learn Spanish with magazines

How to Learn Spanish with Free, High-quality Magazines

Picking up a magazine for Spanish study may never have crossed your mind.

Unless you live in a Spanish-speaking country, they’re not in plain sight.

Even if they were—who are you, the Queen of England?

I mean, who has extra cash enough to shell out for luxuries like magazines?

Most of us are too busy trying to pay student loans and buy toilet paper.

Turns out, it’s pretty easy to track down high-quality Spanish language magazines for free.

And even better, these magazines provide great Spanish reading material to improve your vocabularylearn new grammatical structures and immerse yourself in culture at the same time.

Talk about learning Spanish efficiently!

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How to Discover Great Spanish Magazines

There are a bunch of ways to get ahold of magazines for your Spanish learning enjoyment, three of which we’ll discuss here: (1) buy print editions, (2) use an app, (3) internet it.

As for #3, is it technically a magazine if it’s just on the internet? Well, this is what those of you from the ’00s might remember being called an “e-zine.” Now we’ve just learned to accept that magazines come in all shapes and sizes.

Each type of magazine comes with its own unique benefits. For example, anything online tends to be more interactive, dynamic and socially-connected. Print magazines are more easily marked up and used for at-home learning activities.

Here’s how you can find each magazine type, along with the best Spanish language magazines that fall under each:

1. Buy Print Editions

These can be found at Hispanic grocery stores (occasionally at larger grocery store chains as well), large magazine vendors in commercial centers, Barnes & Noble, Amazon and on individual websites for each magazine.

2. Use Apps

Use apps like Scribd, Issuu, Zinio, Kindle, Nook, Google Play Newsstand and iTunes Newsstand.

3. Internet It

If you want to explore Spanish language magazines more broadly, check out web pages that feature lists, collections and reviews of Spanish language magazines online. A Google search will always  take you deeper, but here are a few great sites to get you started: Pimsleur magazine recommendations, MultilingualBooks.com and w3newspapers.

You can also go totally old-school and check your local library for more magazine offerings. They might be low on Spanish language content, probably depending on where you live, but be sure to check out the Scholastic section which is usually never found lacking.

Benefits of Spanish Magazines for Learners

So now you know how to find magazines, but you might still be wondering what makes them so special as language learning tools. I mean, why grab a magazine as opposed to an e-book, newspaper or audiobook?

  • Diverse content and format. There’s a magazine out there for any specific topic that interests you, and there are magazines geared towards all ages and Spanish skill levels. Newspapers typically aim for a more general appeal, objective coverage and tend to focus on current events (be they international, domestic, political or special interest). Magazines can dive right into a certain topic and give their opinions unabashedly! This is great for those of us who love straight talk.
  • The gang’s all here. Most major magazines are translated or have Spanish language editions targeted to certain regions. For example, you’ll find People en Español, Cosmopolitan, GQ and more. We’ll actually look at a few of these in our list of top magazines. For many translated magazines, you can even choose magazine versions targeted to specific countries—at the very least there’s usually a Mexican Spanish option used through Latin America and a Castilian Spanish one for Europe.
  • Made for modern readers. That means the language and content is modern, and the format appeals to our mile-a-minute lifestyles. Stories are either bite-sized or accompanied by pictures to break down and illustrate the text. That means you can easily read a story quickly while traveling or on-the-go.
  • Striking imagery provides context for language. Magazines are all about visual appeal. They won’t just lure you in with big, catchy headers—they’ll keep your eyes glued to the page with brilliant, full-color imagery. The images will illustrate key points in the text. Other images, such as in sidebars, advertisements and photo essays, all come accompanied by descriptive captions. All of this makes for an extremely well-supported Spanish learning experience.

How to Learn Spanish with Magazines

To get started learning with magazines, here are a few quick tips for study time. It’s all pretty self-explanatory, so zoom through this and get to the list already! Don’t you want to start reading?

  • Just read. Get your brain more familiar with Spanish by keeping magazines handy, either on your phone, your kitchen table or your bathroom counter, to glance at whenever you have a spare minute. You can also enjoy unwinding with them casually during free time. Passive reading is great for getting acquainted with the language and improving your overall reading speed.
  • Mark them up. If you’ve opted for some print magazines, keep a pen tucked between the pages to mark new words, phrases and grammar patterns you encounter along the way. You can either look up words as you go, copy them down in a notebook or refer back to your markings later.
  • Use as jumping off point for resources. Magazines love to review and feature other resources. Whether you discover a fashion line you adore or a hot new title in Spanish literature, highlight the cool external resources you discover in magazines and hunt them down later. You always want to keep building on Spanish study materials!
  • Activities with print magazines. Go kindergarten on those magazines’ asses. Chop them up with scissors and create posters or scrapbooks with your favorite texts and images. Tape ’em up on your bedroom wall or keep them on your office desk so you’re always staring at Spanish language materials.
  • Interact. Print magazines sometimes have little quizzes and games, but online magazines offer you the most opportunities for interaction. Either way, learn actively by engaging with your magazines. Share outstanding articles on social media, tweet at the magazine’s staff, take virtual quizzes and comment in the forums.

