One of the biggest challenges every learner faces is to find the best German listening resources.  What listening is suitable for your level and where can you find it?

In this post, I’ve gathered my top listening resources that you shouldn’t miss if you want to improve your German listening skills.

Ideally, you should see this as a listening roadmap. Start with a low one, listen to all episodes or as many as you need to get used to the difficulty level and then work your way up. This way you will steadily improve your skills and reach your desired level in little time.

Disclaimer: If you are looking for a magic pill or would like to learn German in your sleep this list is not for you.

Every resource is sorted to present a challenge for the learner. Ideally, your listening and reading should always be a little higher than your current level.

You want to improve and take your German to the next level, and then to the next, and the next after that. One step at a time.

So be warned and expect some work, concentration, some occasional discouragement and afterward the sweet fruits of hard work!

Remember, lack of effort will always cause failure.

Let’s see the best German listening resources to improve your skills!

Absolute beginner

Radio D Series 1

Clarity ★★☆☆☆

Vocabulary ★★☆☆☆

Difficulty ★☆☆☆☆

This podcast is extremely easy to listen to. It makes for a perfect introduction to the German language for anyone who doesn’t want to jump right in but slowly dabble with the language first. It’s not that useful for learning a wide range of vocabulary but it’s good for getting used to the sound of the language and learning a variety of simple and basic sentences and expressions.

Nicos Weg A1

Vocabulary ★★★★☆

Clarity ★★★★☆

Difficulty ★★★☆☆

This amazing TV show is one of the best resources for learning German. It features Nico who doesn’t speak any German and his adventure in Germany. In other words, you will learn the language along with the protagonist. This means that it starts with very basic sentences that you can understand from the context which is always clear and self-explanatory.

Pro Tip: After each episode try to imagine yourself in Nico’s shoes and having the same conversations. Speak the sentences out loud giving the same answers or different ones in the various situations Nico encounters.

Beginner

Learn German For Free with German Podcast.de

Vocabulary ★★★☆☆

Clarity ★★★☆☆

Difficulty ★★★☆☆

Stephan Wiesner created lessons in a podcast format that are easy to understand and well explained. It is best for anyone who wants to improve specific types of conversations (introducing yourself, doctor’s appointment) and topics (weather, seasons, Christmas). Some episodes can feel rather fast-paced.

Sadly many of the episodes are no longer available.

Listening Practice

Vocabulary ★★★☆☆

Clarity ★★★☆☆

Difficulty ★★★☆☆

Not a podcast but a great resource to hone your listening skills. This website presents you with the audio of a sentence and you have to write what you’ve heard. You can choose between easiest, easy, average, hard and hardest.

Extra

Vocabulary ★★★★☆

Clarity ★★★★★

Difficulty ★★★☆☆

This super easy beginner comedy show starts nice and easy and slowly increases in complexity over time. The jokes are silly and cheesy and the show itself is very overacted but that is precisely what we need to be able to understand what’s going on at every moment.

Pro Tip: Get my Extra Listening Guide with summaries, transcripts, essential vocabulary and exercises for every episode.

Unterwegs!

Vocabulary ★★★★☆

Clarity ★★☆☆☆

Difficulty ★★★★☆

The only thing that improves a dialogue is having the visual cues of a video to understand every situation. In this video series, we follow Sabine through some daily situations. Prepare for a very very old show and not the greatest acting. But it’s definitely a good resource to keep practicing your listening as it features natural and common vocabulary. Here are the links to the nine episodes:

Nicos Weg A2

Vocabulary ★★★★★

Clarity ★★★★☆

Difficulty ★★★☆☆

The next level of this successful show. The level A2 continues Nico’s story with an increased level of complexity. His German has improved by now and if you have been watching the first level, yours will have too.

DaZPod Level A

Vocabulary ★★★★★

Clarity ★★★★☆

Difficulty ★★★★☆

One of the best podcasts out there to learn German in general. The content is relevant and practice-oriented as they combine grammar with real-life situations. The dialogues are very well explained. There is also a text for every episode to help you understand.

Low intermediate

DaZPod Level B

Vocabulary ★★★★★

Clarity ★★★★☆

Difficulty ★★★★☆

Same podcast as the A-Level but a bit more fast-paced. It presents specific situations with dialogue and explains them in detail. The dialogues contain great real-life vocabulary and important colloquial expressions and synonyms that would usually be used in that specific situation.

Slow German

Vocabulary ★★★★★

Clarity ★★★★★

Difficulty ★★★★☆

Annik Rubens has made an amazing job in every episode. This podcast is perfect for anyone who wants a little challenge and enjoys learning about different topics while improving their listening skills. Many episodes revolve around German history, culture and lifestyle. So anyone who wants a closer look at German life and customs will love this podcast. Annik speaks slow and clear and you also have the transcript to help you understand.

Pro Tip: Listen to the episode first so that you really need to make that listening effort. Then read the text once looking up any words you don’t know. Then listen to the audio again. This will make you get the most out of your listening session.

Nicos Weg B1

Vocabulary ★★★★☆

Clarity ★★★★☆

Difficulty ★★★☆☆

As Nico’s German keeps improving, the show gets more difficult. But still, the context is usually quite clear and helps you understand what is happening at any moment.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to do active listening. This means, taking notes, writing down new words and reviewing what you have learned from time to time.

Ernie und Bert

Vocabulary ★★★★☆

Clarity ★★☆☆☆

Difficulty ★★★★★

This is an important tipping point in your learning journey as you will start listening to something that was made for native ears. As it’s for children, it’s still moderately easy to understand but it will be a challenge. Take into account that it will take you some time to get accustomed to listening to these types of materials but it’s an essential step to take to be able to watch German original content someday.

There are many full episodes on youtube. Here are a few links:

Pro Tip: Get the Ernie und Bert Listening Guide with summaries, transcripts, essential vocabulary and exercises for several episodes.

Upper-intermediate

Dark

Vocabulary ★★★★★

Clarity ★★★★☆

Difficulty ★★★★★

Once you have dabbled a bit with children TV shows you’re ready to finally watch German original content made for native adults. That’s one big step and it won’t be easy. Don’t waste this wonderful resource watching it with subtitles in your native language. It might seem a daunting task but if you are well prepared there is nothing to worry.

You can find it on Netflix.

Pro Tip: Check out my Dark Season 1 Listening Guide that will give you a head start making sure you understand what you watch while having a great time.  The guide includes summaries, transcripts, essential vocabulary and exercises for every episode.

Die Drei Fragezeichen

Vocabulary ★★★★★

Clarity ★★★★☆

Difficulty ★★★☆☆

Another great resource aimed at younger natives but don’t underestimate its complexity. Die drei Fragezeichen was the equivalent to The Three Investigators. As this show is audio-only so we have no images to help us understand the context. Besides, due to its genre, it offers some quite intricate and complex plots and a native language level with lots of colloquial expressions.

You can find the episodes on Spotify and some are even on Youtube.

Wieso nicht?

Vocabulary ★★★★★

Clarity ★★★☆☆

Difficulty ★★★★☆

This is kind of a strange Podcast but nevertheless useful if you want to get some practical German. This podcast is quite similar to DaZPod but without explanations and rather fast-paced. The topics are varied and not your normal podcast situations. You can find anything from an accident witness account to people dressing like bees. Yes, it’s weird but that is what makes it such an interesting podcast. There are plenty of colloquial expressions, real-life German, jokes, play on words and you can even hear a Schimpfwort here and there.

The first part presents the dialogues, the second part repeats the most important parts of the dialogue isolating sentences and at a slower pace.

Berlin 83

Vocabulary ★★★★★

Clarity ★★★★☆

Difficulty ★★★★☆

A great TV show about the life of a citizen of East Germany who is sent to West Germany to work as a spy. At times there is complex and specific vocabulary but the plot is quite straight-forward and you’ll even learn a bit about German history. It’s such a good TV Show that you will want to keep watching it even if you don’t understand what is being said. But make an effort and rewind if that happens. We’re here to learn the language, right?

Pro Tip: The bad part is that most versions have hard coded English subtitles. If you can manage to hide them your learning process will be even better. Get the Berlin 83 Listening Guide with summaries, transcripts, essential vocabulary and exercises for every episode.

