A little knowledge of Spanish, one of the world's most popular languages, opens you up to a rich wealth of culture from both Spain and Latin America.
And whether you just need some basic vocabulary for a holiday in Mexico, or are seeking fluency for a move abroad to Spain, it’s worth giving Babbel's online Spanish course some consideration.
Babbel Spanish is a well-rounded platform that aims to have you conversing like a local as quickly as possible.
But will it suit you?
Well read on. Because I’ve been putting in the hours and weighing up its strengths and weaknesses so you don’t have to.
So let’s get started with this Babbel Spanish review. Vamos!
- Bite-sized lessons for those with limited free time
- Optional online group classes hosted by certified teachers with Babbel Live
- Audio resources narrated by native speakers
- Speech recognition technology to perfect your pronunciation
- Review Manager ensures you retain everything you’ve learnt for the long term
- Themed courses let you develop specific skills
- Mobile app that allows you to take your learning on the go
- Regularly updated content keeps learning fresh and relevant
- Stay motivated with the weekly goal tracker
- Entertaining Babbel podcast series to supplement your learning
- Combine course content with Babbel Live online classes to turbo-boost your learning
- Wide range of content review options allow you to curate your learning to suit your personal needs
- Focus on everyday, real-life situations that will have you quickly conversing with confidence
- Podcasts, magazines and Cultural Bites open the door to a rich world of Spanish and Latin American culture
- Diverse selection of themed courses to cherry-pick from
- Comprehensive yet digestible grammar explanations and exercises
- Subjective placement test that lacks accurate results
- Limited choice of longer and more in-depth lessons
- No higher level content for learners of Latin American Spanish
Best for: Busy professionals, tourists, and students who prefer a structured approach to language learning. With a focus on practical communication skills and the option to curate personalized learning paths, it's geared towards rapidly building conversational abilities in real-life situations.
Cost: Babbel offers single-language subscription plans ranging from $14.95/month for a monthly plan to $7.45/month for a 12-month plan. There is an additional cost for Babbel Live. Aspiring polyglots can purchase lifetime access to all languages for $349.00.
Overall: With its well-designed lessons, practical approach, and customizable learning paths, Babbel Spanish is a fantastic resource for those wishing to converse in Spanish in as short a time as possible. The option to combine the fantastic course content with Babbel Live’s virtual group classes, led by professionally-qualified tutors, arguably makes Babbel Spanish one of the best online Spanish courses out there.
What is Babbel?
Internationally renowned, Babbel is one of the best-selling language learning platforms on the market. It currently boasting over 10 million subscriptions worldwide. Babbel's known for the immersive learning experience it offers its learners, with a particular emphasis on rapidly developing their conversation skills.
One of the main reasons Babbel is so popular is because it’s proven to be effective. Within 5 hours of using Babbel, 73% of users felt confident that they could have a short, simple conversation in their new language.
Babbel’s teaching system has also been studied by researchers at Yale University, Michigan State University, and other major institutions. All have verified its effectiveness. Their research found that 100% of participants improved their conversation proficiency in three months. One study concluded that 15 hours study time on Babbel was the equivalent of one university semester!
Babbel has an outstanding array of tools and teaching methods to keep learners engaged, regardless of their learning style. Each lesson is followed up with a variety of speaking, listening, and writing activities to reinforce everything that's been learnt. Plus, you can take advantage of Babbel podcasts, Youtube videos, and Babbel Live online classes to facilitate your learning further.
How does Babbel Spanish work?
Babbel Spanish’s lessons are designed to be bite-sized, with each one typically lasting no more than 10 to 15 minutes. This format, especially when used with the mobile app, allows you to take your learning with you wherever you go. It's ideal for those with a packed schedule who need to fit their learning around other commitments.
If you sign up for Babbel Live, you can take advantage of online classes with qualified tutors. These work hand-in-hand with the course material, further deepening your understanding and providing you the opportunity to ask any questions you may have.
There are a wide variety of different courses available for you to complete. Each one normally consisting of around 10 different lessons. Some are based on your ability level, with Babbel Spanish adhering to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) standards. Meanwhile, others are organized according to their theme. So should you wish you can choose to complete courses in Business Spanish, Spanish-speaking Countries and Traditions, or Mexican Spanish.
