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Spanish Key Phrases For Tourists: #1 Best Essential Guide!

April 13, 2022

I know you are buzzin' about that booked holiday to Spain, but I think you almost forgot to pack your essential Spanish phrases and words! But I got you covered. This massive list of Spanish key phrases for tourists is everything you need to feel assured during your trip to Málaga or Alicante. Be confident to talk with the locals and embark on the best holiday of your life.

This ultimate guide of basic Spanish phrases, made by a native speaker, is specifically for tourists that want to have the best vacation in Spain.

Why Should You Learn Spanish Before Traveling To Spain?

If you are wondering why you should have at least some basic knowledge of the Spanish language, read this; if not, jump on to the list! 

Spain was the first country destination chosen by British tourists in 2022, and it will continue to increase! It is also the favorite country to visit for many other tourists from France and Germany. This means that many people need to learn the language for their vacations.

People may say you don't have to learn Spanish, or any other language, to travel since you can communicate with signs and perhaps locals understand a little English. But there is nothing like speaking to a local in their mother tongue. 

During one of my trips, someone offered me a valuable advice that drove my motivation to language learning. They told me: 'Don't expect people to talk to you in English or Spanish in their country; you are the one visiting and so, you should be the one stepping out of your comfort zone to convey your thoughts, not them.' 

I already knew that, but listening to someone else say it made me realize that I did have a slight hope that a local might talk to me in English when they don't have to. And I understood all the benefits of learning the country's language of the country I'm visiting. 

Spanish key phrases for tourists

Besides, traveling is about those special and meaningful moments when you connect with native speakers while talking with them in their mother tongue. Everyone who has experienced that will agree with me that speaking with locals in their language is one of the perks of traveling! Those timeless and meaningful bonds with native speakers are memories you can hold forever in your heart.

If you get lost, confused about culture, or seek help, more speaking, listening, and writing Spanish knowledge in speaking will enhance your overall travel experience. Why? It's because you will adapt easily to an unfamiliar environment.

So, I advise you to be well-prepared with the Spanish travel vocabulary that people often use and need abroad. You will find your way around your new destination like a fish in the water. Trust me! These Spanish phrases are here to save the holiday!

Hack Your Holiday With This Massive List Of Spanish Key Phrases For Tourists!

Table Of Contents

  • Greetings and introduction.
  • Essential survival Spanish vocab every tourist should know.
  • Getting around in Spain: Directions, places, shopping, and sightseeing.
  • How to order food and drinks?
  • Vocabulary for Emergency Situations.

1. Greet The Locals And Introduce Yourself Upon Arrival!

Spanish key phrases for tourists

To speak Spanish with the locals, you first have to learn the basic phrases to greet and introduce yourself. Plus, grab some slang while you are here!

Basic Spanish Greetings

  • ¡Hola! – Hello/Hi 
  • ¡Buenas!  – Hello!
  • Buenos días. – Good morning   
  • Buenas tardes. – Good afternoon/Good evening
  • Buenas noches.   – Good night

Checking In

  • ¡Qué tal! – What's up?
  • ¡Qué pasa! – What's happening?/What's the matter?
  • ¡Tanto tiempo! – It's been a while!

How To Introduce Yourself?

  • Mucho gusto! – Nice to meet you.
  • Es un gusto conocerte. – It’s a pleasure to meet you. (Informal)
  • Es un gusto conocerlo. – It’s a pleasure to meet you. (Formal)
  • Encantado/a de conocerle. – Nice to meet you. (Formal)
  • Encantado/a de conocerte. – Nice to meet you. (Informal)
  • ¿Cómo te llamas? – What is your name? (Informal)
  • ¿Cómo se llama? – What is your name (Formal)

Do You Want To Express Courtesy?

Don't forget to ask how the other person is doing to show courtesy. And if they ask you the same thing, remember to thank them after answering.

  • ¿Cómo estás? – How are you?
  • ¿Cómo está? – How are you?
  • Bien, gracias. – I'm fine, thank you.

