60 Essential German Travel Phrases (2023)

Are you planning a trip to a German-speaking country? There are so many reasons for learning basic German travel phrases before you jump on that plane.And we invite you to try out Drops to learn more than 2500 useful German words and phrases!

The locals will appreciate any effort you make to speak the local language. You’ll make traveling far easier on yourself as you’ll be able to communicate more clearly. You can get to know people who don’t speak English and experience a different culture.

Despite the common belief, not everyone speaks English. Even if you are planning a city break, it will be appreciated if you make an effort to speak a bit of German. It’s a sign of respect for the people in the country you are visiting.

If you want to venture away from the cities, you’ll likely encounter a lot of people who hardly speak any English at all. So it’s worth being prepared!

So let’s dive right in and take a look at my favorite tried and tested German travel phrases.

60 Essential German Travel Phrases (1)

German Greetings & German Basics

Hallo - “hello”

Tschüss - “bye”

Auf wiedersehen - “goodbye”

Tschau - “ciao”

Guten Morgen - "good morning”

Guten Tag - "good day”

Guten Abend - "good evening”

Gute Nacht - "good night”

Danke / Vielen Dank / Dankeschön - "thanks” and “many thanks”

There are a few ways to say thank you in German. Just use danke for now but expect to hear the other versions as well.

Bitte - "please”

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Sorry - "sorry”

Entschuldigen Sie bitte - "excuse me” or “sorry”

Ja - "yes”

Nein - "no”

60 Essential German Travel Phrases (2)


German Phrases You Might Hear

You might also hear the following German expressions:

Gerne - "gladly” or “my pleasure”

Bitte schön - "there you go” or “you’re welcome”

Both of these are often used in restaurants and cafes, when the waiting staff bring your food or drinks over, and also in shops. More on that later!

German Phrases in the Hotel

One of the first things you’ll do when you arrive in a German-speaking country is check into your hotel. There are a few standard phrases which you can use, and the checking in procedure usually follows the same pattern.

The receptionist will ask if you have a reservation (listen for ‘Reservierung’), they’ll ask your name (listen for ‘Name’ [Nahmeh]) and they’ll give you your key (listen for ‘Schüssel’).

Checking in to the Hotel in German

Kann ich bitte einchecken? - “Can I check in please?”

Ich habe eine Reservierung - “I have a reservation”

Mein Name ist (...) - “My name is (...)”

Ich bleibe bis Montag hier / bis zum vierundzwanzigsten (24th) Juni hier - “I’m staying here until Monday / until the 24th June”

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Wann / wo gibt es Frühstück? - ”When is breakfast?”

Gibt es hier WLAN [vee-lan]? - “Is there wifi here?”

Wie lautet das WLAN-Passwort? - “What is the wifi password?”

Um wie viel Uhr muss man auschecken? - “By what time must I check out?”

Kann ich bitte auschecken? - “Can I check out, please?”

What You May Hear in German at the Hotel

Haben Sie eine Reservierung? - “Do you have a reservation?”

Wie ist Ihre Name? - “What is your name?”

Bleiben Sie hier für drei (3) Nächte / eine (1) Woche / zwei (2) Wochen? - “Are you staying here for 3 nights / 1 week / 2 weeks?”

Frühstück ist bis sieben (7) Uhr bis zehn (10) Uhr - “Breakfast is from 7am until 10am”

Ihre Zimmernummer ist… - “Your room number is…”

60 Essential German Travel Phrases (3)

Shopping in German

If you’re out exploring the city, you’ll probably want to do a bit of shopping for souvenirs. The first phrase (ich schaue mich nur um) in this section was pretty essential for me in the early days when I was too nervous to speak much German. If a shop assistant comes up to help and you’re just having a look around or you’re too nervous to speak, this phrase can come in handy.

What You Can Say When Shopping in German

Ich schaue mich nur um - “I’m just looking around”

Ich suche nach… - “I’m looking for…”

Wie viel kostet das? - “How much does that cost?”

Kann ich mit Bargeld / Kreditkarte bezahlen? - “Can I pay with cash / credit card?”

Könnte ich eine Tüte haben? - “Could I have a bag?”

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What You May Hear While Shopping in German

Kann ich Ihnen helfen? - “Can I help you?”