Some of the Babbel Spanish (Spain) course options, categorized by learner ability.
Babbel Spanish’s unique blend of structure and flexibility allows you to progress through the course material in a logical yet personalized manner. The wide variety of content means you can tailor your learning journey so it’s specific to your own needs, highlighting areas for improvement and addressing them accordingly.
Finally, Babbel Spanish lets you set a weekly target of learning time to reach, and tracks your daily activity on the platform. This helps to keep you motivated and accountable, giving you that extra boost to study when it’s required.
What a lesson is like on Babbel Spanish
A Babbel Spanish lesson will usually focus on introducing you to either a few new items of vocabulary or a grammatical concept. It will then reinforce what you've learnt with a number of different activities. These include multiple-choice quizzes, audio tracks, and gap-fill exercises.
Screengrab from a lesson on Babbel Spanish
New vocabulary is presented through context-based exercises, accompanied by images and native-speaker audio. This helps users not only memorize the vocabulary but also recognise its use in real-life situations.
Grammar lessons on Babbel Spanish are designed to be easily digestible, breaking down complex rules into simpler concepts. Interactive exercises reinforce understanding and provide ample opportunities for practice, ensuring that learners grasp the grammatical structures being taught.
Babbel Spanish also continually invites you to review all new vocabulary in a manner that suits you best. For example, with listening, speaking, or writing exercises. This not only helps you commit new learning to memory, but allows you to do so in a way that best suits your learning style.
For an additional cost, you can purchase a Babbel Live subscription and participate in online group classes with a qualified tutor. These interactive lessons offer an excellent opportunity to engage with other learners, ask questions, and put into practice everything that you have learnt on the platform. They perfectly complement the course material, giving you a well-rounded and dynamic learning experience that will drastically accelerate the acquisition of your chosen language.
What is the method behind Babbel Spanish?
Babbel’s method, empirically proven by academics at some of the top universities in the U.S.A., is based on 3 defining principles:
- All lessons are based upon real-life, everyday situations: Babbel’s goal is that you are able to talk about the things that you are interested in. They want you to have the conversation skills to do this in a variety of different circumstances.
- Every conversation is spoken by native speakers: By listening to the conversations of native speakers you will quickly learn the perfect pronunciation, cadence, and placement of the vocabulary or grammar being taught. Plus, with Babbel’s speech-recognition tool you can ensure that your own speech mirrors that of the native speakers. Allowing you to converse like a local after only a few lessons.
- Learn, review, and retain. After feeding you new information in bite-sized chunks, Babbel uses the spaced repetition technique to review everything you have learnt, presenting the information to you again at set intervals. This technique has been proven to commit what you learn to your long-term memory
Babbel covers all essential elements of language learning, including vocabulary, speaking, listening, grammar, reading, and writing. By addressing these components through a variety of interactive exercises, Babbel provides a comprehensive and well-rounded learning experience.
Furthermore, each of Babbel’s lessons has a communicative goal that you should be able to achieve upon completion. Whether that’s being able to order a coffee and understand the waiter’s reply, or asking for directions.
These small conversation goals accumulate rapidly. So that within a short space of time you will be an accomplished speaker in your target language.
How I reviewed Babbel Spanish
I already speak some Spanish so I was excited to see what makes Babbel so popular – and to find out how it could develop my language skills.
After signing up for a free account, I took the Placement Test. This identified me as having an intermediate (B1 CEFR) level of Spanish.
But to ensure I was writing the most comprehensive review possible, I sampled lessons from all available ability levels. From Beginner to Advanced. And from both the Spanish (Latin American) and Spanish (Spain) language pathways. I took lessons focusing on grammar and speaking, and explored different lessons by their theme such as Business Spanish and Spanish Idioms.
I took full advantage of the 2 free Babbel Live classes offered, and spent plenty of time examining the wealth of additional resources on the platform. Including the Babbel magazine and Babbel podcast, which I found to be immensely entertaining. Finally, I downloaded the Babbel app to my phone. This allowed me to sneak a lesson in whenever I had a spare moment during the day.
