2020 Guide to the Best Spanish Shows on Netflix
top Spanish shows on Netflix

Publication: Feb 22, 2019

Inside: A guide to top series and recommendations for Spanish shows on Netflix. 

As Netflix’s popularity has skyrocketed in recent years, they’ve been busy expanding their selection of Spanish-language shows.

And these aren’t limited to your grandma’s soapy telenovelas, either: today, Netflix has something riveting in Spanish for everyone. With shows set in Spain and across Latin America, you can find everything from BBC-type dramas to reality TV.

I’m a Spanish-speaking mom and teacher, but not a native speaker. I still need lots of Spanish input. And lucky for me, improving my language skills can be as easy as setting the audio and subtitles to Spanish, and getting into a good Spanish series.

Remember that Netflix regularly adds and pulls shows– just let me know if you catch something I should update. I also have a whole page dedicated to lists of movies in Spanish for your Friday nights, in case you need more ideas! Below, I’ve included trailers so you can take a peek at each one, and fill up your Netflix queues with binge-worthy series.

One more note: this list was not created for teachers wanting Spanish shows to watch in class, with learners. If that’s you, don’t worry! I have a whole post on Spanish TV shows to use in class and for learners.

SPANISH SHOWS ON NETFLIX: WHAT TO WATCH

Ready? Let’s get started.

1. LA CASA DE PAPEL

The massively popular show Money Heist, as it’s known in English, is now the #1 Original Foreign Show on Netflix. A group of burglars joins together to pull off the most daring robbery in the history of Spain. The original plan was to pull of the perfect crime: an infiltration of the Royal Mint of Spain, that would leave them rich and leave no victims. As plans go awry, relationships and loyalty are tested in this psychological thriller.

Set in Spain, Watch if you liked Breaking Bad, The Italian Job, or Inception.

2. VELVET

This is a gorgeous series if you like period pieces and don’t mind a little soapy drama. The main two character weren’t actually my favorites: what makes the show are the supporting characters. The aesthetics, clever dialogue, and lively personalities, make this one of my personal favorite Spanish shows on Netflix. (Velvet Colección, a spin-off series, is now available as well!)

Set in Spain. Watch if you liked Mad Men and Downton Abbey. 

3. CLUB DE CUERVOS

A dysfunctional brother-sister combo are left in charge of a football team in this dramady. Club de Cuervos is one of the few Spanish-language TV shows I’ve found that taps into more ironic and dry modern humor. Irreverent, but also complex, funny, and memorable. (This was one of those shows I initially wrote off, then totally got into. The first episode is fairly explicit but gets a tamer as the series goes on.) 

Set in Mexico. Watch if you’d like a combo of Orange is the New Black, Parks and Rec, and a touch of House of Cards.

4. ALTA MAR

Smuggled passengers. Buried family secrets. Romance, intrigue, stormy seas, an 600 passengers on luxury shop bound for Brazil would make for an interesting enough voyage– until the murders begin. This murder mystery set in the 1940’s will remind you of the show Velvet, with gorgeous scenery and plenty of drama to go around, though with faster-paced storytelling and more suspense. 

Spanish cast, set on the Atlantic Ocean. Watch if you liked Downton Abbey, Sherlock, and Agathie Christie. 

5. SIEMPRE BRUJA

Starring an Afro-Colombian time-traveling witch, Siempre Bruja mixes the feel of a historical telenovela with modern supernatural twists. Carmen, a slave living in the 17th century, is condemned to be burned at the stake after her owners discover she and their son are in love. Carmen makes a deal to with a wizard and finds herself in modern-day Cartagena, where she must navigate her new surroundings on the condition that she not use her powers. Pros: the series features a black women as the lead, with a strong cast and gorgeous scenery. It’s much cleaner than most shows and could work to show in high school classes. Cons: there is so much potential with the story, but the show delivers a shallow treatment of serious themes, depending on more than one racial cliché along the way.

Set in Colombia. Watch if you liked Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Arrow, or Alias Grace.

