Travelling to Europe? Here are 10 useful phrases you should try to learn to say before you arrive

by | Oct 6, 2021 | Europe

If you’re travelling to Europe, there are a few phrases you should try to learn to say before you arrive, especially if you plan to travel solo, explore alone during free time on an escorted group tour or purely want to connect with the locals.

When travelling to Europe, it’s a good idea to know a few useful phrases to help you connect and communicate with the locals. However, since many people in Europe know and speak English quite fluently, you’re probably wondering why you should bother learning the lingo.

Although 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 like “Hello”, “Excuse Me”, “Please”, “Thank You”, and “Goodbye” will go along way in showing the locals that you’ve taken the time to try and learn their language. Even if you do not pronounce the words properly, they’ll really appreciate your effort to learn their language.

A few other words you might want to try to learn to say are “Hotel”, “Station”, “Tourist Office”, “Ticket”, “Reservation”, “Coffee”, “Tea”, “Wine”, “Juice”, “Beer” and “Bill”.

Below, hidden under the photos, are 10 useful phrases you should try to learn to say before travelling to Europe. I’ve included the translations of the English phrases in 11 languages that you may encounter on a river cruise or rail journey through Europe. These 10 phrases will help you not only connect with locals, but could also help you in many situations where you need to find your way, make a purchase and show your appreciation.

Of course this is only my opinion, and you obviously don’t need to learn how to say these 10 phrases in ALL 11 languages, but if you’re visiting several countries on an escorted tour, river cruise or rail journey, knowing a few phrases in different languages may come in handy. If you’re travelling to Switzerland, for example, French, German and Italian will all be useful especially if you plan to do the Grand Tour. These are the three languages spoken in Switzerland, depending which region you visit.

Hover over (or click on mobile) each photo to reveal the 10 phrases I think you should try to learn in 11 European languages. The English equivalent is behind the first photo.

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

(Disclaimer: I used Google Translate for these translations so they may not be perfectly correct.)

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, heureux de vous rencontrer.
  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

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