Choosing a Spanish language school in Spain

A Collage of four images of different cities in Spain. Title in the middle says: How to choose a Spanish Language school in Spain

This article is my step by step research for the best Spanish language school to study during my travel in Spain. 

I’ve been learning Spanish, using different programs and through Skype lessons with my Peruvian teacher from the Live Lingua website.

And in my opinion, when you don’t have the opportunity to learn in a Spanish speaking country – this is the best solution because you learn directly from a native speaker. 

However, to maximize my learning experience, I decided that my next holiday will be a mix of traveling and learning Spanish at the same time. 

I was choosing between going to South America or Spain. However, I decided that my first destination will be Spain because it’s much closer to Malta, the island where I currently live. 

My criteria for the perfect Spanish language school was: 

  • It has to be in a city with nice weather, preferably with the sun and the sea. 
  • The city where the school is located should be with a clear Spanish accent 
  • The school should provide an intensive course with 20 hours per week
  • The price per week should be not more than 200€ per week. 
  • The city should have many fun things to do. 

I managed to find my perfect Spanish language school in Spain which met all my criteria. In this article, you will find my step by step research, including the links to explore further if you are interested in different cities.

Choosing the city in Spain to study Spanish

hand putting a pin on a map

So I decided that my first Spanish language school will be in Spain. But I still had to choose which city I will go to.

Step 1. Determine the most popular cities to study Spanish

Image of a white palace in Madrid
Madrid

Here is the list of some most popular cities to learn Spanish in Spain: 

  1. Alicante
  2. Barcelona
  3. Salamanca
  4. Madrid
  5. Malaga
  6. Seville
  7. Granada
  8. Tenerife

All 8 cities sounded good to me, so I decided to analyze all of them to choose the perfect destination for my Spanish language school in Spain. 

When choosing a city to study Spanish in Spain you need to consider several factors:

Step 2. Check if Spanish as a first language

Before choosing the city to study Spanish, you should check that Spanish is the first language.

Almost half of the people in Barcelona, for example, speak Catalan over Castilian Spanish.

In Valencia many people speak Valencian.

In Galicia, people speak Galician, which is closer to Portuguese than to Spanish.

Almost all the cities from my list Spanish have Spanish as the first language, except Barcelona.

Step 3. Make sure that the accent is not too difficult

The accents in Spain vary from one region to another and in some cities it is heavier than in others.

Andalusia. In this region, people speak with a particular accent, dropping letters ‘s’ or ‘d’ at the end of the words. Due to this reason, people often find a similarity of pronunciation with the South American Spanish accent. 

Cities in Andalusia from my list: Seville, Malaga, Granada. 

Galicia. Galicia is not on my list, but it is worth to mention that in Galicia, people also speak with quite harsh accent when they speak Castilian Spanish.

Castilian Spanish.  The clearest Spanish accent is considered to be Castillian Spanish, which is also the “original” Spanish language. It is spoken in Madrid and Salamanca. 

Step 4. Check the cost of living

The most southern cities in Spain are the cheapest. The cities from the south are Seville, Malaga, and Granada.

Tenerife can also have certain aspects that are cheaper.

The most expensive cities in Spain are Barcelona and Madrid. 

Smaller cities Salamanca might be the cheapest from my list, but there are also fewer things to do.  

The monthly budget in a mid-sized city like Alicante, for example, would cost around $2400 for a couple. This including housing, utilities, groceries, entertainment, healthcare. 

Of course, this cost widely depends on the lifestyle you lead. 

I checked a website which is comparing the cost of living in many different cities all over the world. 

According to this website, in January 2020, the countries with the cheapest cost of living are: 

Tenerife, Seville, Malaga. 