6. LUIS MIGUEL

A dramatized telling of Luis Miguel’s life and rise to fame as the Sol de México. The story moves between his early years of stardom and childhood, exploring the disappearance of his mother and tortured relationship with his father. Not an easy watch in terms of the family dynamics, but Luis Miguel just might be a breath of fresh air for viewers looking for a violence-free Latin American show.

Set mainly in Mexico. Watch if you liked Nashville or Empire.

7. INGOBERNABLE

Starring the iconic Kate del Castillo as the first lady of Mexico, Ingobernable begins as her world is turned upside down and she finds herself running for her life. Accused of assassinating her husband, she must find her way outside her life of wealth and power, prove her innocence, and untangle the web of corruption gripping the Mexican presidency.

Set in Mexico. Watch if you liked House of Cards, The Good Wife, Narcos or Breaking Bad.

8. LA NIÑA

Based on real-life events, La niña tells the incredible story of a girl forcibly recruited by the guerillas in Colombia, who then escapes and tries to reintegrate into society. Although she manages to reunite with her family and even gets into medical school, her past haunts her.  Unlike many of the other series in this list, it gives a in-depth look into everyday life for working-class families in Latin America.

Set in Colombia. Watch if you’d like Grey’s Anatomy, Jessica Jones, and a bit of telenovela drama mixed together. 

8. GRAN HOTEL

Here’s your really well-done telenovela that even my action-loving husband couldn’t stop watching. Full of intrigue and mystery, it’s got plenty of the novela qualities– but with a solid story and characters to back it up. Like Velvet, the supporting characters are the best part of the story.

Set in Spain. Watch if you liked Downton Abbey and Poldark.

9. EL MINISTERIO DEL TIEMPO

El Ministerio del Tiempo is a top-secret time-travel agency that functions loosely under the government of Spain. As the series opens, three new agents join forces to guard the doors of time: a 16th-century soldier, a 21st-century paramedic, and a 19th-century student. This one is packed with history and art as the trio defends time itself, preventing intruders from using time travel for their own gain.

Set in Spain, mostly. Watch if you liked Dr. Who, The Last Kingdom, or Orphan Black.

10. LAS CHICAS DEL CABLE

From the creators of Gran Hotel and Velvet, this show is packed with favorite actors from both shows, as well as El Barco and El Internado. It follows 4 women who work for a cable company in the 20’s, a turbulent time of old traditions vs. progressivism.I have a love-hate relationship with this one, but check it out if you like gorgeous period dramas, with lots of drama.

Set in Spain. Watch if you liked Peaky Blinders, Mad Men, or Downton Abbey.

11. MOROCCO: TIEMPOS DE GUERRA

Set in the 1920’s, a group of wealthy nurses is sent to the Moroccan front during the Rif War and must adapt to the harsh conditions and reality of wartime. If you weren’t ready to let Gran Hotel go, Cristina is back as the star of this romantic drama. 

Set in Morocco and Spain. Watch if you liked Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey, or Land Girls.

12. SOR JUANA INÉS DE LA CRUZ

A look at the life of Juana Ines, an outspoken nun in the 17th century who was a self-taught scholar, philosopher, and poet. 

Set in Mexico. Watch if you liked The Crown and Alias Grace.

13. LA CASA DE FLORES

La Casa de Flores is an interesting mix of traditional soap elements (a wealthy, socialite family plagued by past misdeeds and secrets) and modern comedy, and has quickly become one of the most-watched Spanish shows on Netflix. The series begins as the family is celebrating their renowned Flower Shop’s anniversary, when their father’s secret mistress ends her life, but leaves behind letters exposing his double life. 

Set in Mexico. Watch if you liked Transparent, Arrested Developmetn, and Modern Family. 

14. GO! VIVE A TU MANERA

Thought there weren’t any G-rated shows in Spanish on Netflix? Think again! A new Argentinian show, Go! is a musical series from the same producers of Violetta and Soy Luna created for a young audience. Mía Cáceres is a talented young singer who gets a scholarship to Saint Mary, an elite prep school with a prestigious music program. There she meets both friends and arch-enemies (namely, the daughter of the school’s owners who is determined to sabotage her musical dreams). 

