22 fun and creative ways we’ve personally tried and tested to learn German online FREE.
If you’ve ever learnt a new language, you’ll know it requires a lot of time, discipline and dedication to master it. It takes months if not years to get a good grasp on any language, let alone German.
But we’re determined to conquer this seemingly unsurmountable task of learning Deutsch since moving to Berlin and calling it our new home.
Learning a language is more than learning words, grammar and pronunciation. It’s also about learning the culture and why certain customs or expressions exist. And this motivates us to continue learning the language when and where we can.
Obviously attending language school would be ideal. But that’s not always possible whether that’s due to a lack of time, motivation or even money. So if you’re keen to get your language learning mojo back (we do), here’s some fun and creative ways to learn German online for free!
Whether you love learning by watching videos, listening to audios on the way to work, or prefer more structured online German lessons, you’ll find something that suits your learning style. And if you get to the end, you’ll find a sneaky way to learn German when you’re supposedly chilling.
Are you learning German in preparation for moving to Germany? Then make sure you read our 12 tips for boosting your success in renting apartments in Germany.
How To Learn German Online For Free
If you’re more of a visual learner, you’ll love these awesome (and some really entertaining) YouTube channels we’ve handpicked for you.
1. Easy German
Learn German with Janusz and Cari from Berlin! Their YouTube channel Easy German, teaches you German the fun and authentic way. On the streets of Berlin with real people and real conversations.
Their videos are nicely categorised into the different levels from A1 to C2. So whether you’re an absolute beginner, intermediate or an advanced learner, you’ll find something to suit your level.
We love that most of their videos are short (less than 5 minutes) and easily digestible. They also include both German and English subtitles, which is super useful. And if that wasn’t awesome enough, they’ve also put together a playlist of German songs with lyrics for you.
If your goal is to learn everyday phrases and improve your German speaking skills, their videos are perfect for this. But if your focus is learning the seemingly never-ending grammar rules of the German language, you’ll need to join the Easy German membership to get weekly exercises and other extras to help with this.
Their membership fees start from $1 to $3 per week which is way more affordable than attending any German language school.
2. German with Jenny
German with Jenny is another great YouTube channel for learning German. Her videos are also well structured into the different levels and she provides German and English subtitles too.
We love her great German grammar explanations. She explains some of these tricky concepts so well, that even we sometimes think to ourselves that German is… not that difficult.
Not only does she explain the grammar and German written language well, she also teaches you how you can adapt it for everyday conversations or the German spoken language.
Her channel is a great all-rounder whether you want to learn vocabulary, grammar rules or everyday phrases.
All her videos are free but you can intensify the learning experience by subscribing to Lingoni for worksheets, interactive exercises and more.
3. Learn German with Anja
If you learn better when there’s a good dose of fun involved, you’ll love Learn German with Anja.
She has a super fun personality and uses creative ways to teach tricky grammar concepts like German prepositions. Plus we love the exercises (or otherwise known as homework) she gives at the end of her videos. It helps you absorb what she taught in the lesson and helps you remember them.
Besides fun and entertaining grammar explanations, she also teaches proper German pronunciation and covers interesting topics like what ‘Denglish’ (Deutsch + English) is, and how you can use them to converse like a local.
You can receive some of her free Learn German worksheets by subscribing to her website (Learn German with Anja).
4. Get Germanized
Another awesome channel if you want to learn German, laugh your pants off AND learn more about the German culture. Get Germanized is hilarious!
You’ll enjoy his teaching style if you prefer less structure and more topic-based discussions. He teaches everything from German idioms and sayings, German superstitions and slang, to how to flirt in German and when it’s appropriate to say ‘I love you’ if you’re dating a German.
Besides teaching German in a fun and memorable way, he also explains German culture and customs. This is especially useful if you’re planning to move or live abroad in Germany, like we are.
5. Learn German with Herr Antrim
If you’re preparing for the German CEFR test (the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages), you’ll find Learn German with Herr Antrim very useful.
His A1 – C2 playlist for German language beginners, intermediates and advanced learners are structured to teach you the skills required to pass the various CEFR levels.
The only hurdle is finding these playlists. Herr Antrim has over 700+ videos, so the best way to find the right playlist for you is going to his YouTube channel, clicking on ‘playlist’ and typing in the search bar ‘beginners’ or ‘A1’ to find it.
He makes learning German fun by using skits, stories or songs to help you learn the language. You can also supplement the videos with additional learning materials available on the Learn German with Herr Antrim website.
If you need to learn the common vocabulary to figure out how to fill out a German form for registering anmeldung or residence in Germany, or opening a German bank account, he has a short video on that too.
6. Deutsch für Euch
If you’re looking for a large A1 level and German grammar explanations playlist, then you will love Deutsch für Euch with Katja.
Not only does she explain complex grammar concepts well, she also delivers it with a relaxing, soothing voice that helps you keep calm while learning German.
Besides that, we love her story time videos. They’re great for German intermediate and advanced learners who want to improve their listening and comprehension skills.
7. Learn German
If you’re someone who thrives with structure, the Learn German YouTube channel will be best for you. It’s another great resource for preparing for the Goethe CEFR exams.
