Croatian beer

Cheers in Croatian: Best Way to Impress the Locals!

Do you love to go to Croatia and want to impress the locals by saying cheers in Croatian?

When you travel, it’s the small things you do that help you connect with the people there. One of the best ways to do this is to learn how to make toasts and drink like the locals. So, how to say cheers in Croatian?

This post is for you if you’re going to Croatia or just want to learn more about their society.

Let’s dive in and find out!

How to say cheers in Croatian?

In the beautiful Croatian language, when friends and family meet around a table full of laughter, food, and drinks, they say Živjeli! (pronounced as zheev-yeh-lee) as a toast to good times. This one word actually has a lot of different meanings.

It stands for good wishes, joy, and friendship. When someone raises their glass and says Živjeli, they are not just marking the time. They are also wishing everyone present happiness, good health, and wealth!

Cheers in Croatian - Croatian beer
Croatian beer

Saying Živjeli is more than just a way for you as a tourist or traveler to fit in when you’re are in Croatia. It’s a small but important way to show respect for Croatian practises and customs.

Whether you’re drinking a glass of local wine, a pint of beer, or the strong rakija, knowing and using this word will definitely make you more popular with the locals and make your time in this lively country more enjoyable.

How to toast in Croatian?

In Croatia, a toast is like a whole gesture that is full of custom and respect. Here’s how you can do it in the best way when you’re surrounded by locals:

  • Making Eye Contact: Before you start, look at the person or people you are toasting with in the eyes. This step is more than just a formality as it shows real connection, respect, and earnestness.

    It’s like you’re giving the other person your full attention and enjoying the time you’re spending together.
  • Raise Your Glass: Bring your drink up to where you can see it. This move is a way to show that the event is important and deserves to be remembered.

    It’s not just about the drink; it’s also about the people and the experience everyone has together.
  • Say Živjeli: The Croatian word for cheers. You say it like zheev-yeh-lee. When you say it, you should do so with nice energy and warmth. Let it be a loud and clear statement of your good wishes and happiness for everyone!
  • Clink Glasses: Gently bring your glass to the others. This soft clinking sound is like a celebration of friendship. It makes the toast more of a group thing and marks a shared event.
  • Take a Sip: Take a big sip of your drink after the clink. It’s the last part of the toast, a physical experience that ties together the action and the words. It’s also a way to share in the happiness and good thoughts you just shared.

If you follow these steps, your toast will not only be sincere and from the heart, but it will also show that you respect Croatian traditions. This is the best possible way to impress the locals!

What is the national drink of Croatia?

With its long past and many different regions, Croatia is home to many drinks that have been loved for centuries. But among all of them, Rakija stands out as the national drink that Croatians love the most.

Rakija is a strong fruit brandy that is usually made in every home in the country. It comes from Croatia, where the process of making Rakija has been passed down from generation to generation.

Types of Rakija
Types of Rakija

There are different kinds of Rakija based on what fruit is used to make it, but the most common ones are made from plums or grapes. The drink, which often has 40% or more alcohol by volume, is drunk not only for its strength but also for its flavour, which changes depending on the type of fruit used and how it was distilled.

It is often shared at parties, get-togethers, or even as a nice way to welcome you. Rakija is often served as a welcome drink to people who come to Croatia, which shows how important it is to the culture and how deeply it is rooted.

If you want to explore the gastronomy of Zagreb, I can really recommend the Zagreb Restaurants Food Walking Tour to try some of the best local dishes and drinks:

Book your Zagreb Restaurants Food Walking Tour here to explore the local gastronomy!

Can you drink in public in Croatia?

Even though drinking is a big part of life in Croatia, you can’t do it in public places like streets, parks, or public transportation.

You can drink your drink in bars, restaurants, and on terraces, among other places. It’s important to know this rule so you don’t get in trouble.

How do you say basic phrases in Croatian?

