5 min read

72 Basic German Phrases for Your Next Trip to Germany 🇩🇪

Learn 72 essential German phrases for your trip to Germany, from greetings and ordering food to shopping and emergencies. Master the basics and impress locals with this ultimate guide to German language and culture.

Tobi Miles
March 30, 2024
72 Basic German Phrases for Your Next Trip to Germany 🇩🇪

Guten Tag, meine Freunde! 🙌 (Goo-ten Tahg, my-nuh Froin-duh) - That's "Hello, my friends!" in German. As you plan your exciting adventure to Germany, the land of bratwurst, beer, and breathtaking castles, it's essential to arm yourself with some key German phrases. While many Germans speak English, learning a few basic phrases will not only make your trip smoother but also show respect for the local culture. Plus, it's a great way to break the ice and make new friends! 🍻

In this ultimate guide, we'll cover 72 essential German phrases that will help you navigate through various situations, from ordering food to flirting with the locals. We've also included tips on customs, traditions, slang, and things to watch out for. So, let's dive in and start learning! 🎉

Greetings and Basic Phrases 🙋‍♂️

  1. Hallo! (Hah-loh) - Hello!
  2. Guten Morgen! (Goo-ten Mor-gen) - Good morning!
  3. Guten Tag! (Goo-ten Tahg) - Good day!
  4. Guten Abend! (Goo-ten Ah-bend) - Good evening!
  5. Auf Wiedersehen! (Owf Vee-der-zay-en) - Goodbye!
  6. Tschüss! (Choos) - Bye! (informal)
  7. Ja (Yah) - Yes
  8. Nein (Nine) - No
  9. Bitte (Bih-tuh) - Please
  10. Danke (Dahn-kuh) - Thank you
  11. Entschuldigung (Ent-shool-dih-gung) - Excuse me/Sorry
  12. Sprechen Sie Englisch? (Shpreh-khen Zee Eng-lish) - Do you speak English?
  13. Ich spreche kein Deutsch (Ikh shpreh-khe kine Doytch) - I don't speak German
  14. Wie geht's? (Vee gayts) - How are you? (informal)
  15. Mir geht es gut (Meer gayt es goot) - I'm doing well

At the Restaurant 🍽️

When in Germany, you must indulge in the delicious local cuisine. From savory schnitzels to hearty pretzels, German food is a treat for your taste buds. Here are some phrases to help you order like a pro:

  1. Ich hätte gerne... (Ikh heh-tuh ger-nuh) - I would like...
  2. Die Speisekarte, bitte (Dee Shpy-zuh-kar-tuh, bih-tuh) - The menu, please
  3. Ich bin Vegetarier/Veganer (Ikh bin Veh-geh-tah-ree-er/Veh-gah-ner) - I am a vegetarian/vegan
  4. Was empfehlen Sie? (Vas emp-fay-len Zee) - What do you recommend?
  5. Noch ein Bier, bitte (Nokh ine Beer, bih-tuh) - Another beer, please
  6. Die Rechnung, bitte (Dee Rekh-nung, bih-tuh) - The bill, please
  7. Das Essen war sehr lecker (Das Eh-sen vahr zayr leh-ker) - The food was very delicious
  8. Prost! (Prohst) - Cheers!

Don't forget to try some famous German dishes like:

  • Bratwurst (Braht-voorst) - Sausage
  • Currywurst (Kuh-ree-voorst) - Sausage with curry sauce
  • Sauerkraut (Sow-er-krowt) - Fermented cabbage
  • Spätzle (Shpet-sluh) - Egg noodles
  • Apfelstrudel (Ap-fel-shtroo-dl) - Apple strudel

Getting Around 🚌

Germany has an excellent public transportation system, but it's still helpful to know some key phrases for getting around:

  1. Wo ist der Bahnhof? (Voh ist dayr Bahn-hof) - Where is the train station?
  2. Eine Fahrkarte nach... bitte (Eye-nuh Fahr-kar-tuh nahkh... bih-tuh) - A ticket to... please
  3. Wann fährt der nächste Zug nach...? (Vahn fehrt dayr nekh-stuh Tsoog nahkh) - When does the next train to... leave?
  4. Wo ist die nächste U-Bahn-Station? (Voh ist dee nekh-stuh Oo-bahn Sta-tsee-ohn) - Where is the nearest subway station?
  5. Können Sie mir den Weg zum Hotel zeigen? (Ker-nen Zee meer dayn Vehg tsoom Hoh-tel tsy-gen) - Can you show me the way to the hotel?
  6. Ich habe mich verirrt (Ikh hah-buh mikh fer-eert) - I'm lost
  7. Gibt es hier in der Nähe eine Bushaltestelle? (Gibt es heer in dayr Ney-uh eye-nuh Boos-hal-tuh-shteh-luh) - Is there a bus stop nearby?

