Home Language HacksCatalan Survival Catalan Travel Phrase Guide with Pronunciation

Survival Catalan Travel Phrase Guide with Pronunciation

by Michele
0 comment
Basic Catalan Travel Phrases - Language Guide
The Intrepid Guide contains affiliate links. At no cost to you, I will earn a commission which helps reduce the ever-increasing costs of keeping this site active. Thank you for your support.

Did you know the region of Catalonia in Spain has its own official language? This simple Catalan travel phrase guide includes a free infographic with useful Catalan phrases and a simple pronunciation guide to take with you in your travels.

Catalonia, located in Spain’s northeast corner, might be part of Spain, but that doesn’t mean you should speak Spanish. Catalonia has its own language, called Catalan, which I strongly encourage any traveller aim to converse in, over Spanish. I’ll tell you why and give you a free and easy to use guide full of useful Catalan Phrases.

There is an on-going heated debate happening in Catalonia where some political agencies and certain factions of the population would like to separate Catalonia from Spain and establish an independent country.

The Catalan language plays a part in this discussion and is used to make the point that Catalonia has its own cultural identity.

Even though Spanish is recognised as a second official language spoken in Catalonia, it can be difficult to know with whom you can speak it.

There is also the misconception that Catalan’s do not welcome Spanish speakers at all, which is not true. Many Catalans still identify themselves as being Spanish and feel proud to be both Spanish and Catalan and at the same time, and equally believe that Catalonia is an integral part of the whole country.

With this in mind, and to avoid ruffling a few feathers, the safest option would be to converse in Catalan or English.

Even though Catalan’s speak Spanish, ensure the other person is comfortable in doing so. This can be a tricky one to manage, but it’s worth keeping in mind.

Catalan’s are very warm people. During both of my experiences in the region, I was met with welcoming smiles and kindness wherever I went, so please don’t feel like you’ll have your head bitten off if you slip into Spanish.

After spending some time in Catalonia’s vibrant capital, Barcelona and a further five days exploring the rugged coastline of Costa Brava, I learned the importance of learning and using Catalan in my travels.

To help you in your travels to this incredibly beautiful corner of the world, I’ve pulled together this guide which includes very simple and useful Catalan phrases. Aiming to slip some of these phrases into your daily interactions with the locals will go a long way.

Want to have fun whilst learning Catalan? Struggling to find decent Catalan language resources? I recommend getting uTalk. Available as a desktop site and app, uTalk is awesome for learning key words and phrases in Catalan, especially if you want to use it for travel purposes.  It’s great for beginners getting started in a language and invaluable for intermediates looking to fill in gaps in their vocabulary and pronunciation. 

What I love most about uTalk is that you can jump around their extensive library of topics and choose what you want to learn, when you want, and at your own pace.  Because I believe in uTalk so much, I reached out to them and we’ve teamed up to offer you an exclusive 30% OFF reader discount across all of uTalk’s 140 languages! This offer isn’t available anywhere else! Click here to claim your exclusive 30% discount.

Let’s take a look at the Catalan language so you’re better informed as to its origin, use, and vocabulary. It’s much simpler than you may think and quite easy to learn.

A brief history of Catalan

Catalan is a Western Romance language which was named after the medieval Principality of Catalonia found in northeastern modern Spain.

Even though Catalan seems like it’s a mixture of French and Spanish, Catalan did not derive from either language. In fact, Catalan evolved directly from Vulgar Latin which explains why it has so many similarities in vocabulary and grammar with French, Spanish and even Italian.

Since all of these branched out from Latin, known as Romance languages, it makes sense that they would share common characteristics.

Where is Catalan spoken?

There are over 9 million people around the world who can speak Catalan. Over 4 million people speak it as a native language or mother-tongue, according to Ethnologue.

Catalan is spoken natively in various parts of Spain including Catalonia, Valencia (where the language is known as Valencian), and the Balearic Islands.

Catalan is spoken in France in the area of the Pyrénées-Orientales.

Catalan is the sole official language of Andorra, a tiny, independent principality located between France and Spain in the Pyrenees mountains.

Catalan even has semi-official status in the Italian commune of Alghero in Sardinia.

Of those who speak Catalan natively, nearly all are bilingual, speaking either French, Spanish (castellano) or Italian, depending on where they live.

Here’s a fun fact: More people speak Catalan than speak Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Lithuanian, Irish or Albanian. The Catalan regions are greater in area than each of five modern European states – Denmark, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, Albania.

Catalan Pronunciation

New learners will be pleased to know that Catalan spelling is very phonetic with only a few exceptions. This means that if you know how to pronounce Catalan letters, you’ll be able to sound out the word itself with ease.

You’ll notice that Catalan has many similarities with Spanish, Italian and French, but what makes it easier to learn is that its pronunciation is significantly less complicated compared to that of French or English.

Catalan has three dialectal areas which affect its pronunciation and vocabulary. These include Western (Lleida province and Ebre river basin), Balearic (Balearic islands), Valencian.

While Catalan varies from region to region, the pronunciation guides I’ve included here are based on the standard pronunciation which is similar to what is spoken in the region of Barcelona.

Catalan Alphabet

The Catalan alphabet is basically the same as the English one, except that:

  • and w are found only in foreign words and their derivatives: kàiser, clown, wagnerià
  • Except in certain proper names (eg. Nova York, Ruyra) the letter y is found in the combination ny: Catalunya, Espanya, IIuny.