Learn Spanish with Magazines: 12 Best Spanish Mags on the Virtual Newsstand

1. Artishock

learn Spanish with magazines

Interested in learning about culture in the Spanish-speaking world through art? Read the minimalistic but ever-so-chic Artishock to explore contemporary art throughout Spain and Latin America. Read about recent exhibitions in “Artistas a los artistas and drink in vibrant colors by perusing the “artista del mes” features.

2. Gadgets

learn Spanish with magazines

Addicted to reading about the latest technology? This magazine covers technology news and updates on an extraordinarily international scale. They’re really into smartwatches right now. Look out for their app on Google Play.

3. Emprendedores

learn Spanish with magazines

This is the hot place for news and resources relating to entrepreneurs and businesspeople of all shapes and sizes. If you’re looking to create an internet startup or an actual brick and mortar business, you’ll find tons of information that’s relevant to your experiences, problems, challenges and burning questions. Their main goal here, it would seem, is to provide troubleshooting guides to get you through tough times and successful case studies to give you hope and inspiration.

They also regularly shine the spotlight on certain types of businesspeople and their unique challenges: for example, the most recent edition discussed pressing issues for disabled entrepreneurs and female startup owners.

Regardless of which app or magazine subscription service you use, Emprendedores has a far reach and is likely to be found there. 

4. El Cultural

learn Spanish with magazines

Want to stay attuned to the international art community?

Just looking to learn about events related to the arts on a more global scale?

Enjoy head-scratching photos of wacky modern art exhibitions and the boldest of bold live performances?

This magazine has nailed down the holy trinity: arts, culture and literature. It’s the best place to go for modern book recommendations, summaries and analyses. The main features include incisive interviews with well-known and respected modern authors, directors and artists.

The expanse of topics is wide-ranging, and this magazine will allow you to explore large selections of articles on popular and niche topics. The website will also allow you access to premium video content and arts-related current events coverage.

5. Cocina Fácil 

learn Spanish with magazines

Pinterest lovers and aspiring chefs rejoice. Cocina Fácil will provide you with traditional cooking from around the Spanish-speaking world, modern spins on timeless Hispanic recipes and new innovations in flavor combinations. Many recipes are devoted to all-natural, healthy cooking using only basic ingredients, so anyone can get in on the fun.

Here you’ll not only find delicious and easy-to-prepare recipes that you’ll want to start cooking yesterday, but you’ll also get a great introduction to Hispanic culture through food, cooking methods and ingredients. Often recipes are rooted in their origins, or are mashed up with recipes from other cultures to produce something more uniquely delicious—but the recipe writers keep you informed along the way.

You’ll soon learn about everything from traditional Mexican cuisine to modern experiments in high-quality Andean restaurants. Plus, you’ll be learning by reading and doing.

6. National Geographic en Español

learn Spanish with magazines

You already probably know and love National Geographic, a commanding presence in dentist office waiting rooms and grocery store magazine racks everywhere, so I don’t have to rave too much about their well-researched topics, gorgeous photography and highly personal, sentimental written features. Daydream about exotic locations, monumental cultural shifts, noble wild animals and heart-pounding adventures.

The online version provides some cool extras like downloadable wallpapers and video content, but there are free apps for Android and iPhone which provide you with lovely photo-based articles on the go. This is arguably the most visually-based magazine, which is great if you’re looking to learn Spanish through photos.

The general National Geographic magazines dabbles here and there in culture, history, current events, nature and travel destinations, but you can absolutely focus on the Travel (Viajes) and History (Historia) editions depending on your personal interests.

7. Revista Barcelona

learn Spanish with magazines

Looking for a laugh? You’ll need to do your research first. This satire magazine is Argentina’s answer to “the Onion.” As such, it’s not only dryly hilarious—it’s also packed with golden opportunities to learn about topical social, political and cultural ongoings throughout the Spanish-speaking world, predominantly in South America.

You’ll probably need to defer to Google for answers regarding who’s who and what’s what, but you’ll become astoundingly well-informed in the process. This is important for advanced learners, Spanish students living abroad and especially those approaching fluency.

Just think about how many jokes and comments you’ll hear referring to political gaffes, major news stories, entertainment and celebrities while in an English-speaking country. That’s information you need to survive (or at least to understand the brunt of topical humor)!

That being said, you’ll also get humorous takes on people and events that are a bit closer to home. Take, for example, this little treat of a headline: “Durante el resto del año, Angelina Jolie y Brad Pitt sólo adoptarán ocho africanos, y no quince, ‘por temor al Ébola.'” (During the rest of the year, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt will only adopt eight Africans, not fifteen, “for fear of Ebola.” )

Lol.

