Spanish Directions for Your Next Trip

  • Save
This post includes:

Learn 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 without being able to speak Spanish? Then it is probably better to learn some basic Spanish. You might be surprised at how many people won’t be able to understand or speak English. 

I know you might think that all you need is your phone to translate, communicate and navigate you through a foreign country. And you might be right in the usual 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 simply lost orientation? There are many different scenarios where you might need to ask for directions in Spanish during your travel.

 

Where or when do you need to know Spanish directions?

 

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

In these scenarios, you at least want to be able to ask for the nearest bus stop or where to find a taxi in order to get “home”. Therefore, you need to know how to ask for, receive and give directions in Spanish.

 

Why do you need to learn how to ask for, receive and give directions in Spanish?

 

Asking for and understanding Spanish directions are both 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. One simply doesn’t work without the other! 

Imagine you are traveling 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 will probably not understand the directions given to you.

But don´t worry, you found the right blogspot! We put together 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!

Asking for Directions

Now it is 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 properly approach people and how to ask for directions.

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

How to Approach People to Ask for Help

 

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

So, if you want to ask locals for directions in Spanish, you might want to use a simple “Excuse me” or “Hello” before you start asking questions. Here are some greetings and phrases that help you start conversations:

       Perdona / DisculpaExcuse me? 

       HolaHello

       Buenos díasGood morning

       Buenos tardesGood afternoon

       Buenos 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 hearing or if the person is speaking too fast for your language skills. Usually, Spanish speakers talk quite fast, so if you have trouble understanding them just ask them to repeat themselves or talk slower. Or even both!

       ¿Qué?What

       ¿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 (formal)

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

Tip:

If you ask for directions and you are unsure that you will understand everything or are likely to forget the directions, make sure to record the directions on your phone.

You can do that using voice messages or a recording app that is 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 words should you not understand some vocabulary.

Of course, this only makes sense, if your phone still has 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 …?

       ¿Podría 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 …?

       ¿Puede 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 …?

       ¿Qué tan lejos 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:

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

       ¿Puedes mostrarme 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

Emergency

Spanish 🇪🇸 English 🇺🇸

el hospital

hospital

la farmacia

pharmacy

la comisaría de policía / la estación de policía

police station

Public Transportation

Spanish 🇪🇸 English 🇺🇸

la estación de autobuses

bus station

la estación 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

crosswalk

la avenida

avenue

la calle

street

la autopista

highway

la carretera

road

la acera; la benqueta (México)

sidewalk

el camino

way / path

la rotonda

roundabout

el puente

bridge

la dirección (postal)

address

el barrio

neighbourhood

el apartamento

apartment

el hotel

hotel

la iglesia

church

el parque

park

la plaza

square

el mercado

market

el centro comercial

shopping mall

los grandes almacenes

department store

la tienda

shop

la escuela; el colegio

school

la universidad

university

el cine

cinema

el museo

museum

el teatro

theater

la biblioteca

libary

el banco

bank

la cafetería

cafeteria

la panadería

bakery

la frutería

fruit shop

la pescadería

fish shop

el restaurante

restaurant

Understanding Directions

Now that you have learned how to ask for directions, it is important 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, so that you are able to receive and give directions in Spanish. Why?

In order to understand Spanish directions, you need to learn and practice how to give them. Only when you know how to use the vocabulary and phrases of directions, then you are able to understand Spanish directions. After all, you are more likely to understand something once you have practiced it many times and you are familiar with the vocabulary.

 

How do you receive and give information?

 

The first thing you might want to know is what are 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.

It is also important to learn some simple Spanish directions – prepositions, adverbs and verbs. Otherwise you won’t be able to understand where to go. 

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


Cardinal Directions

Spanish 🇪🇸 English 🇺🇸

norte

north

este

east

sur

south

oeste

west

hacia el norte / este / sur / oeste

to the north / east / south / west

Directions, Prepositions and Adverbs

Spanish 🇪🇸 English 🇺🇸

derecha

right

izquierda

left

a la derecha (de)

on the right (of)

a la izquierda (de)

on the left (of)

arriba

up

abajo

down

encima (de)

on

debajo (de)

under

fuera (de)

out / outside

dentro (de)

in / inside

detrás (de)

behind

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)

opposite of

delante (de)

in front of

entre ... y ...

between ... and ...

al lado (de)

next to

aquí

here

ahí

there

por ahí

that way

cerca (de)

close / near

lejos

far away

derecho

straight

todo recto

straight on

En

at

desde

from

hacia

to

hasta

until

próximo / próxima

next

primero / primera

first

segundo / segunda

second

tercero / tercera

third

Common Spanisch 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

seguir

to follow / to continue

ir

to go

subir

to go up

bajar

to go down

salir

to go out

llegar

to arrive

entrar

to enter

coger (Spain only)

to take

pasar por

to pass by

dirigirse a (formal); tirar para (informal)

to head towards

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 the most important vocabulary and phrases with you! 

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

Want to learn more?

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

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 the phrases or vocabulary is by using them over and over until they become more natural to you. That way you are prepared for your next trip to a Spanish speaking country – even if you get lost!

It might be helpful to you 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. On our website “Let’s Speak Spanish!” you can also find the transcript of the podcast episode and exercises to the topic of Spanish directions.

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 will learn them quicker, feel more confident using them and are more likely to be able to understand them once you need to ask for and receive Spanish directions.

  • Save

  • Save

  • Save

​​Would you like to take your Spanish to the next level?

Whether you’re a complete beginner or you’re an advanced student, with us you’ll reach the next level of Spanish quickly and easily. With 24 Levels to Spanish fluency, the next level is always close by, so you will never lose motivation.

You can choose between:

 

In both cases, you’ll learn Spanish using our successful 24 Level System to Spanish Fluency® and our unique Spanish teaching methods.

  • Save
Share via
Copy link