Spanish Directions for Your Next Trip

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How to Ask for Directions and How to Understand Directions in Spanish So That You Don’t Get Lost While Travelling!

Are you planning to visit a Spanish-speaking country and you don’t speak the language? Then it’s probably better to learn some basic Spanish. You might be surprised by how many people will not understand or speak English.

You might think that all you need is your phone to translate, communicate and navigate through a foreign country. And you might be right in normal circumstances where your phone is the ideal travel partner for any occasion.

But what happens when you run out of battery, there’s no service, the place you were looking for is nowhere to be found, or you loose your sense of direction? There are many scenarios where you might need to ask for directions in Spanish during your trip.

Where or When Do You Need to Know Spanish Directions?

Maybe you are right where you’re supposed to be, but you can’t find the entrance. Or perhaps you have a paper map with you, but you’re lost now and you have no idea where you are on the map.

In these scenarios, you’d better be able to ask for the nearest bus stop or where to find a taxi to go home. Therefore, you need to know how to ask for, understand and give directions in Spanish.

Why Do You Need to Learn to Ask For, Understand, and Give Directions in Spanish?

Asking for understandable directions in Spanish is very important if you want someone to help you find something. It only makes sense if you know how to do both – how to ask for directions in Spanish and how to understand directions in Spanish. 

Imagine you’re in a foreign Spanish-speaking country, and you need to find the nearest pharmacy. You might be able to ask where the nearest pharmacy is in Spanish, but unless you know how to give directions in Spanish, you probably won’t understand the directions that will be given to you.

But don’t worry, you found the right blog! We have put together for you the most useful phrases and vocabulary related to directions. It’s time to learn some directions in Spanish and prepare for your travel – without getting lost!

1. Asking for Directions in Spanish

Now it’s time to look at some helpful phrases and vocabulary to ask for directions in Spanish. Whether you plan to travel with your phone or a paper map, these translations might come in handy! 

Learn how to approach people properly and how to ask for directions.

Also, look at the vocabulary related to common places and locations that you might want to find, the ones people might use to explain Spanish directions to you.

How to Approach People to Ask for Help

If you want someone to help you, show and explain where you have to go or where you will find something, you should adequately approach people.

So, if you want to ask locals for directions in Spanish, you might want to use a simple “Excuse me” or “Hello” before asking questions. Here are some greetings and phrases that will help you start conversations. Read our post “Greetings in Spanish and other Common Phrases for Daily Life” to learn more.

       Perdona / DisculpaExcuse me? 


       Buenos díasGood morning

       Buenas tardesGood afternoon

       Buenas nochesGood evening (approximately after 9 pm)

       Tengo una preguntaI have a question

       Tengo otra preguntaI have another question

Directions are not always easy to follow, especially when the person giving the directions speaks a language you are not used to or too fast for your level. Usually, Spanish speakers talk quite quickly, so if you have trouble understanding them, ask them to repeat themselves or talk slower. Or even both!


       ¿Puedes repetir, por favor?Can you repeat that, please?

       ¿Puedes repetir más despacio, por favor?Can you repeat that more slowly, please?

       ¿Puedes hablar más despacio, por favor?Can you please speak more slowly?

       ¿Perdona / Disculpa, no entendí bien. ¿Lo puedes decir otra vez, por favor? Sorry, I did not get it. Can you please say that again?

       ¡Despacio, por favor! – Slowly, please!

And don’t forget to say thank you after receiving your directions:

       Gracias Thank you

       Muchas graciasThank you very much

       Gracias por tu ayuda Thank you for your help (informal)

       Gracias por su ayuda – Thank you for your help (formal)

Useful tip:

If you ask for directions and are unsure whether you’ll understand everything or you’ll forget the directions, make sure to record the directions on your phone.

You can do that using voice messages or a recording app usually pre-installed on any smartphone. This way, you can listen to the directions multiple times, you can slow them down, and even look up the words you don’t understand.

Of course, this only makes sense if your phone still has a battery!

Useful Phrases

       ¿Dónde está el/la…?Where is the…?

       ¿Dónde hay un/una…? – Where is a/an…?

       Estoy buscando I am looking for…

       ¿Dónde puedo encontrar?Where can I find…?

       ¿Podrías decirme dónde está…? – Could you tell me where … is?

       ¿Cómo llego a…? – How do I get to…?

       ¿Cuál es la mejor forma de ir a…?  – What is the best way to go to…?

       ¿Puedes decirme cómo llegar a…?Can you give me directions to…?

       ¿Hay … cerca de aquí?Is there … around here/ nearby?

       ¿Está cerca? – Is it near?

       ¿Está cerca de…? – Is it close to …?

       ¿A qué distancia está…?/¿A cuánto está…? – How far is …?

       ¿Voy bien por aquí? – Is this the right way?

Helpful Phrases for Public Transportation

       ¿Hay algún autobús que pase por allí?Is there a bus that goes nearby?

       ¿Dónde está la parada de autobús?Where is the next bus stop?