2. Fail-Proof Essential Daily Vocabulary You Need Now!

Gracias Thank you

Learn the following basic Spanish words and phrases for travelers that you can use not only in Spain but also in other Spanish-speaking countries.

Yes & No?

  • Sí – Yes
  • No – No

Other Essential Answers

  • Tal vez. – Maybe.
  • Después. – Later.
  • No sé – I don't know.
  • No lo creo. – I don't think so.
  • Por supuesto. – Of course.
  • ¡Claro que sí. – Of course!
  • ¡Sí como no! – Yes, of course!/Indeed.

The ‘Magic Words’

  • Gracias. – Thank you.
  • Muchas gracias. – Thank you so much.
  • Por favor. – Please.
  • De nada. – You are welcome.
  • Disculpe. – Excuse me. (Formal)
  • Disculpa. – Excuse me. (Informal)
  • Discúlpeme/Perdóneme. – I’m sorry.

Trouble Communicating In Spanish?

Hopefully, you don't have to use these Spanish phrases! But here they are to make you feel safer.

  • No hablo español muy bien. – I don't speak Spanish very well. (Neutral)
  • ¿Habla inglés? – Do you speak English? (Formal)
  • ¿Hablas inglés? – Do you speak English? (Informal)
  • No entiendo. – I don't understand.
  • Lo siento, no entiendo – Sorry, I don't understand
  • Yo no entiendo. – I don't understand. (Neutral)
  • No entiendo Español. – I don’t understand Spanish.
  • ¿Puede hablar despacio por favor? – Can you speak slowly, please? (Formal)
  • Por favor, hable más despacio. – Please, speak slower. (Formal)
  • ¿Puede repetir, por favor? – Can you please repeat?

Learn Phrases With 'Want' And 'Need'

Quiero To want

If you learn the verb 'querer' (to want), you are all set to survive in Spain or any other Spanish-speaking country. If you know how to use this, you can communicate all your needs! 

  • Quiero pasear en… – I want to take a walk in… 
  • Necesito más efectivo. – I need more cash. 
  • Yo quiero comer… – I want to eat… 
  • ¡Necesito un chapuzón en el mar! – I need a dip in the sea!
  • (Yo) Quiero una cerveza. – I want a beer. 

Tip! You can drop the 'yo' (I) to sound more natural. We don't always use it while talking fast.

  • Quisiera … – I would like … (The literal translation is 'I would want….')
  • Necesito un taxi. – I need a taxi.
  • Quiero dormir. – I want to sleep.
  • Yo necesito ir a descansar. – I need to go to rest.
  • Quiero conocer más lugares. – I want to see more places.

Time (Hora)

  • ¿Qué hora es? – What time is it?
  • ¿A qué hora empieza esa película? – At what time does that movie start?
  • ¿A qué hora sale el vuelo? – What time does the flight leave?

3. Important Vocabulary To Know While Getting Around In Spain

Common Words For Places

Before traveling, learn some basic vocabulary for places that may come in handy to get around.

  • Museo/ El museo – Museum/The museum 
  • Restaurante – Restaurant
  • El Hotel – The Hotel 
  • El Hospital – The hospital
  • Farmacia  – Pharmacy 
  • Libería – Bookstore
  • Biblioteca – Library
  • Cine – Movie theatre
  • Iglesia – Church
  • Catedral – Cathedral
  • Parque – Park
  • Parque de atracciones – Amusement park
  • Circo – Circus
  • Atracciones turísticas – Tourist attractions
  • Bosque – Forest
  • Reserva natural – Natural reserve
  • Plaza – Square
  • Palacio – Palace
  • Muralla – Wall
  • Estación de policía –  Police station 
  • El Banco/Banco – Bank
  • El correo/Oficina de correos – Post Office
  • Centro comercial – Mall
  • Gimnasio – Gym
  • Aeropuerto –Airport
Aeropuerto Airport
  • Supermercado – Grocery store
  • Mercado – Market
  • La carnicería - The butcher
  • El Bar/Bar – Bar
  • Café/Cafetería – Cafe/Coffee Shop
  • Panadería - Bakery
  • Tienda – Convenience store
  • Feria – Street market
  • La playa - The beach
  • Parada de taxi – Taxi stand
  • Parada de buses/autobús – Bus stop
  • Estación de autobús – Bus station
  • Estación de trenes – Train station

How To Ask For Directions In Spain?