City Cost of living Rent Cost of living Plus Rent Groceries Restaurant Price
Barcelona 58.45 31.30 45.46 44.47 56.65
Madrid 57.95 32.33 45.69 45.10 59.92
Granada 57.44 17.04 38.10 45.92 51.25
Alicante 52.24 77.51 16.62 35.19 40.60 56.98
Seville 50.99 20.29 36.30 41.32 46.59
Malaga 50.36 22.35 36.95 39.82 49.18
Tenerife 48.87 18.54 34.35 40.16 49.38

Source: Numbeo.com : January 2020

This data is relative to New York City (NYC). This means that for New York City, each index is 100(%). 

If you want to understand these numbers, better check this article. 

Step 5. Things to do in each city

Your likes and dislikes will help you decide which city you would like to go to. You might like small towns full of history and museums or big cities with busy nightlife and modern culture. 

When I was choosing, I was looking for a place which would combine sun, city, beautiful beaches and magnificent nature. 

I wanted to get lost in a relaxed living atmosphere, going to the beach after the classes, walking in the forests and at the same time enjoying the modern city lifestyle. 

The cities with beautiful nature and beaches in Spain:

Tenerife
Tenerife is the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands, off West Africa. If you are looking for hikes, vibrant nightlife, beaches and mountains or vulcanos – Tenerife is a place to go. 
Beaches- Mountains

Image of green mountains
Tenerife

Barcelona 
Barcelona is a beautiful seaside city with gorgeous scenery, breathtaking architecture, and excellent cultural attractions. Still, the cost of living in Barcelona is higher than in other cities on my list. It is also very touristy, being one of the most visited cities in Spain. 
City – Beaches – More expensive than other cities

Plaza de Espana in Barcelona
Barcelona

Alicante
Alicante is a port located in Costa Blanca and is situated on the east coast of Spain. It is a dynamic, attractive Spanish city with a castle, old neighborhoods, and a long waterfront. The nightlife is absolutely legendary. 
Beaches – Nightlife

View of the square in Alicante
Alicante

Malaga
You can find good weather all year long in Malaga, beautiful beaches, amazing landscapes, ancient spots like Roman theatre or Moorish architecture. An additional bonus is that you can take lots of one-day trips from this city.
City – Beaches – Beautiful Landscapes

Night view of Malaga
Malaga

Other cities to study Spanish in Spain

Granada
Granada is perfect for history and mountain lovers. It is located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. 
Granada is granted with Moorish heritage dating back more than 700 years.
History – beautiful mountains

Salamanca 
Salamanca is considered to be a university town. You’ll find lots of people age 18 to 30. And there and many places that provide cheap meals, drinks, and entertainment.
Salamanca is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 
Small city – History – Cheap destination

Madrid
Madrid is Spain’s central capital. It’s a modern city with beautiful architecture, manicured parks, exciting nightlife. 
Madrid might be the best destination to study Spanish due to its clear accent, no regional languages to battle with, and plenty of things to do. The only disadvantage is that it is more expensive than some other parts of Spain. 
Modern city – Clear accent – More expensive than cities

Seville
Seville has a rich architectural and historical legacy. You can also dive into Spanish culture, with tapas, sangria, and flamenco.
History – Cheaper than other cities

Choosing schools between Malaga or Tenerife

After I analyzed the cost of living in the cities and things I can do, I decided to look closer to Malaga and Tenerife. Both destinations offer fantastic nature, beaches, and the cheapest cost of living.

All people have different tastes and priorities, so if you are more interested in Spanish language schools in other cities of Spain, here are the sources to find the best schools in each of them. 

Schools in Barcelona
5 great schools in Madrid
Spanish Schools in Alicante
Schools in Salamanca
Best Spanish schools in Granada
Best Schools to study in Seville

My choice was Malaga or Tenerife, which is why I will explore that further in this article.
I was planning a budget trip so now I had to find good schools that wouldn’t be too expensive.

Schools in Tenerife under 200€ per week

When I was looking for a Spanish language school in Spain, I knew that my budget was limited to a maximum of 200€ per week.

The prices below show the cost of intensive 20 hours per week courses.

The price doesn’t include accommodation because I always prefer to rent apartments on Airbnb. It is usually cheaper, and the flats have better living conditions.