I was very impressed by the ‘spaced recognition’ prompts to review everything that I had learnt. It was incredibly effective at helping me retain everything that I had learnt for future recall, which is something that I really used to struggle with when I first started learning Spanish.
Pros of Babbel Spanish
I could talk for hours about all the different features that make Babbel a worthwhile investment. But here are some of my favorite ones:
Accelerate your learning with Babbel Live
Now, I know many of you will have looked at the price for a Babbel Live subscription and summarily dismissed it as being too expensive or an unnecessary indulgence, but please, hear me out.
A subscription to Babbel Live grants you unlimited access to online group classes. Therefore the more classes you take the more you will get your money's worth. If you are able to take two or more classes a week, a Babbel Live subscription will be a far cheaper option than paying for classes with an external teacher.
Plus, the group classes go hand-in-hand with the course content, complementing each other perfectly. As an experienced language learner myself, I can attest to the fact that self-learning is nowhere near as effective or fast as having a qualified teacher to help guide you on your journey. Therefore, if you want to rapidly accelerate your acquisition of the Spanish language, a subscription to Babbel Live is the most effective way to do so.
Don’t forget, Babbel Live also grants you access to every language on the Babbel platform. So if you’re thinking about learning more than one language, consider the cost-effectiveness of paying for a Live subscription instead of two individual language subscriptions.
Great choice of content review options
Babbel adopts a ‘spaced repetition’ approach to help you review and retain everything that you learn on the platform. But something I think is really great is that they offer you a choice of activities to review the course content, depending on your own personal learning style.
The review options available to revise previously-learned content
You can choose activities that focus on either writing, speaking, or listening. Therefore if you’re primarily an audio learner, there’s an activity for you. Likewise if you believe you need more practice writing, there’s an option for you there as well. This allows you to personalize your learning and ensure that the content is optimized according to your needs.
Screengrab from Babbel Spanish’s Review Manager
Healthy dose of cultural lessons and resources
Learning a new language is more than just being able to converse with people in a language other than your own. It also opens the door to new cultures, countries, and traditions. Babbel Spanish recognises this, and their Cultural Bites, Babbel Magazine, and Babbel Podcast series provide a fantastic insight into the culture of Spain and Latin America. By adding much-needed depth and experience, this insight can significantly enhance your language learning journey and serve to keep you motivated.
Screengrab from a Babbel Spanish cultural course on the mobile app
Array of themed courses for targeted learning
Babbel Spanish arranges its courses by both level and theme. Whilst the core content material is covered in the courses arranged by level, it is possible to find themed courses that are specific to your own personal language goals and needs.
This array of extra resources allows you to target any areas of weakness that you may have identified, or take courses in areas of specific interest to you. For example you can choose further courses in grammar, or speaking and listening; or alternatively in topics such as Business Spanish, or Countries and Traditions.
Easy-to-understand grammar lessons
Let’s face it, grammar isn’t always the most fun subject to get to grips with. The staff at Babbel understand this, and have made efforts to ensure that the course material on Babbel Spanish never overwhelms you with lengthy grammatical explanations or dull, grammar-heavy classes.
Instead, they focus on getting you speaking first and foremost, with little grammatical interventions. Then you will start to be steadily drip-fed grammar in manageable chunks, having the core concepts gently explained to you without detracting from the course’s enjoyability.
Cons of Babbel Spanish
Despite everything that’s great about it, Babbel Spanish still has a couple of negative aspects that should be considered, they are:
Placement test accuracy
Babbel’s placement test is highly subjective, asking you to rate your confidence in different areas on a sliding scale from ‘I don’t know this yet’ to ‘I feel highly confident about this’. It can be difficult to self-assess your personal knowledge in these areas, and there is a high chance the results of the placement test will thus be inaccurate.
Screengrab of a question from the Placement Test
A more effective alternative would be to ask the learner questions of variable difficulty based upon the course material. This would provide accurate feedback about the learners current ability and identify specific areas of weakness to target.
Limited choice of lesson length
One of Babbel Spanish’s best selling-points are its bite-sized lesson sizes that can be squeezed into your schedule whenever you have a free moment, giving you a fantastic level of flexibility.
