Travelling to Europe? 10 handy phrases in 11 European languages especially for solo female travellers

by | Oct 6, 2021 | Europe, Solo Female Travel, Sustainable Tourism, Sustainable Travel

If you’re travelling to Europe, there are at least 5 words you should learn to say before you go. If you’re a female planning to travel solo, explore alone during free time on an escorted group tour or river cruise, or you purely want to connect with the locals, you should try to learn how to say some phrases in the languages of the countries you plan to visit. I share 10 phrases in 11 European languages that may come in handy for solo female travellers.

This summer, I had the opportunity to take part in a free Italian beginners’ course provided by the Italian Tourism Board. I felt this would be a great refresher for me, as the Italian I learned at age 19-20 (a very long time ago) was a bit rusty (no, a lot rusty!). Since I’m planning a tour of Italy in the not-too-distant future, knowing a few phrases in the local lingo will not only help me ask for directions to places like the train station, bus stop or nearest tourist office, or how to ask for a coffee, tea, meal or the bill in a restaurant, but it will also help me connect and communicate with locals while exploring.

After completing the course, I was inspired to curate and share 10 handy phrases in 11 European languages, especially for solo female travellers, that you can try to learn before heading across the pond.

OK…so you probably won’t need ALL 10 phrases in ALL 11 languages, but on a trip to Switzerland, for example, you could encounter three languages, French, German and Italian (there is a fourth, Romansh, but it’s not as common). Knowing a few phrases in these three languages could come in very handy especially if you’re a female travelling solo and / or plan to do the Grand Tour.

On a river cruise, road-trip or rail journey through Europe, you could encounter several more different European languages, so knowing a few phrases in the language of each country you plan to visit could be useful. If you’re exploring alone, and particularly if you’re a female solo traveller, you never know when you may need directions back to the cruise ship, train station or where you parked your car.

Why should you learn the local lingo when travelling to Europe?

When travelling to Europe, or anywhere in the world for that matter, it’s a good idea to know a few phrases in the local lingo, especially if you’re a solo female traveller. But since many people in Europe know and speak English quite fluently, you’re probably wondering why you should bother learning the local lingo. Because, you never know when you may need to communicate with someone who doesn’t speak English, plus it’s a great way to connect with the locals.

When you’re visiting another country that speaks a foreign language, it’s always a good to know a bit of the local lingo. Here are four reasons why:

  1. Asking for directions: If you’re exploring alone, particularly if you’re female, knowing a few phrases in the local lingo will come in very handy if you get lost and need directions back to the cruise ship, train station, or your hotel. Even knowing how to ask where the nearest restaurant, café, museum or bus stop could be handy.
  2. Ordering Food or Drinks: If you’re touring off-the-beaten-path, you may meet people who don’t know English as well as you’d like. Knowing a few phrases to help you order a coffee/tea, a meal or ask for the bill, or even showing appreciation for the meal and/or service, will also come in handy.
  3. Purchasing Tickets or Seat Reservations: While English is widely spoken at large train stations, if you’re travelling on the rural routes and need to purchase a ticket or seat reservation to get where you’re going, knowing how to ask for what you need will come in very handy.
  4. Connecting with Locals: If you’d like a more authentic experience on your vacation in Europe, knowing a few phrases in the local lingo will help you connect and communicate with locals who in turn may share insights into their local culture and / or hidden gems for you to visit. Even if your pronunciation is not great, they’ll appreciate the effort in trying to speak in their language.

A few words you should know before you go

While it’s true many people you’re likely to meet while travelling in Europe may understand English and/or be able to answer questions you ask in English, just knowing a few words, will go a long way in showing the locals that you’ve taken the time to try and learn their language

At the very least, I believe you should know how to say “Hello“, “Excuse Me“, “Please“, “Thank You“, and “Goodbye” in the language(s) of the destination(s) you plan to visit. Even if you do not pronounce the words properly or the grammar isn’t correct, the locals will really appreciate your effort trying to learn their lingo.

A few other words that could be handy to learn to say, especially if you’re a female solo traveller, are: “Hotel“, “Station“, “Tourist Office“, “Ticket“, “Reservation“, “Coffee“, “Tea“, “Wine“, “Juice“, “Beer” and “Bill“.

Of course, it’s only my opinion, and it’s entirely up to you how many words or phrases you try to learn, but if you’re interested, under the pics below I’ve hidden the 10 handy phrases I think you should try to learn to say before travelling to Europe. In the first box you’ll see the English phrases, followed by 11 translations in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, Polish, Hungarian, Slovak, Slovenian, and Croatian. These are some of the languages you may encounter on a river cruise or if travelling by road or rail through Europe. These 10 phrases will definitely help you connect and communicate with locals, but they could also help you in many situations where you need to find your way, make a purchase or show your appreciation. When travelling solo, that’s definitely a plus in my book.

