Learn Spanish for Free Online – 21 of the Most Valuable No-Cost Resources

If you’re learning Spanish, then you’re in luck. There are tons of free online resources available for you. In fact, I am absolutely sure if you wanted to, you could learn Spanish to fluency without spending a cent.

Here are my 21 favorite Spanish-learning resources that are absolutely free. (Some of these resources, such as iTalki, may have pay options. But I purposely chose to mention the services whose free offerings actually provided value.)

I’m going to cover five general categories of materials:

  • Courses
  • Lessons
  • References
  • Social Media
  • Comprehensible Input

Also, before you do anything else, like my page on Facebook or follow me on Twitter to get a steady stream of free, no-nonsense language learning information.

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It costs time, money, and expertise to develop a full language course. So it’s actually kind of amazing that you can use some of these programs for no cost.

1. Mi Vida Loca – This is a beginner’s Spanish course put out by the BBC. It’s a 22-episode suspense story, with some language explanations and interactive activities.

2. FSI Spanish Courses – The United States Foreign Service Institute (FSI) develops its own language courses to train its diplomats. Thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, some of these are publicly available.

3. Duolingo – I’ve reviewed Duolingo before. Let me just reiterate, though, that I can’t believe a program of this depth and quality is available completely free.


Some people and organizations offer quality lessons that might not be part of an overall course but are still useful.

4. Professor Jason – I’m not sure what Professor Jason’s background is. But he’s created some incredible YouTube explaining the finer points of the Spanish language, covering topics such as grammar, pronunciation, and cultural notes.

5. GLOSS – The United States Defense Language Institute creates language-learning lessons for service members, but this material is available to the public. As of this writing, there are 368 Spanish lessons ranging from beginner to advanced.

6. About Spanish – About.com offers all kinds of information about Spanish. You can brush up on specific grammatical points, learn vocabulary words, and get valuable study tips.


I usually recommend that Spanish speakers buy a good Spanish-to-English dictionary. Truthfully, however, the information is available online for free. (I’m not mentioning Google Translate in this list. It’s not because I don’t like it, because I really do. It’s because you’ve undoubtedly already heard about it, so let me tip you off to some less popular resources.)

7. wordreference.com – This is a solid tool that lets you translate words from Spanish to English, and vice versa.

8. Spanish Dict – A decent English-to-Spanish translation tool. It also contains lessons and general Spanish-language information.

9. Study Spanish – Awesome resource for information on Spanish grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary.

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Flashcard Tools

When I’m studying vocab, I like using old-fashioned physical flashcards. But if you prefer using something on your mobile device or computer, these might be your speed.

10. Anki – Anki is one of the most popular Spaced Repetition Software (SRS) flashcard tools out there. Some people swear by it. I’ve used it, and it’s solid.

11. Flashcard Machine – I actually prefer Flashcard Machine over Anki or anything else online really. It’s extremely easy to use, and I actually like that it doesn’t have too many bells and whistles. Flashcards are, after all, supposed to be simple.

12. Spanish Dict Flashcards – Spanish Dict makes a second appearance on the list because its pre-made Spanish flashcards deserve their own mention. Someone put a lot of time into making those, and now you can just march in and learn with them. Also, you get the audio with the flashcard! This means that you’ll know how the words are actually pronounced.

Social Media

Languages are, by their nature, social. So take advantage of social media to meet your language goals.

13. iTalki – iTalki is a social media website that puts language learners in touch with teachers and tutors. But it also offers one valuable service that is absolutely free: it helps you meet people who want to conduct a language exchange. What this means is that you can practice speaking with native Spanish speakers, and in return you help them learn your native language.

14. Zirtanel Spanish – This is a Twitter feed that provides bite-sized Spanish instruction. There are a few Twitter accounts like this out there, but I chose to single out Zirtanel because of the quality and consistency of its posts.

15. Lang-8 – Lang-8 lets you practice writing in the language you’re studying, and native speakers of that language will help correct you. In return, you correct people who are learning your language.

Comprehensible Input

I’ve discussed comprehensible input before. But if you’re not familiar with the term, it’s basically stuff you listen to or hear that you can understand.