Set in Argentina. Watch if you liked Glee.

15. EL CHAPO

It’s a reasonable criticism that too many shows/movies paint Latin America as full of drugs, violence, etc. And this show was hard to watch for the violence, same as Pablo Escobar. This one is well-done, in my opinion, and provides the history of El Chapo’s rise to power. (It’s interesting to watch alongside Kate del Castillo’s documentary “The Day I Met Chapo,” also available on Netflix).

Set in Mexico. Watch if you liked Narcos and Ozark. 

16. CELIA

Learn the story behind the Queen of Salsa: how she began her career in the tumultuous years of Cuba in the 50’s, and eventually rose to be one of the top salsa performers of all time. Gorgeous filming and music in this series. 

Set mostly in Cuba. Watch if you liked Luis Miguel.

17. ÉLITE

Three scholarship students begin their first year at an elite school in Spain, attended by students from  the wealthiest families in Spain. We quickly find out that one of the police are investigating a student murder, and each episode is presented as a flashback. (Although this series has so much potential as it explores race, class, and religion, I was a put off by the depiction of explicit situations these supposed teens are in. Definitely TV-MA.)

Set in Spain. Watch if you liked 13 Reasons Why, Orange is the New Black, or Dynasty. 

18. LA REINA DEL FLOW

Yeimy is a talented 17-year-old from a working-class neighborhood, with big dreams of a life dedicated to music. After her parents are killed by a narco, she is betrayed by a close friend and loses 17 years of her life to prison under false accusation. When she finally leaves, she can think of nothing but revenge– and must alter her life completely in order to get it.

Set in Colombia. Watch if you liked Empire and/or Revenge.

19. EL INTERNADO

Set in a remote boarding school, both students and teachers become involved in uncovering dark secrets from the school’s past, as strange events begin to occur in this mystery-thriller.  

Set in Spain. 

20. NAILED IT! MEXICO

Contestants who don’t really know how to bake have to recreate masterpieces in the kitchen, in competition for $10,000. Light and funny.

Set in Mexico. 

21. MERLÍ

An unorthodox philosophy teacher tries to open up the worlds of his students, a diverse group of teens that includes his own estranged son. Each show features a particular philosopher. 

Set in Spain. Watch if you liked Dead Poet’s Society.

22. EL BARCO

Another Spanish mystery, El barco follows a group of young people on a boat during a global cataclysm, who believe themselves to be the only people left on earth. We got really into this one initially, though my interest waned a bit with the extreme drama every episode, hah. If you liked El internado and Gran hotel, you’ll probably like this one! 

Set in Spain. Watch if you like Lost. 

23. MADE IN MEXICO

Can’t get enough of reality TV in English? Made in Mexico follows 9 Mexican “socialites” whose lives connect in some way, and who move within the wealthy circles of Mexico City. The camera shifts between their public interactions (brunches, dates, chats in nightclubs, family get-togethers), the drama that ensues, and subsequent interviews off-stage. Made in Mexico represents an interesting expansion of Spanish shows on Netflix beyond dramas. 

Set in Mexico. Watch if you liked Real Housewives or following the Kardashians.

24. EL REEMPLAZANTE

Just out of prison, a former executive becomes a math teacher on parole.

Set in Chile.

25. EL TIEMPO ENTRE COSTURAS

Set during the Spanish Civil War, El tiempo entre costuras follows a seamstress whose life is turned upside down after being conned by a lover and left in Morocco. As she makes a new life, she is caught up between spies in Franco’s Spain. This is one of my very favorites, and I’ve used it in class along with a study of the Spanish Civil War. Set in Spain and Morocco.

Set in Morocco and Spain. Watch if you like BBC WWII dramas, or Downton Abbey.

26. BALA LOCA

In this political thriller, a group of journalists join together to fight corruption in post-Pinochet Chile, led by veteran journalist Mauro Murillo (who has suffered an accident and is now confined to a wheelchair). As they form their online newspaper, one journalist is murdered. Mauro’s investigation into her death reveals a dark web of corruption between government, businesses and people.

