Have you ever wondered what Germans do in the afternoon? “Kaffee und Kuchen” (coffee and cake) is a German tradition that takes place during the “Nachmittag” (afternoon). Your visit to Germany isn’t complete until you have participated in this cherished ritual which takes place during the “Nachmittag”, the time between 3pm and 6pm.
In this post, we’ll show you 5 ways to say good afternoon in German and leave you prepared for your next adventure. Read until the end if you want to find out how to say good afternoon in German in different regions of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
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Good Afternoon in German at a Glance
Ich wünsche Ihnen einen schönen Nachmittag
I wish you a nice afternoon
The Most Common Ways of Saying Good Afternoon in German
You might recognize Guten Tag , a classic German Greeting. It means “Good day” in English. While this greeting isn’t strictly used for the afternoon, it’s the most common way to say hello in the afternoon.
This versatile greeting can be used throughout the morning and afternoon hours until the evening (when you would switch to “Guten Abend” – “good evening”).
Read next: 18 Ways To Say Good Morning in German
Guten NachmittagGuten Nachmittag , German for good afternoon is the expression that is the least used on its own. When you enter someone’s house or an establishment it’s much more common to say “Guten Tag” (good day) instead of “Guten Nachmittag”, even if it’s between 3pm and 6pm. It is not unheard of though, check out the following examples to learn how to use “Guten Nachmittag”:
GermanGuten Nachmittag alle zusammen! Hattest du einen guten Nachmittag?Guten Nachmittag, kann ich bitte Herrn Meier sprechen?
EnglishGood afternoon everybody! (as you enter a room and greet a group of people)Did you have a good afternoon? (to ask about someone’s day)Good afternoon, may I speak with Mr. Meier? (to greet someone on the phone)
Schönen NachmittagSchönen Nachmittag ‘, which can be translated to “nice afternoon” is an expression you will commonly hear in German-speaking countries. It is most often used to say goodbye, either in person or on the phone and can be accompanied by the word “noch” forming the expression “Schönen Nachmittag noch” which roughly means “have a nice rest of the afternoon”
Angenehmen NachmittagAngenehmen Nachmittag means “pleasant afternoon” in German and can be used like “schönen Nachmittag”. The time period of “Nachmittag” is often related to “Feierabend” (the end of the workday) since most Germans finish work at around 5pm.
Ich wünsche Ihnen einen schönen NachmittagIch wünsche Ihnen einen schönen Nachmittag is the perfect way of saying “I wish you a nice afternoon”. You can use it to say goodbye to someone or wish them a nice rest of the day. “Ihnen” indicates a formal relationship with the person you are addressing. Substitute it with“Dir” in cases of informal relationships with friends and family. You can also switch out “schönen” with “guten” or “angenehmen”.
Read next: 14 Ways to Say Goodbye in German – Beyond Auf Wiedersehen
Good Afternoon in Northern Germany
The above-mentioned expressions are all used and understood in Germany. There are however some differences, unique to each region.
Germans from the capital (Berlin) like it simple, “ hallo ” to say hello and “ tschau ” to say goodbye are commonly used expressions – no matter the time of day or night. You will also hear “tach” (day as in good day) and “ Guude ” (also good day) in the North of the country. Don’t be surprised if you hear “ Moin ” throughout the day – although it refers to the morning, it is used all day long in some regions.
Read next: 10 Ways of Saying Good Night in German
Good Afternoon in Southern Germany
In Bavaria it is common to say “ Servus ” to greet a person, no matter what time of day. In Baden-Württemberg (to the left of Bavaria) locals prefer to say “ Gruess Gott ” (it literally means greet god, but can be translated to “good day”.
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Good Afternoon in Austria and Switzerland
Since the German regions Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg are close to both Austria and Switzerland, it doesn’t come as a surprise that greetings are similar too. In Austria “ Gruess Goitt ” and “ Servus ” are frequently used in the afternoon and throughout the day. In Switzerland locals opt for “ Salü ” and “ Grüzi ” which can also be used to greet someone all day long.
If you have read this post until the end you have learned that German speakers don’t care much what time of day it is, greetings are versatile and frequently used throughout the whole day. While nobody expects you to say “Guten Nachmittag” in the afternoon, it is always fun to learn new vocabulary. No that you’ve learned how to say good afternoon in German, feel free to try it out and let us know how it goes!