The essential Catalan phrases you need in Catalonia

Even if you speak Spanish, if you're living in Catalonia, it's a good idea to learn some Catalan too. Here are some basic phrases you need to get by.

The essential Catalan phrases you need in Catalonia
Image: Photos_Marta/ Pixabay

While everyone in the bigger Catalan cities such as Barcelona or Tarragona will speak Spanish, it’s a good idea to learn some Catalan too.

Not only is this sure to win you some brownie points with the locals, but it will enrich your experience of living in the region and allow you to make new friends. This is particularly true when travelling to the smaller towns and villages in rural Catalonia too.


Greetings are a great way to start out practicing your Catalan. Your neighbours will be delighted and appreciate greetings in their local language. Because the phrases are short, they’re easy to remember and don’t invite long answers that you won’t be able to understand.

Bon dia – Good day

This phrase is used all the time in Catalonia, even more so than ‘Hola’. You would use it for greeting someone anytime up until the afternoon, after which you would say 'Bona tarda'. 

Encantat! Molt de gust! – Pleased to meet you.

Com estás? – How are you?

Bona nit – Good night

Greetings in Catalan. Image: Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels


Being polite

Another very easy way to slip in some Catalan here and there is to use it in small polite phrases. Even if you don’t know the Catalan for the whole phrase, you could easily add please or thank you on the end.

Si us plau – Please

Moltes gràcies – Thank you very much

De res – You’re welcome

Saying thank you in Catalan. Image: Ka Young Seo / Pixabay 

Eating out

When you’re a bit more confident with your Catalan, eating out is the perfect time to put it all into practice. You don’t have to keep the conversation going a long time and there are particular useful phrases that you can memorise.  

Teniu una taula per dos? – Do you have a table for two?

La carta, si us plau – The menu please

El comte, si us plau – The bill please

No puc menjar… – I can’t eat…
This one may be useful if there’s something that you’re allergic to or can’t eat, such as gluten or dairy for example.

Eating out. Image: Ji-yeon Yun / Pixabay 


Like eating out, shopping is another perfect chance to put your Catalan out in the real world.

Quant costa això? – How much does that cost?

Tens un altre color? – Do you have a different colour?

Tens una talla més gran/petita? – Do you have a bigger/smaller size?

Pots ajudar-me? – Can you help me?


READ MORE: Ten colourful Catalan phrases you should learn right now

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Sweating like a chicken: 18 Spanish phrases to complain about the heat like a true Spaniard

The scorching temperatures that Spain usually gets during the summer months and sometimes earlier mean Spaniards are well equipped with a colourful variety of expressions to complain about the heat.

Sweating like a chicken: 18 Spanish phrases to complain about the heat like a true Spaniard
Spanish tennis star Rafa Nadal 'sweating like a chicken'; read on to find out more. Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP

¡Qué calor hace! – It’s really hot! The most straightforward and generic way of making it known that you are indeed very hot.

¡Cómo ataca Lorenzo! – What an attack by Lorenzo! In Spain the sun is traditionally referred to as Lorenzo and the moon as Catalina. So if Lorenzo is ‘attacking’ you, it’s the sun’s rays that you find particularly punishing. 

¡Hace un calor de perros! What a dog day afternoon! It’s interesting that English has a similar expression to speak about hot summer afternoons and the feelings of lethargy it provokes, although in Spanish it can be used at all times of the day.  You can also say hace un frío de perros (it’s bitter cold).

spanish expressions hot weatherPhoto: Adrian Smalley/Flickr

¡Cómo pega! – It really hits you! Here’s a way of saying that it’s scorching hot and that you find the sun’s rays so intense, it’s as if they were giving you a beating.

¡Qué horno! – It’s like an oven out there! There are many places in Spain’s interior where it will feel like you’re being baked alive during the suffocating summer months. No wonder Spaniards usually head en masse to the coast to cool down in the sea. 

¡Me aso! – I’m roasting! Here’s another way of describing how it feels like you’re being cooked alive.

spanish language expressions heatPhoto: Andreas SOLARO / AFP

¡Me achicharro! – I’m being burnt to a crisp! And here’s an expression to say that you’re now overcooked. 

¡Hace un calor de la ostia/de cojones/del carajo! It’s sacramental bread hot, balls’ hot or f*cking hot! Because profanity is part and parcel of most daily speech in Spain and cojones and ostias are a great way of spicing up your language, we thought we’d throw in these extra ones for when you want to give the heat a piece of your mind. 

Estoy sudando como un pollo/un cerdo OR estoy sudando tinta – I’m sweating like a chicken/pig OR I’m sweating ink. Here are three fantastic Spanish expressions to let people know that your armpits currently have the sprinklers on due to the insane heat.

spanish language expressions heatPhoto: Jaime Reina/AFP

¡Hace un sol de justicia!: It’s punishingly sunny! This is of course a literal translation (and a loose one at that), but this expression is used to denote that the sun’s intensity is capable of justiciar, which in Spanish can mean to punish, bringing to justice or put to death. 

¡Hace tanto calor que hasta las ranas van con cantimplora! It’s so hot that even the frogs carry water bottles! If you use this brilliant metaphor with a native Spanish speaker, they’re likely to be very impressed. They may just not show it if they’re in the process of melting to the pavement due to the heat.

spanish expressions hot weatherPhoto: Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP

¡Menudo bochorno! It’s stifling! Use this expression to describe hot and humid weather that’s so muggy you’ve practically been glued to your sofa.

Hace un calor que se puede freír un huevo en la calle – It’s so hot you can fry an egg in the street! This has been literally tried and tested in cities such as Seville and Madrid, where the mercury hitting 40 C during the summer is a given year in year out.

Nueve meses de invierno y tres de infierno – Nine months of winter, three months of hell. Here’s a Spanish weather proverb for our readers living in Spain’s interior, which translates as ‘nine months of winter, 3 months of hell’. Technically it refers to the harsh differences in climate in Spain’s Castille regions, but if your part of Spain has bitter cold winters and scorching hot summers, this saying is definitely suited to you.