Best and cheapest Spanish Courses in Northern Spain – Santiago, San Sebastian and Pamplona

Northern Spain is sometimes ignored as a language study destination, with Madrid and Barcelona, or the sunnier southern cities getting most of the attention. But Spain’s north provides a culturally rich, fascinating setting for learning Spanish.

From historical, cobble stoned cities, cathedral spires and beaches, to some of Spain’s best tapas, here’s a rundown of the top Spanish schools in Santiago de Compostela, San Sebastian and Pamplona.


Santiago is probably one of the most picturesque and seductive cities in the whole of Spain. Imagine the narrow cobbled streets of the Old Town, the traditional taverns where delicious tapas are served, and the mighty Santiago cathedral. Located in the northern Spanish province of Galicia, Santiago de Compostela is best known for being a destination for pilgrims, with almost 200 thousand people making their way there each year. Santiago also offers a wealth of history, culture and language for foreign Spanish Students – as well as two excellent language schools.

Iria Flavia Santiago

Academia Iria Flavia was established as a small family run school in 1994, and the school has not lost its personal touch since then. With 6 classrooms, based only a short walk away from the old quarter of Santiago de Compostela, Iria Flavia focuses on creating a positive and culturally rich learning atmosphere. The teachers at this school are carefully selected, with an emphasis on friendly interaction with all students, both in and out of the classroom. The school has modern premises, equipped with computers and WiFi in all its areas.

How much does it cost? Iria Flavia has a range of courses. The basic intensive programme, including 20 Spanish lessons per week, starts at 363€ (£295 or $497) for a two-week course. But you can add as many weeks and more lessons. For example a 6-week course, which includes 25 group Spanish lessons + 5 one-to-one lessons each week, would cost 2,411€ (£1,959 or $3,306). (See all course and accommodation prices).

University of Santiago de Compostela

The University of Santiago de Compostela is 500 years old, but today it is known as a modern hub of learning. Their Spanish as a Second Language (SSL) programmes have a long history of excellence and the quality of the these courses is high, with students of all nationalities and levels accepted – you do not have to be a university student or graduate to enrol.

Apart from university level teachers and only 15 students per class, which is a low number for public university language courses, the university also offers a wide range culture classes to go with their Spanish language programmes.

How much does it cost? The number of study weeks at Santiago’s university is flexible. Prices start from 4-week intensive courses that include 20 Spanish lessons each week, at 766€ (£621 or $1,049). A three-month (full term) course, including 20 weekly lessons, costs 1,882€ (£1,528 or $2,580). There is also an additional 190€ (£165 or $251) enrolment fee. (See all course and accommodation prices).


Study Spanish in San Sebastián - Image by Nicolas Vollmer - Wikimmedia CommonsSan Sebastian is a fantastic Spanish destination, which combines a charming cityscape with beaches – what could be better? San Sebastián is knows as the birthplace of pintxos – these are small portions of food, similar to tapas, which are served with toothpicks of different lengths and colours poked through them.

At the end of the meal, the waiter counts the number and type of ‘pinchos’, in order to calculate your bill. San Sebastian offers the historical Parte Vieja, or old town, the Centro Romántico, which is a buzzing and beautiful shopping district set amongst 19th century buildings, and finally the Gros beach district, with its chilled out surfing lifestyle. San Sebastian is an ideal destination for students wishing to combine city living, culture and beach activities with their language learning.

International House San Sebastian Lacun

The International House of San Sebastian School is right in the middle of Egia, which is a vibrant neighbourhood in San Sebastian’s city centre.

It forms part of an international group of language schools and has an excellent reputation worldwide. The school’s teachers are enthusiastic and progressive, as well as highly qualified, and use up-to-date teaching methods and technology in the classrooms. The school has free WiFi throughout the premises and students enjoy many added perks, like a discounted membership at the gym next door.

How much does it cost? Prices at the International House of San Sebastian start at only 303€ (£245 or $415) for two-week courses that includes 20 Spanish lessons per week. The number of courses and lessons is flexible, for instance a 1-month course including 20 group lessons and 10 one-to-one lessons every week, costs 1,430€ (£1,164 or $1,961). The school also many other Spanish courses, such as DELE Preparation and Spanish + Surfing courses.  (See all course and accommodation prices).


Study Spanihs in Pamplona - Picture by SanchoPanzaXXI - Wikimedia CommonsPamplona is of course best known for its famous bull run, where fearsome, stampeding bulls are released to run through the city’s streets – and men in red scarves run ahead of them, literally for their lives. But if bull running is not your cup of tea, don’t worry, the Sanfermines festival only lasts eight days in July. For the rest of the time, the historical capital of Navarra is a charming city, perfect for Spanish students to enjoy its many museums, acres and acres of romantic green parks, and superb restaurants.

Pamplona Spanish Institute

The Pamplona Spanish Institute is an Instituto Cervantes accredited school, with a student-focused, highly individualised approach to teaching Spanish. The institute prides itself on taking into account each student’s background, level and the reasons why they have chosen to study Spanish.

The teachers are university qualified and also trained in teaching Spanish as a foreign language. Lessons, activities and modern facilities, including WiFi, are all used together to give students an all-round, high quality learning experience.

How much does it cost? Pamplona Spanish Institute’s prices start at 480€ (£390 or $658s) for their two-week courses, which include 20 Spanish lessons per week. You can choose up to 30 lessons per week, adding any number of study weeks: a full two-month course on this basis would cost you 2,681€ (£2,175 or $3,676). The school also charges an 86€ registration fee.  (See all course and accommodation prices).

If you’re ready to hop on a plane…

If you found this Northern Spanish edition of our Best Schools useful, you may be rearing to get going. But did you know that booking any the above courses through UniSpain will guarantee you a discount on the official course price? UniSpain specialises in providing high quality Spanish courses in Spain, and booking through our website means that your course costs will be cheaper than if you booked directly through the school. Happy travels and let us know if you have any questions or want to find out more about our courses at other destinations!

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