The absolute basics

Even if you speak absolutely no Croatian, it's worth learning a few words before going on holiday. If you make the effort even just to say thank you or goodbye in the local language, you might just make someone's day!

Oh, and you can read more about Croatian pronunciation here.

By the way: in case you decide that you want to learn even more and book a Croatian course: In our language school, you can learn Croatian online or book a language holiday in Croatia.

Learning the basics when speaking CroatianLearning the basics when speaking Croatian

Some basic Croatian vocabulary

Common Croatian words and phrases

– yes
– no
– thank you
– please
– hi or bye
– you're welcome (informal)
– you're welcome (formal)

– maybe
– excuse me (informal)
– excuse me (formal)
– Good morning!
– Good day!
– Good evening!
– Goodbye!

Simple Croatian question/answer pairs

– How are you? (informal)
– How are you (formal)
– I'm fine.
– What's your name? (informal)
– What's your name? (formal)
– My name is ...

Some useful Croatian sentences

– Do you speak English?
– I'm sorry, I don't speak Croatian.
– Can you show me where Sinjska street is?
– Excuse me, where's the toilet?
– I like it here!

Don't get confused by Croatian small talk!

You might hear someone asking (Where are you?) when meeting a friend, when they can quite clearly see where the person is ...

... or ask their friend (Are you alive?) although the person is evidently safe and sound right before their very eyes.

Don't worry: as you might have guessed they're not really asking about the person's whereabouts or whether they're still breathing. Both of these questions are simply another way of asking (What's up?).

Staying in a Croatian hotel

Do you need to book a room, ask about breakfast or tell reception that you've lost your key? Don't panic! Learn just a few words, have the confidence to use them, and you can quickly make yourself understood!

Breakfast in a Croatian hotelBreakfast in a Croatian hotel

Useful Croatian words when staying in a hotel

– reservation
– luggage
– reception
– key
– restaurant

– breakfast
– room
– apartment
– towel

Useful Croatian phrases for a hotel stay

I have a reservation for today in the name Ivan Perić.

By what time do I have to check out from the hotel?

Can I leave my luggage at the reception?

Hotels in Croatia: Did you know?

The Kvarner hotel in Opatija is the oldest Croatian hotel on the Adriatic. It was built in 1884 and was a famous summer resort visited by the monarchs of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (tip: If, after a nostalgia-filled overnight stay, you're in the mood for nature: Risnjak, one of Croatia's eight national parks, is only an hour's drive from the Kvarner Hotel).

There are lots of candidates for the most expensive hotel in Croatia: as one might expect, many of the top ten can be found in Dubrovnik, but surprisingly, the most expensive (in 2009) was the Kempinski Adriatic hotel in Savudrija, Istria, where a stay in the spacious presidential suite would set you back €10,000 per night!

You can find more hotel vocabulary here

Speaking Croatian in a restaurant

Going out for dinner? Many restaurants in Croatian provide tourist menus in English but if you stray from the beaten track you might need to make sense of a menu in Croatian!

We're here to help with a list of basic words and phrases!

By the way, you can read more about Croatian food, cuisine and cooking here.

Speaking Croatian in a restaurantSpeaking Croatian in a restaurant

Useful Croatian words and phrases for a restaurant visit

– menu
– breakfast
– lunch
– dinner
– starter
– main course
– water
– wine
– beer

– side dish
– dessert
– cheque/bill
– meat
– fish
– bread
– I'm hungry.
– I'm thirsty.
– vegetarian

Useful phrases

– Can I get the menu?
– Do you have a menu in German (language)?
– I don't eat meat. I'm a vegetarian.
– Was everything alright?
– Everything was great!
– Thank you, I can't manage any dessert. I'm already full!
– I want to pay. Can I get the cheque/bill?
– Keep the change!
– I would like the vegetable soup as a starter, veal medallions and mashed potatoes for the main course and a mixed salad as a side dish.

Should you leave a tip for the waiter?

When paying in a restaurant, you can simply say (That's okay), to let the waiter know that you don't expect to receive any change, i.e. that the waiter is free to keep the difference as a tip!

You can find more food-related vocabulary here