Striking up a conversation can be tricky, even in your native language. When you’re learning a new language, it can be even more intimidating, as you may not be quite sure what to say. We’ve collected the essential Spanish greetings you’ll need to know in Spain so you can start chatting with anybody easily.
After all, one of the best ways to learn Spanish is by actually getting out there and practicing your newly-acquired skills with Spanish speakers. Once you get going, you’ll find out that it’s not as scary as it might seem at first. And, all that practice will not only help you sharpen those skills, but it can also help you make new friends.
So, brush up on these greetings – and then get out there and start using them in real-life situations!
Looking for more ways to improve your Spanish? Check out these differences between English and Spanish that you should know about.
Hola – hello
You probably already know this one, but it’s a great one to get started. You’ll definitely be using this in conversation pretty regularly in Spanish. Remember, the “h” is silent in Spanish.
Buenos días – good morning
When you show up to class or work in the morning, say a quick “Buenos días” to start the day off.
Buenas tardes – good afternoon
Around noon, switch your greeting to “Buenas tardes” instead. Depending on which country you’re in, you might use it until sunset, or well into the evening. Listen up for when people around you are using it!
Buenas noches – good evening or goodnight
“Buenas noches” can either be used to say good evening or goodnight, depending on the context. You might hear people using this one to say goodbye after a dinner or night out, as well as to greet their friends at night.
¿Cómo está/estás? – how are you (formal/informal)
In some Spanish-speaking countries, it may be more common for people to use the formal “¿Cómo está?” when greeting people, especially if the person you are greeting is older or in a position of authority. In Spain, it’s more common to hear “¿Cómo estás?” in everyday contexts. Again, listen to what people around you are using and follow their lead.
¿Qué tal? – how it’s going
This phrase is very commonly used, though it’s not a formal greeting. For groups of friends, a typical greeting might be “Hola, ¿qué tal todo?” If you work in a relaxed office you may hear this one, especially between coworkers.
Similar phrases include “¿Cómo vas?” and “¿Cómo andas?”, though these are less common in Spain – unless the speaker is from Latin America.
Mucho gusto – nice to meet you
When you meet someone for the first time, “mucho gusto” is a common greeting. You can also say “encantado” (if you’re male) or “encantada” (if you’re female).
These phrases are easy to learn, and you’ll use them a lot when you’re speaking Spanish. Even if you’re just starting out, try out saying “Hola” instead of “Hello” and following up by asking the person how they are (“¿Cómo estás?”) when you’re out shopping or dining. If you keep practicing, you’ll be able to have a simple conversation with a few of these useful phrases.
Need a bit of extra motivation to get going? Here are the top 10 reasons to learn Spanish!