If you get lost or need to find any of the places listed above, try using the following phrases with the locals.

  • Estoy perdido. – I'm lost.
  • Me he perdido. – I got lost.
  • Me perdí en … – I got lost at…
  • ¿Cómo puedo llegar a …? – How can I get to …?
  • ¿Dónde está el hospital local? – Where is the local hospital?
  • ¿Dónde está el banco? – Where is the bank?
Directions in Spanish
  • ¿Dónde se encuentra la tienda de comida local? – Where is the local food shop? 
  • ¿Dónde puedo encontrar una farmacia? – Where can I find a pharmacy?
  • ¿Dónde se encuentra esta (atracción)? – Where is this (attraction) located?  
  • ¿Dónde está la parada de autobús? – How to find the train/bus station?
  • ¿Dónde está la estación de ferrocarril? – Where is the railway station?
  • ¿Dónde hay un baño? – Where is there a bathroom?
  • ¿Dónde está el baño? – Where is there a bathroom?
  • ¿Cómo vuelvo a mi hotel? – How do I get back to my hotel?
  • ¿Cómo puedo llegar a esta zona de la ciudad? – How can I get to this area of the city?
  • ¿Dónde está la embajada de …? – Where is the … embassy?
  • ¿Dónde puedo conseguir una buena Paella por aquí? Where can I get a good Paella around here?
Directions In Spanish

These are a few essential words that will get you by when asking for directions.

  • Derecha – Right
  • Izquierda – Left
  • Siga recto – Go straight ahead (formal)
  • Adelante – Up ahead
  • Aquí – Here
  • Gire – Turn (formal)

Spanish Vocabulary For Shopping

  • Comprar – To buy
  • Gastar – To spend
  • Devolver – Return
  • Probarse – To try on
  • Billete – Bill
  • Moneda – Coin/Currency
  • Dinero – Money
  • Euros – Euros
  • Dólares – Dollars
  • Dinero en Efectivo – Cash
  • Tarjeta de crédito – Credit card
  • Tarjeta de débito – Debit card
  • Cheque – Check
  • Precio – Price
  • Descuento – Discount
  • Oferta – Sale
  • Bazar – Bazaar
Bazar Spain Spanish phrases for tourists
  • Ir de compras. – Go shopping.
  • ¡No gasteis demasiado! – Don’t spend too much money!
  • Estoy buscando... – I'm looking for...
  • ¿Tiene...? – Do you have...?
  • ¡Está muy Caro! – It’s expensive!
  • ¡Qué Barato! – It’s very cheap!
  • ¿Cuánto cuesta? – How much does it cost?
  • ¿Cuál es el valor? – How much is it?
  • ¿Cuál es el precio de …? – How much does the … cost?
  • ¿Hay descuentos? – Do you offer any discounts?
  • ¿Lo puedo ver? - Can I see it?
  • ¿Hay otra talla? - Is there another size?
  • Quiero comprar esto. – I want to buy this.
  • Sólo estoy mirando, gracias – I'm just looking, thank you.
  • Me podría pasar aquella camisa, por favor? – Could you please lend me that shirt? (Formal)

Sightseeing And Other Activities

  • ¿Quereís ir a la playa conmigo? – Do you want to go to the beach with me?
  • Visitemos La Sagrada Familia. – Let's visit La Sagrada Familia.
  • Vamos al show de flamenco. – Let's go to a Flamenco show.
  • ¡Tenemos que ir en crucero en Alicante! – We have to go on a cruise in Alicante!
  • Me encanta caminar por las calles de Villajoyosa. – I love walking through the streets of Villajoyosa.
  • Contratemos un tour por un viñedo. – Let's hire a vineyard tour.
  • Voy a asistir a una clase de cocina Española. – I will attend a Spanish cooking class.