Since intermediate and advanced students have a broad range of materials to listen to, I’ve chosen to focus on things that beginner students might find comprehensible.

16. Destinos – This is a “telenovela” from the 90s that was designed specifically for language students. It’s a little silly, but there are 52 half-hour lessons with plenty of comprehensible input.

17. Pocoyo – A kids show with very easy Spanish. I linked to the main website, which features the Spanish from Spain. If you search on YouTube, you can find full episodes of Pocoyo in Latin American Spanish.

18. Extr@ – Corny plots and terrible acting. But the Spanish is clear and tailored for beginning learners. I linked to episode one, but a YouTube search will bring up several other episodes.

19. University of Texas Spanish Proficiency Exercises – Hundreds of short videos in which native Spanish speakers demonstrate how to perform various language tasks (i.e., say different stuff). Also, since the transcripts are provided with each video, these are great resources for you to practice transcription.

20. Mary Glasgow Spanish News – Mary Glasgow is a series of online magazines and lessons, published by Scholastic International. Most of the site is subscription based, but simplified Spanish news stories are provided for free. The current issue provides about seven articles, and the news archives provide many more.

21. Lingus TV – This site provides some oddball videos in Castilian Spanish, but input is input.


Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments!

  • http://www.16kinds.com/ Wiktor Kostrzewski

    Fantastic. Thanks for this!

    • http://www.languagesurfer.com/ Ron G.

      My pleasure. Hope it helps!

  • http://www.languagesurfer.com/ Ron G.

    Hi Alice! Thanks for the note. I’ll check that app out and let you know what I think.

  • Ibowis

    ¡¡Fantastic post!!! A lot of Spanish resouces for my Spanish students :-) I will recommended to them. In my blog also you can find Spanish exercise and information about Spain and The Canary Islands.


    • http://www.languagesurfer.com/ Ron G.

      Hi Antonia! ¡Gracias por el cumplido!

      Also, for anyone wanting to see Antonia’s site, it’s at http://www.ibowis.com. (Correct me please if I’m wrong.) I’d like to take a Spanish immersion class someday. I’ll definitely keep your school in mind in the future, if you have availability.

      • Ibowis

        Muchas gracias Ron.
        Yes it`s correct, you and your reader are invited to Spanish School Ibowis in The Canary Islands.
        Ron nos vemos pronto in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria 😉

        Un saludo


  • SportstraderNL

    Hello everyone, great blog you have Ron!
    I am now having three languages at my university (Spanish, French and English). Spanish is the language I have no experience with. (French and English I have had already in secondary school.) But the problem is that I think that the Spanish classes are not effective, I have 3 hours Spanish in a week, two hour theory and 1 hour practice, but all the time is not used smart. I have now Spanish classes since September but I only can say some basic stuff, things you can learn in a week or so..
    So I was now thinking that I could use my time better to study it myself and I already found some methods which seem to be what I am looking for. Ofcourse the obvious programs as Rosetta Stone and Pimsleur etc. But I also discovered Fluencia.com and I have had an trial with it and I think it is fun and effective to learn with.. But the problem is I only completed 10 lessons and I now have to pay, so before I decide to pay I want to know what is the best way.

    Does anyone over here have experience with Fluencia.com? Should I subscribe to it or should I perhaps combine multiple (other) systems?
    I want to learn to speak very good (ideally fluent) but also I want to write so grammar should be included in the program. I hope someone can help!

    PS. I know Fluencia does not exist for a long time but I hope there will be some experiences!

    • http://www.languagesurfer.com/ Ron G.

      Hi! Thanks for stopping by. I haven’t used Fluencia , so I can’t honestly say if it’s worthwhile or not. I’ve used Duolingo and now Babbel, both of which are fine programs. Whichever program you choose, my only recommendation is that you combine it with other more “authentic” activities, such as watching TV, as well as some active listening drills. Details are in my free book, which you can get by clicking “Language Master Key” at the top of the page.

      • SportstraderNL

        Thanks for your response. I will download the book!

    • playpals

      Neighbors who speak Spanish recommend dictionary for understanding- How much of these courses am I going to remember without speaking? Would you agree a dictionary is necessary?

