Posted on by

IMG_5508As I am sitting here, planning my Germerican Wedding, helping friends and family navigate through booking their first trip to Germany for our upcoming wedding in October, I realize that there are some VITAL KEY PHRASES everyone should know by heart BEFORE they arrive in Germany!

But why should you bother learning any German at all? After all, you’re only going to be here for a few days, right?

  • Even if you can’t have a fluent conversation with native German speakers, they will still appreciate the effort you’re making. After all, German is one of the most complicated languages to learn. It lets them know you want to connect with them.
  • You’re less likely to make a fool of yourself
  • While a good portion of Germans do speak VERY good English, the other half don’t. Therefore, you don’t want to be reaching for your translator or dictionary every five minutes for easy phrases.
  • Germans are very formal people and therefore, knowing how to address them is important otherwise you risk the chance of offending them.

Therefore, most of the following phrases will be in the formal “Sie” conjugation rather than the “du” form. “Du” is used only in informal cases such as among friends and family.

**Hint: A “ß” is pronounced with a double “ss”. W’s are pronounced with a “V”

Greetings, Introductions and Goodbyes

(Gotta start at the beginning!)

Hallo! Hello

Grüß GottHello (Bavarian)

Guten MorgenGood morning

Guten Abend Good evening

Gute Nacht Good night

Ich heiße…My name is…   (ß = ss)

Wie heißen Sie? What’s your name?

Wie geht’s Ihnen? How are you?

Mir geht’s gut! I’m good!

Ich komme aus…[den USA/Großbritannien…] I come from…[the USA/Great Britain]

Schön Sie kennenzulernen! – Nice to meet you!

Bis Später!See you later!

Auf WiedersehenSee you later!

WiederhörenTalk to you later!

Tschüss!/ Ciao Good bye!


Giving & Asking for Directions

(Because you never know when you’re going to have a “Dude, Where’s My Car?” moment!)


Entschuldigung, wo ist/sind…?Excuse me, where is/are…?

Wie weit ist es?How far is it?

Ist es in der Nähe?Is it near?

In welche Richtung ist es? In which direction is it?

Zum Bahnhof, bitte.To the train station, please.

Zum Stadtzentrum, bitte.To the city center, please.

Zum Flughafen, bitte. – To the airport, please.

Halten Sie bitte hier anPlease stop here.

Nach links / rechts – To the left / right

Geradeaus Straight ahead

Um die EckeAround the corner

Nord / Süd / Ost / West – North / South / East / West


Shopping & Spending Money

(We all need to let out inner Shopaholic run wild on vacation!)

Haben Sie…? Do you have…?

Nehmen Sie Visa/Mastercard…?Do you take Visa/Mastercard…?

Darf ich mit Bargeld zahlen? May I pay with cash?

Wie viel kostet das?How much does this cost?

Wann öffnen/schließen Sie?When do you open/close?

Haben Sie das in einer kleiner/großeren Größe?Do you have this in a smaller/bigger size?

Ich suche… – I’m looking for…


Ordering Food at a Restaurant

(“I’m just here for the foooood” – Ever After)

Haben Sie einen Tisch für einen/zwei…? – Do you have a table for one/two…?

Ich möchte eine Reservierung machen, bitte. – I would like to make a reservation, please.

Ich habe einen Tisch reserviert – I reserved a table.

Ich bin Vegetarier – I am vegetarian.

Die Rechnung, bitte. – The bill, please.

Kann ich eine Quittung haben, bitte? – Can I have a receipt, please?

Kann ich die Speisekarte/Weinkarte haben bitte? – Can I have the menu/wine menu, please?

Ich hätte gern… – I would like…

Ein Glas Leitungswasser, bitte. – A glass of tap water, please.

Mit/Ohne Kohlensäure – With/Without gas

Frühstück – Breakfast

Mittagessen – Lunch

Abendessen – Dinner

Prost! / Zum Wohl – Cheers!

Guten Appetite! – Bon Appetite!

Ein Bier, bitte! – A beer, please!

Noch eins, bitte! – One more, please! (**Most important for beer!)

Wo ist die Toilette? – Where is the bathroom?

Herren/Männer – Men

Frauen/Damen – Women


Hotel  Check-In/Out & Room Service

(Even though at most hotels, they usually speak good English you don’t have to worry about this)

Haben Sie noch Zimmer frei? – Do you still have rooms available?

