Picking the Right Spanish School Is an Important and Hard Decision
We all know the best and fastest way to learn Spanish is to be surrounded by the language all day, to be fully immersed in it. The only way to do that is to visit a Spanish speaking country and study the language there.
If you have already decided to study in Spain (which we think is a very good decision), then picking the right Spanish school is a very important and hard task. The options of Spanish schools in the country seem endless.
Being a Spanish language school ourselves we had the urge to know: which Spanish schools are the best in the country? And – of course – where would we rank on the list? To be fair, we were a little nervous about the results as well. But since we are confident about our service and the quality of our school we decided to go for it. (We are aware of the fact that not all the schools out there will love this post. Obviously, there are many great schools, which did not make it to this list.)
We put a lot of effort into to creating this post.
First, we had endless team meetings where we were discussing the ranking criteria. At the end we were able to break down the language schools offers to measurable benchmarks and developed a reliable and – hopefully – fair ranking system based on numbers. Then we needed weeks and weeks of research, writing, tweaking, more meetings, etc. before we finally finished the post.
Now we are able to present you: The Best Language Schools to Study Spanish in Spain [Based on Numbers]. Spoiler alert: We did make it on the list 😉
Instituto Cervantes and FEDELE – the Guards of High Quality Teaching of Spanish in Spain
There are easily more than 1.000 Spanish schools in Spain. We knew from the beginning that we would not be able to research and evaluate them all. So, we decided to only take Spanish schools into consideration which are
- accredited by the Instituto Cervantes and
- members of FEDELE, the Federation of Spanish schools in Spain
Why did we do that?
Because both institutions gave us a perfect selection of high-quality language schools in Spain.
Being an accredited school of Instituto Cervantes assures the student high quality in all areas of a language school: teaching, course variety, accommodation, leisure and culture activities and general customer service. To ensure a stable level of quality and constant improvements, the schools go through evaluations, which take place every two to three years.
Becoming a member of FEDELE only is possible when the school fulfills quality requirements to reach business excellence. The federation set up certain demands in the fields of legal standards, service, and organization. They can be reviewed in the quality charter for the sector.
The Instituto Cervantes is a public institution created by Spain in 1991 to universally promote the teaching, study and use of Spanish and contribute to the dissemination of Hispanic cultures abroad. In its activities, the Cervantes Institute deals fundamentally with the linguistic and cultural heritage that is common to the countries and peoples of the Spanish-speaking community. It is present in 87 centers distributed in 44 countries across five continents.
The Instituto Cervantes it is the only specific quality accreditation system for teaching Spanish at an international level.
The Spanish Federation of Associations of Schools of Spanish as a Foreign Language regulates a status of quality for teaching Spanish in Spain. It holds cooperation with the Instituto Cervantes to assure a global policy on quality and on the international promotion of Spanish studies. The federation consists of 7 associations which hold more than 100 Schools of Spanish as a Foreign Language. The schools are located in Andalusia, the Canaries, the Valencian Community, the Community of Madrid, Castille and Leon, Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and the Basque Country.
Our Ranking System
The ranking is based on the following criteria (that we were able to research)
- Popularity of the school
- Location within the area
- Organization of the school
- Range of study programs
- After class activities
Popularity was measured by Social Media followers and reviews from former students. To assure the ratings are reliable we only took Facebook and Google my Business reviews into account when at least 30 of those were given.
To honor low prices we calculated a two-week Intensive Spanish course with 20 hours of class a week and a stay at a host family. Since this is a standard offer it makes it possible to compare the course and accommodation expenses of the various schools. The location was taken into account positively when the school is placed not further than 15 minutes walk from the beach or the city center. Leisure time activities and excursions were considered such as special offers like a youth, senior or sports programs. To evaluate the organizational level of the school we had a look at the number of languages they communicate their services in and if they offer educational leave.
Besides being accredited by the Instituto Cervantes and FIDELE, there are certain criteria which are indicators for high-quality Spanish schools.
Having a special teachers program is one of them, which is why we give a lot of credit to that.
It is the most recognized Spanish proficiency test on the globe, an excellent Spanish school will also help you get ready for and take the DELE Exam. This is why we gave credit for preparation courses and for being a registered DELE examination center.
Living in a digital world, being able to participate in online Spanish courses was also an important rating criterion.
We consider the fairness of the conditions a major deal for your study abroad experience. This is why we scanned the contracts of the schools and gave top points for student-friendly terms. All schools that schedule their classes for 55 or more minutes got an extra point. If the study groups are limited to eight or fewer students it was also worth an extra credit for us. Regardless of the quality of the school, there is a chance that you might not like the school or the course or the location – but you won’t realize this until you arrive. Schools that take that into account and will refund your money even after you started the course got rewarded with an extra point. For any other specific advantage, a school gives to its language students we gave points.
Before you start reading through the list please notice the fact that FEDELE has almost 100 members. Researching all of them made us even more aware that there is such a great variety of high-quality language schools in Spain. Every school has more positive aspects and selling points, but we couldn’t take all of them into account. So, we have chosen specific criteria which we feel are the most important.