Note that most of the Spanish language schools will require an additional registration fee which is usually up to 50$

Canarias Cultural

This school is located in the center of Santa Cruz and close to the main commercial areas.

Price for 2 weeks 300€

See full price list

FU International Academy

The school is located in the coastal location of Puerto de la Cruz. It is located close to the botanical garden and the beach. 

Price for 2 weeks 334€

See the full price list.

Spanish House Canarias

Located in the heart of the “South of Tenerife”, at Los Cristianos, few steps away from the beach, restaurants, and shops. 

Price per 2 weeks 280€

See other packages here

SMS Spanish Experience S.L. 

Sms school is located in the central part of Adeje, the sunny south of Tenerife. To get to the beach will take around 15 min by car. 

Price for 2 weeks: 160€

See other packages here

Don Quijote: Tenerife  

Don Quijote school is located in the center of Puerto de la Cruz, on the north coast of Tenerife. 

It is very close to the beaches, restaurants, cafes, shops and pharmacies.

Price for 2 weeks: € 338

To receive the full price list, you will have to subscribe here.

Best areas in Tenerife

These 5 schools are located in different areas.  

If you are looking for nightlife and a party, the best place is Playa de Americas which is a is party central. The closest school to it is Spanish House Canarias, 6 min drive or 25 min walk. 

Puerto de la Cruz is a port city on the north coast of Tenerife. It is best known for its black sand beaches. Unlike many resort areas of Tenerife, you’ll find more Spanish travelers here than English speakers. The town is also famous for its gorgeous gardens and great Spanish restaurants. It’s a bit colder than in the south which makes it a perfect destination if you go in summer. 

Santa Cruz is the entry point for many visitors to Tenerife, since it’s the capital city of Tenerife. Nice for a beach holiday. 

Sourse: https://www.guidetocanaryislands.com/where-to-stay-in-tenerife/

Schools in Malaga under 200€ per week
Image of Malaga from the top. Best Spanish schools in Malaga written on the bottom.

Malaca Instituto

Located a short ride from Malaga’s historic center. 

Price for 2 weeks: €399

See full price list here

La playa Escuela De Espanol

The School is located directly on the beach of an authentic Andalusian town, just outside the center of Malaga. It is a safe and wealthy area, but to get to the city center, it takes 36 min by public transport. 

Price for 2 weeks: 346€

See full price list here

Academia Cile

Academia Cila school is located in the center of Malaga, right next to the cathedral. Fifteen minutes away from Malagueta Beach. 

Price per 2 weeks: €364

See full price list here

Instituto Picasso

Located in the historic center of the city, next to the birthplace of Picasso. Museums, restaurants, beaches and commercial area is within walking distance. 

Price per 2 weeks: €320

See full price list here

Cervantes Escuela Internacional

The school is located only 2 minutes away from the beach and 10 minutes by bus from the historic center of the city.

Price for 2 weeks: 340€

See full price list here

Onspain School 

Located in the center of Malaga, 13 min walking distance from the beach. 

Price per 2 weeks €365

See full price list here

Things to do in different areas of Malaga

My personal choice

I was hesitating because both destinations sound great! And in fact, I am planning to visit both, but I decided to start with Malaga. Everything seems great about it: the beaches, nature, the lifestyle, the low cost of living, and excellent, not overpriced Spanish language schools.

I choose Cervantes Escuela Internacional because apart from the great location and a reasonable price, this school is accredited by Cervantes Institute and is a member of FEDELE, the Federation of Spanish schools in Spain.(1)

In some places in Spain, people don’t speak English so it makes sense to learn some basic Spanish travel phrases before the trip.

In conclusion, every city and every school are unique in their own way. Each of the cities has many reasons why studying there could be the right choice for you.

Although I couldn’t cover every Spanish language school in Spain, I hope I’ve helped you in your process of choosing your perfect place to learn Spanish in Spain.

I based the information in this article on numbers in January 2020.

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