If you’re travelling to Croatia, you won’t have trouble getting by with English alone. However, learning a few key phrases in Croatian will help you to better navigate the world around you.
It’ll allow you to step deeper into Croatia’s culture and experience the country from a different perspective. It may also bring you very palpable benefits – you may get a free drink or even a date.
So, are you ready to impress both the locals and your holiday friends?
In this article, your Croatian translator has rounded up a few useful phrases you’ll love to try during your trip to Croatia.
1. How do you say ‘Hello’ in Croatian?
Let’s immediately start with the most important greeting for your trip:
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Hello = Bok
This is a colloquial greeting used more in the north of Croatia, but you’ll sound posher if you use it. And it’s super easy to remember.
On top of that, you can also use it as a farewell greeting.
On the Croatian coast, Italian language and culture have had a big influence, so instead you can use the Italian greeting ‘Ciao’ when arriving or leaving.
And if you want to be slightly more formal, use the following phrases depending on the time of day.
Good morning = Dobro jutro
Good day = Dobar dan
Good evening = Dobra večer
Good night = Laku noć
2. How to say ‘Where is …’ in Croatian?
After we’ve mastered the basics, it’s time to relax over a coffee or alcoholic drink. To ask for directions, use the question ‘Gdje je …’ and then add any noun.
Where is the coffee shop? = Gdje je kafić?
Where is the bar? = Gdje je bar?
Up for a swim afterwards? Head for the beach. If you don’t know where it is, just ask:
Gdje je plaža? (Where is the beach?)
3. How do I compliment the meal in a restaurant?
What I like about Croatian restaurants is the hospitality. After you’ve had your meal, the waiter should always ask you whether you liked it.
Say: ‘Bilo je odlično!’ (It was amazing!)
You can use the same phrase in all other situations when something was great.
4. How do you say ‘it’s hot’ in Croatian?
Temperatures in Croatia rise to 40 degrees in summer. It can be hot to the point where you’ll need to use the phrase ‘Jako je vruće’ (It’s really hot!). You could add ‘Treba mi vode’ (I need water) or ‘Hoću sladoled’ (I want an ice cream).
5. How do you say ‘beer’ in Croatian?
After a day in the agonising heat, you’ll probably want to grab a beer in a bar.
You can use a polite version ‘Molim vas jedno pivo’ (Can I have a beer please?), or you could use a more colloquial and direct ‘Dajte mi jedno pivo’ (Give me a beer). If you say it in a relaxed manner, it won’t come across as rude. On the contrary, you can get some extra points for spontaneity!
When everyone gets their drinks, it’s time for a toast!
6. How to say ‘This is crazy’ in Croatian?
As the night progresses, you will probably end up in a club. When the party is at its peak, you might want to say ‘Ludilo!’ (This is insane!).
7. How do you ask for a cigarette in Croatian?
If you’re still at the party and want to smoke, you can ask around for a cig. This is a very popular thing to do. Don’t worry, in Croatia no one will ask you for money in return.
If you want to use a very colloquial phrase for ‘Have you got a fag?’ say: ‘Imaš pljugu?’
You may even get two cigarettes because the person you’re talking to won’t believe you’re a foreigner. Don’t forget to thank them by saying ‘Hvala’ (Thank you)
8. How do you say ‘I like you’ in Croatian?
After you’ve met a nice person and conversed with them long enough (or not?), you may want to tell them that you like them. If that’s the case, say ‘Sviđaš mi se’.
9. How do you say ‘Let’s go …’ in Croatian?
One short, handy phrase is most definitely ‘Let’s go …’
Idemo! – You can use this on its own in different situations, for example when rooting for your sports team (Idemo!), or when you want someone to hurry up (Idemo!). You can also add ‘ajde’ for emphasis (Ajde, idemo!). It basically means the same thing, but is more colloquial.
You can also add a noun after the verb and say:
Idemo na plažu (Let’s go to the beach)
Idemo u bar (Let’s go to the bar)
Idemo u restoran (Let’s go to the restaurant)
Idemo na sladoled (Let’s have an ice cream) – yes, if you’re having an ice cream, in Croatian you’re going to it.
10. How do you say Croatia in Croatian? Why is Croatia written HR?
You might wonder why the abbreviation for Croatia is HR (for instance, on car licence plates). This is because the local name of the country is Hrvatska.
Now practice your pronunciation, and then you’re ready to go! Let your Croatian translator know how it went!