Here are some phrases you might want to use if you are looking for a certain place that you can’t find on your map or when you want to know where you are currently at:

       ¿Podrías señalarme dónde estamos en este mapa? – Could you show me where we are on this map?

       ¿Puedes señalarme dónde está … en este mapa?Can you show me where … is on this map?

       Estoy buscando cómo llegar a… ¿Me puedes mostrar en el mapa?I am looking for directions to … Can you show me on the map?

Vocabulary of Common Places and Locations


Spanish English

el hospital


la farmacia


la comisaría de policía / la estación de policía

police station

Public Transportation

Spanish English

la estación de autobuses

bus station

la parada de taxis

taxi station

la estación de tren

train station

General Places and Locations

Spanish English

el semáforo

stoplight / traffic light

el paso de peatones


la avenida


la calle


la autopista


la carretera


la acera; la benqueta (México)


el camino

way / path

la rotonda


el puente


la dirección (postal)


el barrio


el apartamento


el hotel


la iglesia


el parque


la plaza


el mercado


el centro comercial

shopping mall

los grandes almacenes

department store

la tienda


la escuela; el colegio


la universidad


el cine


el museo


el teatro


la biblioteca


el banco


la cafetería


la panadería


la frutería

fruit shop

la pescadería

fish shop

el restaurante


2. Understanding Directions

Now that you have learned how to ask for directions, it is essential to look at the topic of understanding directions. Here, you will most likely find the Spanish direction words you were looking for in the first place. 

You will learn to describe the position of things or people in order to receive and give directions in Spanish. But why do you need to do this?

To understand Spanish directions, you must learn and practice giving them. Only when you know how to use the vocabulary and phrases of directions can you understand Spanish directions. After all, you are more likely to understand something once you have practiced it many times and are familiar with the vocabulary.

How Do You Receive and Give Information?

You might want first to know the four cardinal directions in Spanish – the directions found on a compass. After all, cardinal directions are the basics of roughly understanding where you are, where you want to go, and where you should go.

Learning some simple Spanish directions – prepositions, adverbs, and verbs- is also essential. Otherwise, you will not be able to understand where to go. 

Imagine someone is giving you directions, but you only understand north, east, left, right, and straight. You would not know when or where to follow those directions. What happens when you don’t know the Spanish translation of verbs like turn, go, and walk? You would not be able to follow the directions.

Cardinal Directions

Spanish English









hacia el norte / este / sur / oeste

to the north / east / south / west

Directions, Prepositions and Adverbs

Spanish English





a la derecha (de)

on the right (of)

a la izquierda (de)

on the left (of)





encima (de)


debajo (de)


fuera (de)

out / outside

dentro (de)

in / inside

detrás (de)


al otro lado

on the other side

al final (de); al fondo (de)

at the end of

al principio (de); al comienzo (de)

at the beginning of

en la esquina

at the corner

enfrente (de)


delante (de)

in front of

entre ... y ...

between ... and ...

al lado (de)

next to





por ahí

that way

cerca (de)

close / near


far away



todo recto

straight on









próximo / próxima


primero / primera


segundo / segunda


tercero / tercera


Common Spanish Verbs Used for Giving Directions

Spanish English

girar; doblar; torcer

to turn

dar la vuelta

to turn around

girar a la derecha / izquierda

to turn right / left

parar; detenerse

to stop

cruzar; atravesar

to cross

caminar; andar

to walk

conducir; manejar

to drive


to continue; to follow


to go


to go up


to go down


to go out


to arrive


to enter

coger (Spain only)

to take

pasar por

to pass by

dirigirse a (formal); tirar para (informal)

to head towards

3. What's Next?

We know these new phrases and vocabulary are a lot to remember! 

If you don’t want to get lost on your next trip, you can download our PDF Cheat Sheet from the topic of “Spanish for Travel.” This way, you will always have essential vocabulary and phrases! 

In the PDF, you will also find a section on asking for and receiving Spanish directions.

Spanish for Travel
Spanish for Travel
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If you are interested in other aspects of travelling in a Spanish speaking country and want to learn more helpful phrases, check out our blog post.

Telling the Time in Spanish
telling the time in Spanish
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Everything you should know about the Time in Spanish we covered in our detailed list. Find audios and exercises to help you practice what you've learned.

4. Practice

It is always important to practice what you have learned! 

And don’t be shy to make mistakes or speak Spanish! The best way to learn phrases or vocabulary is by using them repeatedly until they become more natural. That way, you will be prepared for your next trip to a Spanish-speaking country – even if you get lost!

It might be helpful to learn how to give directions in Spanish while listening to our podcast. In this podcast episode, we talk about how to locate stores on the street in Spanish and how to ask for and give directions to a place in the city.

Now it’s your time to practice!

Try to use the vocabulary and phrases you have learned today in the examples below to practice their use! That way, you’ll remember them quicker, you’ll feel more confident using them, and it’ll be more likely to understand them in a real-life situation.

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