When many travelers plan a trip to Europe, this often includes stopping in several different countries. As there are a number of different countries in Europe that are quite close together, you can visit France one day and be in Italy by the next. Europe-hopping does not come without consequences, namely in the language department. As you travel between countries speaking French, German, Italian and Spanish, just to name a few, the greetings you use daily for people are changing constantly. And as everyone knows in all languages, a bad greeting can lead to getting off on the wrong foot in an instant. To avoid any language faux pas, we have come up with an easy greeting guide for some of the most popular languages in Europe.
French: When you encounter French speakers in Europe, you will want to greet them with Bonjour in the morning. While this can mean a simple hello, it also can work for saying, “Good morning.” In most cases, you can use Bonjour once the clock changes to the afternoon to say, “Good afternoon.” However, once it is becoming more nighttime, you should greet people with a Bonsoir. Once the night is over, you can simply say Bonne nuit for good night. And when you are done communicating in general with someone in French, a simple Au revoir will do for good-bye.
Italian: Most Italians will greet you with a Buongiorno in the morning, literally meaning good morning. By the afternoon, things get a little tricky. You might hear Buona sera as early as noon in Italy, meaning good afternoon. Some Italians will say Buon pomeriggo as well in the afternoon to greet others. Buona sera is used as the day drags on into the evening, meaning good evening at this point. To say good night, Buona notte is generally uttered. When you are ready to say goodbye to Rome, Arrivederci Roma rolls off of the tongue.
German: Germans start their mornings off with a Guten morgen. By the afternoon, it is more customary to greet others with a Guten tag, meaning good day or good afternoon. In the evenings, you will want to greet people with a Guten abend, meaning good evening. To say good bye, Germans in more formal settings will say Auf wiedersehen.
Spanish: For Spanish speakers in Europe, you will hear Buenos días to kick off the day, meaning good morning. For the afternoon, those speaking Spanish switch to greeting one another with Buenas tardes. To say good night in Spanish, Buenas noches is appropriate. And when you have to leave, Adiós is always understood.
Portuguese: Portugal might be a small country in Europe, but it is also a popular one to visit. For travelers heading to Portugal, you will need to greet people in the mornings with a Bom dia. For the afternoon, you can say Boa tarde. Boa noite means good evening and good night in most cases. To say goodbye, simply utter Adeus.
Greek: The Greeks put extra emphasis on their greetings, making them even more fun to say. To say good morning in Greek, you will want to say Kalimera. Kalispera in Greek translates as good afternoon and also good evening. To wish someone a good night, Kalinihta will get the job done. When it is time to part with Greece, a simple Yassas or Adio will do.