Some popular destinations to visit in Germany include:

  • Brandenburger Tor (Brahn-den-boor-ger Tohr) - Brandenburg Gate in Berlin
  • Schloss Neuschwanstein (Shloss Noy-shvahn-shtine) - Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria
  • Kölner Dom (Kerl-ner Dohm) - Cologne Cathedral
  • Museumsinsel (Moo-zay-ooms-in-zel) - Museum Island in Berlin

Shopping and Money 💰

Germans are known for their love of efficiency, and this extends to their shopping habits. Here are some useful phrases for when you're out and about:

  1. Was kostet das? (Vas kos-tet das) - How much does this cost?
  2. Ich möchte das kaufen (Ikh merkh-tuh das kow-fen) - I would like to buy this
  3. Kann ich mit Kreditkarte bezahlen? (Kan ikh mit Kreh-deet-kar-tuh buh-tsah-len) - Can I pay with a credit card?
  4. Wo sind die Umkleidekabinen? (Voh sint dee Oom-kly-duh-ka-bee-nen) - Where are the changing rooms?
  5. Haben Sie das in Größe...? (Hah-ben Zee das in Grer-suh) - Do you have this in size...?
  6. Gibt es hier einen Geldautomaten? (Gibt es heer eye-nen Geld-ow-toh-mah-ten) - Is there an ATM here?

Keep in mind that Germany uses the Euro (€) as its currency, and many smaller shops may only accept cash.

Emergencies and Health 🏥

While we hope your trip goes smoothly, it's always a good idea to know some key phrases in case of emergencies:

  1. Ich brauche einen Arzt (Ikh brow-khuh eye-nen Artst) - I need a doctor
  2. Rufen Sie einen Krankenwagen! (Roo-fen Zee eye-nen Kran-ken-vah-gen) - Call an ambulance!
  3. Ich habe Schmerzen hier (Ikh hah-buh Shmer-tsen heer) - I have pain here
  4. Ich bin allergisch gegen... (Ikh bin ah-ler-gish geh-gen) - I am allergic to...
  5. Wo ist die nächste Apotheke? (Voh ist dee nekh-stuh Ah-poh-tay-kuh) - Where is the nearest pharmacy?
  6. Meine Versicherungskarte (My-nuh Ver-sikh-er-ungs-kar-tuh) - My insurance card

Remember to always carry your insurance information and any necessary medications with you.

Meeting People and Flirting 😉

Germans may have a reputation for being reserved, but that doesn't mean they don't know how to have fun! Here are some phrases to help you break the ice:

  1. Wie heißen Sie? (Vee high-sen Zee) - What's your name? (formal)
  2. Wie heißt du? (Vee highst doo) - What's your name? (informal)
  3. Ich heiße... (Ikh high-suh) - My name is...
  4. Woher kommen Sie? (Voh-her kom-men Zee) - Where are you from? (formal)
  5. Woher kommst du? (Voh-her komst doo) - Where are you from? (informal)
  6. Nett, Sie kennenzulernen (Net, Zee keh-nen-tsoo-ler-nen) - Nice to meet you (formal)
  7. Schön, dich kennenzulernen (Shern, dikh keh-nen-tsoo-ler-nen) - Nice to meet you (informal)
  8. Kann ich dir einen Drink ausgeben? (Kan ikh deer eye-nen Drink ows-geh-ben) - Can I buy you a drink?
  9. Du hast schöne Augen (Doo hast sher-nuh Ow-gen) - You have beautiful eyes
  10. Hast du Lust, etwas trinken zu gehen? (Hast doo Loost, et-vas trin-ken tsoo geh-en) - Would you like to go for a drink?

Remember, it's always important to be respectful and mindful of personal boundaries.

Slang and Colloquialisms 🗣️

To really impress the locals, try incorporating some German slang into your conversations:

  1. Geil (Gile) - Cool/Awesome
  2. Alter (Al-ter) - Dude/Man
  3. Auf dicke Hose machen (Owf dih-kuh Hoh-zuh makh-en) - To show off
  4. Bock haben (Bok hah-ben) - To be up for something
  5. Das ist der Hammer! (Das ist dayr Hah-mer) - That's amazing!
  6. Mach kein Stress (Makh kine Shtress) - Don't stress/Don't worry

Just be careful not to overdo it, as some slang terms can be considered rude or inappropriate in certain contexts.

Customs and Traditions 🍺

Germany is a country with a rich history and many unique customs. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Germans are generally punctual and expect others to be on time as well.
  • It's customary to say "Guten Appetit" (Goo-ten Ah-peh-teet) before eating.
  • Tipping in restaurants is expected, but usually only around 5-10% of the bill.
  • When toasting with drinks, it's important to make eye contact and say "Prost!" (Prohst)
  • Jaywalking is heavily frowned upon in Germany, so always wait for the walk signal before crossing the street.

