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Common German Words and Phrases

Learning the language of one of the countries you’re visiting can go a long way to making your journey that much more of a culturally immersive experience. Cruise Manager Nikola G. shares a few words that might be helpful when you’re in Germany and Austria where German is the sole official language. German is also a co-official language in Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg. When sailing along the Danube and Rhine rivers – as well as the Dutch and Belgian Waterways – try connecting with the Bavarian culture a step further with these common words and phrases.


Guten Tag (GOO-ten tahk)/ Hallo

Translation: Good day (formal) / Good day (informal)


Bitte (BEE-tuh)

Translation: Please


Ich möchte ein Bier, bitte. (ikh MOOKH-tuh ighn beer, BIT-tuh)

Translation: I would like a beer, please.

Note: When you ask for a beer in Germany and Austria, it is recommended that you specify what kind of beer you want in your request. If you simply order ‘a beer,’ you will likely get a Pils (Pilsener) which is a pale lager with a light body, and by far the most popular beer type currently served.


Märzen (mare-tsen)

Translation: This is the type of beer traditionally served at Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. It’s a medium body, malty lager that comes in pale, amber and dark varieties.

Danke schön (DAN-kuh shurn)/ Danke (DAN-kuh)

Translation: Thank you (formal) / Thanks (informal)


Könnte ich eine Tasse kaffee haben? (KOON-tuh ikh IGH-nuh TAH-suh kah-FAY HAH-ben?)

Translation: May I have a cup of coffee? Kaffee (kah-FAY)


Sprechen Sie Englisch? (shprekhun zee ENG-leesh)

Translation: Do you speak English? (formal)


Prost (pr-OH-st)

Translation: Cheers! (informal)


Discover everything about Bavarian culture and local traditions during our festive Oktoberfest celebration— an AmaWaterways exclusive included in our Danube River itineraries.

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