Set in Chile Watch if you liked The Blacklist, Homeland, or House of Cards.

27. PABLO ESCOBAR: EL PATRÓN DEL MAL

If you binged your way through Narcos, you really should give this one a watch. While Narcos narrates from a American perspective, Pablo Escobar is told directly from the Colombian and provides an extensive, gripping look into the life and legacy of Escobar. Though not a historical documentary, it is very well done and I highly recommend it. 

Set in Colombia. Watch if you liked Narcos, Breaking Bad, and shows from the History Channel. 

28. MAR DE PLÁSTICO

A detective searches for answers after the murder of a girl in southern Spain. The region is called the “plastic sea,” from so many greenhouses in the area. The drama unfolds against the backdrop of interracial conflicts between the workers in the greenhouses. 

Set in Spain. 

29. SILVANA SIN LANA

A wealthy family’s life comes crashing down when the dad leaves and their fortune is lost. The mother must get a real job and the kids have to adjust to a “normal” life. 

Set in the U.S..

30. SOBREVIVIENDO A ESCOBAR

If you haven’t gotten your fill of narco-theme shows, Sobreviviendo Pablo Escobar was a fascinating follow-up to Pablo Escobar (and Narcos). It details what happened the Escobar’s people and rival cartels after his death.

Set in Colombia. Watch if you like Narcos. 

31. LA ESCLAVA BLANCA

A white woman is rescued from death and raised by slaves in Colombia. She must impersonate a rich marchioness and marry a wealthy American in order to return one day and bring justice to those who saved her life. 

Set in Colombia and Spain.

Did I miss any of your favorite Spanish shows on Netflix? Leave your favorites in the comments!

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28 Comments

  1. La Niña was an amazing show (you’re the only blog so far I have run across that has it). Yago is another well done telenovela set in Mexico City. Iván Sánchez stars in it and seeks revenge on all who had wronged Omar. It has great characters, acting and I actually got used to the Mexican dialect as opposed to Colombian (which is more familiar to me). I’ve been studying Spanish for a little over 2 years and now I’m trying to develop an ear for it. I notice some of the same key phases are used over and over, like ‘no se preocupe’, ’tranquilo’, ‘espera’, y ‘vamos’. I have found these shows to be much better than American tv shows. The plots are more intricate and the acting and characters are top notch.

    Reply
    • I will look into Yago! Thanks for letting me know. You’re so smart to look up authentic shows as you learn– best of luck on your Spanish journey!

      Reply
  2. Tienes que ver lady la vendedora de rosas! Me encantó

    Reply
  3. Sin senos yo hoy pariso…….and la reina del sur…..lady…..I agree Spainish shows are much better than american shows…I only know a little Spainish….so I rely on subtithles…but these are fantastic……

    Reply
  4. I am from Spain and I never got too much into Spanish shows.. until I started with velvet……. Is when everything started. My husband (American) and I are crazy about Spanish shows. I loved El tiempo entre costuras, Las chicas del cable, Gran Hotel and Morocco en tiempos de guerra. I am also a Spanish teacher 🙂

    Reply
  5. Here is a little bit of the movie
    A family with a daughter catalina mother lost 2 other kids to the streets a doese what ever she has to. To protect her new daughter

    Reply
  6. I’m hoping to find a show that’s not from Spain that’s also not about drugs or corruption. I don’t think I saw one on the list.

    I’ve watched El Barco (I agree with your take on that one) and El Internado (it was good!), but I want to practice my Latin American Spanish now. 🙂

    Reply
    • Maybe try Luis Miguel? You are right… so many shows about drugs.

      Reply
  7. EL BARCO is a winner sometimes you just need to sit back relax and stop whining… they are movies and EL BARCO has us feeling every emotion wether you think it was too much or too little… it was really just perfect… I will watch it again and again every 46 episode especially Ulises and Ainhoa at the bar scene… with that beautiful JOVENES ENTERNAMENTE POL 314 spanish song wow….