Knowing a few simple words in Croatian will help you get along with people there:

  1. Hello: Bok (pronounced as bawk)
  2. Good day: Dobar dan (pronounced as doh-bar dahn)
  3. Cheers!: Živjeli! (pronounced as zheev-yeh-lee)
  4. Thank you: Hvala (pronounced as hvah-lah)
  5. Please: Molim (pronounced as mo-lim)
  6. Yes: Da (pronounced as dah)
  7. No: Ne (pronounced as neh)
  8. Water, please: Vodu, molim. (pronounced as vo-doo, mo-lim)
  9. Can I get a beer?: Mogu li dobiti pivo? (pronounced as moh-goo lee doh-bee-tee pee-vo?)
  10. A glass of wine, please: Čaša vina, molim. (pronounced as chah-sha vee-na, mo-lim)
  11. I am hungry: Gladan sam (for males) / Gladna sam (for females) (pronounced as glah-dahn sahm / glah-dna sahm)
  12. I would like to order: Želio bih naručiti. (for men) / Željela bih naručiti. (for women) (pronounced as zheh-lee-oh bee-h na-roo-chee-tee / zhel-yeh-la bee-h na-roo-chee-tee)
  13. Enjoy your meal: Dobar tek! (pronounced as doh-bar tek)
  14. How much is this?: Koliko je ovo? (pronounced as koh-lee-ko ye oh-vo?)
  15. Where is the restroom?: Gdje je WC? (pronounced as gd-yeh ye vee-ce?)

These phrases are related to eating and drinking in Croatia and might help you out in restaurants, bars or cafes!

How do you ask for beer in Croatian?

In Croatia, which has a long history of crafting beer, asking for a beer is both an easy request and a nod to the country’s love of the drink.

If you want to order a beer in a Croatian bar, club or restaurant, you would say Mogu li dobiti pivo, molim? To break it down, Mogu li means Can I, then dobiti means get, and pivo is the word for beer. Putting molim at the end of please is a nice way to say it.

Another Croatian beer brand
Another Croatian beer brand

If you say this phrase and use it to order, you will not only get a refreshing drink, but you will also show that you have a basic understanding of and respect for the Croatian language, which the locals always love.

Cheers in Croatia: FAQs

The information below is related to saying cheers in the Croatian language but then in different situations!

What do Croatians say before eating?

In Croatia, as in many other places around the world, sharing a meal is about more than just the food. It’s about making connections, being part of a group, and having a shared experience at the (in most cases) long table.

Croats often take a moment to say Dobar tek! before digging into a tasty spread. This phrase, which is pronounced as doh-bar-tek, is a way to wish fellow guests well. It’s like giving someone a good meal and putting the focus on how much fun it is to eat with other people.

Croatian octopus in Hvar
Croatian octopus in Hvar

When you say Dobar tek! before a meal, you show that you are polite and appreciate both the food and the people you are eating with.

So, the next time you eat a meal in Croatia, remember these two simple words to make the meal better for you and everyone else.

What do Croatians say when you sneeze?

When someone sneezes in Croatia, the immediate response from those around is to say, Na zdravlje! This saying is pronounced as nah zdrah-vlyeh and means To your health!

This is not just a Croatian thing to do. It comes from the idea in many cultures that sneezing gets rid of bad energy or ghosts.

So, when Croatians say Na zdravlje! after someone sneezes, they are basically acknowledging the sneeze and wishing the person well.

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    The Wrap-Up: Cheers in Croatian

    So, when it comes to saying cheers in Croatian, it can be helpful to know the local phrases and habits of Croatia, especially when it comes to drinking and toasting.

    If you say Živjeli or ask for pivo the right way, you’ll surprise the locals and have a great time in this beautiful country.

    With this knowledge in mind, have a good trip, and Živjeli!

    If you want to know more about this topic in this region, check out my post about saying cheers in Hungarian or how to toast in Poland!

    Your restless voyager,


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