In this article, we will go over phrases that will help you ask for directions and give directions in Spanish. Having the ability to ask someone how to get to your destination when you are lost is a basic need if you plan to visit a Spanish-speaking country or if you’re traveling with someone who only speaks Spanish. (Check out our article which includes some Spanish phrases for travel)
How to ask for directions in Spanish
Something you may not have thought of is that you’ll also need to know how to approach someone to ask for directions. We have previously gone over essential phrases to know in Spanish, and in that article, we reviewed polite expressions.
One phrase that we discuss is how to say “excuse me” (disculpa/disculpe). Whenever you approach someone to ask for directions, start off by saying disculpa / disculpe. A couple of other significant words to know when addressing someone before asking for directions are nouns for people, such as “sir” (señor), and “ma’am” (señora).
There are other ways to say hello, which are acceptable ways to approach someone before inquiring about directions. We have talked about saying hello in Spanish before and even given you country-specific tips for different Spanish-speaking countries.
Here are some examples of greetings in Spanish:
- Morning time: Buenos días (Good morning)
- Afternoon and evening time: Buenas tardes (Good afternoon)
- Night time: Buenas noches (Goodnight)
Busuu ensures you can always find your way
Learning basic phrases that will help you move around a foreign country smoothly is essential. Busuu teaches you phrases on how to ask for directions in Spanish (and other languages) so that you always have them in your back pocket if you need them.
Once you have approached someone to ask them for directions, you may want to inform them that you are lost (estoy perdido/a). It could also happen that someone else comes to you saying that they’re lost, and it would be useful to know how to help.
Asking for directions in Spanish
While knowing a polite way to approach someone is definitely a skill you need to know, it is an absolute necessity to be able to ask where something is.
Here are the 10 most common phrases used to ask for directions:
- ¿Dónde está...? (Where is...?)
- ¿Sabe dónde está...? (Do you know where... is?)
- ¿Cómo llego a...? (How do I get to...?
- ¿Puede indicarme el camino hacia...? (Can you show me the way to...?)
- ¿Cómo se va a...? (How do you get to...?)
- ¿Hay una... por aquí? (Is there a... around here?)
- ¿Me puede decir cómo llegar a...? (Can you tell me how to get to...?)
- ¿Estoy en la dirección correcta para llegar a...? (Am I going in the right direction to get to...?)
- ¿Hay una estación de metro/autobús cerca? (Is there a subway/bus station nearby?)
- Disculpe, necesito llegar a... (Excuse me, I need to get to...)
Examples of sentences to ask for directions in Spanish:
Disculpe, estoy perdido. ¿Sabe dónde está la estación de tren? (Excuse me, I’m lost. Do you know where the train station is?)
Buenos días, ¿me puede dar indicaciones para llegar al estadio? Estoy perdido. (Good morning, can you give me directions to the stadium? I am lost.)
Buenas tardes, señor, ¿sabe dónde está el museo? (Good afternoon sir, do you know where the museum is?)
Buenas noches, ¿cómo llego a la zona de hoteles? (Good evening, how do I get to the hotel area?)
Step 1 is knowing how to ask for help to find your way when you’re lost. Step 2 is understanding directions. Knowing and understanding the directions and locations someone gives you when you're lost is crucial to finding your way. This knowledge is valuable for expanding your vocabulary.
Giving directions in Spanish
Getting around to see new sights or meet up with people to dine with is typically not challenging. You may take a car with a driver who knows exactly where to drop you off, or you may be traveling with someone familiar with the area, and that’s always extremely helpful no matter where you are in the world.
But there are times when you have to guide your driver, or you’re by yourself or with a group who is as unfamiliar with the area as you are; this is when having the skills on how to give directions in Spanish or ask for them comes in handy.
Here is a list of the most common phrases to give directions in Spanish
- Siga recto (Go straight ahead)
- Gire a la izquierda (Turn left)
- Gire a la derecha (Turn right)
- Tome la primera/segunda/tercera calle (Take the first/second/third street)
- Cruce… (Cross…)
- Pase… (Go past…)
- Está a la vuelta de la esquina (It's around the corner)
- Está enfrente de… (It's in front of…)
- Camine unos metros (Walk a few meters)
- Suba/baje la calle (Go up/down the street)
- Siga las indicaciones para llegar a... (Follow the signs to get to...)
- Está cerca/lejos (It 's close/far.)
- No tiene pérdida (You can't miss it.)
- Está a unos… minutos a pie (It 's about a …-minute walk.)
- Está al lado de… (It 's next to…)
Like when you get and give directions in English, it is necessary to recognize cardinal points to understand whether you are north, south, east, or west of where you’re trying to go.
Let’s start with where you are and where your destination is in proximity to you. Imagine you want to visit a cathedral or museum—you’ll need to be able to understand what direction to go!
- Norte (North)
- Sur (South)
- Este (East)
- Oeste (West)
- Noroeste (Northwest)
- Nordeste/noreste (Northeast)
- Sudoeste/suroeste (Southwest)
- Sudeste/sureste (Southeast)
- Centro (Center)
Next, you’ll need to know the direction of your destination. Will it be to the right, left, straight ahead, or behind you? Or is your destination in front of or behind something? You’ll also want to discern if your end point is close or still a distance away.
Directions and positions in Spanish
- Derecha (Right)
- Izquierda (Left)
- Derecho/Recto (Straight)
- Desde (From)
- Hasta (Until)
- Enfrente (In front)
- Detrás (Behind)
- Cerca (Close by)
- Lejos (Far)
- En (In/On/At)
- Entre (Between)
- Dentro (Inside)
- Fuera (Outside)
- Al lado (Next to)
- Aquí (Here)
- Ahí, allí (There)
Some examples of directions and positions in a sentence
- La tienda está enfrente de la biblioteca. (The store is in front of the library.)
- Gire a la derecha en el semáforo. (Take a right at the street light.)
- La parada de autobús está cerca de la escuela. (The bus stop is close to the school.)
- Estoy afuera de la cafetería. (I’m outside the cafe.)
- El hotel queda lejos de aquí. (The hotel is far from here.)
Note: A couple of other useful phrases in the event that you are lost, are how to ask someone to speak more slowly, to repeat themselves, or if they speak English.
Other helpful questions to know:
- ¿Puede hablar más despacio? (Can you speak more slowly?)
- ¿Puede repetirlo? (Can you repeat that for me?)
- ¿Habla inglés? (Do you speak English?)
Finding your way with Spanish directions
We don’t want you to worry or be too anxious about being lost. But if you are, it’s good to have the proper vocabulary to help you find your way.
Through lessons on Busuu and practice, preferably with a native speaker, you will become comfortable with the pronunciation, words, and phrases that we discussed in this post. We also encourage you to favorite or save this article for easy access; it could serve as a reference if you find yourself stumped and abroad.
Never get lost along the way…
With Busuu’s free online lessons and learning resources, you’ll be guided along your path!
Continue on your journey, together with a community of native Spanish speakers on Busuu, who are all ready to help and ensure that you will never get lost on your way to Spanish fluency!
You might also like…
Colors in Spanish
Talking about the weather in Spanish
10 popular Spanish slang words in Spain and Latin America
Understanding the imperative for commands in Spanish
Spanish question words
A beginner’s guide to learning Spanish
How to speak Spanish