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#1 Best Guide On How To Give Directions In Spanish

September 23, 2022

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I’m a very oriented guy. Whenever I travel with a group of friends, I'm always the one they talk to when they’re starting to feel lost. Most of the time, I can orient myself in the right way, but sometimes (are than I would like), I find myself in need of help. The last time I visited Spain, I was looking for a particular restaurant, and for some reason, I kept getting lost in the tangling web of streets of Barcelona.

I was running out of time, as my reservation for that restaurant that I had made months in advance would only hold for 30 minutes, and I had no clue on how to get there. Luckily, I went prepared with some vocabulary, and I was able to ask a local for directions in Spanish and got there just in time! Speaking Spanish was a tool that I am glad I had.

Knowing how to greet people and give directions in Spanish is very important and, most of all, useful in situations like this one. So, are you going to a Spanish-speaking country and want to know how to approach a local and understand his directions? Keep reading this, then!

I am lost in spanish

Locations In Spanish

Location in Spanish can be translated as localización or sitio. There are lots of words you can use to express the location of something, but normally, these words are used to describe where something is in relation to something else because you can’t give a direction without first having a reference point. Sounds confusing? Let’s break it down even more then.

Like in many other languages, locations are expressed in Spanish through the use of prepositions (preposiciónes). These are words that are attached to nouns or pronouns and describe the relation of these words with the world. Let’s explore some of these.

lady giving directions to a guy

The first word you need to know is de, which can mean “of,” “from,” “to,” “in,” “with,” or “in” and is used to describe the relationship between the location proposition and the noun or pronoun. It is usually combined with other prepositions to describe locations. For example. If you want to say that something is on top of something else, you’d say encima de (on top of).

When giving directions, you may follow by saying if something is close (en cerca de) or far (legos de) from something else. Notice how the word de is used as “to” when saying something is close and as “from” when saying something is far away.

The word “inside” is also very useful, and in Spanish, you’d say dentro de, so for example, if you want to ask if the ticket office of the museum is inside the building, you’d say ¿La taquilla está dentro del edificio? (Is the ticket office inside the building?). On the other hand, the word for “outside” is fuera de. Similarly if you want to say that something is on the side of something else, you say al lado de.

Other useful prepositions in giving Spanish directions are listed in the table below.

SpanishEnglishPronunciation
dentro deInside of
encima de/sobreOn top of
debajo deUnderneath of
delante deIn front of
detrás deBehind
entreBetween
enIn/on/at
dentro deInside of
fuera deOutside of
arriba deAbove
en medio deIn the middle of
cerca deClose to
lejos deFar from
al lado deNext to
alrededor deAround
a la izquierda deTo the left of
a la derecha deTo the right of
en la esquina deIn the corner of

Giving Directions In Spanish

red shoes on concrete with left and right arrows

Let’s start with the basics, in Spanish left is ezquierda and right is derecha, while up is arriba, and down is abajo. With these words, you can point in your direction and understand where you’re supposed to go.

Additionally to prepositions, there are also some verbs that are useful when describing a location in Spanish.

  • Estar - to be
  • Ve (informal) - Go
  • Vaya (formal) - Go
  • Camina - Go ahead
  • Rodea - Go around
  • Gira a la derecha/izquierda - Turn right/ turn left
  • Sube - Go up 
  • Baja - Go down
  • Sal - Go out
  • Entra - Enter
  • Pasa por - Pass by

Putting it all together, if you wanted to say, “Walk inside and turn right,” you’d say Entra y gira a la derecha. Another common phrase is simply asking where something is. In that case we use the verb "to be" (estar) to ask where something is - ¿Dónde está la salida? (Where is the exit?).

Cardinal directions can also be useful in Spanish directions where North is Norte, South is Sur, West is Oeste, and East is Este. Now that we can say where something is, it is time to learn new vocabulary to help us navigate Spanish streets.

Spanish Direction Using Landmarks

When giving directions in Spanish, we can also use landmarks as references for our instructions. For example, we can say the bus station is in front of the mall by saying La estación de autobuses está frente al centro comercial. To be able to do this is important to know how to say specific places and landmarks.

SpanishEnglishPronunciation
La calleStreet
La banquetaSidewalk
La cuadraBlock
La esquinaCorner
La rotundaRoundabout
El camellónMedian Strip
El semáforoTraffic Light
La entradaEntrance
La salidaExit
La taquillaTicket Office
En la ciudadIn the city
Aeropuertoairport
Estación de trentrain station
Estación de metrosubway station
Parada de autobúsbus stop
Centro de la ciudadcity center
Parquepark
HotelHotel
HospitalHospital
IglesiaChurch
AyuntamientoCity Hall
Using landmarks to give directions in spanish

Useful Phrases When Giving Directions In A Spanish-Speaking Country

Taking into account all the vocabulary we’ve learned, let’s look at some examples of useful phrases that you might want to memorize when giving directions in Spanish.

SpanishEnglishPronunciation
¿Dónde esta el museo?Where is the museum?
Busco la estación del metro más cercana.I’m looking for the closest metro station
Mi amigo vive en la esquina de Rua Mallorca con Rua Principal.My friend lives in the corner of Rua Mallorca with Rua Principal
¿Qué tan lejos está el hotel?How far is the hotel?
Sigue recto y gira en la primera calle a la derecha.Go straight and turn on the first street on the right
El bar está encima del restaurante.The bar is above the restaurant
Sigue esta carretera hacia el norte y llegarás al casco antiguo.Follow this road North and you'll reach the old town
Estoy perdido.I am lost
¿Puedes decirme dónde está esta dirección?Can you tell me where this address is?
La tienda está dentro del centro comercial.The store is inside the mall
¿Hay un hospital cerca de aquí?Is there a hospital around here?
¿Cuál es la mejor forma de ir a…?What is the best way to go to…?
¿Lo puedes repetir, por favor?Can you repeat that, please?
¿Puedes hablar más despacio, por favor?Can you please speak slower, please?
Gracias por tu ayuda.Thank you for your help
El baño está en la esquina.The bathroom is in the corner

Learning Spanish with Ling App

Well, after this extensive explication about how to give directions in Spanish, you’re ready to become your friend’s group “Dora La Exploradora” and take them everywhere without getting lost. Even if by chance you get lost, you learned everything you need to know to ask for directions and get on the right track again!

directions-in-spanish-with-ling-app

Learning how to give directions in Spanish is just a little taste of this fascinating language. If you want to learn Spanish, then I have the perfect tool for you that has helped me master it and speak fluent Spanish.

I know what you’re thinking: “Here we go again, he’s going to propose to me a boring language course with huge textbooks”, but actually you couldn’t be more wrong! Ling App is a language learning app that will help discover the wonders of the Spanish language through fun and interactive lessons. With this mobile application, you can learn grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and much more everywhere and every time. Just open your phone, click on the app, and you’re ready to learn!

With only 15 minutes per day, you'll learn Spanish in no time and be ready for every adversity or trouble that you might encounter on your next trip to Spain. Ready to give it a try? Download Ling App today from the Play Store or App Store.

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