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Basic Spanish Words Every Expat In Spain Should Learn

basic Spanish words


Moving to a new country for work, pleasure, retirement, or a small holiday can be one of the most exciting things to happen in a person’s life. New cultures, different landscapes, interesting people and a new way of life – these are some experiences that should not be missed out on, especially if you have an adventurous spirit and love traveling!




European countries have a distinct aura about them that attracts many people who have lived in large metropolitan cities all their lives. Spain, in particular, sees a massive inflow of tourists each year, all of whom come there to engage and interact with the people and traditions of the locality.

If you happen to be planning your first trip to Spain in the foreseeable future, and don’t know much about the language, don’t stress yourself out because you’ve got time to learn the basics (which would help you to a large extent!).

In this article, we’re going to highlight some of the basic Spanish words you’ll need to know to navigate your way through Spain and make the most of your trip! Let’s get started.


1. Basic phrases you’ll use everyday

Let’s start with the most common words you’ll come across in Spain, right from the minute you reach your destination. Knowing these words will help you make friends faster, and will also prevent you from feeling completely lost (especially if you’re traveling alone).

  • Hola – Hello
  • Gracias – Thank you
  • De nada – You’re welcome
  • Por favor – Please
  • Perdon – Excuse me
  • Beunas dias – Good morning
  • Beunas tardes – Good afternoon
  • Beunas noches – Good night

These are the basic greetings in Spanish, which you can use to initiate conversations with strangers, and which you’ll hear when people approach you for the first time as well. Not only will you come off as friendlier when you reciprocate such greetings to people who talk to you, but you’ll also be able to respond politely when you’ve received help from somebody.


2. Specific phrases you’ll need to know

While the greetings you just learned seemed simple enough, they won’t suffice if you intend to truly move around Spain and learn more about the people and culture. To do so, you’ll have to know a little more than the introductory phrases that will help you on your first day of arrival.

However, you needn’t be too worried about this, because most people who are completely new to the language have been able to master it within a few months, simply through virtual Spanish classes and dedicated study sessions.

If you really want to fit in and make the most of your trip, you should consider starting your learning sessions right away – not only will this make you more confident of the language by the time you have to move, but you’ll also be able to have full conversations with new friends and locals, which is going to make a world of difference if you’re an extrovert who loves moving with people.

Here are some of the common phrases you’ll need to know as you start moving around Spain more:

  • ¿Me puede ayudar, por favor? – Can you help me, please?
  • ¿Habla inglés? – Do you speak English?
  • ¿Puedes decirme dónde está el baño? – Can you please tell me where the bathroom is?
  • Estoy perdido, ¿puedes ayudarme a encontrar mi camino de regreso? – I’m lost, can you help me find my way back?
  • Me gustaría cambiar X dólares a euros. – I would like to change X dollars into Euros.
  • Cuánto cuesta este – How much does this cost


3. General phrases to focus on

It’s obvious that you can’t learn everything you need to know within a few weeks, but you certainly can pay attention to situational phrases that you know will come in handy during your stay in Spain.

For instance, if you know you’re going to be reliant on public transport and cab services for navigation, you should begin learning important words and sentences which will make it easier for you to converse with drivers.

Similarly, if you’re going there for educational or work reasons, it would make life easier if you knew some of the basic Spanish words and phrases related to those fields, especially in the beginning when you’re just settling down.