Our Top 15 Spanish Schools in Spain
Taking into account all the criteria mentioned above, the best language schools in Spain based on numbers are:
Overall rating: 71/ 100
Just studying at the International House in Valencia itself is a special experience. The lessons take place in a 153-year-old, renovated property. The 2100-square-meter school combines historic parts like 11th-century Arab walls with the modern. Every classroom is equipped with interactive whiteboards, natural light and air-conditioning.
You can enjoy your breaks and free time in the student café to socialize or on their rooftop with sun loungers and a pool. To be able to handle all the sunshine in Valencia, the school provides showers so you can cool off and fruit trees that so you can also spend time relaxing in the shade.
All of this is located in the heart of Valencia’s old town, so there is plenty of entertainment even outside of this oasis. If you want to study here it will cost you 670 Euro for a two-week intensive course. With a school like that, we have the slight feeling that your host family won’t have you around that much.
Overall rating: 76 / 100
Just like the last school, Hispania Escuela de Español is located in beautiful Valencia. Former students describe studying here as the perfect mix of a sunny city and great quality lessons with extremely helpful and friendly teaches. They also point out that the school provided leisure activities making it easy to socialize. You can choose activities from topics like “Discovering Valencia”, “Nature”, “Sports”, “Tastings” and “Workshops and Concerts”.
Their Spanish Plus Program allows you to extend your Spanish course with another theme. You can either top it off with tennis lessons or courses of typical Spanish cuisine. The highlight of the second one is the possibility of attending a “Show cooking” with the Michelín Star winning chef Ricard Camarena.
The two-week intensive Spanish course at Hispania Escuela, including your stay at a host family with breakfast, will cost you about 755 Euro.
Overall rating: 77 / 100
The Escuela Cervantes is located in sunny Malaga. It offers Spanish courses to all language levels and all age groups. If you also want to take the DELE exam, they even guarantee you to pass!
Other than the standard language courses you can study legal Spanish, the topic of Spanish tourism or Hispanic culture. You also have the option to extend your offer with afternoon flamenco classes. Every day they offer different leisure activities, such as guided walking tours through the city, spa days or hikes. The prices for these range from free to 50 Euros. The basic intensive course with 20 hours of classes a week and a stay at a host family will cost you 730 Euro at this school.
Overall rating: 78 / 100
The Tia Tula Colegio de Español in Salamanca has a very international atmosphere. As their website is translated into 14 different languages you will find yourself studying with Spanish students from all over the world. While your classmates are international, the teachers will make sure you have the full cultural Spanish experience during your stay. The Spanish language is not the only thing professors at Tia Tula will teach you. Their goal is it to also make you understand the local way of thinking and living by teaching you all about typical habits and traditions.
The school is located in the pedestrian historical center of Salamanca. This will give you the benefit of views to historical and monumental landmarks during your classes.
With 650 Euro for a two-week course while staying at a host family this school is an economical option for a Spanish course in Spain.
Overall rating: 80 / 100
Proyecto Español is a language school chain with locations in Granada, Alicante, Madrid and Barcelona. Two of those made our list: Proyecto Español Granada and Alicante. With close results of 78.98 and 79.08 points, they hold the places 11 and 10. Granada will give you a slightly better price of 680 Euros for a two-week intensive Spanish course with a host family stay and breakfast included. The school has special offers like Spanish Summer Camps for teenagers or courses for families.
Overall rating: 80 / 100
With a price of 680 Euros for a family homestay and a two-week intensive course, Proyecto Alicante is still one of the economical offers on this list.
Former students highly recommend the school with 4.8 out of 5 stars on Facebook and 4.9 stars on Google and especially praise their friendly and competent teachers. Since the classes are limited to a maximum of 8 students you will have the comfort of full support from your tutors. The school offers a youth summer program, a teachers training and Spanish online.
Overall rating: 80 / 100
Tandem Escuela Internacional Madrid offers a wide range of different course types you can choose from. Besides standard Spanish courses for individuals, they offer summer youth programs, teacher training and a special program for companies. Through their “Spanish and a Passion” program, you can also choose to combine your studies with a range of set after class activities on a certain topic like art, flamenco or cooking.
Since TANDEM also holds schools in Granada and San Sebastian you can choose to book a traveling Spanish course and stay in all three cities during your time of studying the language without switching schools.
A standard intensive 20-hour course in Madrid with a host family stay would cost you about 720 Euro.
Overall rating: 81 / 100
The institute is one of the top schools when it comes to student reviews. Their average rating of 4.9* stars is proof of their client satisfaction. One of the reasons for the great feedback may be that they have a maximum limit of eight students for their classes. Their website is displayed in 14 languages.
The school is located in the center of Granada and provides the students with an IMSOL student card to benefit from discounts around the city. Together with a certified travel agency, they will arrange excursions to close by places like the national park Sierra Nevada where you can ski or the beaches of Costa Tropical. A city tour of Granada, workshops and debates on current events to practice your Spanish are included in the 842 Euro for a two-week intensive course.
