This article sets out the most important German phrases you need for holidays to a German speaking country. It includes the German phrases you are most likely to use on a trip to Germany.

Most useful German Phrases for Holidays

1. How to say “hello”, “goodbye”, etc. in German

Some of the most useful German ways to greet people are:

• Hallo = Hello
• Guten Morgen = Good morning
• Guten Tag = Good day/afternoon
• Guten Abend = Good evening
• Gute Nacht = Good night*
• Auf Wiedersehen = Goodbye
• Tschüs = Bye (= More informal)

* Pronounciation tip: Words ending in e in German are pronounced (more or less) as if er in English. "Gute Nacht" is therefore pronounced like "Guter Nacht".

2. How to say “thank you”, etc. in German

Being polite in German is important for obvious reasons. Try and learn the following:

• Danke = Thank you
• Bitte = Please
• Bitte schön = You´re welcome

3. Vocabulary for shopping

In shops the following German phrases may be useful for you to use:

• Haben Sie….? = Do you have….?
• Verkaufen Sie….? = Do you sell….?*
• Wie viel kostet das? = How much does that cost?**
• Ich möchte…. = I would like….***

* Pronunciation tip: The German letter v is pronounced more like an English f, so “Verkaufen Sie?” would be pronounced more like “Ferkaufen sie?”.
** Pronunciation tip: The German letter W is pronounced more like an English V.
*** Pronounciation tip: "Ich möchte" is pronounced more or less as "Ish moeshter".

4. Vocabulary for restaurants

Some useful phrases and words to recognise and use in restaurants are:

  • Die Karte, bitte = The menu, please
  • Die Rechnung, bitte = The bill, please
  • Ja, bitte? = What would you like? (literally “Yes, please?”)
  • Was möchten Sie trinken? = What would you like to drink?
  • Ich möchte…. = I would like…
  • Die Vorspeisen = Starters
  • Die Hauptgerichte = Main Courses
  • Die Nachtische  = Dessert
  • Eine Flasche… = A bottle (of)…
  • Ein Glas Rotwein/Roséwein/Weißwein* = A glass of red wine/rosé wine/white wine
  • Ein Bier = A beer
  • Ein Kaffee mit Milch und Zucker = A coffee with milk and sugar
  • Ein Schwarztee = A black Tea
  • Die Bratwurst = Fried sausage
  • Das Sauerkraut = Pickled cabbage
  • Mit..../Ohne.... = With..../Without....

* Please note that ß is a double ss in German and is pronounced like "ss".

5. Finding out how to find places

When you are not sure where to go ask “Wo ist….?” (“Where is….?”).

Some places you may wish to find are:

  • die/eine Apotheke = the/a pharmacy
  • der/ein Bahnhof = the/a train station
  • die/eine Bäckerei = the/a baker's shop
  • die/eine Bank = the/a bank
  • die/eine Buchhandlung = the/a bookshop
  • der/ein Busbahnhof = the/a bus station
  • das/ein Fremdenverkehrsamt = the/a tourist information office
  • der Hauptbahnhof = the main train station
  • das/ein Kino = the/a cinema
  • der/ein Markt = the/a market
  • das/ein Museum = the/a museum
  • das/ein Postamt = the/a post office
  • das/ein Reisebüro = the/a travel agency
  • das/ein Restaurant = the/a restaurant
  • der/ein Supermarkt = the/a supermarket

Some directions you may be given are:

  • ...………auf der linken Seite = on the left side
  • ...………links = on the left
  • ………...auf der rechten Seite = on the right side
  • ………...rechts = on the right
  • ………...geradeaus = straight ahead
  • ………...gegenüber…. = opposite….
  • ………...neben…. = next to….
  • ……… der Nähe von... = near to....
  • ………...vor…. = in front of….
  • ………...hinter…. = behind…

You may also find it useful to ask "Ist es weit?" (Is it far?).

Take your German to the next stage with German lessons

Hopefully this article has helped you with some useful German expressions for holiday situations. Why not now learn some more German by doing some German lessons? One-to-one German tuition is £23 for a hour. See more details on German tuition offered here.