      • http://www.languagesurfer.com/ Ron G.

        Hi, nice to meet you! A dictionary is helpful, but you can get away with using free online dictionaries and Google Translate.

        I always recommend that people not rely on courses alone, because you already pretty much identified the problem. You’ll forget stuff because courses are great, but they’re limited in their application. For the language to sink in, you have to use it and read and listen to it in context–a lot. Some of the resources on the list above will help with that too.

        If you’re just getting started, I recommend trying this:

        – 15-20 minutes of Duolingo a day
        – 15-20 minutes of watching the easiest Spanish videos you can find on YouTube, like kids shows or shows designed for learners or music videos with slowly sung lyrics
        – 10 minutes of memorizing Spanish phrases

        …that’s just one way to get started with Spanish, but it’s pretty close to what I did and I saw pretty rapid progress. After 3 to 6 weeks, you’ll be in a better position to see what you need to adjust or change altogether.

        Feel free to ask questions as you go along! Good luck!

  • Matt Williams

    How do I get rid of Fluencia?

  • playpals

    language! Necessary to learn conversational Spanish. No time like the present to get started!

  • Cosme Corona

    Really fantastic information about Learning Spanish. I have been learning long time from http://www.quierohablarespanol.com/ES/, but your blog also much informative.

  • Cosme Corona

    Its a very helpful blog for the basic learner of Spanish. I appreciate your blog. I have found another site which provides good information on online Spanish learning. I get good help from it too. Check it at http://quierohablarespanol.com/EN/

  • Fayola Bostic

    Great post. I like Nómadas podcast too.

  • Christy

    I am extremely fluent in Spanish but I would like to learn a different dialect. For example the Castilian Spanish used in Madrid. Using Vosotros instead of Ustedes, querais instead of quieren, etc. Any recommendations? Thank you.

    • http://www.languagesurfer.com/ Ron G.

      Hi, Christy! First, check out the podcast Notes in Spanish: http://www.notesinspanish.com. I love that site, and used it even when I was studying Latin American Spanish. Lessons range from beginner to advanced.

      Also, Pimsleur has a Castilian Spanish course. I think that would be really good for your goals. It’s a little pricey, but you might be able to find it at your local library. (Or just try a lesson for free at the Pimsleur site and see if you like it.) It might be really basic if you’re fluent in Spanish, but since it’s starting over from scratch, it might help you spot/internalize the differences easier. Also, you repeat after the speaker, so it would help change your pronunciation.

      Here’s a good site: http://www.veintemundos.com/en/spanish/spain/

      There’s a link in the article above for “Mi Vida Loca.” The setting is Spain. Again, very basic, but might help you, and it’s free.

      Just some ideas. I honestly haven’t given much thought to changing dialects, so I’m kind of just brainstorming. These look like they’re worth giving a try?

  • UrbanManUSA

    Quick note, thank you VERY much for this Ron. Based on this article, I found Duolingo, wow, what an amazing free product. Love the interactive nature of it, especially when it “talks” to you, as I really need more “hearing” repetitions. I do wish it had a Mexico/Central America switch, as the J enunciation for example is generally more Spain than what one finds on this side of the Atlantic – but that is me being picky. Otra vez muchas gracias!

  • Marcus

    I am using Fluencia. I think Spanish Dic are the parent Company. It is good, but not very good. It is too glitchy and slow for my liking. This is because of their marking system where 2 small errors per question, (e.g. spelling ‘todávia’ like that – ‘todavia’ would count as 1 error) requires you to retake the entire question at the end. This makes the tasks section very laborious, and because it is so turgid, you lose impetus and energy….in the end you stay in the program a lot longer than you should. Maybe it’s deliberate on their part? Shame really, because with some tweaking it would be a very good system.

  • Profetube

    Also you can learn Spanish with our Free video classes on Youtube


  • Suzy St. George

    Hey Ron, nice round-up! So many awesome resources out there. I also wanted to share the TakeLessons Blog (http://takelessons.com/blog/learn-Spanish) – we have a huge library of free guides, articles, and video lessons for Spanish learners. New students can also take our live, online Spanish classes for free – check ’em out here: https://classes.takelessons.com/spanish :)