Unfortunately, I can’t help you with the pronunciations for most of these European languages (except maybe French, German, Spanish or Italian – but as I said they’re a bit rusty) so I recommend you visit Google Translate and paste the English phrases into the translation box and click the “sound” icon to listen.

Hover over each photo to reveal the 10 handy phrases in each European language

English - Bourton-on-the-Water, Cotswolds, England

English

  1. Hello, pleased to meet you.
  2. Excuse me, could you help me, please?
  3. How do I get to the train station?
  4. Where is the nearest bus stop (hotel, restaurant, tourist office)?
  5. Could I get/order a coffee (tea, beer, wine, juice), please?
  6. I need a ticket/reservation to/for…, please.
  7. What's the special of the day?
  8. I really enjoyed my meal, thank you.
  9. I'd like the bill, please.
  10. Thank you very much/for everything. Goodbye.
2 French - Chamonix, France

French

  1. Bonjour. Enchanté de faire votre connaissance.
  2. Excusez-moi, pourriez-vous m'aider, s'il vous plaît?
  3. Comment vais-je à la gare?
  4. Où est l'arrêt de bus (l'hôtel, le restaurant, l'office de tourisme) le/la plus proche?
  5. Puis-je obtenir/commander un café (thé, bière, vin, jus), s'il vous plaît?
  6. J'ai besoin d'un billet/d'une réservation pour …, s'il vous plaît.
  7. Quelle est la spécialité du jour?
  8. J'ai vraiment apprécié mon repas, merci.
  9. Je voudrais la facture, s'il vous plaît.
  10. Merci beaucoup pour tout. Au revoir.
German- Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany

German

  1. Hallo, schön dich kennenzulernen.
  2. Entschuldigung, könnten Sie mir bitte helfen?
  3. Wie komme ich nach Bahnhof?
  4. Wo ist die nächste Bushaltestelle (das nächste Hotel, Restaurant, Tourismusbüro)?
  5. Könnte ich bitte einen Kaffee (Tee, Bier, Wein, Saft) bekommen/bestellen?
  6. Ich benötige ein Ticket/eine Reservierung für …, bitte.
  7. Was ist das Besondere des Tages?
  8. Ich habe mein Essen sehr genossen, danke.
  9. Ich hätte bitte die Rechnung.
  10. Ich danke dir vielmals für alles. Auf Wiedersehen.
Italian - Bogliasco, Genoa, Italy

Italian

  1. Ciao, piacere di conoscerti.
  2. Mi scusi, potrebbe aiutarmi, per favore?
  3. Come faccio ad arrivare a la stazione ferroviaria?
  4. Dove si trova il hotel (il ristorante, la fermata dell'autobus, il ufficio turistico) più vicino?
  5. Potrei avere/ordinare un caffè (tè, birra, vino, succo di frutta), per favore?
  6. Ho bisogno di un biglietto/prenotazione per/per…, per favore.
  7. Qual è lo speciale del giorno?
  8. Mi è piaciuto molto il mio pasto, grazie.
  9. Vorrei il conto, per favore.
  10. Grazie mille per tutto. Arrivederci.
Spanish - Saint Vincent Street, Valencia, Spain

Spanish

  1. Hola encantado de conocerte.
  2. Disculpe, ¿podría ayudarme, por favor?
  3. Cómo llego a la estación de tren?
  4. ¿Dónde está el hotel (el restaurante, la parada de autobús, la oficina de turismo) más cercano?
  5. ¿Puedo pedir un café (té, cerveza, vino, zumo), por favor?
  6. Necesito un boleto / reserva para…, por favor.
  7. ¿Qué es lo especial del día?
  8. Realmente disfruté mi comida, gracias.
  9. Me gustaría la cuenta, por favor.
  10. Muchas gracias por todo. Adiós.
Dutch - Old houses of Amsterdam, Netherlands

Dutch

  1. Hallo, leuk je te ontmoeten.
  2. Pardon, kunt u mij helpen, alstublieft?
  3. Hoe kom ik bij...?
  4. Waar is de dichtstbijzijnde... (hotel, restaurant, treinstation, bushalte, VVV-kantoor)?
  5. Kan ik een koffie (thee, bier, wijn, sap) krijgen/bestellen, alstublieft?
  6. Ik heb een ticket/reservering nodig voor/voor…, alstublieft.
  7. Wat is de specialiteit van de dag?
  8. Ik heb echt genoten van mijn maaltijd, bedankt.
  9. Ik wil graag de rekening, alstublieft.
  10. Heel erg bedankt voor alles. Tot ziens
Portuguese - Douro River, Porto, Portugal

