Speak like a Local: The Essential Serbian Phrases for Tourists

A man wearing a jacket and a hat is looking at the departures at an airport

Although our friend Charles looks like he’s going to break his tongue trying to pronounce Serbian phrases for tourists here, there’s no need to worry. If you’re planning to visit Serbia on your holiday, we’ve got the top phrases that can make you sound like a local.

You might’ve already decided which places to visit in Serbia or Belgrade. If you’re an experienced traveler, you’re aware of all the different situations you may encounter in a new country and what kind of survival phrases you could need.

However, if you’re a first-time traveler to Serbia, here’s everything you need to know so as not to get lost in translation (and literally). Enjoy learning simple Serbian phrases to use anywhere around our country.

Basic Greetings

Let’s start with the first thing you must know if you’re traveling to Serbia. Serbian people will be impressed if you address them in their native language.

The most frequent phrases you’ll use are:

Zdravo! – Hello!

Ćao! – Hi!

Dobro jutro! – Good morning!

Dobar dan! – Good afternoon!

Dobro veče! – Good evening!

Doviđenja! – Goodbye!

Hvala – Thanks!

Izvinite – Sorry/Excuse me

Da – Yes

Ne – No

Da li govoriš/govorite engleski? – Do you speak English? 

If you’re at a loss which greeting to use with whom and how they differ, here’s a simple How do you greet in Serbian? guide.

A hand folding a hello sticker
Knowing how to greet Serbs is a big plus among the locals

At the Airport

Welcome to Serbia! The airport is the first place where you’ll have a chance to show off your freshly learned Serbian phrases. Listen and repeat useful Serbian vocabulary you can use as soon as you get off the plane.

You may want to ask the staff the following questions:

Gde mogu da preuzmem prtljag? – Where’s the baggage reclaim area?

Gde mogu da nađem taksi? – Where can I find a taxi?

Kako da dođem do centra grada? – How can I reach the city center?

Kako da dođem do hotela? – How can I get to the hotel?

Ima li hotela u blizini? – Are there any hotels nearby?

Gde je bankomat? – Where’s the ATM?

Gde je izlaz? – Where’s the exit?

Gde je autobuska stanica? – Where’s the bus stop?

Once you’ve successfully left the airport, your real Serbian adventure is about to start.

Getting Around The City

While you’re in the taxi riding to your next destination, whether it’s the center of Belgrade or the train/bus station, the chances are you’ll end up in a traffic jam. Since we don’t want you to get bored to death, we’ve got a perfect way to pass the time. This video can help you learn Serbian phrases for traveling by bus or train. 

At a Hotel

Your taxi drive has finished, and now you’ve reached the hotel. Even though most staff members in Serbian hotels can speak English to you, why not try to impress them in their native language? All in all, it’s not that hard. 

Here’s what you may say:

Mogu li da se čekiram? (singular) Možemo li da se čekiramo? (plural) – Can I/we check in?

Imamo rezervaciju za dvokrevetnu sobu pod imenom… – We have a reservation for a double room under…

Kako da dođem (s.)/dođemo (pl.) do sobe? – How can I/we get to the room?

Kada je doručak? – When is the breakfast served?

Asking For Directions

A girl with a confused look staring at a map
Ask for directions in Serbian and never get lost

Now that you’ve freshened up in your hotel room, let’s get ready for some sightseeing. Of course, Google maps will show you all the places you plan to visit. However, locals know the shortcuts better. They’ll also point to the restaurants with the most delicious food and tell you about the best viewpoints and the most attractive instagramable spots.

Take a chance and find out how to get to the desired location:

Kako da dođem do (…) – How can I get to the (…)

  • muzeja – museum
  • pozorišta – theatre
  • bioskopa – cinema
  • restorana – restaurant
  • tvrđave – fortress
  • vidikovca – viewpoint
  • kafića – café

 

Gde je najbolja hrana? – Where is the best food?

Gde su najbolja pića? – Where are the best drinks?

Da li ima … u blizini? – Is there a … nearby?

Gde je ulica…? – Where’s the street…?

When you’ve mastered these questions, it’s good to understand what Serbs are answering. They’ll tell you some of these:

Idi pravo. – Go straight ahead

Skreni levo/desno. – Turn left/right

Restoran je prekoputa. – The restaurant is across the street.

If you’re exploring natural gems in Serbia, you should be familiar with the words for cardinal directions:

sever – north

jug – south

istok – east

zapad – west

At A Bar/Restaurant

Traditional Serbian food will awaken all your senses. If you pair it with rakija (brandy), pivo (beer), vino (wine), or even domaći sok (homemade juice), you’ll experience sheer pleasure.

But first, you need to order. Let’s get that convo rolling.

Možemo li da dobijemo sto za dvoje? – Can we get a table for two?

Šta preporučujete? – What do you recommend?

Možemo li da dobijemo meni, molim Vas? – Can we get the menu, please?

Da li je ovo jelo vegetarijansko? – Is this dish vegetarian?

Imate li nešto bezglutensko? – Is there anything gluten-free?

Mogu li da dobijem račun, molim Vas? – Can I get the bill, please?

Hrana je izvrsna! – The food is delicious!

At The Cinema/Theatre/Museum

Belgrade has something to offer to everyone’s taste. Whether you’re a movie buff, a passionate museumgoer, or want to hear Serbian actors live, there’s a spot for you.

Now let’s check which Serbian phrases can help you in these places:

Mogu li da rezervišem kartu? – Can I reserve the ticket?

Koliko košta karta? – How much is the ticket?

Rezervisali smo karte za… – We’ve booked the tickets for…

Daćete mi dve karte za… molim vas. – I’d like two tickets for… please.

Da li imate popust za studente? – Is there a discount for students?

Želeo (m.)/Želela (f.) bih da sedim napred/pozadi/u sredini. – I’d like to sit in the front/back/in the middle.

Let’s Go Shopping

Knowing simple Serbian phrases can help you around the shops in Serbia

At one point in your trip around Serbia, you’ll want to buy a souvenir or a piece of clothing to bring to your home country. We’ve prepared some common Serbian sayings that you can use while shopping around.

Koliko košta ovo? – How much is this?

Da li mogu da probam ovo? – Can I try this on?

Gde je kabina? – Where’s the fitting room?

Da li imate drugu veličinu/boju? – Is there another size/color?

Da li mogu da vratim ovaj proizvod? – Can I return this product?

Da li imate garanciju na ovaj proizvod? – Is there a guarantee on this product?

Mogu li da platim karticom? – Can I pay by card?

Emergency Situations

We hope you won’t need to use these Serbian phrases. However, it’s preferable to be familiar with them in case of emergencies in a foreign country.

Upomoć! – Help! (this is used mostly in life-threatening situations)

Možete li da mi pomognete? – Can you help me?

Treba mi doktor. – I need a doctor.

Gde je najbliža bolnica? – Where’s the nearest hospital?

Gde je policijska stanica? – Where’s the police station?

Treba mi prevodilac. – I need a translator.

Have You Packed Your Bags Already?

Caution: visiting Serbia can cause you to fall in love with the country, language, culture, and people. If you want to confess your love to someone in Serbian, we’ve got the right romantic Serbian phrases. Speaking Serbian as a tourist in our country may be tricky at times. If you need additional help, our Serbian Pronunciation Course might be for you.

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