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Local Conversations: Croatian Language Tips for Travelers

At Experi, we believe a travel experience is infinitely richer when we truly dive into a culture and make the effort to learn about the people and places we have the great fortune to visit. Going out of our way to learn a few phrases goes a long way toward connecting with locals. It shows respect and appreciation while often adding a touch of humor to otherwise tense travel moments. In fact, making the effort to say thank you just may make someone’s day.

If Croatia happens to be on your bucket list, read on to discover useful Croatian words and phrases and a bit of background on the language. Need an excuse to practice your Croatian language skills? Consider a trip to Croatia’s stunning Dalmatian Coast!.

Croatian Language

Spoken by nearly 7 million people, Croatian is a Slavic language. Unlike English and other “analytical” languages, Croatian belongs to the “synthetic” language group which means different grammatical aspects are expressed in one word by changing the structure of that word such as adding an ending or prefix thereby modifying the core of the word. In analytical languages like English, the same is achieved by using separate verbs, pronouns or adjectives while the word itself is unchanged. That said, in Croatian, one word is often enough to express what English can only achieve with multiple words. Lucky for travelers, the spelling of Croatian is largely phonetic so most words are written exactly how they are pronounced.  

Now it’s time to try your hand at Croatian. Here we’ll cover the basics, helpful travel phrases, and of course the most important topic: Food & Wine.

Croatia Fresh Seafood

Food & Wine

Eating and drinking in Croatia an amazing experience. Or, as the late Anthony Bourdain put it, “This is world class food; this is world class wine; this is world class cheese. The next big thing is Croatia.” Plus, the experience is even better when you know a few words to make a connection with the host or waitstaff. 

Croatian languuage: Useful words:

Menu – jelovnik 

Breakfast – doručak 

Lunch – ručak

Dinner – večera

Starter – predjelo 

Main course – glavno jelo 

Side dish – prilog 

Dessert – desert 

Meat – meso 

Fish – riba

Bread – kruh 

Water – voda 

Wine – vino 

Beer – pivo

Vegetarian – vegetarijanac 

Check – račun 


Croatian language: Useful phrases:

I’m hungry. Gladan sam. 

I’m thirsty. Žedan sam. 

Can I see the menu? Mogu li dobiti jelovnik? 

A glass of red / white wine, please. Molim Vas čašu crnog / bijelog vina.

A bottle, please. Jednu bocu, molim.

Another round, please. Još jednu rundu, molim. 

Everything was great! Sve je bilo odlično! 

Thank you, I’m full and can’t manage dessert. Hvala, ne mogu desert. Već sam pun.

I want to pay. Can I get the check? Želim platiti. Mogu li dobiti račun? 

A Tip About Tips

When it’s time to pay at a restaurant, you can say, “U redu je” (it’s OK), to let the waiter know to keep the change — it’s a tip!

More on Croatian Food & Wine

For more information and mouth-watering descriptions of fantastic Croatian cuisine, check out our story on Must-try Tastes of the Dalmatian Coast.

Croatia Wines

Back to Basics 

Now that we’ve touched on the vastly important topic of food and wine, let’s get back to the basics. The following is a general sampling of useful Croatian language words and phrases. 

Common words & phrases:

Yes – da 

No – ne

Please – molim  

Thank you – hvala 

Hello / goodbye – bok  

How are you? Kako si? (informal) 

How are you? Kako ste?(formal

Fine, thank you. Dobro sam, hvala.

You’re welcome!  Izvoli! (informal)

You’re welcome! Izvolite! (formal)

Excuse me.  Oprosti.(informal)

Excuse me.  Oprostite. (formal)

Good morning! Dobro jutro! 

Good day! Dobar dan! 

Good evening! Dobra večer!

Good night! Laku noć!

Simple Q & A:

How are you? Kako si? (informal)

How are you? Kako ste? (formal)

I’m fine.  Ja sam dobro.

What’s your name? Kako se (ti) zoveš? (informal)

What’s your name? Kako se (Vi) zovete? (formal)

My name is __. Ja se zovem __.

Useful phrases:

Do you speak English? Govorite li engleski? 

I’m sorry, I don’t speak Croatian. Žao mi je, ne govorim hrvatski. 

Excuse me, where’s the restroom? Oprostite, gdje je WC? 

I like it here! Sviđa mi se ovdje!  

What’s up? Što ima?

More on Pronunciation

Curious about how to pronounce all these useful words? To get a taste for how Croatian sounds, visit:

Croatia Stay 1

Travel & Hotel

Want to inquire about your hotel room, ask about breakfast, or tell reception that you’ve lost your key? Here are a few words and phrases to help you get you started.

Useful words:

Reservation – rezervacija 

Reception – recepcija 

Key – ključ 

Luggage – prtljaga

Restaurant – restoran 

Breakfast – doručak 

Room – soba 

Towel – ručnik  

Useful phrases:

I have a reservation for today under the name __. Imam rezervaciju za danas na ime __. 

When is check out? Do koliko sati se moram odjaviti iz hotela? 

Can I leave my luggage at the reception? Mogu li ostaviti prtljagu na recepciji? 


Give Croatian a try on your next visit to the Pearl of the Adriatic. You won’t regret the sincere smiles, handshakes, and even heartfelt hugs  you receive in return for your efforts. 

Thank you and good luck! Hvala vam i sretno!



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