8. Psicologia Moderna

learn Spanish with magazines

Your typical human interest magazine, Psicologia Moderna will allow you to explore the curiosities of daily life and the human body through psychology research and other scientific insights. Think Psychology Today style headlines and articles, guiding you to better concentration, heart health, mental dexterity, parenting, eating habits and more.

The goal is to help and encourage you as you improve your efficiency, productivity, satisfaction, happiness and overall well-being though smart decision-making and small but impactful life changes.

9. Tú!

learn Spanish with magazines

Tú is a staple of Latino supermarkets worldwide. You may even recognize the sugary, colorful and glitzy magazine covers yourself. This magazine focuses on tho who’s who of younger modern celebrities—with a special emphasis on the hottest couples.

This is ideal for those of us who never truly grew out of our Hilary Duff phase, and still want to keep up with Disney stars, pop music, tween movies, Selena Gomez’s latest hairstyle and so on. If you really want to stay up to date, the app provides a super sleek newsfeed and is great for quick and easy Spanish reading material.

As you can imagine, this magazine is geared towards a younger audience and the language is hip, modern and easy to read. You’ll probably pick up loads of text message slang, chatspeak and Latin American social media trends in the process.

10. Revista Dale

learn Spanish with magazines

Looking for something that’s modern, cool and fun, but with a little more edge? Revista Dale isn’t about the exploits of Cuban pop star Pitbull (whose catchphrase is “dale,” in case you live under a rock), but rather is centered on the Argentinian rock scene.

That may sound a bit specific and outside your range of interests, but this magazine primarily uses Argentinian rock musicians to gain deeper perspective on global music trends, social and cultural shifts and general industry issues.

Is rock really dead? Can rock music be a medium for humor? Will reggae be in style again? Explore these intriguing topics (and much more) through stellar, thought-provoking writing and beautiful photo spreads. Also, no edition is complete without a bit of expertly-photographed Latin American slapstick humor.

And, um, fabulous photo essays featuring hot Argentinian rockers? Yes, please.

Click “edición digital” for a mobile-friendly version. You can even download brilliant, colorful PDF versions of the latest stories and magazines.

11. Fama

learn Spanish with magazines

Fama has all things “the flossy flossy,” to rip a line from Fergie. If you aspire to be first-class, up in the sky or on movie screens, magazines and bougie things—yes, okay, maybe I’m still speaking through Fergie lyrics—then this is the magazine for you.

It captures snippets from the glamorous lives of the rich and famous and delivers them in a sleek and minimalist-cool format. Everything from red carpet fashions to FLOTUS news. If you’re going to distract yourself from work to look at Michelle Obama’s new haircut or Cameron Diaz’s wedding photos, you may as well do all this in Spanish.

This magazine is also excellent if you’re interested in the fastest and finest automobiles worldwide, beauty advice and dream getaway locations (for when you finally make your first million). Plus, you’ll get a crash course in hot Hispanic celebrities. Who are the big celebs in the Spanish-speaking world these days?

Can you name any aside from Enrique Iglesias or J. Lo?

Hint: They’re mostly dreamy telenovela stars.

12. Playboy Latino

learn Spanish with magazines

Ready for your new favorite guilty pleasure? I’m not afraid to give you what you actually want. Sex sells, and in this case it sells a magazine that goes way above and beyond naughty pictures. If this is your first experience with Playboy, this may come as a surprise—it can actually be fun to read.

You’ll get news relating to fitness, couples’ workouts and keeping an active sex life. Entertainment features will actually give you glimpses into upcoming motion pictures and superstar lives. Interviews with major celebrities get downer and dirtier than other magazines dare to go.

Heck, there’s even information on cocktail preparation, cooking with known aphrodisiacs and finding the best luxury hotels. It’s a fun place to go and learn new vocabulary on topics that come up all the time in real life.

The second you first step on Latin American soil, you learn how important it is to understand less-than-sophisticated vocabulary and speak in saucier Spanish—many people there love to push boundaries, crack inappropriate jokes and flirt in all kinds of day-to-day situations. Even if that’s not your style, it’s good to be prepared!

So no matter your interests or level of Spanish, magazines bring a diverse selection to the table. They’re truly a fun way to ease yourself into reading Spanish—while soaking up culture, too.

Head to the virtual magazine stands today, check out the latest to hit the shelves and let your enjoyment begin!

And One More Thing…

If you like learning colorful, memorable Spanish lessons like these, then you’ll love FluentU.

FluentU takes real-world videos like music videos, commercials, news, and inspiring talks and turns them into Spanish learning experiences.

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 like soccer, TV shows, business, movies and even magical realism, as you can see here:

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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. If you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.

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Learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s Learn Mode. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.

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The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and it recommends you examples and videos based on the words you’ve already learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re learning the same video. 

Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes store or get it on Google Play for Android devices.

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