We love Spain and find the locals really friendly, but it’s always good to have a few key phrases up your sleeve to help you speak like a native. After all, a little bit of effort goes a long way. So, once you’re grasped the basics of “Hi”, “Bye”, “Yes” and “No”, here are some sayings to keep you going through your Spanish holiday.
- How are you? – Cómo está usted? (koh-moh ehs-ta oos-tehd)
The first thing you might hear after “hello” (Hola)
- I am fine – Estoy bien (ehs-TOY bee-EHN) or very well – Muy bien (moy bien)
A polite reply, depending how you’re feeling.
- If you really want to impress you could say “Feliz como una lombriz” (Feleez como oohna lombreez), which literally means “As happy as a worm”. This expression sums up that just-landed feeling.
- I would like a bottle of red/white wine, please – Una botella de vino tinto/blanco, por favor (Oona bot-telya de beeno teento/blonko, por fa-vor)
Once you’re unpacked, it’d be rude not to try some of the local produce.
- A beer, please – Una cerveza, por favor (Oona ther-betha por fa-vor)
Or Dos or Tres or…
- Can I have a menu please? – La carta, por favor (La carta, por favor)
It’s always time to tuck into some delicious Spanish food.
- Do you have…? – Tiene…? (Tee-ayn-ay)
To see if they have your favourite items.
- A cup of tea, please – Una taza de té, por favor (Oona ta-tha de tay por fa-vor)
When only a brew will do.
- Can I have the bill, please? – La cuenta, por favour (La kwenta por fa-vor)
After all that tasty tapas.
- Thank you. This is for you – Muchas gracias. Esto es para usted. (Moo-choz grath-ias esto es para oos-tehd)
When your waiter has been amazing and you want to leave a tip.
- Can I have your phone number? – Me das tu número? (Meh dass too noo-mero)
If you’re feeling lucky.
- “Wete a casa a dormir la mona”, literally means go home to sleep the drunkenness – or go home, it’s time to sleep it off. Either way, if the barman tells you this, you know it’s time for bed.
- Good morning – Buenos dias (Boo-eh-nos dee-ahs)
For greeting fellow hotel guests in the hallway.
- What is your name? – Cuál es su nombre (Kewl es su nomb-ra)
For greeting a rather attractive guest/barperson.
- How much is it? – Cuánto es?/Cuánto cuesta? (Kwon-to es/Kwon-to koo-e-sta)
Essential for shopping trips and eating out.
- Do you accept credit cards? – Aceptan tarjetas de crédito? (A-sep-tan tar-hay-tas de cred-ee-to?)
Most shops will but if you’re in a smaller shop or market you might need to ask…
- Where is the nearest bank? – Dónde está el banco mas cercano? (Don-de esta el banko mas therkano?)
For when you’ve splashed all your cash.
- You’re welcome/It was nothing – De nada (Deh NA-da)
This is one you’ll hear after you’ve said thank you (gracias).
- Closed – Cerrado (Se-ra-doh) or Open – Abierto (A-bee-air-to)
We all know Spaniards like a siesta, but if you’re not on Spanish time this will help you read the signs in shop windows.
- Where is…? – Dónde está…? (Dohn-deh eh-stah)
This one could be very useful – “Where is the beach (la playa)?”, “Where is the toilet (el servicio)?”, “Where is my inflatable whale (ballena inflable)?”
- Excuse me! – Perdón! (Perr-don)
To grab someone’s attention. Not to be confused with…
- I’m sorry! – Lo siento! (Low see-ento)
If you bump into someone.
- Please repeat – Repita, por favor (Rep-ee-ta, por fa-vor)
Because Spanish sometimes rolls off the tongue quicker than the ear can pick it up.
- Do you speak English? – Habla Inglés (Ah-blah een-glays?)
Once you’ve tried all your best lines and you just get a blank expression, never fear, just pull this one out of the bag.
- See you again next year – Nos vemos el año que viene (Noss vaymos ell ahn-yo keh v-yeh-ne)
At the end of your holiday – after using all your phrases – you’ll know the locals that much better than you thought. You may not want to leave, but there’s always next year.
If thinking about all these Spanish scenarios has put you in the mood for sunshine and sangria, there’s only one thing for it – book that holiday.