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Spanish words and phrases to help you when abroad

Whether you’re planning a move to Spain or just want to buy a holiday home to enjoy some time abroad, a language barrier can sometimes be one of the trickier parts of spending time overseas. We’ve created a list of handy phrases and keywords that you might need when you’re spending time in Spain, to make life a little easier. 

1)    There are lots of general greetings you can use, such as:

Buenos días – Good morning 

Hola – Hello

Hasta luego – See you later 

Adiós – Bye 

Buenas noches – Goodnight 


2)    You might find you need to say excuse me or apologise, here are some things you can say:

Disculpa – Excuse me 

Lo siento – I’m sorry 

De nada – You’re welcome


3)    Please and thank you are simply:

Por favor – Please

Gracias – Thank you


4)    If you’d like to introduce yourself, you can say:

Me llamo – My name is 

Qué tal? Or Cómo estás? – How are you?

Cómo te llamas? – What’s your name?

Mucho gusto – Nice to meet you


5)    If you need directions, one of the best ways to ask is by saying:

Hola, perdona, necesito ir a esta dirección… 

This is a polite way to ask, and you can add the address onto the end of the sentence or point it out on a map, and hopefully you’ll be able to find your way. 

If you just want to ask where the bathroom is, try:

Dónde está el baño?

When you ask for directions, you might get a response of:

Este – East

Oeste – West

Norte – North

Sur – South

Mano derecha – Right-hand side

Mano izquierda – Left-hand side

Todo recto – Straight ahead


6)    If you need to ask how much something is, you can say:

Cuánto cuesta esto?

This is a good way to ask how much something costs while you’re pointing to something or holding something in your hands. If you’re asking how much a service is, just remove the esto, and ask Cuánto cuesta?

If you’d like the bill, try:

La cuenta, por favor 


7)    If you’re trying to talk to someone but they’re talking too quickly for you, you can ask them to slow down, by saying: 

Puedes hablar más despacio, por favor?


8)    If you don’t understand or want to ask someone if they can speak English, you can say:

Yo entiendo – I understand

Yo no entiendo – I don’t understand 

Hablas inglés? – Do you speak English?


9)     If you’re not driving and want to get around using public transport, here are some useful sayings:

Dónde puedo encontrar un taxi? – Where can I get a taxi?

Dónde está la parada de autobús más cercana? Where is the nearest bus stop?

Dónde está la estación de autobús más cercana? Where is the nearest bus station?

Dónde está la estación de metro más cercana? – Where is the nearest tube station? (Useful in cities.)

Dónde está la estación de tren más cercana? Where is the nearest railway station?

Un billete para (insert destination) por favor A ticket to (insert destination) please

Cuánto cuesta un billete para (insert destination)? How much does a ticket to (insert destination) cost?

If you ask any of the above questions, someone might ask you where you’re going, by saying: Para dónde vas? 


10) Sometimes, things can happen and for whatever reason, you need help. If you find yourself in this situation, ask:

Necesito ayuda


Additionally, when you meet someone for the first time, don’t be surprised if they greet you with two kisses – one on each cheek. Shaking hands is considered to be quite formal, so this is a more common greeting. 


If you’d like to speak to us about transferring money abroad to Spain for an overseas property purchase, pensions, salary, or anything inbetween, get in touch on 020 7989 0000 and see how we can help you make the most of your money transfers.