Möchten Sie es probieren? - “Would you like to try it?”

Eating Out in German

When it comes to eating out, this is a really great way to practice a bit of basic German. You only need a few phrases to get by. Your power phrase in this section is ich hätte gern… which you can use for any food or drink order. It’s very polite and the serving staff will appreciate it.

Like when checking into the hotel, there is usually a set pattern to look out for when in a cafe or restaurant:

The waiter will ask for your drinks order (listen for trinken), they will then ask for your food order (listen for essen) and later they will ask if you’d like a dessert (listen for Nachtisch).

What You Can Say in German When Dining Out

Haben Sie ein Tisch für ein (1) / zwei (2) / drei (3) Person(en)? - “Do you have a table for 1 / 2 / 3 person / people?”

Ich hätte gern (…) bitte - “I would like (...) please”

  • einen schwarzen Tee (mit Milch) - “a black tea (with milk)”
  • einen Kaffee - “a coffee”
  • ein Mineralwasser - “a mineral water”
  • ein Glas Rotwein - “a glass of red wine”
  • ein Glas Weißwein - “a glass of white wine”
  • ein Bier - “a beer”

Könnte ich ein stück Kuchen haben? - “Could I have a piece of cake?”

Was empfehlen Sie? - “What do you recommend?”

Kann ich bitte bezahlen? - “Can I pay please?”

What You Might Hear in German at a Restaurant

Was möchten Sie? - “What would you like?”

Ich empfehle (...) - “I recommend (...)”

Was möchten Sie trinken? - “What would you like to drink?”

Was möchten Sie essen? - “What would you like to eat?”

Möchten Sie die Nachtischkarte? - “Would you like the dessert menu?”

60 Essential German Travel Phrases (4)

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Sightseeing in German

When you’re out sightseeing, you’ll probably be able to find an English language tour guide. But there are a lot of situations where you might be on your own and need to ask where something is. The simple phrase wo ist… is very useful and easy to remember.

Entschuldigen Sie bitte - “excuse me please”

Wo ist (…)? - “Where is (...)?”

  • die Touristeninformation - “the tourist information”
  • das Stadtzentrum - “the city centre”
  • das Museum - “the museum”
  • der Dom - “the cathedral”
  • das Rathaus - “the town hall”
  • der Bahnhof - “the train station”

When You Struggle to Understand German

If all else fails, here are some phrases to memorize to help you if you have trouble understanding German. Trust me, I used these a lot when I first started visiting Germany. If you’re a bit nervous about your German, committing a few of these phrases to memory can help you get out of tricky situations.

Ich verstehe nicht - “I don’t understand”

Ich spreche kein Deutsch - “I don’t speak German”

Mein Deutsch ist nicht so gut - “my German is not so good”

Sprechen Sie Englisch? - “Do you speak English?”

Langsamer bitte- “slower please”

Können Sie das bitte wiederholen? - “Can you repeat that, please?”

Was bedeutet (…)?- “What does (...) mean?”

Bitte haben Sie Geduld mit mir - “please be patient with me”

So now you know all my essential German travel phrases! These helped me out a lot, and I hope you find them useful on your travels, too!

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60 Essential German Travel Phrases (5)

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About the Author: Emma Jackman is the founder of Emma Loves German an all-round resource for German learners. You’ll find articles on speaking, reading, writing, and listening in German as well as grammar tips, frequently used phrases, and other language learning tips.

FAQs

What common phrases would I need to know in order to visit Germany? ›

10 common German phrases: the basics
  • 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?)
12 Mar 2022

What are travel phrases? ›

The most common Travel Terms and Phrases
  • Hello.
  • Excuse Me.
  • Please.
  • I need help.
  • Do you speak (...) ?
  • Where is…?
  • I am going to…
  • I don't understand.
4 Feb 2020

How do you say basic phrases in German? ›

Here's how to say a few basic German phrases.
  1. Guten Tag = Good morning.
  2. Hallo = Hello.
  3. Ich heiße … = My name is …
  4. Sprechen Sie Englisch? = Do you speak English?
  5. Wie heißt du? = What's your name?
  6. Wie geht es dir? = How are you?
  7. Gut, danke = Fine, thank you.
  8. Nett, Sie kennen zu lernen = Nice to meet you.

