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10 Catalan Words for Tourists

One misconception many travelers heading to Barcelona (check out our article on how to travel local in Barcelona) have is that they need to pick up a few Spanish words before they go.  So, they learn how to say “hola” “como estas” or “adios” in order to connect a little more to their Spanish friends.  Yet, while these words will take you far in other parts of Spain, the natives from Barcelona actually prefer to speak their native language, Catalan.

There is a long and not so nice history between the Catalans and Spanish (watch any Barcelona or Madrid game for further evidence!).  I won’t get into that today, but what you need to know is that most Catalan people are extremely proud to be Catalan, and not so fond of the idea of associating themselves with Spain.  Therefore, if you want to speak to the locals in and around Barcelona, use a few words in Catalan.  They will probably be shocked that you are actually speaking Catalan, which will earn you a few more smiles, and possibly a new friend or two!


It means hello.  Yes, this is an easy one.  It’s the same in Spanish.

Com estàs?

It means how are you.  Here is another easy one because of it’s similarity to Spanish.  Just don’t forget to leave out the “o” when you say “com”.


It means goodbye.  Some people don’t say the “a” and just say “deu.”


It means thank you.  It’s word you can use all of the time.  Just don’t confuse it with the Spanish “Gracias”.  The pronunciations are a little different.

Bon dia

It means good morning.  When you head to the bakery or Bocaderia for breakfast, this should be your go-to phrase when greeting the shop assistants.

Bona nit

It means good night.  Bona nit is a great phrase to use when you are saying goodnight to those Catalan friends that you made at the bar.  I skipped good afternoon (bona tarda) because I felt like it’s not so commonly used as Bon dia and Bona nit.


It means cheers.  This is a must know word for any night owl who anticipates having a great time at some of those crazy Barcelona nightclubs.  Knowing the word salut is a perfect way to interact with the Catalans around you.  It can also mean bless you.


Pardona, als lavabos sisplau?

It means excuse me, where is the bathroom.  I just had to put this one in here for obvious reasons.  I feel like it’s one of the phrases I say most often when I’m in another country (in any language).

On esta..?

It means where is…  This is another very useful phrase when you are traveling.  It always feels like we are trying to figure out where something is, where that be a famous museum or a restaurant that we want to check out.  This phrase is pretty simple.  You just say “on esta” and follow it with what you are looking for.  Ex. On esta la Sagrada Familia?/Where is the Sagrada Familia?

Jo prendré

It means, I would like.  Since you will be eating out quite often in Barcelona, it’s also helpful for you to know how to order.  Just say “jo prendré” and follow it by naming the dish that you would like to order.  Ex:  Jo prendré paella.

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