However, there is little choice of suitable classes for the moments when you want to sit down and dedicate a solid hour or more to learning Spanish. Instead your only option (unless you choose a Babbel Live subscription) is to complete a number of these bite-sized lessons in succession, which can become repetitive and be less far engaging than longer, in-depth lessons.
No higher level Latin American Spanish content
The Spanish (Spain) course options range from Newcomer (A1 CEFR) to Advanced (C1 CEFR), giving learners a diverse range of course material and ensuring that Babbel can carry them to near-fluency in their target language.
Unfortunately the options for Spanish (Latin American) learners are far more limited, only offering learning pathways to Beginner (A2 CEFR) level. Whilst there is obviously crossover between the two dialects, it is something worth considering if your focus is specifically on learning Latin American Spanish.
That being said, Babbel is constantly adding new content to its platform, so one may hope that this deficiency will be addressed in the near future.
Who Babbel Spanish is for
Babbel Spanish is a versatile language learning platform suitable for a wide range of learners. Nevertheless, I believe Babbel Spanish is most useful for the following:
- Busy professionals: Perfect for on-the-go learners who require a high level of flexibility to fit in their language practice during their busy workdays. And with its bite-sized lessons, you can easily complete a lesson during your morning coffee break or commute
- Travel enthusiasts: Babbel Spanish helps you prepare for trips by teaching practical vocabulary and phrases that will come in handy while exploring new countries. Plus, Babbel's Culture Bites, podcast series, and Magazine provide essential cultural context, so you'll be ready to navigate social situations, understand local customs, and make the most of your travels.
- Language lovers: If you're passionate about languages and love the challenge of learning new ones, Babbel Spanish’s extensive selection of resources will keep you entertained and motivated. With engaging lessons, grammar explainers, and the Explore tab for specialized courses, you'll never run out of exciting material to discover.
- Expats and international students: Moving to a new country can be daunting, but Babbel Spanish’s immersive approach to language learning will help you feel more confident communicating with locals and understanding everyday life. You'll develop a solid foundation in your chosen language, from essential vocabulary to advanced grammar, making your transition abroad smoother and more enjoyable.
- Lifelong learners: Are you a curious soul who thrives on expanding your knowledge and skills? Babbel's comprehensive courses cater to learners of all levels, from beginners to advanced speakers. With the Babbel Live package, you can even attend instructor-led classes, ensuring that you continue to grow and improve your language abilities throughout your learning journey.
How much does Babbel Spanish cost?
Babbel offers you a range of subscription options to choose from depending on:
- how long you want access to the course content for
- number of languages you want to learn
- whether you wish to take live online classes in addition to self-study
When you purchase a subscription to Babbel Spanish, you automatically gain access to both the Spanish (Spain) and Spanish (Latin American) course material.
Now the price options can be a little confusing, so I put this table together to help explain them further:
|Babbel (1 language with new customer discount)
|Babbel (1 language, full price)
|Babbel Live (+all languages)
As you can see Babbel offers a generous, one-time only discount for new customers. Just bear in mind that when your subscription renews, (which it will do automatically unless you cancel it) you will be charged the regular price for your next plan.
It’s also possible to purchase lifetime access to all languages on Babbel for just $190.99 for new customers, and $349 for existing users.
That’s a hell of a saving to be made. Therefore it’s really important to consider your language goals before investing in the platform. You stand to really get your money’s worth if you commit to the long-run or decide to learn more than one language with your first purchase.
Finally, Babbel offers a variety of extra discounts to students, teachers, healthcare workers, and military personnel; and you can also purchase a subscription as a gift.
Is Babbel Spanish free?
Babbel is not a free platform, but they do have a free trial version you can test out by creating an account. This grants you access to the first lesson of every course in your chosen language, and also lets you take 2 free Babbel Live classes.
This is a risk-free way to sample Babbel’s content and learning style, and see if it suits your needs before investing in a subscription.
Babbel offers a refund within 20 days of the purchase of your initial subscription, just email email@example.com and they will guide you through the refund process.
But remember this only applies to your first subscription purchase, and not to any further renewals or additional purchases. If you wish to cancel your subscription more than 20 days after your initial purchase, don’t forget to turn off the auto-renewal so you’re not charged again.
