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Visiting Croatia? Know the basics!

So you’re going on a spring holiday to Croatia. You’ve planned your trip ahead of time, but you didn’t get around to learning Croatian! And now the departure date is near. 

Whenever you visit a new place with a different language and culture, having some understanding of the local language will inevitably improve your experience. Of course, hiring a translator is always an option, and a lot of people rely on them when they go overseas. However, even though Croatian is a fairly difficult language to learn, it is still possible to learn the basics: how to greet people politely, and how to ask for help.


Basic Greetings

Welcome to Croatia! You’re about to meet some new friends! How do you start…

  • Hello: Bok (bohk)
  • How are you: Kako ste? (kah-koh steh?)
  • I’m fine, thank you: Ja sam dobro, hvala (doh-broh sahm, hva-lah)
  • Nice to meet you: Drago mi je (dra-goh mee yeh)
  • Good morning: Dobro jutro (doh-broh you-troh)
  • Good afternoon: Dobar dan (doh-bahr dahn)
  • Good evening: Dobra večer (doh-brah ve-cher)
  • Good night: Laku noć (laa-koo notch)
  • Goodbye: Doviđenja or Bok (doh-vee-jen-yah / bok)


Good manners!

Don’t forget your please and thank-you’s…

  • Please: Molim (moh-limb)
  • Thank you / Thank you very much: Hvala /  Hvala lijepa  (hva-lah /  hva-lah lee-pah)
  • You’re welcome: Nema na čemu (neh-mah na che-moo)
  • Yes: Da (da)
  • No: Ne (ne)
  • Excuse me / Sorry: Oprostite (oh-pro-sti-teh)
  • I’m sorry: Žao mi je (zhow mee yeah)


Small talk

When you head back home, do you want to say, “Well… I said hello and thank you a lot!”
No? Then let’s try something more advanced:  

  • What is your name: Kako se zovete?  (kak-koh seh zoh-ve-teh)
  • My name is …: Zovem se …  (zoh-vhem se …)
  • I am …: Ja sam … (yah sahm …)
  • I speak a little Croatian: Govorim malo Hrvatski (go-voh-reem ma-low hurv-ahts-kee)
  • I can’t speak Croatian: Ne govorim Hrvatski (neh goh-voh-reem hurv-ahts-kee)
  • Do you speak English?: Govorite li engleski?  (goh-voh-ree-the lee en-glees-kee)
  • Is there someone here who speaks English?: Govori li ovdje netko engleski? (goh-voh-ree lee oh-vdyeh neh-tjo en-gless-kee)

It is true that Croatian pronunciation is unique, so it can be difficult to learn. However, don’t let this stop you from trying! There are, of course, some excellent translators in Croatia, and nowadays you can even include a translator in your travel package.

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