If you want to make the most of your holiday in Spain, one of the best things you can do is learn a bit of the language. It’s the ideal way to really get to know a place and could help you avoid holiday downers like getting lost or ordering the wrong food. This handy collection of helpful Spanish phrases to use on your vacation will help you have the best possible holiday experience.
Useful Spanish phrases for conversation
To get started you just need a few key phrases. You’ll want to start by saying hello, but there are few ways to do that, depending on the time of day.
“Buenos días” (BWAY-nos DEE-as): Good morning
“Buenas tardes” (BWAY-nas TAR-des): Good afternoon (and it can also mean good evening.)
“Buenas noches” (BWAY-nas Notch-es): Good night
But if that feels too complicated, you could just stick with a friendly “Hola” to say hello. Don’t forget that the ‘h’ is silent, so it sounds more like ‘ola’ – which by the way means wave!
Confused yet? There’s no need to be! Follow up with a quick introduction. Something like “Me llamo…. Mucho gusto” (May yar-mo… moo-cho goos-toe): “My name is…. Pleased to meet you”.)
Don’t forget to explain you don’t speak much Spanish, just in case they haven’t guessed: “No hablo mucho español.” (no AB-lo moo-cho es-pan-YOL)
One of the most useful phrases you can learn is “¿Dónde está…?” (DON-day es-TA – Where is…?) You can add any place or thing onto it to find what you’re looking for. So, for example, “¿Dónde está el castillo?” (Where is the castle?), or “¿Dónde está la playa?” (Where’s the beach?). Before your trip, you could try to memorise some useful vocabulary connected to the place you’re visiting so you’ll be ready and confident to ask questions.
Perhaps there’s a particular restaurant you’re looking for, in which case you could ask “¿Dónde está el restaurante?”. When you get there, you might want “una cerveza” (Oona ther-betha), “un vino tinto”, or maybe “agua con gas” (sparkling water). You’ll probably want to ask for the menu: “la carta, por favor” and maybe you’ll want to go to the bathroom: “¿Dónde están los servicios?” At the end, it will be time to ask for “la cuenta, por favor” (the bill) and don’t forget to say “Muchas gracias” (moo-chas GRA-thee-as/GRA-see-as)on your way out.
When it’s time for souvenir shopping, you might want to ask “¿Cuánto cuesta?”, but you’ll need to learn some numbers to understand the answer! You could try using a Spanish language app on your phone while waiting at the airport.
Don’t be scared to learn some Spanish verbs. Even if you’re not sure how to conjugate them, it might well help.
Desayunar – to have breakfast
Comer – to eat lunch
Cenar – to have dinner
Nadar – to swim
Ir – to go
“Puede ayudarme” (PWE-day ay-oo-DAR-may): Can you help me?
“Me gusta” is another useful expression. “Me gusta ir a la playa y tomar el sol” – I like going to the beach and sunbathing. What more could you need to know for your holiday in sunny Spain?
Do your best to learn some of the most common Spanish words and phrases before you go, but don’t worry! You can always ask the friendly staff at your Catalonia Hotel if they speak English: “¿Hablas inglés? (Ab-las in-gla). Luckily the answer will be a happy ‘Yes’ and they will be pleased to help you plan and enjoy your vacation. In fact, they will speak other languages, too. They might even teach you a few more Spanish phrases like “¡Me encanta este hotel y me encanta España!”