Portuguese

  1. Olá, é um prazer te conhecer.
  2. Com licença, você poderia me ajudar, por favor?
  3. Como faço para chegar até...?
  4. Onde fica o mais próximo ... (hotel, restaurante, estação de trem, ponto de ônibus, posto de turismo)?
  5. Posso pedir / pedir um café (chá, cerveja, vinho, suco), por favor?
  6. Preciso de um bilhete / reserva para / para…, por favor.
  7. Qual é a especial do dia?
  8. Gostei muito da minha refeição, obrigada.
  9. Eu gostaria da conta, por favor.
  10. Muito obrigado por tudo. Adeus
Polish Krakow Market Square, Poland

Polish

  1. Cześć miło cię poznać.
  2. Przepraszam, czy możesz mi pomóc?
  3. Jak się dostanę do...?
  4. Gdzie jest najbliższy... (hotel, restauracja, dworzec, przystanek autobusowy, biuro turystyczne)?
  5. Czy mogę dostać/zamówić kawę (herbatę, piwo, wino, sok)?
  6. Potrzebuję biletu/rezerwacji do/na… proszę.
  7. Jaka jest specjalność dnia?
  8. Bardzo podobał mi się mój posiłek, dziękuję.
  9. Poproszę rachunek.
  10. Dziękuję ci bardzo za wszystko. Do widzenia
Hungarian - Széchenyi Thermal Bath, Budapest, Hungary

Hungarian

  1. Helló, örülök, hogy megismerhetem.
  2. Elnézést, tudna segíteni, kérem?
  3. Hogyan jutok el...?
  4. Hol van a legközelebbi ... (szálloda, étterem, vasútállomás, buszmegálló, turisztikai iroda)?
  5. Kérhetek/rendelhetek egy kávét (tea, sör, bor, gyümölcslé), kérem?
  6. Jegyre/foglalásra van szükségem… -ra, kérem.
  7. Mi a nap különlegessége?
  8. Nagyon élveztem az étkezésemet, köszönöm.
  9. Szeretném kérni a számlát.
  10. Köszönök szépen mindent. Viszontlátásra
Slovak - Bratislava, Slovakia

Slovak

  1. Dobrý deň, rád som vás spoznal.
  2. Prepáčte, mohli by ste mi prosím pomôcť?
  3. Ako sa dostanem do...?
  4. Kde je najbližšie ... (hotel, reštaurácia, vlaková stanica, autobusová zastávka, turistická kancelária)?
  5. Môžem dostať/objednať kávu (čaj, pivo, víno, džús), prosím?
  6. Potrebujem lístok/rezerváciu na/na ..., prosím.
  7. Čím je deň výnimočný?
  8. Jedlo som si veľmi užil, ďakujem.
  9. Chcel by som účet, prosím.
  10. Ďakujem veľmi pekne za všetko. Zbohom
Slovenian - Zelenci Nature Reserve, Slovenia

Slovenian

  1. Pozdravljeni, veseli me.
  2. Oprostite, mi lahko pomagate, prosim?
  3. Kako pridem do...?
  4. Kje je najbližja ... (hotel, restavracija, železniška postaja, avtobusna postaja, turistična pisarna)?
  5. Lahko prosim dobim/naročim kavo (čaj, pivo, vino, sok)?
  6. Potrebujem vozovnico/rezervacijo za/za ..., prosim.
  7. Kaj je posebnost dneva?
  8. Zelo sem užival v obroku, hvala.
  9. Rad bi račun, prosim.
  10. Najlepša hvala/za vse. Adijo
Croatian - Dubrovnik, Croatia

Croatian

  1. Pozdrav, drago mi je.
  2. Oprostite, možete li mi pomoći, molim vas?
  3. Kako dođem do...?
  4. Gdje je najbliži ... (hotel, restoran, željeznička stanica, autobusna stanica, turistički ured)?
  5. Mogu li dobiti/naručiti kavu (čaj, pivo, vino, sok), molim?
  6. Trebam kartu/rezervaciju za/za ..., molim.
  7. Što je posebnost dana?
  8. Zaista sam uživao u obroku, hvala.
  9. Molio bih račun.
  10. Puno ti hvala na svemu. Doviđenja

 (Full disclaimer: Although I have learned four of the above languages, it was a long time ago, so I have used Google translate for speed. They may not be entirely correct, but they should get you by. The locals will definitely appreciate your effort!)

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