Features of Babbel Spanish
- Bite-sized lessons: making it the perfect platform for busy professionals who require the flexibility to fit their learning around other commitments
- Babbel Live online group classes with a qualified teacher: give you the opportunity to put into practice all that you have learnt with fellow learners. This interaction with fosters a great sense of community and creates a supportive environment where you can ask questions, receive feedback, and learn from each other's experiences
- Audio resources narrated by native speakers: Allows you to listen to conversations in their purest form. You'll learn exactly how and when to use and pronounce vocabulary, and avoid developing bad habits
- State of the art speech-recognition technology: provides immediate feedback and allows you to perfect your pronunciation and gain confidence at engaging in conversations.
- Review Manager: You will be offered the choice of a variety of activities to review previous content. These cover reading, writing, speaking, and listening. This allows you to learn in a way that suits you best.
- Themed courses: target a particular aspect of the language such as grammar or vocabulary, discover the culture of different Spanish-speaking countries, or complete niche courses in topics such as Business Spanish.
- Mobile app: allows you to download lessons to your phone so you can continue learning anyplace anytime, with or without an internet connection
- Regularly updated content: Means you'll always have access to new challenges and insights, preventing your studies from becoming stale
- Weekly goal tracker: The platform encourages you to set a weekly goal of either lessons or learning hours to complete, and reminds you when you are falling short.
- Babbel podcast series: Give you a wealth of cultural knowledge by immersing you in native conversations. And they help you follow and participate in real-life conversations
What languages can you learn with Babbel Spanish?
A subscription to Babbel Spanish will give you access to both the Spanish (Spain) and Spanish (Latin American) courses.
Babbel as a platform offers 13 other languages to choose from, including English for non-native speakers. A subscription to Babbel Live grants you access to all languages, and it is also possible to buy lifetime access to every language with a one-off payment, otherwise you will require a subscription to each individual language you want to learn.
Alternatives to Babbel Spanish
There’s a fantastic selection of online Spanish language courses available these days. So, to make it easier for you to decide if Babbel Spanish is the one for you, I compared it to some of the most popular alternatives to see how it measures up.
Babbel Spanish vs Rosetta Stone
Famous for its full immersion technique, Rosetta Stone presents all its course content in the target language without translations. By contrast Babbel Spanish provides explanations and translations in the learner's native language, making it easier for beginners to grasp new concepts.
Babbel Spanish is focused on developing practical language skills, teaching grammar and vocabulary through real-life scenarios and conversations. Rosetta Stone takes a different approach, with the Dynamic Immersion method teaching language through pattern recognition and context, without explicit grammar instruction.
Both of these language learning platforms have their own strengths and weaknesses. Ultimately, the best choice for you will depend on your learning style, goals, and preferences. If you believe the full immersion technique sounds like it suits your learning style, perhaps Rosetta Stone would be a more appropriate platform. However, if you know you need explicit instructions and explanations in your mother tongue, then Babbel Spanish is your best bet.
Babbel Spanish vs Duolingo
There are a number of differences between Babbel and the universally popular Duolingo. Whilst Babbel focuses on teaching practical conversational skills and grammar, Duolingo emphasizes vocabulary acquisition through repetition and translation exercises.
Babbel also offers a more structured approach with lessons organized by skill level and topic, which allows learners to progress at a steady pace and curate their own learning pathway, all the while building on previous knowledge. In contrast, Duolingo's pace can be more sporadic, with users completing exercises and earning points to advance through levels, often jumping between various unrelated topics.
Overall, Babbel is better suited for learners seeking a comprehensive and structured approach to develop practical language skills, while Duolingo is ideal for casual learners looking to acquire some basic vocabulary on a fun and gamified platform.
Babbel Spanish vs Rocket Spanish
Both Babbel Spanish and Rocket Spanish offer structured courses that focus on developing practical language skills. They also both include cultural insights in their lessons, helping learners understand the context and customs of the language they are studying.
Babbel Spanish uses a conversational approach to teaching Spanish, emphasizing real-life situations and dialogues. Meanwhile Rocket Languages combines audio lessons led by native speakers with interactive exercises, providing a more immersive experience that incorporates listening, speaking, reading, and writing practice.
