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. If you’re wondering when the Nachmittag is, it’s between 3pm and 6pm.
But if you want to wish someone a good afternoon in German… Guten Nachmittag is probably not your first port of call.
In this post, we’ll show you five ways of wishing someone a good afternoon in German to best 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.
Good Afternoon in German at a Glance
The Most Common Ways of Saying Good Afternoon in German
You might recognize Guten Tag , a classic German Greeting.
This phrase 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. People use Guten Tag all throughout the day.
Read next: 18 Ways To Say Good Morning in German
While you can say Guten Nachmittag to wish someone a good afternoon in German, this expression is not used often on its own. But it does exist.
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. See the following examples of how to use Guten Nachmittag:
- Guten Nachmittag alle zusammen!
- Hattest du einen guten Nachmittag?
- Guten Nachmittag, kann ich bitte Herrn Meier sprechen?
- Good 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)
The phrase Schönen Nachmittag is a way of parting while wishing someone a nice afternoon.
You most often say Schönen Nachmittag to say goodbye, either in person or on the phone.
You can also accompany this expression with the word noch, to form the expression Schönen Nachmittag noch, which roughly means “Have a nice rest of the afternoon”.
The phrase Angenehmen Nachmittag means “pleasant afternoon” in German. You can use this 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 Nachmittag
The phrase Ich 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. The word 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.
Good Afternoon in Northern Germany
The above-mentioned expressions are all used and understood in Germany. But there are also some regional variations on the expressions.
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 Grüß Gott (it literally means “greet God”, but can be translated to “good day”.)
Good Afternoon in Austria and Switzerland
Since the German regions Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg are close to both Austria and Switzerland, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that greetings are similar too.
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’s a fun one to keep in the arsenal.
Feel free to try it out and let us know how it goes!