyone searching out edgier or more specialized content.
When Eldon Mirjah couldn’t find satisfying learning materials he created his own course, Gritty Spanish. Its original goal was to teach upper Spanish learners some edgy, real-life, street Spanish, including mature conversations and swears. But an awesome Gritty Spanish Beginnings course was added to teach early learners in an authentic, engaging way—just without anything vulgar.
Gritty Spanish Beginnings is a perfect first course if you’re looking to learn through stories and real-life conversations. The fun and dramatic dialogues are acted by native Spanish speakers, which is great for training your ear. A book with side-by-side Spanish and English translations brings reading to the mix, allowing learners to read and hear what’s going on.
Each course contains three different audio versions to try: normal speed with typical background effects, a slower dialogue to assist with understanding and one without any background noises at all to facilitate uninterrupted concentration.
This type of customizable learning is a plus for beginners. Find the audio that you’re most comfortable with, then level up as your skills increase.
The Foreign Service Institute, or FSI, is the go-to place for diplomats and government officials to learn a foreign language. But you don’t need to be an official to take advantage of their huge store of language learning courses, thanks to this free collection of FSI coursework.
There’s material on over 40 languages, so if you’re motivated these self-directed lessons are like a language study goldmine. This site hosts seven separate Spanish courses—and they’re all absolutely free.
The FSI Spanish basic course has over 12 hours of audio files and 700 pages of instructional text. Some of the material may be a bit dated, but the basics of grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation will provide a solid foundation. Again, it’s a no-cost option so there’s no harm in testing the FSI waters out.
Among the other Spanish options you’ll find a fast Spanish course, and even a “Headstart for Puerto Rico” course. So if your reason for learning Spanish is to go browse the shops or chat up the locals in Old San Juan, this might be the perfect course for you!
FluentU Spanish is a flexible online learning solution that lets you study the Spanish language through the web’s best videos. FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
It allows you to learn Spanish while seeing how the language is used in natural, native settings. You’ll get all the benefits of Spanish immersion without buying a plane ticket.
While you’re watching a FluentU video, you’ll see translations in real time. For each translation, FluentU offers in-context definitions, examples and other videos the word is used in, so you’ll organically learn how to use it in context.
Best of all, FluentU’s Learn Mode has quizzes to test your understanding of each video. Since videos are available in a variety of formats and difficulty levels, FluentU is a great way for beginners to learn Spanish and then continue with the course as they grow to intermediate and advanced status. FluentU is even available as a mobile app.
One Month Spanish is a crash course designed to “train your brain” to listen and respond naturally to Spanish.
How? The 30 lessons feature native speakers holding typical conversations. Each lesson is sequenced to build on previous material and improve comprehension skills.
There are three course options with three price points. The lowest option is a starter course with a goal to introduce the language and teach how to quickly overcome some common travel dilemmas. The other two courses are more detailed but, as you would expect, priced higher.
Any of the three will give a new learner some basic material and a jumpstart on Spanish learning.
Midlands Technical College offers self-paced, modestly priced beginner online Spanish courses. Their distance-learning curriculum includes foundational Spanish courses as well as “Speed Spanish” courses.
But what sets this program apart are the basic but specialized Spanish beginner courses designed for professional settings.
Midlands Technical College has three courses to help eliminate the workplace language barrier. There’s a general Spanish for the Workplace course, as well as Spanish for Medical Professionals and Spanish for Construction—all self-paced courses taught entirely online.
Whether you’re thinking of finding work in a Spanish-speaking environment or want to communicate better with Spanish-speaking colleagues at your current job, these courses will give you the terminology.
Stitcher is a podcast app where you’ll find a number of Spanish courses to stream online or download (among podcasts on many other topics). A few beginner Spanish courses stand out:
- “Learning Spanish for Beginners” is a podcast that presents basic concepts, rules and vocabulary in an episodic format.
Each small lesson stresses a specific facet of the Spanish language at a beginner’s level, with a focus on Mexican Spanish. The show is informative and entertaining.
- “Learn to Speak Spanish with Discover Spanish” is a program of 36 podcasts with focused, intensive study. Because it provides complete audio lessons, it’s a great way to learn while commuting or at the gym.
Most sessions are approximately 15 minutes so you’ve got a longer commute, go for two to make the learning twice as productive!
Stitcher also has a free app so language lessons are mobile.
A fun learning bonus is that you can also access authentic Spanish podcasts to practice your real-world listening skills. For example, search noticias (news) in the Stitcher search bar to hear about current events in formal Spanish.
If you do well in a classroom environment but want the convenience of online learning, this is the place for you! TakeLessons Live features an online virtual classroom. Every interactive class has about five students and all anyone needs to participate in this informal group setting is a reliable internet connection with either a built-in or external webcam.
- “Introduction to Spanish for Beginners” is an entry-level class taught by a professional Spanish instructor. The class objective is to learn basic conversational skills with a focus on introductions, locations and common verbs.
They also discuss the individual students’ goals for learning Spanish and how to achieve them.
- “¡Hola! Intro to Spanish Conversation” takes on introductions, counting, polite phrases for social interactions and how to make small talk.
It’s a basic course that’ll cover how to discuss daily issues. It seems a perfect starting point for new learners!
This personalized course is for the student who wants one-on-one instruction with the convenience of online learning. Spanish by Doing offers webcam courses with a professional native instructor.
You can take a general Spanish course or Spanish for exam preparation. There’s also a “Specific Purpose” course to prepare you for travel, a professional goal or any other specific learning need.
It’s ideal for someone who may feel lost in a crowd or who simply needs help formulating a concrete plan regarding Spanish learning. The curriculum is individualized and competency is achieved through conversation and documentation. Homework involves videos, music, reading and writing exercises.
Learning Spanish online is an epically-wise move. It’s actually one of the best ways to learn a language—cheap, mobile, global and fits any schedule. What’s not to love?
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Spanish with real-world videos.