What is the most famous German saying? ›

1: “Ich kriege so eine Krawatte

And it comes from the pressure you feel in your throat when you get so angry you could scream. Germans use this saying when they find something makes them really angry.

What do Germans say when they want their guests to leave? ›

Auf Wiedersehen (Until we see each other again) – I think a lot of people are familiar with this one thanks to The Sound of Music song. It's more formal than Tschüss, but you wouldn't be remiss in using it in everyday conversation if you're unsure of the level of formality you should be applying.

What are some old fashioned phrases? ›

English has some lovely, slightly old-fashioned sayings.
...
Learn languages at your pace
  • Don't do anything I wouldn't do. ...
  • Pardon my French. ...
  • Don't count your chickens. ...
  • Hanky panky. ...
  • See a man about a dog. ...
  • As fit as a butcher's dog.
11 Oct 2022

What is the hardest German word to say? ›

1. Eichhörnchen (Squirrel) Also a difficult one in English, this is a classic when it comes to difficult German words to pronounce.

What do German say before drinking? ›

Prost! Translation: Cheers! Toss on an “Ein Toast!” at the end to encourage a celebratory “bottoms up!” before drinking your Märzen with friends. Fun fact: if you find yourself in Switzerland with a beer in hand, you can substitute “Broscht!” for “Prost!” This is the Swiss-German way to say “Cheers!”

What is the coolest German word? ›

10 beautiful and memorable German words
  • Sehnsucht. Amid different definitions, which vary from yearning, desire and/or craving, Sehnsucht is a feeling of longing for something unknown and indefinite. ...
  • Weltschmerz. ...
  • Torschlusspanik. ...
  • Fernweh. ...
  • Zweisamkeit. ...
  • Backpfeifengesicht. ...
  • Feierabend. ...
  • Reisefieber.
9 Feb 2021

What is Germany's motto? ›

The incipit of the third stanza, "Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit" ("Unity and Justice and Freedom"), is widely considered to be the national motto of Germany, although it has never been officially proclaimed as such.

What is considered taboo in Germany? ›

Chewing gum, blowing your nose, winking at someone you don't know well, rolling down the window to chat with someone outside — all of these minor infractions are taboo in Germany.

Why do Germans say genau so much? ›

This is because 'Genau', which means 'exactly', is one of those interjections people say while having a conversation to signal they are listening and engaged.

What is a travel lover called? ›

Hodophile (n.): One who loves to travel; a traveler with a special affinity for roads. Wayfarer (n.): A traveler, especially on foot. Livsnjutare (n.): One who loves life deeply and lives it to the extreme.

What is a travel addict called? ›

They have what specialists call 'an abnormal impulse to travel' also known as Dromomania. Studies have shown that people who spend their money on experiences, such as travel tend to be happier in their life.

What is quick trips slogan? ›

Conversation. New slogan, guys. "Kwik Trip: We're not creepy."

What are outdated phrases? ›

Turns out a lot of our day-to-day phrases are a bit outdated!
...
'Rolling' down a window: 17 common phrases that no longer reflect the action
  • "Wrap it up" and "That's a wrap" ...
  • "Filming" ...
  • "Footage" ...
  • "Dashboard" ...
  • "Put a sock in it" ...
  • "Turn it down a notch" ...
  • "Hit the hay"
26 Jul 2020

What are the 50 idioms? ›

50 popular idioms to sound like a native speaker
IDIOMMEANING
Kill two birds with one stoneSolve two problems at once / with one action
Leave no stone unturnedDo everything possible to achieve a goal
Let the cat out of the bagAccidentially reveal a secret
Make a long story shortCome to the point
46 more rows
20 Mar 2017

What is the shortest German word? ›

Probably ja, short for jawohl, meaning 'yes' or more closely 'yeah' in English. There are several two letter words in German, but I don't think there are any single letter words in German such as 'I' in English.

What is the most German word? ›

Officially recognised by the Duden - Germany's pre-eminent dictionary - as the longest word in German, Kraftfahrzeug-Haftpflichtversicherung is a 36-letter, tongue-tying way of describing a rather, mundane everyday concept: motor vehicle liability insurance. Even if you can't pronounce it, don't be caught without it!