I think they’re both great platforms, but in my opinion Babbel is more suited to those with a busy lifestyle, who want to fit bite-sized lessons around their life; and to those who need to become conversational as quickly as possible. Rocket Languages may be a more appropriate platform for those seeking a holistic Spanish course, and who have the time to complete longer, in-depth lessons.
Also, the Rocket Languages Spanish course is focused on Latin American Spanish, they have no Castilian Spanish option. So, think about which dialect you would prefer to specialize in before deciding on your platform!
What others have said
To ensure I was writing the most comprehensive Babbel Spanish review out there, I've included the opinions of former Babbel Spanish students.
“I much prefer Babbel as an app that keeps me engaged and makes me feel as if I am actively learning the language.” - Babbel Spanish Reddit Review
“Paid for a 1-year subscription on Babbel and in my opinion, it's quite good and helped me a lot in understanding Spanish.” - Babbel Spanish Reddit Review
“It gets repetitive fast but the grammar is excellent.” - Babbel Spanish Reddit Review
As a learning platform, Babbel Spanish has one of the largest selection of positive reviews I have ever encountered when reviewing an online language course. Users were particularly impressed by the manageable grammar explanations and emphasis on developing conversation skills, which many said they had implemented in real-life situations.
“I don't use the course but I like their virtual classes they're really helpful.” - Babbel Spanish Reddit Review
Also receiving praise were the Babbel Live online group classes. Those who had taken the plunge and invested noted its cost-effectiveness in comparison to similar platforms offering live group lessons. Users were also very vocal about how quickly they had become conversational in Spanish. Something they attributed to the efficiency of Babbel Live.
Of course, not all opinions were favorable. And this wouldn’t be a balanced review if I didn’t include some of the more negative ones:
“Babbel is very boring, making it hard to stick at. The content isn’t much better than Duo.” - Babbel Spanish Reddit Review
Some people were of the opinion that Babbel Spanish was most definitely not the language platform for them. However, for those that proclaim it to be boring, I feel I really must stand up in defense of Babbel. The platform has a great selection of different learning resources to suit every kind of learning style, including podcasts, magazines, and Youtube videos. If you feel you’re getting bored with a certain course or lesson, it’s easy to find something else on the platform to learn from.
Learning a new language is never going to always be easy or fun, it takes a lot of hard work. But Babbel Spanish does a great job of making it as enjoyable and stress-free as possible.
Conclusion: Is Babbel Spanish worth it?
And so ladies and gentleman, it’s time for the final verdict. Is Babbel Spanish a worthy cause to part you from your hard-earned cash?
Babbel Spanish is a well-rounded course that, although focused on developing conversation practice, does not neglect the improvement of your reading, writing, or listening skills.
For those who need it, the platform offers a high level of flexibility with its bite-sized class sizes. You'll also gain a rich cultural understanding of the Spanish-speaking countries you are studying through the Cultural Bites and podcast.
But what really stands out for me are the Babbel Live online group sessions. Although the price tag may appear a little daunting, it’s more than worth it if you’re serious about learning Spanish. The most effective way to master a new language is via face-to-face interaction with qualified teachers. And a Babbel Live subscription gives you unlimited access to such classes. When used in combination with Babbel Spanish’s online course material, you have a sure-fire way to accelerate your learning and achieve your language goals rapidly.
And don’t forget, Babbel Spanish has a free trial version available and a generous 20-day refund policy. This means you can assess if it’s suitable for you or not at no risk to your personal finances.
So, if you’ve read this far and are still committed to mastering the Spanish language, why not head over to Babbel and start your journey today!
Babbel Spanish – FAQs
Babbel Spanish has a range of price options for a single language subscription, varying between $15 and $90 depending on the length of the subscription purchased. Babbel Live subscriptions, whilst being more expensive, give you access to every language. It is also possible to buy lifetime access to every language course for a one-off payment.
Each bite-sized Babbel lesson will introduce you to a few words of vocabulary or a new grammatical structure. You then review the material at specific intervals to ensure the content is retained in your long-term memory. There are also a number of other resources to complement your learning, including themed courses, podcasts, and the Babbel Magazine.
A subscription to Babbel Spanish offers you the option to learn the Spanish language from both Spain and Latin America. Babbel itself offers similar courses in 13 other languages.
Yes, within 20 days of your initial purchase.