4. Are You A Foodie? Don’t Skip These Phrases To Order Food And Drinks In Spain!

Food In Spain

Imagine you are enjoying the front-row view of the ocean in a restaurant in Málaga. How would you order food without having to use English? And how will you be able to understand your waiter/waitress if they don't speak English? 

Learning these phrases will do the trick: 

  • Una mesa para cuatro, por favor. – I table for four, please.
  • ¿Les puedo tomar la orden? – Can I take your order?
  • ¿Qué van a tomar? – What would you like to drink?
  • Vamos a comer el desayuno en este restaurante. – Let's go to have dessert at this restaurant.
  • Una jarra de sangría, por favor. – A bottle of sangria, please.
  • ¿Me puede traer un vaso de té helado, por favor? – Can I have a glass of iced tea, please?
  • Me gustaría un vaso de jugo frío. – I would like a glass of cold juice.
  • Un vino tinto, por favor – A red wine, please 
  • ¿Desea algo más? – Would you like (to order) something else?
  • No, muchas gracias. – No, thank you very much.
  • ¿Desean algo de postre? – Would you like to have a dessert?
  • ¿Podría ver el menú de los postres, por favor? – Could I see the dessert menu, please?
  • ¿Cuál platillo nos recomienda? – What dish can you recommend us?
  • La cuenta, por favor – The bill, please

5. Vocabulary for Emergency Situations

Me puede ayudar por favor

While traveling in a Spanish-speaking country, it's advised to have at least some basic vocabulary knowledge for emergencies.

  • ¡Auxilio! Help!
  • ¡Ayuda! – Help!
  • Ayúdeme. – Help me.
  • Necesito ayuda. – I need help (Neutral)
  • Me puede ayudar, por favor? – Can you help me, please?
  • Me siento mal. – I don't feel well
  • No me siento bien. – I don't feel well.
  • Me duele. – It hurts.
  • Me duele aquí. – I have a pain here
  • Soy alérgico a… – I’m allergic to…
  • Si, tengo seguro médico. – Yes, I have a health insurance.
  • Tengo seguro de viaje. – I have travel insurance.
  • ¡Un Ladrón! – A thief!
  • Necesito denunciar un robo. – I need to report a robbery.
  • ¡Me han robado mi dinero! – My money has been stolen!
  • Perdí mi billetera. – I lost my wallet.
  • Quiero/Necesito reportar un accidente. – I want/I need to report an accident.
  • Estoy en …– I'm at …
  • Estoy ubicada/o en … – I’m located at …
  • Necesito una ambulancia ahora. – I need an ambulance now.
  • Necesito ir al hospital. – I need to go to the hospital.

Now You Are All Set To Fly To Spain!

Learn Spanish Ling App

Did you enjoy this guide on Spanish travel phrases and words? You will be grateful to have this knowledge once you are in Spain. Now you can speak Spanish with your native friends and meet new people abroad! Let this vacation be your golden opportunity to improve your Spanish skills.

Having conversations with Spanish-speaking people is a great way to sharpen your ear, remember vocabulary easily, and improve your pronunciation. Enjoy the landscapes and the food, but also those conversations that will allow you to further your goal of speaking fluent Spanish.

I know this might be a lot for you, but don't feel overwhelmed! The purpose of this post is to guide you towards an understanding of the phrases that tourists most need to know abroad. You don't need to learn them all right now; you can always save this article to review whenever you need. However, before your trip, start practicing what you have learned in this article. It doesn't matter if you do it even in front of a mirror. Everything counts!

The secret to getting better without feeling overwhelmed is to practice at least 15 minutes a day. With Ling App, you can learn Spanish anytime, anywhere! With fun lessons that will make you feel like playing a game, this app will be your best friend on your journey through Spain or any other Spanish-speaking country.

Best holidays and happy learning!

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