How To Say Hello Around Europe

In Uncategorised by Twentysix

How To Say Hello Around Europe 👋

We’re lucky enough that over half of Europeans have a decent grasp of the English language, which makes communication easy when we’re on our travels.
However, it’s always nice and appreciated by the locals to try and use basic words and phrases when visiting another country, so what better place to start than by simply saying “Hello”? Below are the best ways to greet people in some of our most popular European holiday destinations.

Germany 🇩🇪

Trier, Germany

An informal and friendly “Hallo”, as you can imagine, is the most commonly used greeting in Germany, but as with English, there are time-specific greetings which you will certainly hear when visiting Germany, which are:

  • “Guten morgen” — GOOten MOR-gen — Good morning!
  • “Guten tag” — GOOten-taag — Good day!
  • “Guten abend” — GOOten-aaben — Good evening!

This can be seen as quite formal, so if you feel like being more casual, simply drop the “Guten.”
As a German-speaking country, these greetings can also be used if you’re visiting Austria.

Italy 🇮🇹

Florence, Italy

“Ciao” – pronounced chow – is the most common and least formal way to say “Hello” or “Hi” in Italian, and depending on the context can also mean “Goodbye”.  The second most common greeting (but admittedly not all that common) is “Salve” – pronounced sahl—veh. Usually used with people you are not on familiar terms with; imagine “Salve” is saying “Hello”, while “Ciao” is “Hi.”
Some time-specific greetings in Italian are:

  • “Buongiorno” — BWOHN-djohr-noh — Good morning!
  • “Buon pomeriggio” — BWOHN-poh-mer-ee-jo — Good afternoon!
  • “Buonasera” — BWOHN–ah-sera-rah — Good evening!

France 🇫🇷

Paris, France

“Bonjour” is of course the most common French greeting, but there are several other ways you can say “Hello” to someone in French. The literal translation of “Bonjour” is “Good day”, so in the evening, switch to “Bonsoir”.
More informal greetings are “Salut” – which can also be used to say “goodbye” – and “Hé”, which as you guessed, is simply the French way of saying “hey.”

Belgium 🇧🇪

Brussels, Belgium

There are three official languages in Belgium, French, Flemish, and German.
In cities in the Flanders region; Ghent, Bruges and Antwerp for example, Flemish is the dominant language. Therefore “Hallo” is the usual way of saying “Hello”, or for time-specific greetings:

  • “Goeiemorgen” — Good morning
  • “Goeiedag” — Good day
  • “Goeie avond” — Good evening

In Brussels however, over 60% of inhabitants speak French, so be prepared to switch it up using the French phrases featured above.

Spain 🇪🇸

Tossa de Mar, Costa Brava, Spain

You don’t need to have taken a Spanish class to know that “Hello” in Spanish is “Hola”, but there are a few time-specific greetings you may want to use when holidaying in Spain:

  • Buenos días – boo-AY-nohs DEE-ahs – Good morning
  • Buenas tardes – boo-AY-nahs TAHR-days – Good afternoon
  • Buenas noches – boo-AY-nahs NOH-chays – Good evening/night

Norway 🇳🇴

Flåm, Norway

There are several ways of saying “Hello” in Norway, the most common two being “Hallo” and “Hei” – for an extra friendly greeting double this up as “Hei Hei!”
Some time-specific greetings are:

  • “God morgen!” — Gooh mawr-n – Good morning!
  • “God dag!” — Gooh-darg – Good day!
  • “God kveld!” — Gooh kvehl – Good evening!

Switzerland 🇨🇭

Glacier Express, Switzerland

There are four official languages in Switzerland; German, French, Italian and Rumantsch (this is an ancient language spoken by less than 1% of the population, so we’ll focus on the big three!).
Similar to Belgium, the language changes region to region in Switzerland, so if you’re unsure whether to opt for French, German or Italian, look out for road signs, advertisements and listen to others speak – this should give you an idea.
In a German-speaking region, “grüetzi” – pronounced groo-et-see – basically means “Hi”.  If in doubt, you can also use “Guten tag” in standard German, which is easier to pronounce and remember.
In the French and Italian-speaking regions, the words for “Hello” are very much the same as in their respective countries.

Hungary 🇭🇺

Budapest, Hungary

The most common greeting in Hungary is “Szia” – pronounced see-ah – which is an informal greeting, similar to “Hi” or “Hiya” in the UK. It also doubles up as a way of saying “Goodbye.”
Some time- specific greetings are:

  • Jó reggelt –YOH-reggelt — Good morning
  • Jó napot — YOH-napot — Good day
  • Jó estét — YOH-esh-tate — Good evening
  • Jó éjszakát — YOH-eesa-kaat — Good night

Try to use some of these on one of our Budapest holidays!

Poland 🇵🇱

Warsaw, Poland

Around 30% of Poles speak English, particularly those in the younger demographics , but it’s likely that if you’re holidaying in Poland, you will come across a situation where you might need to refer to your trusty words and phrases book.
Cześć – pronounced cheh-sh-ch – is the most common and informal way of saying “Hello” in Poland, followed by Hej – pronounced hey.
Some time-specific greetings are:

  • “Dzień dobry” — pronounced jayn DOH-bry — Good day
  • “Dobry wieczór — pronounced DOH-bry VYEH-choor — Good evening
  • “Dobranoc” — pronounced doh-BRAH-nohts — Good night

Russia 🇷🇺

St. Petersburg, Russia

So, we’ve covered the easy ones, now it’s time to tackle Russian greetings. The most basic and informal ways to greet someone is “Privyet” – pronounced pree-vyet – or Zdravstvuj – pronounced zdrah-stvooy.
If you feel a more formal greeting is needed, “Zdravstvujtye” – pronounced Zdrah-stvooy-tee – means hello, but good luck saying it after a few vodkas!
Some time-specific greetings are:

  • “Dobroye utro” — dohb-ruh-ee oo-truh — Good morning!
  • “Dobryj dyen” — dohb-rihy dyen — Good afternoon!
  • “Dobryj vyechyer” — dohb–rihy vye-cheer — Good evening!

If you’re planning to visit Europe anytime soon, we hope this blog has given you an idea of the best ways to greet people in various countries throughout Europe, and hope you put it into practice!