Overall rating: 82 / 100
For about 850 Euro you can stay with a host family in Madrid and participate in Spanish language classes of the best-rated school on Google. With a 4.9 review on Facebook and a 5 stars review on Google my Business, the language school LAE Madrid is clearly outstanding. Former students said that they learned more and faster compared to the other schools they had studied with before.
The average Spanish lesson holds six people. They have special kids and a families program. With Spanish being the second most important language for international communication, the school also helps businesses to become more competitive through company language course offers. After classes the school keeps you entertained through sports, excursions, cultural and other fun activities.
Overall rating: 82 / 100
Linguaschools is the place to be when you are looking for a school with a great location in Barcelona. All the cultural opportunities, a vibrant nightlife and being close to the beach make it easy to connect with people in the school and organize activities together. The school itself is consists of a precious colonial building with a beautiful small garden.
Even though they did not make it to Instagram yet their Social Media and business ratings can keep up with our number one top school. Their lessons last 55 minutes, which is way above average. You can choose their service out of 9 languages on their website. For a 2-week intensive course, staying with a host family, they will charge you 730 Euros. A double room is available only when booked together.
Overall rating: 83 / 100
With 920 Euro for the set offer, Inhispania is the priciest of our top 15 schools. Losing rating points for the higher costs and still making 5th place in our list means it’s are definitely worth the price!
More than 10 000 people follow Inhispania on their Social Media channels, former students review them with 4.8* stars and their website is visible in 13 different languages. The school is located in one of the best areas of Madrid, the intersection of Gran Via and Alcala to be specific. They arrange daily activities during the week and excursions to other Spanish cities close by during the weekends.
Overall rating: 83 / 100
Our FU International Academy is based on the beautiful island of eternal spring; Tenerife. For your stay, you can choose between living in a colorful beach city, Puerto de la Cruz, or being located in the even sunnier south of the island in Costa Adeje. Former students especially value the friendly atmosphere and highly recommend our language school with 4.9 out of 5 stars.
Our very own FU Café and our sunny terrace make it really easy to socialize and meet new people. You can enjoy your coffee relaxing in the sun loungers or enjoy a game of ping-pong after lunch. For those of you who like to be even more active, you can join the basement gym for 26 Euro a month.
Besides various leisure activities that take place every day during the week, we will arrange trips for you to explore our stunning island during your stay. You can also combine your Spanish course with a surf course to create the perfect island experience. For the offer compared in this ranking, we would charge a price of 783 Euro. Since we are convinced that students have amazing, even life-changing experiences while staying here, we will refund your money if you’re not happy with the course. However, the more common case is students extending their stay and wanting to stay forever in our little paradise.
Overall rating: 83 / 100
Even though it is the third school listed from this city, Valencia’s go-to place for learning Spanish seems to be the Taronja School. They give great importance to social and cultural integration of their students and have a schedule packed with fun activities in the school and around town. The School calls itself the best-located language school in Valencia – and they might just be right. It is located in the Pedestrian street in the city center of the beach town. Compared to the other two language schools in Valencia listed here it is the most costly option. Spending your time studying Spanish in the halls of their beautiful 19th-century building while staying with a local host family will cost you 789 Euro.
Overall rating: 84 / 100
Unamuno is a great place to learn Spanish. Their two-week intensive course offer with half board in a host family’s single room for 600 Euro, makes this Salamanca based Spanish school a really good deal. However, it’s not just their prices which are attractive. With a 4.9* average review it got excellent recommendations by former students, which are mostly written in Spanish. Since Unamuno is aware of its high-quality classes and satisfied students they even promise a money-back-guarantee in case you feel their service doesn’t hold what they promise on their website.
Overall rating: 86 / 100
Numbers don’t lie – and when it comes to numbers the Ail Madrid language school beats all the other Spanish schools. With a price of 810 Euro, this is not a low budget school. But quality has its price and the Ail Madrid language school can easily prove why it is worth it!
Their follower base of more than 40 k Social Media fans rank them with an average of 4.8 (out of 5) stars. The school offers 24 Spanish courses and take care that their classes have a maximum of 8 students. Their services are displayed in 19 languages on their website. Besides more than 60 afternoon activities that vary during your stay, you can combine your study course with another hobby and collect a double course such as Spanish and dance, Spanish and art or Spanish and cooking. All of this in the heart of the young, vibrant and modern metropolis of Madrid. The only thing we are missing for perfection is a youth program for the young ones to enjoy all the benefits of this great school early on. Congratulations to the well deserved first place on our list of top language Schools in Spain!
After all, every school is unique in its own way and has its reasons why studying there could be the right choice for you. Even though we couldn’t cover every amazing Spanish school in Spain, we hope to have helped you in your process of finding your perfect place to learn Spanish.
This article is based on the numbers in December 2018 and the results are all rounded to the nearest number. We will update the list annually.
*out of 5; as a rating, we took the average of the Facebook and Google my Business reviews