What do locals call Germany? ›

To name just a few of the endonyms for Germany: in the Scandinavian languages Germany is known as Tyskland, in Polish as Niemcy, in Portuguese as Alemanha,in Italian as Germania, in French as Allemagne, in Dutch as Duitsland and in Spanish as Alemania. Not to be forgotten, the exonym Germans use is Deutschland.

How do you say sorry in German? ›

In German, you can say “Entschuldigung” or use the more informal abbreviation “'Tschuldigung”. The English word “Sorry” works, too. You'll hear it a lot, especially among younger people.

What are neutral words in German? ›

Guidlines for Neutral Nouns
GermanEnglish
das Gutethe good thing
das Schlechtethe bad thing
das Altethe old thing
das Jungethe young thing
2 more rows
8 Feb 2012

What does Ziggy Zoggy mean? ›

The proper response to “Ziggy Zoggy, Ziggy Zoggy!”

This phrase is a line from a German drinking song that people sing when they are really, really drunk, so don't worry – the response is really, really easy: OY!

What do Germans call a glass of beer? ›

Maß (pronounced [ˈmaːs]) or Mass (Swiss spelling, elsewhere used for dialectal [ˈmas]) is the German word describing the amount of beer in a regulation mug, in modern times exactly 1 litre (33.8 US fl oz; 1.8 imp pt).

What do German say before eating? ›

Some rules that the German have when eating a meal together include waiting for the host to say "Guten Appetit!" before beginning to eat.

What should I know before I travel to Germany? ›

A few things to keep in mind if you are planning a visit to Germany:
  • Know the transport zone. Germany has one of the most modern transportation systems in the world. ...
  • Prepare your cash. Cash is King in Germany. ...
  • Always recycle. ...
  • Explore more regions. ...
  • No shopping on Sunday. ...
  • Respect the rules and be punctual. ...
  • Try to speak German.

What should I do before entering Germany? ›

Travellers are required to register before entry, provide a negative PCR-test result and quarantine for 14 days. Detailed requirements are specified below. For travellers entering from other countries (no prior stay in an area of variant of concern) no special requirements apply on entry.

What is Germany's tourism slogan? ›

Welcome to the travel destination Germany - Germany Travel.

What is the first thing you do when you go to Germany? ›

Finding a flat, registering your residence and opening a bank account – those are the first steps you should take in Germany.

What can you not bring into Germany? ›

You cannot take meat, milk or products containing them into EU countries. There are some exceptions for medical reasons, for example certain amounts of powdered infant milk, infant food, or pet food required for medical reasons. Check the rules about taking food and drink into the EU on the European Commission website.

What are the do's and don'ts in Germany? ›

Germany Travel Donts
  • Do not be late. ...
  • Do not wait to be seated at a German restaurant. ...
  • Do not ever, under any circumstances, show the “Nazi salute”, shout “Heil Hitler”, or show swastikas or other symbols of the Third Reich, which is a criminal offense.
  • Do not get drunk. ...
  • Do not put your elbows on the table when eating.
21 Jan 2011

What is 3G rule in Germany? ›

According to the Ordinance on Coronavirus Entry Regulations, the 3G rules apply when crossing the border to Germany. This means anyone aged 12 or over should present a negative test result or proof of vaccination or recovery when entering the country.

What is proper etiquette in Germany? ›

Basic Etiquette

Tight punctuality (Pünktlichkeit) is expected in most professional and social situations. Recycle or reuse materials and minimise waste whenever possible. Knock before entering a room if someone has shut the door.

What should I do if I test positive in Germany? ›

Testing positive for COVID-19 in Germany

Those testing positive with a certified rapid antigen test or PCR test are required to self-isolate. Mandatory self-isolation ceases after 5 days. The German authorities recommend staying in self-isolation until you test negative with a rapid-antigen test.

What do Germans call Germany? ›

Not to be forgotten, the exonym Germans use is Deutschland. Just like with words, names evolve over time. Germany, for example, was called Germany by its inhabitants long before the country was united and began to call itself Deutschland.

What is the most visited place in Germany? ›

Berlin, the capital of Germany, is the most visited city in the country. Berlin is associated with a rich history and culture that attracts tourists from across the globe.

Whats the first thing you do in the morning easy German? ›

Zahlen das mache ich auch gerne.

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