Not only are their videos categorised from A1 – C2 levels, they’re further sub-categorised into vocabulary vs grammar lessons as well.
Compared to the other YouTube channels we use, this one is the most formal, most structured and also less fun and entertaining. But if you learn better this way, you’ll find their videos and resources very helpful.
Related Post: Ever wondered if you can get by living in Berlin without knowing any German at all? We’ve revealed the answer to that question in our Living in London vs Berlin guide.
Learn German Free Podcasts
Podcasts are a great way to learn German online for free when you’re on-the-go. There are quite a few podcasts that teach German, but these are our handpicked favourites.
8. Coffee Break German
Coffee Break German is a language podcast series created by Radio Lingua. It’s free to listen to on Spotify, SoundCloud, YouTube or on Apple Podcasts.
Each podcast is around 20 minutes long. The idea is to make constructive use of your downtime drinking coffee (or tea) or while commuting to learn a language.
Not only are their podcasts great for learning useful everyday phrases. They include grammar and cultural explanations as well.
Besides German, they also have podcasts for learning French, Spanish and Italian too.
GermanPod101 is another great free podcast for learning German. If you find 20 minute podcasts a bit too long to suit your schedule, you’ll enjoy these shorter podcasts (less than 10 minutes).
We like how the podcasts are structured as a conversation between two people. It’s great for learning the German spoken language and makes the lessons more interesting.
The podcasts are first spoken at a normal conversational pace. Then repeated at a slower pace and translated and explained in English line by line. This is very useful whether you’re an absolute beginner or intermediate learner.
Besides learning German, they also include cultural explanations at the end of each episode.
To intensify your learning experience, you can access downloadable PDFs and other visual exercises for free from the GermanPod101 website.
Save Me For Later
10. Slow German with Annik Rubens
If you’re a German intermediate learner (level B1 or more advanced), you’ll find the Slow German with Annik Rubens podcast very useful.
These short podcasts (less than 8 minutes) will help you improve your German reading, listening and pronunciation skills with short German stories read slowly.
We love that these stories are based on realistic, everyday scenarios like applying for work, going to a doctor or asking basic banking and finance questions.
To make the most of these podcasts, open the episode notes so you can follow along with the audio transcriptions. And if there are words you don’t understand, use Google Translate to translate them.
11. Deutsch – Warum Nicht by Deutsche Welle
If you don’t mind rocking it old school, Deutsche Welle (the German broadcaster) has a great podcast called ‘Deutsch – Warum Nicht‘ which was created in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut.
Each episode follows the story of Andreas and his alter ego, Ex, as they go on their day-to-day adventures. The story is narrated in German and then explained line by line in English.
The podcast episodes may be from 2007, but are still useful for learning German today if you’re on A1, A2 or B1 level.
Apple iTunes or Spotify
One of the best ways to learn German as an absolute beginner or if you’re looking to learn some basic German phrases for travelling.
You can access these free German audible lessons in the Apple iTunes store or on Spotify.
12. Learn German by Henry N Raymond
Remember those old school language learning CDs (i.e. compact discs for our Generation X audience who don’t know) we use to have back in the day? Well Learn German by Henry N Raymond is the new age version of that.
It’s a great method for learning German if you’re an absolute beginner. The focus is on expanding your German vocabulary and learn proper pronunciation of the words.
The teaching method is very repetitive and a tad bit boring. But it’s designed for learning German in your car, so it’s not meant to distract you from driving.
13. German Language Passport by Global Publishers Canada
You’ll find the German Language Passport useful for learning basic German phrases for travel. This audible is a great free resource for learning how to rent a car, order food, book a hotel in German and more.
Learn German Free App
We’re rounded up a list of free language learning apps you can use for learning German that we’ve personally tried and tested.
If you’ve read our personal experiment learning German on Duolingo for 4 months and how effective it was, you’ll know we’ve been using Duolingo for quite some time now.
It’s still one of the only free language learning apps you can use where you don’t need to pay for premium to access all the courses.
It’s not perfect of course (no app is). But it’s great for learning vocabulary, memorising the articles for the different nouns and learning how to construct short phrases.
It might not help you pass a CEFR exam, but it’s a great place to start learning German. The extra effort they’ve gone to ‘gamify’ or made it like a game, makes it more fun to learn and helps motivate you to continue.
Busuu is another one of our favourite language learning apps. The free version allows you to access some useful content. But you get a lot more with the paid premium version. With the Busuu Premium Plus version, you can even get official certificates that validate you passed A1, A2, B1 or B2 CEFR levels.
But since this post is dedicated to learning German resources that are free, we’ll only review the free version of Busuu.
Like Duolingo, Busuu is also gamified which makes learning fun and enjoyable. Besides that, the two apps are completely different in their teaching style and content.
With Busuu, we like how the app breaks down each lesson. First they teach you the vocabulary. Then they show you how the word fits in a dialogue or a sentence and then they have exercises to help you memorise it.
Busuu also uses more complex, longer sentences than Duolingo. This is very useful for learning how to join two sentences with conjunctions and helps you articulate better constructed sentences when speaking German.
