The Series Our Spanish Students Can’t Stop Talking About


Watching a Spanish-language TV series is a painless way to develop your language listening skills. Whether you choose to take a relaxed approach and just follow the story or to be more active, pausing to write down vocabulary words, an hour of regular listening practice a week can improve your comprehension. But with so many Spanish-language telenovelas and series available, how do you know what to watch?

We’ve noticed that our Spanish conversation class students just can’t stop talking about the shows below. Suitable for intermediate and advanced students, these addictive period dramas, all from Spain, have superb production values and enough plot twists to keep you riveted. Warning: You may find yourself staying up way past your bedtime to watch “just one more episode.”

Gran Hotel

Gran Hotel has been called the “Spanish Downton Abbey,” but some of us think it’s better and more bingeworthy than its dowdy British cousin (no offense, Downtonerds). Set in 1905 in a luxurious hotel near the fictional town of Cantaloa, Gran Hotel mixes mystery, romance, and family intrigue with gorgeous sets, costumes, and a talented ensemble cast. The attraction between working-class Julio (Yon González) and wealthy Alicia (Amaia Salamanca) is a classic example of romantic tension that will have viewers shouting “¡Bésala, Julio!” at their screens. The first two seasons of Gran Hotel are available now on Netflix.





Now in its third season, Velvet takes viewers back to the late 1950s and early 1960s as Alberto (Miguel Ángel Silvestre) inherits the elegant department store Galerías Velvet after his father’s death. The problem? He’s in love with Ana (Paula Echevarría), who is just a poor seamstress. Every possible obstacle stands in the way of their love. Numerous other intriguing plot lines, both romantic and business-related, play out against the music, cocktails, and clothing of the mid-century. Stylish, smart, and soapy, Velvet is available now on Netflix.



Águila Roja

This hugely popular adventure series set in 17th-century Spain has been running since 2009. After his wife is killed, schoolteacher Gonzalo de Montalvo (David Janer) adopts the secret identity of Águila Roja (Red Eagle), a Zorro-like figure with ninja fighting skills. He battles injustice and seeks the truth while hiding his dangerous secret from his family and friends. Students in our Advanced Spanish Conversation classes like to test their skills with this action-packed series because it’s available without subtitles on



Are you already following one or more of these series? Let us know what you think!




This information is current as of March 5, 2015.