    It had me in a different world the time I watched that series… it even warmed my heart and thought me how to love again… after losing the mother of my son I swore to never love again…

    Thanks to the creators and actors of that series for making me human again.

    Reply
    • The author merely shared her personal review about this show; she didn’t “whine.” This show was perfect for you, great, but don’t expect it to be the same for others.

      Reply
  8. I am teaching an Hispanic Studies course for native/upper-level/heritage speakers. Juniors and Seniors. Could any of these be appropriate to recommend for them?

    Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • None would be appropriate without some editing, but the safest ones seem to be Celia, Siempre Bruja (haven’t finished it), and Gran Hotel (definitely needs editing)!

      Reply
  9. You didn’t mention Celia Cruz which I thoroughly enjoyed…Spanish from Cuba and the music…to die for. Did you mention La Piloto? El Hotel de los Secretos? My favorites so far have been: Juana Inés, La Niña, La Esclava Blanca, El Barco, Celiz Cruz, La Piloto, El Internado. I’m going to start on your list now. Mil gracias!

    Reply
    • Somehow I missed that one! Sometimes the series don’t show up the same here in Peru. I am adding it to my to-watch list right now!

      Reply
  10. Hi, would you recommend these titles for IB students (16-18 years old)? I am looking for shows to help them improve their language learning whilst engaging in something entertaining.

    Reply
    • You would need to check the ratings and consider your school for sure. :/ Most of these have at least some level of “inappropriate” for school settings. I sooo wish there were some clean, interesting options I could recommend without any reservations!

      Reply
  11. I absolutely *loved* El Tiempo Entre Costuras and thoroughly enjoy El Internado. I’m watching it again in Spanish with Spanish subtitles (the first time through was with English subtitles). At the top of the page, it does say 2019, though the post and comments were last year or earlier, but as an update, El Tiempo Entre Costuras is sadly no longer on Netflix. I will definitely have to check some of these others out.
    Do you find that ratings for Spanish TV are milder than we would rate them here? Similar to movie ratings in the US in the ’80s and early ’90s, El Internado, for instance, is rated as TV-PG. The language alone would possibly make it an R as a movie. (Kids in peril do tend to throw the F word around a lot, as well as its variations.)

    Reply
  12. Hi everyone
    I teach Spanish in New Jersey. Please watch EVA, NO NEED TO EDIT it, and students love it
    Sandra

    Reply
  13. What is the show thats on the cover, or background behind the title?

    Reply
  14. Go Vive a tu manera!! 1st totally appropriate for students even elementary. 2nd season starting in June. Like a Spanish version of glee. No sex. No swearing even their clothes are appropriate

    Reply
  15. Las chicas de la mafia/ Celia location wasn’t Cuba was Cartagena Colombia and the actors are Colombians as well. My kids love El chavo!!

    Reply
  16. La Niña is amazing. La Ley Secreta is my new obsession. I watch sin Senos si hay paraiso but that show was way too crazy for me.

    Reply
  17. Do you know how to slow down the speed so the speech is a little bit slower? It would help me a lot. On YouTube I change the speed in settings from Normal to .75 and it makes such a big difference for me. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Not that I know of! I wish there were, as I use that feature in YouTube. I just put on subtitles in Spanish when I can.

      Reply
  18. Thanks for the lighter & funny ones!! I watch Nailed it México with my middle schoolers. They love it! I hope they do another season!!

    Reply
  19. Dont forget Vis a Vis. One of my favorite spaniard tv shows.

    Reply
  20. Just finished watching All for Love (Amar Y Vivir) Colombian,69 episodes series. Loved it!!! The songs are phenomenal. The lead actress is the same one as the one in La Nina. I’m fluent in Italian wanting to improve my high school Spanish and by watching so many Spanish speaking shows, I can honestly say that I don’t need the subtitles any more. I’ve binged on Luis Miguel, Velvet, La chicas del Cable, Morocco in the times of War and Silvana sin Lana which has hardly any nudity nor violence.

    Reply

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