Well, the most important word you need to know is “¡Hola!.”
But there’s a ton more! In this guide, you learn 25+ ways to say hello in Spanish. Ready? Keep reading!
25+ Ways to Say Hello in Spanish
The Usual Suspects
- Pronunciation: oh-la
This is the most common way to say hello in the Spanish. You can’t go wrong with “oh-la” in any given situation or location. It stays the same no matter your age, relationship, or gender.
But, you should also listen and hear real Spanish – Press play below. Try this Free Lesson from SpanishPod101.com (click here to visit) for how to say hello in Spanish. It’s only 3 minutes long.
- Lesson – 3-Minute Spanish – Greetings
- Source: SpanishPod101.com Learning Program
2. ¡Buenos días!
- Good morning
- Pronunciation: Bweh-nos dee-ahs
If you want to switch it up a bit, say “good morning!” “Bweh-nos dee-ahs” can be a bit more formal and is a good choice if you’re entering a shop or classroom.
Depending on the region, different people will consider this greeting appropriate until 12 p.m., 2 p.m. or 5 p.m.
While this isn’t a literal way to say hello in Spanish, it’s indeed a greeting you can use.
3. ¡Buenas! or ¡Buén día!
- good day
- Pronunciation: Bweh-nos deeya
These are short and sweet versions of the greeting above. “Bwen deeya” literally means, good day. And “bwe-nahs” can be used at any time on any day… because any day speaking Spanish makes it a good one!
4. ¡Buenas tardes!
- good afternoon
- Pronunciation: bwe-nas tardes
5. ¡Buenas noches!
- good night
- Pronunciation: bwe-nas no-chess
For good afternoon, good evening or good night, keep the “bwe-nas” and add “tardes” for afternoon or evening and “no-chess” for night. Generally, buenas noches is reserved for the last greeting before bedtime, such as when leaving a restaurant after dinner or kissing a family member before going to sleep.
Answering the Phone
How do you say hello in Spanish on the phone?
- speak to me
- Pronunciation: dee-gah me
When picking up the phone, “dee-gah meh” gets right to the point! You’re formally requesting the caller to “speak to me” or “tell me.”
- Pronunciation: Bweh-no
“Bweh-no” can mean “good” or be used as the pause word “well.” In Mexico, using this as a question word has the same effect as when answering the phone with, “Yes?” See entries #7 and #8 above.
- Pronunciation: ah-low
This Spanish pronunciation “ah-low” of the English word “hello” will have you answering phones fluently in no time! Some say this is a bit informal and it’s true, you would never hear a concierge desk at a fancy hotel pick up the phone this way.
Getting Someone’s Attention
- listen up!
- Pronunciation: oh-yay
To say “listen up!” the word “oh-yay” is your first choice. Some countries use this “hey!” to call someone from far away, and others think it sounds too informal and may give you the “hey, hay is for horses” look.
- There you are!
- Pronunciation: Eh-pa-ley
This word comes from small bits of a bigger phrase, and it’s only used when you are happily surprised to see the person you are greeting. “Eh-pa-ley” could come off as, “Hey, look at who we have here,” or “whoa, there you are,” in an upbeat, excited, great-to-see-you exchange between close friends.
Meeting Someone New
12. Un gusto! or Un placer!
- a pleasure (to meet you)
When it’s “a pleasure!” to meet someone for the first time, you can say “un goo-stow” or “un plahs-air” and don’t forget the cheek kiss or kisses! This is the shorter version of “very nice to meet you.”
Phrases as Follow-Up
13. ¿Cómo estás?
- How are you?
This is the most widely used, heard and understood question. It has a formal counterpart, “¿Cómo está?” that is recommended when speaking to a superior, or a parent of your love interest.
14. ¿Qué pasa?
- What’s happening?
This is an easy, all-purpose question understood in all regions. It’s more informal and when used as a greeting it can stand alone without an answer, like “What’s up?”
15. ¿Qué tal?
- What’s the situation?
Mostly used in Spain and also in Paraguay, this would definitely be Kim Possible’s choice greeting.
16. ¿Todo bien? ¡Todo bien!
- All good?
This is a check-in question and it’s statement is also a response, “I’m all good!” to any of the above questions. Even if the question is ‘todo bien?’ the answer can still be ‘todo bien.’
17. ¿Qué hay de nuevo?
- What’s new?
This is a good starter when you haven’t caught up recently or feel like you don’t have much to discuss.
In Spain, ¿Qué hay? can also be heard.
Alternatives to How Are You? (for intermediate Spanish speakers)
18. ¿Cómo has estado?
- “How have you been?”
For more sophisticated grammar, you can try “How have you been?” to show off your auxiliary verb usage or also, ¿Cómo te ha ido? “How has it been going for you?”
19. ¿Qué onda?
- What’s up?
Here the word wave or onda can refer to a vibe. In Mexico, Guatemala and Bolivia, you ask, “What’s the vibe?” In Nicaragua it may be spelled, Qué honda? or in El Salvador, Quionda?
20. ¿Cómo andás?
- “What have you been doing?”
Using a different verb conjugation for vos in Argentina or Uruguay, it is common to ask, “How are you walking?” Another question for vos is ¿Qué hacés? which is, “What have you been doing?”
21. ¿Cómo va?
- “How is it going?”
“How is it going?” is common in Colombia, and ¿Cómo vas? is another version of the same question even though it technically asks, “How are you going?”
22. ¿Qué más?
- What more? What else?
While it sounds like this would be used after you’ve already been talking for some time, in Colombia, Venezuela and Peru, you can start off with this phrase meaning, “What else is new?”
23. ¿Qué hubo?
- What was?
This colloquialism is used to ask “What’s new?” or “What’s happened?” and can also be spelled quiubo, quiubas or kiubo in Mexico and Honduras. ¿Qué fue? also uses the past tense to ask “What was?” in Ecuador.
24. ¿Bien o qué?
- Is it good or what?
This is a check-in, used in Colombia, to make sure you’re doing well. It is interchangeable with ¿bien o no?
25. ¿Qué bolá?
- “What’s flying?”
In Cuba, this phrase has many forms including, Qué bolá contigo? Que volá? ¿Qué bolero? ¿Qué vuelta? It is said to come from the verb volar “to fly” and could translate to “What’s flying?”
Now you know all the ways to say Hello in Spanish.
By Micaela Segal de la Garza
P.S. If you want to speak MORE Spanish, may I suggest SpanishPod101? Basically, you sign up and they give you audio/video lessons and teach you real conversations. Can’t say hello? You will. Can’t write Spanish? You will. They have tons of lessons you can take at your pace. Very fun and easy way to learn Spanish.