Related post: What do you get with Busuu Premium and is it worth paying for the upgrade? We did a 30-day experiment using the Busuu Premium Plus plan to learn German. Find out what we honestly thought in our detailed Busuu review.
Memrise is great flashcard language learning app which has both free and premium features. Similar to Duolingo, it’s great for learning vocabulary, how to construct short sentences and is also gamified.
The best feature of Memrise is the short video and audio clips that capture locals speaking the German language. Not only is this great for improving your listening comprehension, it also helps you pronounce German better and sound more like a local.
Some downsides to Memrise are that you can’t choose to focus on certain topics. You have to finish them in the order provided which means you can’t switch it up when you get bored. The other one is that it’s not as user friendly compared to Duolingo and Busuu.
TinyCards is another free flashcard language learning app developed by Duolingo. You can use it to help memorise new vocabulary learnt from Duolingo Stories or your Duolingo language course. You can also learn from flashcards created by others or create your own flashcards.
This is a great tool for expanding your vocabulary list and helping you remember new words.
If you’re looking to learn and remember new German vocabulary for niche topics, you’ll probably find it on AnkiApp. This free flashcard app has TONS of content, way more than TinyCards and Memrise.
We’d recommend this if you’ve reached German B1 level or higher and want to learn German vocabulary for niche topics like business terminology, names of countries or the human anatomy, etc. For absolute beginners, it may be a bit overwhelming navigating through all the content on AnkiApp.
But you could also create your own deck of flashcards if the pre-made ones aren’t suitable or just use TinyCards and Memrise instead. These two options are also more fun to use since AnkiApp isn’t gamified.
Related post: Duolingo and Busuu are often considered the best language learning apps in their class. But is one better than the other? Find out in our Busuu vs Duolingo comparison guide.
Free German Lessons Online
For those who want the best of both worlds: structured German lessons but with the flexibility of time and location. Here’s some great interactive online classes for learning German that you can do for free.
19. Deutsche Welle Learn German Lessons
Deutsche Welle has a huge portal for learning German online for free. Podcasts, videos, German news read slowly and even interactive German classes that you can do for free.
The interactive online lessons are really fun. Deutsche Welle have really gone out of their way to make their German online classes captivating and fun to learn the language.
They’ve also made certain content like audio, transcripts and vocabulary list downloadable, to enhance the learning experience.
The only downside is that the grammar explanations and instructions are all in German. So you’ll need to use Google Translate if you can’t decipher it.
20. Online German Lessons with Volkhochschule
Another free and awesome interactive German online course you can take is created by Volkhochschule, the public college of Germany.
Their site is a little bit trickier to navigate in comparison to Deutsche Welle. But once you’ve registered and have selected a course to do, it’s plain sailing from there.
Volkhochschule also provides a tutor that you can e-mail if you have any questions.
Related post: Prefer more structured German online courses? Give Lingoda a try! They offer online German classes from A1 to C1. It’s not a free option, but they’re really effective if your goal is to learn to speak German as fast as possible. Find out how much it costs and all the pros and cons in our Lingoda review.
Free E-books For Learning German
21. Andre Klein Books
Andre Klein has a collection of great e-books and audibles that you can use to learn German. They’re suitable for beginner, intermediate or advanced German learners.
It’s a great way to learn new vocabulary and slowly get in the habit of reading German text without feeling too overwhelmed. His books come with a complete German-English dictionary for the vocabulary and short sentences and expressions he uses in the book, which is super handy.
You can access his books for free if you have an Amazon Unlimited Account or you can try it out on Scribt for free on their 30 day trial.
A big thanks to our good friend, fellow travel blogger and talented photographer, Chris Tudor for recommending these e-books to us.
German Netflix Movies and Series
We saved the best for last – Netflix, chill and learn German!
Netflix has been including more and more foreign films and series and we love it! Especially the German movies and series. It’s a sneaky way to trick your mind in learning German when you’re supposedly relaxing.
It won’t help you pass a CEFR test, but it’s great for improving your listening skills and learning pronunciation. Just remember to switch on the subtitles so you know what’s plotting.
Here’s our handpicked list of German movies and series to watch:
- Dogs of Berlin
- Criminal: Germany
- Parfum (only German subtitles)
- How To Sell Drugs Online (Fast)
- Nailed It! Germany (German baking show)
- Fucking Berlin
- Unorthodox (less for learning German, more for learning about life living in Berlin)
Learn To Speak German Free: Meet-ups
If you’re looking to improve speaking German for free, you can use free platforms like MeetUp, Facebook and Duolingo Events to find tandem language events.
We hope you enjoyed our comprehensive list of free ways to learn German (or any language) online. If you have any other free and creative ways to learn German, we would love to hear them.
Feel free to support these creatives by purchasing their worksheets or pay for premium subscription if you enjoy what they teach. Otherwise you could also support them by subscribing to their social media channels and sharing their content with others.
If you enjoyed this article, share it with friends and family who need inspiration to learn German.
Here’s a short, quick summary:
How To Learn German At Home For Free
- Apple iTunes
- Language Learning Apps
- Free German Lessons Online
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