Echo Des Tages

Vocabulary ★★★★★

Clarity ★★★☆☆

Difficulty ★★★★☆

This Podcast gives us an overview of both national and international news of the day in 30 minutes. It is spoken very clearly but uses specific vocabulary related to the topic.

Pro Tip: Remember that you don’t have to understand every single word. A German native could also not understand some technical terms or turn the volume down at some point if he listens to the news while driving and that doesn’t make the experience any worse. The goal of anyone listening to this is to be informed about what happened in the world, not to analyze it or study it in depth. 😉

Advanced Level

History

Aus den prallgefüllten Schatzkammern der Menscheitsgeschichte…

This is a great podcast for anyone who enjoys exploring topics about international history. The episodes usually have an interview with professionals in the field. As in every podcast, the quality of these calls is not always the best. Therefore some episodes might be a little harder to understand.

A great world history podcast that features turning points in human history. You can find anything from peace treaties and disasters to inventions and discoveries.

This podcast is a little more serious than Eine Stunde History. But that can make it easier to understand. The language of this podcast is very similar to what we can find in the news: formal and topic-related language. This makes it moderately easy to understand.

A great podcast for anyone who enjoys history with a mysterious side. Also if you love history so much that you are tired of the usual topics because you have listened to every possible history podcast out there, then this is for you. It features strange and unusual topics. Der Buddler (the digger), as the creator calls himself, deals in his secret cabinet with the absurdities of historiography that are lost in official historiography.

General News, Politics and Society

Mainly serious discussions exploring topics that are relevant in today’s society. They talk about current events in politics, tech and everything that is worth thinking and talking about. They usually have guests on the show who share their expert opinion.

A lawyer and a journalist give a weekly summary of the political life in Germany and the world. They inform and explain the events and consequences in a simple way while discussing their opinion on them as well.

Not Safe For Work (NSFW) ist die internationale Unterhaltungsgala mit Tim Pritlove und Holger Klein.

In their own description, they state that “NSFW is unconventional, erratic, nonsensical and extremely indecent. NSFW should not be taken too seriously.”

And that explains things pretty well. This podcast features loose format conversations about current events in any possible field like politics, technology and sports. It is mostly funny with occasional seriousness. Sometimes they throw in some really interesting things and facts.

Fun and Comedy

Fest und Flauschig is Germany’s most popular podcast. A loose format comedy show that is silly, sometimes with a little below-the-belt humor, but still very funny. This show is all about the chemistry between the hosts Jan Böhmermann and Olli Schulz which is fantastic.

At times very fast-paced even for natives but a good representation of actual German humor.

A similar concept as Fest und flauschig. A little less popular, but easier to follow as they speak slower and have more circumstantial and less inside jokes. They talk nonsense and have fun. Lots of goofballery and rambling conversations.

Music

This podcast offers some competent hip-hop journalism: no half-knowledge, no promotion record companies, no gossip, and no pretentious chatter. In their podcast, the ALL GOOD hosts talk about hip hop – alone and sometimes with guests.

Sex & Relationships

A very explicit podcast with anecdotes, questions, and discussions about sex, love, and relationships. The hosts, Leila and Ines, are very funny and likable.

The language, besides explicit, is very colloquial. It’s like overhearing two friends talk about their most intimate issues, only that 60.000 others are listening to it.

Another very funny show that could be regarded as the male counterpart to the previous podcast. But contrary to Besser als Sex these hosts are anonymous.

They can shock you some times with their brutal honesty and others they move you with the issues that bother them.

Again, the language is very informal and colloquial. Great for anyone who still has trouble understanding real-life German of the streets.

Children & Education

Annik and Oliver are young parents who meet every two weeks to talk about the mess they’ve stumbled into. They speak about common problems all parents face sooner or later.

Games & Movies

This podcast features current topics from the video game world, nostalgic retro rounds, and critical cinema conversations.

Celluleute is a podcast on current and classic movies. A must for every film buff. Clear and well-spoken but a few colloquial expressions here and there. Funny at times.

The older episodes include show notes with a breakdown of the movies and shows mentioned, a feature that can come in handy.