Things to Watch Out For ⚠️

While Germany is generally a safe and welcoming country, there are a few things to be aware of:

  • Don't mention the war or make Nazi jokes - it's considered extremely insensitive and offensive.
  • Be respectful of personal space - Germans value their privacy and may not appreciate overly familiar behavior from strangers.
  • Don't assume everyone speaks English - while many Germans do speak English, it's always polite to ask first before launching into a conversation.
  • Be prepared for direct communication - Germans tend to be very direct in their communication style, which can come across as blunt or rude to some.

Insults (Use with Caution!) 😈

While we don't recommend using these phrases, it's good to know them in case you hear them:

  1. Arschloch (Arsh-lokh) - Asshole
  2. Verpiss dich (Fer-piss dikh) - Piss off/Get lost
  3. Halt die Klappe (Halt dee Klah-puh) - Shut up
  4. Fick dich (Fik dikh) - Fuck you
  5. Du bist ein Idiot (Doo bist ine Ee-dee-oht) - You're an idiot
  6. Leck mich am Arsch (Lek mikh am Arsh) - Kiss my ass

Remember, using insults is never a good idea and can get you into trouble.

Sensitivities and Things to Avoid 🙊

In addition to the things mentioned above, there are a few other topics and behaviors to avoid in Germany:

  • Don't bring up the topic of the refugee crisis or immigration unless you know the person well and are prepared for a potentially heated discussion.
  • Avoid being overly patriotic or nationalistic - Germans are generally wary of excessive displays of national pride due to their history.
  • Don't compare Germany to other countries, especially in a negative way - Germans are proud of their country and may not appreciate unfavorable comparisons.
  • Be mindful of your volume - Germans tend to speak more quietly in public than some other cultures, so try to keep your voice down in restaurants, on public transportation, etc.


Q: Do I need to speak German to visit Germany?A: While it's not necessary to be fluent in German, learning a few key phrases can go a long way in making your trip smoother and more enjoyable. Many Germans do speak English, especially in larger cities and tourist areas, but it's always appreciated when visitors make an effort to learn some basic German.

Q: What's the best way to get around in Germany?A: Germany has an excellent public transportation system, including trains, buses, and subways in larger cities. Renting a car is also an option, but keep in mind that many German cities have car-free zones and parking can be expensive. If you do rent a car, be prepared to drive on the Autobahn, Germany's famous highway system with no speed limits in some areas.

Q: What should I pack for a trip to Germany?A: Germany has a temperate climate with four distinct seasons, so pack accordingly depending on the time of year. In general, it's a good idea to bring comfortable walking shoes, a mix of casual and dressy clothes, and layers for cooler evenings. Don't forget to bring an adapter for electronics, as Germany uses a different voltage and plug shape than some other countries.

Q: What are some must-try foods in Germany?A: Germany is known for its hearty cuisine, including dishes like bratwurst (sausage), schnitzel (breaded and fried meat), spätzle (egg noodles), and pretzels. Germany is also famous for its beer, with many regions having their own unique varieties. For those with a sweet tooth, try some apfelstrudel (apple strudel) or schwarzwälder kirschtorte (Black Forest cake).

Q: What are some popular souvenirs to bring back from Germany?A: Some popular German souvenirs include beer steins, cuckoo clocks, nutcrackers, and Lebkuchen (gingerbread cookies). Other ideas include German chocolate, sauerkraut, and mustard. For a more unusual souvenir, consider bringing back a piece of the Berlin Wall or a Bavarian hat with decorative pins.

There you have it - 72 essential German phrases and tips to help you make the most of your trip to Germany! Remember to have fun, be respectful, and don't be afraid to try out your new language skills. With a little effort and a lot of enthusiasm, you'll be saying "Ich liebe Deutschland!" (I love Germany) in no time. Tschüss und gute Reise! 🇩🇪✈️

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
March 30, 2024
A nomadic wordsmith savoring the world's flavors and penning stories that turn every journey into an epic.
Find me on Twitter

Win a $500 Flight!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
*Terms apply. To participate, enter your email to sign up for the newsletter . You must be 18+ and be a resident of the US. No purchase necessary. Begins January 1st  and ends February 28th, 2024. Winner announced on March 31st. For full rules and regulations, visit our Terms & Conditions page. Data  processed according to our Privacy Policy.
Enter Sweepstakes

You may also like...


Win a $500 Flight!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
*Terms apply. To participate, enter your email to sign up for the newsletter . You must be 18+ and be a resident of the US. No purchase necessary. Begins January 1st  and ends February 28th, 2024. Winner announced on March 31st. For full rules and regulations, visit our Terms & Conditions page. Data  processed according to our Privacy Policy.
Enter Sweepstakes