Below is the Catalan alphabet.

a (a) j (yo-ta) s (e-sa)
b (be) k (ca) t (te)
(se) l (e-la) u (u)
d (de) m (e-ma) v (ve ba-sha)
(e) n (e-na) w (vw do-bble)
(e-fa) o (o) x (ics o shesh)
g (ye) p (pe) y (e gre-ga)
h (ac) q (cu) z (se-ta)
i  (i Ila-ti-na? r (e-rra)  

P.S. If you’re reading this on your phone and can’t see the pronunciation column, turn it to landscape mode. For some reason, tables aren’t mobile friendly. Sorry!

Catalan Travel Phrases

Basic Catalan Phrases for Travellers

Want the infographic to take with you? Scroll to the bottom of the page.

Eating Out
Getting Around

English Catalan Pronunciation


Hello Hola oh-la
Good morning Bon dia BOHN DEE-uh
Good afternoon Bona tarda BOH-nuh TAHR-thuh
Good night Bona nit BOH-nuh neet
Goodbye Adéu (to one person or informally)
Adéu-siau (to many people or formal)
How are you? Com estàs? (informal)
Com està? (formal)
kohm uhs-TAHS? (informal)
kohm uhs-TAH? (formal)
I’m well, and you? Estic bé, i tu? (informal)
Estic bé, i vostè? (formal)
EHS-teek BEH ee too
EHS-teek BEH ee VOHS-teh
Good, thanks Molt bé, gràcies mohl behh, GRAH-syuhs


Please Sisplau / Si us plau sees-PLOW / see oos PLOW
Thank you Gràcies / Mercès GRAH-syuhs / muhr-SEHS
You’re welcome De res duh rrehs
Yes see
No No noh
Excuse me Excuseu-me / Dispensi / Disculpi (getting attention)
Perdoni (beggin pardon)
ucks koo-zehw-muh / dees-PEHN-see / dees-KOOL-pee
I’m sorry Em sap greu uhm sahp greh-oo
I don’t understand No ho entenc NOH oo UHN-tehng
Do you speak English? Parles anglès? (informal)
Que parleu anglès? (formal)
PAHR-luhs uhn-GLEHS?
kuh PAHR-luw uhn-GLEHS?


How much is…? Quant val …? kwahnt buhl
Where is…? On és…? ohn EHS
When? Quan…? kwahn
May I please have…? Em pots…? ehm pohts

Eating Out

Beer cervesa / birra ser-BEH-sah / BEER-rah
Wine (red / white) Vi negre / vi blanc bee NEH-greh / bee blahnk
Water Aigua I-gwah
I don’t eat… No menjo… noh MEHN-zhoh
I’m a vegetarian Sóc vegetarià SOHK beh-jeh-tah-RYAH
The bill, please El compte, si us plau ehl KOHMP-teh, see oos plow

Getting Around

Left Esquerra ehs-KEH-rruh
Right Dreta DREH-tuh
Straight ahead Endavant ehn-DAH-bahnt
Turn left Tomba a l’esquerra TOHM-bah uh lehs-KEHR-ruh
Turn right Tomba a la dreta TOHM-bah uh lah DREH-tah
Bus stop Parada d’autobús  
Train station Estació de tren lehs-tah-SYOH theh trehn
Airport L’aeroport luh-eh-ROH-pohrt
Entrance Entrada en-tra-dah
Exit Sortir sor-tee


1 u/una (male/female) OON / OO-nuh
2 dos/dues (male/female) DOHS / DOO-uhs
3 tres trehs
4 quatre CUA-trer
5 cinc SEENK
6 sis SEES
7 set SET
8 vuit vuit
9 nou nou
10 deu DEOO
20 vint vin
30 trenta tren-ta
40 quaranta cua-ran-ta
50 cinquanta sin-cuan-ta
60 seixanta se-shan-ta
70 setanta se-tan-ta
80 vuitanta vui-tan-ta
90 noranta nu-ran-ta
100 cent sen


Monday Dilluns dee-LYOONS
Tuesday Dimarts dee-MAHRS
Wednesday Dimecres dee-MEH-kruhs
Thursday Dijous dee-ZHOH-oos
Friday Divendres dee-BEHN-druhs
Saturday Dissabte dee-SSAHP-tuh
Sunday Diumenge dee-oo-MEHN-zhuh


Help! Socors! / Auxili! so-cors! /  au-jil-ly
I need a doctor Necessito un metge nuh-ssuh-SSEE-too oon MEHT-zhuh
I don’t feel well Estic malalt (male)
Estic malalta (female)
ehs-TEEK muh-LAHL
ehs-TEEK muh-LAHL-tuh
Call the police! Truca la policia troo-kuh luh poo-lee-SEE-uh
Fire! Foc! fok

I hope you enjoyed this Catalan travel phrase guide as much as I enjoyed bringing it together. If you have any requests for other languages, let me know in the comments section! In the meantime, check out my collection of free travel phrase guides.

Like it? Pin it for later!

Basic Catalan Travel Phrases - Language Guide

Sources Teach Yourself CatalanBarcelona UniversityWikipedia

Want to know more about learning languages? Start here!

Over to you!

Which of these Catalan phrases did you find the most useful? Are you planning a trip to Catalonia or have already been there? Let me know using the comments section below or join me on social media to start a conversation.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this post.
Like what you see? Subscribe using the form below to have all of my posts delivered directly to your email.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.