Phrases to survive in Barcelona

This is a survival guide for your trip to Barcelona. Simple phrases to learn before travelling that will help you camouflage yourself in the city as if you were just another local.

You arrive in the city, whether by land, sea or air. You meet the first local.

Challenge no.1 – what can you do to begin to integrate well?

Start Here!

When you meet someone

Hola is “hi” and you can say that with people you know. You can practice at the when you arrive in the city or at the hotel.

Buenos días is Good morning – You can combine this with Hola, like, Hola buenos días.

Buenas tardes is Good afternoon – it is used in the same way as buenos días. But you can use this sentence after 1pm and combine it with Hola. For example, when you enter into a restaurant or bar and you want to be served, you should say Hola buenas tardes.

Buenas noches is Good evening – The time to say this is from the moment that people sit down to have dinner. From then until the first light of morning.

¿Cómo estás? Is “how are you?” and you can say it whether you know someone or not. It is a very friendly expression.

Por favor is Please.

Muchas gracias is Thank you.


Okay, you have survived your first contact with Spanish people, but you need to ask a question. Do you know how to do this?


When you’re doing sightseeing

You want to ask where somewhere is:

¿Habla inglés? is Do you speak English? – Before any question, is better to ask to the other person if they speak English. Normally, in Barcelona, a lot of people speak and understand English BUT, it is more polite if you ask before.

¿Dónde está? is Where is – If you need help to find somewhere, you can use this sentence and mark your destination on the map. Easy 😉

¿Cuánto cuesta? is How much does it cost – It is important to know prices because, in the city centre, often prices are slightly more expensive.


When you want to eat the best spanish food:

Spanish people know what is good. For that reason, they combine delicious gastronomy with all the things that tourists know well.

Beer – Ham – Tapas – Wine

You can begin in this order and enjoy all the delicacies of the Mediterranean diet.

Cerveza is beer and Barcelona has beer from the softest to the strongest. In Barcelona you can start to drink beer from when the locals meet to have a “vermut” (12pm) and continue through the afternoon al fresco.

Jamón. Everyone knows how to say Jamón. Emphasize the word 😉

Tapas is an easy word you can use all day and every day in Barcelona.

Vino is wine. Barcelona has a lot of vineyards around the city. You can try their wines in any restaurant or visit vineyards with an expert guide and vineyard vintner. You can begin tasting wine at lunchtime alongside a delicious variety of tapas.


Okay, you have finished your lunch and you want to drink coffee. You should know the different ways to ask for a typical coffee:

– café solo: espresso
– café solo largo: an espresso with a bit more water
– cortado: an espresso with a dash of milk
– café con leche: white coffee, coffee latte, latte, or regular coffee
– carajillo: an irish coffee

And if you want to ask for a decaf, you only need to add the word descafeinado – for example, café solo descafeinado, cortado descafeinado. Of course, a carajillo is not decaf, it’s with liquor.

If you already have friends in Barcelona and you want to have a coffee with someone, you only have to say, Tomemos un café – “let’s have coffee”.


When you don’t understand anything, the best way to escape from this situation is to use:

Spanish people appreciate your effort to speak Spanish but if you don’t understand a thing, you can escape from the situation using these simple sentences.

No entiendo is I don’t understand.

Por favor, habla más despacio is Would you speak slower, please.

Feeling adventurous?

Why not try your hand at a bit of Catalan too? Surprise everyone!

Bon dia! is Good morning!

Bona tarda! is Good afternoon!

Bona nit! Is Good evening!

Si us plau is Please

Gràcies/Merci is Thank you

With these sentences you can enjoy your trip in Barcelona and have a truly local experience!

And if you want to know more of the city’s secrets, count on us to help you find them.

WeBarcelona offers you the best experience in Barcelona, to help you discover the city, the most delicious food and incredible views.