Ich habe eine Reservierung. – I have a reservation.

Ich hätte gern ein Zimmer.- I would like a room.

Ich bliebe eine Nacht/zwei Nächte… – I’m staying for one night/two nights…

Um wie viel  Uhr ist Check-Out? – What time is check out?

Können Sie mir ein anderes Hotel empfehlen, bitte? – Can you recommend another hotel, please?

Ist Frühstück inklusiv? – Is breakfast included?

Einzelzimmer – Single room

Dopplezimmer – Double room

Zimmerdienst – Room Service

Schlüssel – Room key


Public Transportation like a pro!

Wo ist der Hauptbahnhof? – Where is the main train station?

Wo ist die Bushaltestelle? – Where is the bus stop?

Wie viel kostet eine Fahrkarte nach….? – How much is a ticket to…?

Fährt dieser Zug/Bus nach…? – Does this train/bus go to…?

Darf ich bitte einen Stadtplan haben? – May I have a city map, please?

einsteigen/aussteigen – Get on/Get off

Ihr Fahrschein/Fahrkarte, bitte.Your ticket please.

Nächste Haltestelle – Next stop

Wann kommt der nächste Bus/Zug? – When is the next bus/train?


Expressing Your Lack of Language Skills

(Mein Deutsch ist unter aller sau – My German is really terrible)

Ich verstehe nicht – I don’t understand.

Können Sie bitte langsamer sprechen? – Could You speak more slowly, please?

Sprechen Sie Englisch? – Do you speak English?

Können Sie das bitte wiederholen? – Could you repeat that, please?

Können Sie bitte übersetzen?Could you translate that, please?

Ich spreche nur ein bißchen Deutsch. – I only speak a little German.

Wie heißt das auf Deutsch? – What’s that called in German?


Showing Your Politeness

(You don’t want to look like a complete snob!)

Entschuldigung! – Excuse me

Es tut mir leid! – I’m sorry!

Nein, danke! – No, thank you!

Ja, bitte! – Yes, please.

Vielen Dank / Danke – Thank you very much / Thank you!

Willkommen! – Welcome!


In Case of Emergency!

(But don’t cry wolf!)

Hilfe! – Help!

Halt! – Stop!

Können Sie mir bitte hilfen? – Can you help me, please?

Bitte rufen Sie einen Arzt! – Please call a doctor!

Bitte rufen Sie die Polizei! – Please call the police!

Ich habe meine Tasche/Geldbeutel verloren! – I’ve lost my purse/wallet!

Jemand hat meine Tasche/Geldbeutel genommen! – Someone took my purse/wallet!

Ich bin krank geworden! – I’m sick!

Wo ist das Krankenhaus? – Where is the hospital?

Wo ist die Apotheke? – Where is the pharmacy?

Es ist ein Notfall! – It’s an emergency!

Ich habe mich verlaufen! – I’m lost!


Wow, that was a lot of German! But these are certainly the most common phrases used when visiting Germany! Hopefully many of them you won’t need, but it’s better to be safe than sorry and know the vocabulary! You never know when you might need it!

Don’t worry so much about your pronunciation, many Germans will understand what you’re trying to say even though there’s always a chance you might find someone who doesn’t understand either German or English (even when they’re German!)

If you are serious about learning more than just some of the basics, consider buying this German Grammar in a Nutshell! Hans came home with this book for me and we use it all the time so he can better explain German grammar to me!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one and make a purchase, I might make a little extra spending money, at no extra cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own and these products/services have been found useful during our travels and come highly recommended to you from yours truly!

Other related posts:

9 Awesome German Idioms

The CRAZY German Language

Liked this post? PIN IT FOR LATER!!




approved - California Globetrotter



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.


Replies to 100 Key German Phrases to Know Before Coming to Germany!

  1. Hi!

    I have nominated you for Liebster award. If you choose to accept it, check out the post about it on my blog for the details. Your blog is fun, resourceful and great! Happy blogging 🙂

Feedspot Expat BloggerBest Germany Expat Blog 300 Top 50 Expat Blogs German-Speaking Countries 2017 Lonely Planet Pathfinders badge image

Follow me on:

Or sign up to my newsletter

%d bloggers like this: