How well-rounded is your Spanish language diet?
The best way to learn any language is with a healthy combination of online and offline learning.
This means mixing together websites, apps and Skype conversations with real-life immersion in the street and in your everyday life.
When you combine different learning and practice techniques, you’ll consume everything your brain needs to get its recommended daily allowance of grammar lessons, vocabulary drills, listening practice and more.
We can build on our food analogy by comparing language learning to the food pyramid.
The base of the modern Spanish learning pyramid, the staple of our learning diet, is the online methods—dominated by Spanish learning websites.
That’s because the online methods and information are easy to access, usually free or cheap and adapted to the needs and interests of the 21st-century language learner.
There are fun, rocking websites out there that will take you all the way from a beginner to master.
And while it can be easy enough to find websites and resources that will teach you the basics, it can be more of a challenge to find ones that will help you through to an expert level of Spanish.
The following websites are great for learners of all levels. When used together, they can provide you with enough material and exercises to carry you to fluency.
The 22 Best Spanish Learning Websites for Language Mastery
We’ll start with comprehensive Spanish learning sites that have it all, then let you test your Spanish, then move on to websites where you can practice grammar and reading.
From there, we’ll look at some sites that will help you build up your vocabulary.
Ready? Let’s eat—I mean, learn!
Comprehensive Spanish Learning Websites
While some sites specialize in different aspects of language learning and different regions, here are two resources that bring it all together.
University of Texas
Starting at beginner level and going all the way through to advanced and superior, the University of Texas’ Spanish Proficiency Exercises page has activities organized by task.
Each task includes videos, grammar, vocabulary, phrases and a podcast.
The tasks all have some kind of language focus.
Some are about describing things or situations, and others are grammar-based, like using conditionals to talk about hypothetical situations.
There are also functional language tasks, such as booking a reservation or making a complaint.
The website layout is somewhat dense and decidedly plain, but the material is high-quality and very structured.
Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the Spanish language and culture over time. You’ll learn Spanish as it’s actually spoken by real people.
FluentU has a wide variety of videos topics, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts. You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used.
Plus, if you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.
Review a complete interactive transcript under the Dialogue tab, and find words and phrases listed under Vocab.
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s robust learning engine. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.
The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It'll even remind you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re studying with the same video.
Furthermore, FluentU’s Spanish learner blog has regular blog posts with language and cultural tips, learning resources, vocabulary and grammar information.
Websites to Test Your Spanish Skills
The level of Spanish you want to reach can depend on why you need to learn it. Likewise, the level you’re already at tends to be defined by how much you can function in society in Spanish.
If you’re at the point where you can have basic exchanges, but not complex discussions, you’re probably around the intermediate level.
If you’ve got almost all the grammar structures and only sometimes struggle for the right word, you’re more advanced and likely aiming to perfect your Spanish.
Online testing can be a straightforward way to find out your level, and therefore see what else you still need to work on.
Many of the sites below also organize their online learning activities by level, so after taking their tests, you can go on to practice by using activities that are specifically tailored to your level.
But online testing does have its limits, all of which you should keep in mind:
- It’s often more focused on grammar and vocabulary skills than speaking and listening.
- Most online testing sites tend to be in European Spanish, rather than Latin American Spanish.
- Tests for lower levels are more common than for upper levels.
However, even if you get to the point where you’ve moved beyond the material on the lower-level tests, you can still benefit from these sites. At the very least, they can help you brush up on the basics.
Amauta is a Latin American Spanish school. Its website is one of the few offering level testing in Latin American Spanish, although its exams only cover beginning through intermediate levels.
The level tests are purely grammatical.
However, the website does have online learning exercises for all levels—including advanced—with games, vocabulary, idioms and more, as well as information on a range of Latin American recipes, music and literature.
This is an online European Spanish course website, but its tests are great because they include both reading and listening comprehension as well as grammar, with two advanced levels.
In theory, most advanced learners who have studied Latin American Spanish should be able to pass European tests as well, with only a few small cultural bumps along the way.
Cervantes is another Spain-based school with rigorous online testing.
The testing format is beautiful and modern, though heavy on grammar, and you have to start at the first out of five levels and see how far you get.
The Cervantes system has a strong reputation for quality teaching and their tests match that.
The Cambridge Institute has developed tests for several languages. The tests, which are based on international or European standards, are available to future students of the institute as well as anyone who’s just interested.
The levels are based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR); A1 and A2 are beginning levels, B1 and B2 are intermediate and C1 and C2 are advanced levels.
There are 60 hefty questions to get through, with a bar showing how far you’ve advanced.
The questions do start at an intermediate level, so this type of test is more appropriate for those who already have some experience with Spanish.
Websites for Spanish Grammar and Reading Practice
Even if you’re already some way into your Spanish-learning journey, it’s important to keep reading and continue learning about Spanish grammar. This way, you can continue building up your language strength.
The more you study the grammar, the better your writing will get and the more the language will make sense.
This grammar-focused website has its content organized by the six CEFR levels (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2), as well as by grammar type. The exercises are of the fairly typical gap-fill variety.
Learn Practical Spanish Online
Also called simply “Practical Spanish,” this is another handy website that organizes its lessons by beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.
The reading lessons are awesome because they allow you to listen as you read, then mouse over vocabulary for an English translation.
Spanish Language and Culture
This cute website is uncluttered and fun to navigate, and its study topics are based on current cultural figures and issues in Latin America and Spain.
Each topic focuses on helping you improve a specific grammar point.
For example, you can study the imperfect and preterite tenses as you read about two friends in Ecuador, or work on your subjunctive skills by listening to a song and reading about the Dominican Republic.
After you choose your activity by topic or by grammar structure, you can then do activities based on the reading or songs, like filling in gaps, rewriting short paragraphs or responding to audio questions.
Already mentioned above, Cervantes has a virtual learning center with some well-structured, step-by-step reading activities.
Click on the book, do some pre-reading, check out the text, and then respond to post-reading questions.
Websites to Help You Expand Your Spanish Vocabulary
The further you progress in your language learning, the more fun vocabulary gets.
It’s awesome to discover the unique Spanish words, playful and dynamic Spanish slang and idioms and those expressions that are full of character and history but that can be a small nightmare to translate back into English.
Use these websites to expand your vocabulary in a fun and effective way—beyond what the textbooks teach.
Speaking Latino is a teacher and student resource site aimed at real-life and authentic Spanish learning.
Grouped by country, this site has a ton of resources to learn slang and general vocabulary, and it includes articles, books, videos, websites, podcasts and more.
Quizlet is a website for generating some flashy but simple quizzes and educational games.
You can also use quizzes created by others.
This vocabulary set for advanced Spanish learners is a great flashcard collection of some of the more interesting words in Spanish.
Spanish Websites for Online Tutoring
Some language learners find one-on-one lessons as their most preferred way of quick improvement.
A Spanish tutor can give you the personalized attention you need to steadily become more confident in the language. You can work with your tutor to fine-tune your skills and focus on the ones most crucial to you.
italki is an online tutoring platform and its Spanish division currently has over 2,500 tutors.
The search feature lets you pinpoint the right teacher for you based on their pay rate, expertise, accent and schedule.
There are two major categories of instructors: “community tutors” and “professional teacher.”
The latter has accreditation and professional experience, so they can provide structured lesson plans and resources. Community tutors are native speakers who are happy to help you out with specific questions or conversation practice.
Like italki, Preply gives you a lot of freedom in searching and choosing the right Spanish tutor for you. You can look through every tutor’s profile to get an idea of what they’re like.
Once you find someone you’re interested in learning from, you can send them a message or book a trial lesson.
Keep in mind that once you choose a tutor, you can continue your learning by purchasing a “lesson package.” Currently, Preply offers 6, 12 or 20-hour lesson packages.
Rype is a tutoring platform that offers a lot of flexibility to users.
When signing up, you can specify how much time you have to learn Spanish, and Rype will estimate how far they can take you.
Once you find a tutor, you can start your roughly 30-minute lessons, usually held over Skype. Rype is subscription-based, so you’ll have to pay monthly (though the prices are very affordable).
Spanish55 is wholly dedicated to offering high-quality Spanish tutoring. All lessons are about 55 minutes in length (hence the name of the service) and are held over Skype.
Your first step would be a free consultation with a tutor, in which you share your goals and get an overall taste of the teaching you’d expect.
Once you’re satisfied, you then pick a monthly subscription package and start scheduling regular lessons based on your and your tutor’s schedule (which you can see).
Verbalplanet provides many of the basic amenities offered by the other listed tutor platforms.
Each lesson with your native-speaking tutor can last roughly 45 minutes. Many instructors also offer loyalty discounts if you stick with them for a number of lessons.
One of Verbalplanet’s best features is the fluency analysis offered after every class.
Your tutor will evaluate your different Spanish skills and give you feedback on your strengths and weaknesses. This is a great way for you to track your Spanish progress and assess your goals.
Spanish Websites for Practice Exercises
There’s no such thing as too much review! If you want to keep your Spanish skills up to snuff, then you’ll have to practice, practice and practice some more!
These websites will let you keep a close tab on your progress and shed light on your strengths and weaknesses.
StudySpanish offers plenty of mini-lessons and quizzes going over Spanish pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary.
These are great for when you want to tackle certain “problem spots” or need a quick review of specific, troublesome concepts.
Access to resources is membership-based.
The free membership lets you access many of the lessons and some of the tests and quizzes. The monthly and premium memberships give you full access to all lessons, tests (with recorded grades) and audio podcasts.
Besides functioning as a Spanish dictionary and translator, SpanishDict also has plenty of useful learning resources. There are mini grammar lessons and curated vocabulary lists with quizzes.
The grammar lessons include teaching videos and review exercises that are primarily fill-in-the-blank format.
Conveniently, the questions also include audio snippets spoken by native speakers. The vocabulary quizzes ask you to translate words (with included visual guides) into their Spanish counterparts.
123 Teach Me
123 Teach Me is dedicated to providing free Spanish learning materials.
The review exercises take on a variety of formats, including audio quizzes, games, multimedia flashcards and more. There’s even a verb conjugator that you can use!
Don’t miss out on the self-study resources either!
123 Teach Me has a few basic courses that cover the Spanish used for travel, business and medical settings. The “Spanish for Kids” section also has a trove of useful content that can be helpful for learners of any age.
Don’t be fooled by its kiddy appearance!
While Rockalingua is catered to children, its colorful, musical games can make vocabulary and grammar studies fun and invigorating.
There are also songs, short stories and picture dictionaries that can help you review Spanish phrases, terminology and verbs.
Conjuguemos has a ton of fun interactive activities for verb, vocabulary and grammar practice.
The platform was actually designed to be a classroom aid, with graded quizzes, flashcards and games aligning with popular Spanish learner textbooks.
Even if you’re not a student or teacher, the free account gives you access to plenty of comprehensive exercises that will keep you occupied for a long time. Conjuguemos also allows you to download helpful charts and notes for your convenience.
All these websites are free or at least offer some free resources, so there’s nothing stopping you from expanding your Spanish language learning to new and amazing heights!
Tamara Pearson is a journalist, teacher and language lover who has lived in Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela and now Mexico. She is also the author of “The Butterfly Prison.”
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