Asking for Directions in German – Essential Vocabulary List

In comparison to other European countries, most German cities are relatively easy to navigate, although they don’t follow a pattern or grid system. Street names commonly end in –straße (street, -str. is the abbreviation), –weg (way), or –allee (avenue, alley). Very small streets are often named Gasse (lane, alley) or Pfad (path). There are also entirely different street names, some quite interesting, like Freiheit (freedom).

The public transport system is very good in most cities, although it is significantly reduced in the countryside. You will usually board a Zug (train), S-Bahn (local fast train), U-Bahn (underground) or Bus (same word as in English, pronounced Boohs with a shorter vowel). Alternatively you can take a Taxi.

When exploring the public transportation system, it’s important to know some basic words and phrases.

This guide will come in handy when trying to navigate the system.

Phrase in German Phrase in English Pronunciation
Entschuldigung Excuse me (Formal/Informal) Ent-shool-dee-goong
Wo ist… Where is… Vo ist…
Wo bin ich? Where am I? Vo bin eech?
Die Karte The map Dee car-ter
Rechts Right Ray-chts
Links Left Links
Geradeaus Straight Ger-a-der-ows
Zurück Back Tsoo-roock
Dort (drüben) Over there Door-t (droo-ben)
Hier Over here Here
Ampel Stoplight Um-ple
Platz Plaza Pluts
Straße Street Strah-sse
Restaurant Restaurant Ray-stoh-rahnt
U-Bahn Subway Ooh-Bahn
Bus Bus Boos
Taxi Taxi Ta-xi
Auto Car Ow-toe
Mit dem Auto By car Mit daym ow-toe
Zu Fuß By foot Tsu fooss
Hotel Hotel Ho-tel
Ist es weit (von hier)? Is it far away (from here)? Ist es wite (fon here)?
Adresse Address A-dress-er
Norden/Nord North Nohr-den/Nohrd
Süden/Süd South Soo-den/Sood
Osten/Ost East Os-ten/Ost
Westen/West West Ves-ten/Vest
Streik Strike Shtrike
Bahnhof Station Bahn-hawf
Flughafen Airport Vloog-hah-fen

Slang/Commonly Used Expressions:

Expression in German Expression in English Pronunciation
Ich habe mich verlaufen! I’m lost! Ich hah-ber mich fair-low-fen
Gibt es einen Streik? Is there a strike? Geebt es ai-nen shtrike?
Per Anhalter fahren Hitchhike Per an-hult-er fah-ren
Können Sie mich zu … bringen? Could you take me to…? Kon-nen zee mich tsu … brin-gen?