Grüss Gott or Guten Tag?

Which is the preferred expression in the Rhine/Mosel areas? I learned to use it in the Italian Dolomites and Bavaria. Such a nice phrase, but I'd like to be appropriate. Is there a German equivalent for "hi" or is "hallo" the common term?

Posted by Tom
Lewiston, NY
11065 posts

Say "Hallo". "Grüß Gott" is only for southern Bavaria and some parts of Austria. "Guten Tag" is rather formal.

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
14119 posts

I think in the Rhein/Mosel region I most likely hear "Guten Tag" (good day). It's in Catholic Bavaria, in particular southern Bavaria, that I hear Grüß Gott (God's greeting). In the 1980s I stayed in Heidelberg, Rothenburg, and even in Munich, without hearing anyone use Grüß Gott. It wasn't until I got to Garmisch-Partenkirchen that I first heard the term. I think today it is more widely used in Bavaria, like in Munich.

Just listen to what they use and follow suit. If you enter a store and the clerk greets you with "Tag", say Tag back, but if they say Grüß Gott, return it.

Posted by Ms. Jo
Frankfurt, Germany
5687 posts

You can say whatever you prefer, even in Bavaria you can say Guten Tag, or in the morning, Guten Morgen. You don't hear Grüß Gott up north, but if you like saying it, people will be ok and understand what you mean. All Germans know that this is a Bavarian greeting. You may hear a lot of Moin, Moin as a greeting throughout the day. It is more prevalent up north, but also popular in other parts of Germany. I hear it a lot in Frankfurt.

Posted by Philip
London, United Kingdom
2877 posts

Also, the German "Hallo" should be pronounced with definite "a" vowel sound as in "pal", not like "Hello".

Posted by Tim
Knoxville, TN, USA
4369 posts

Walking through the hotel in the mornings most people I've ever spoken with just say "Morgen" in passing.

Posted by Andreas
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
2701 posts

Rule of thumb: "Grüß Gott" only in Southern Bavaria, all over Austria and in Alto Adige (Südtirol). NOT in Switzerland.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
6816 posts

Grüß Gott is also appropriate in the Schwabian region (around Stuttgart).

As Andreas noted, it is not to be confused with the Swiss greeting Grüezi (or Grüezi mitenand for more than one person).

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
5050 posts


As pointed out to you, say "Grüß Gott" in Austria or "Servus" in Vienna, Grüß Gott in Bavaria. In the middle Rhine area Guten Tag is fine or, more informally, just say "Tag" to shorten it. To say "bye" as when you leave the store, say Tschüss or Wiedersehen...good enough.

Posted by Kay
Vancouver, WA, USA
448 posts

What fun! All sorts of ways to greet people - but not "Grüß Gott" where we're headed. I appreciate knowing the more colloquial greetings. I learned some new ones (Tschüss and Moin). We truly heard and said "Grüß Gott" a lot in the Alto Adige (Südtirol) and Bavaria. Thanks, everyone!