So you’ve booked your tickets, packed your lederhosen, and are looking forward to visiting the land of beer, bread, and bratwursts – Germany!
If you want to make your trip to Germany much more rewarding, then learning the language is certainly a good idea.
However, if you put your plans on hold in order to learn German before your trip to Germany, you might be waiting a while.
Luckily, all you need to do is learn a couple of basic phrases so you can get by while abroad.
In the guide below we have broken down all the important basic German phrases that will help you make the most of your travels in Germany.
Common German Phrases: The Basics
These first ten words and phrases will help you out when you want to greet someone or apologize for something.
These phrases can be used for situations where you do not need to reply to the German response and so are great to know for short interactions or if you need someone’s help.
- Hallo = Hello
- Tschüss = Bye
- Bitte = Please
- Danke = Thanks
- Entschuldigung = Excuse me
- Sorry = Sorry
- Formal: Können Sie mir helfen?; informal: Kannst du mir helfen? = Can you help me?
- Formal: Sprechen Sie English?; informal: In Sprichst du Englisch? = Do you speak English?
- Einen Moment, bitte. = One moment, please.
- Das ist alles, danke. = That’s all, thank you.
6 Phrases for Getting Around in Germany
When you are out and about and need help getting from A to B, the following phrases are vital to know.
Whether you want directions to the bus, want to know when the next train is, or just want to tell someone you are lost, make sure to study these phrases.
- Wo finde ich… = Where do I find…
… den Bahnhof? = … the train station?
… einen Geldautomaten? = … a cash machine?
… die Touristeninformation? = … the tourist information?
… eine Toilette? = … a toilet?
- Wie komme ich zu… = How do I get to…
… zur Bushaltestelle = the bus station
… zum Bahnhof = the train station
… zum Hauptplatz = the main square
- Wie viel kostet das? = How much does this cost?
- Wann fährt… = When’s…
… der nächste Bus? = … the next bus?
… die nächste Bahn? = … the next train?
- Darf ich bitte vorbei? = Could you let me pass please?
- Ich habe mich verlaufen. = I’m lost.
7 Common German Phrases for Eating Out
Eating out and trying the local cuisine is a vital part of visiting other countries and Germany is no different.
If you want to impress your waiter, or are going to a traditional restaurant where English isn’t spoken then the phrases listed below will be very useful.
Don’t forget to tip the service staff for their service as this often isn’t included in the bill in Germany.
- Ich habe eine Reservierung auf den Namen… = I’ve got a reservation under…
- Ich möchte bitte… = I would like…
… einen Tisch reservieren = … to book a table, please
… ein Glas Wein = … a glass of wine, please
… die Speisekarte = … the menu
… zahlen = … to pay, please
- Guten Appetit. = Enjoy your meal.
- Zum Wohl! / Prost! = Cheers!
- Die Rechnung, bitte. = The bill, please.
- Kann ich mit EC-Karte / Kreditkarte zahlen? Do you take debit cards / credit cards?
- Stimmt so = Keep the change.
6 German Sentences for Talking About Your Travels
Learning a language isn’t just good for getting around a city, it also provides a way to make new friends and connect with people from different cultures.
When traveling around Germany, use the following phrases to initiate conversations and tell people about yourself and your travels.
You never know, you could meet a future travel companion!
- Ich heiße… = My name is…
- Ich komme aus… = I’m from…
… den Vereinigten Staaten = … the United States
… Großbritannien = … the UK
… Australien. = … Australia
- Ich bin zum ersten Mal hier = This is my first time here
- Ich habe… = I have…
… ein Zimmer reserviert = … booked a room
- Ich bleibe für… = I’m staying for…
… das Wochenende = … the weekend
… ein paar Tage = … a few days
… eine Woche … a week
- Ich fahre weiter nach… = I’m travelling on to…
Important to Note – When Talking to New People in German
When talking to other people you meet in Germany, you should initially talk to them with the polite “Sie” instead of the more personal “du” since “du” is used for friends or family.
If you get chatting with someone new (and have been using all the basic phrases you have learned above), they might ask if you want to use the informal “du”.
In German, this would be: “Wollen wir uns duzen?” meaning “Should we use “du”?” to which you would reply with “Ja!” to say “yes!”.
In more youthful urban areas like Berlin people might address you with “du” straight away, but it is still good to know about “sie” for when you travel further afield.
German Phrases – Final Thoughts
So, there you have it! Hopefully, you will now be able to get by in German in the most common situations using basic phrases.
Don’t forget, learning even a bit of another language will open up the doors for you to be able to communicate with more people and make connections with new cultures.
Showing you have made an effort to learn even the most basic “please” and “thank you” will go a long way and could even make someone’s day!
You can continue your German learning adventure with our other German guides.
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