woman looking at map with man next to her taking photos with his camer

Directions in Spanish: Key Words and Phrases for Getting Around

Are you planning on traveling to a Spanish-speaking country?

Then you should absolutely take the time to learn how to ask for and give directions in Spanish.

You’ll thank yourself the first time you get lost—and it’s a great way to practice Spanish with locals!

Even if you don’t have a trip on the horizon, asking for and giving directions in Spanish is a practical skill worth learning.

Read on for useful phrases, vocabulary and ways to practice.


Approaching People for Help

Three young multiethnic people consulting a map, giving directions

Before you ask for directions, you’ll want to say hello. Spanish has greetings for every situation, but here are the best ways to politely break the ice with a stranger.

Hola. – Hello.

Hola, Señor / Señora.
Hello, Sir/Ma’am.

Buenos días. – Good morning.

Substitute buenos días with buenos tardes (good afternoon) or buenos noches (good evening) depending on the time of day.

¡Hola, buenos días!
Hello, good morning!

Disculpe. – Excuse me (formal).

Disculpe, estoy perdido.
Excuse me, I’m lost.

¿Me puedes ayudar? – Can you help me?

¿Me puedes ayudar, por favor?
Can you help me, please?

Asking for Directions

Estoy perdido/a. – I’m lost.

Disculpe, estoy perdida. ¿Me puedes ayudar?
Excuse me, I’m lost. Can you help me?

Necesito ayuda. – I need help.

Necesito ayuda encontrar mi hotel.
I need help finding my hotel.

Dónde está – Where is…

¿Dónde está el parque de Retiro?
Where is Retiro Park?

Estoy buscando – I’m looking for…

Estoy buscando la calle Flores.
I’m looking for Flower Street.

¿Hay un/una _____ por aquí? – Is there a(n) _____ around here?

Hay un buen restaurante por aquí?
Is there a good restaurant around here?

¿Está [cerca/lejos]? – Is it [close/far away]?

¿Está lejos la avenida 9 de Julio?
Is July 9th Avenue far away?

Giving Directions

Sigue recto. – Continue straight.

Sigue recto hasta el semáforo.
Continue straight until the stoplight.

Sigue la calle _____. – Follow _____ Street.

You can replace calle (street) with other similar words like avenida (avenue), carretera (highway), callejón (alleyway) or puente  (bridge). In Spanish, unlike in English, these words generally come before the street name, not after.

For example, if a street were called Chile Street in English, it’d be called calle Chile  in Spanish.

Sigue la avenida de España.
Follow Spain Avenue.

[Gira/dobla] a la [derecha/izquierda]. – Turn [right/left].

Cuando llegues al parque, gira a la derecha.
When you arrive at the park, turn right.

[Ve/camina/conduce] hasta _____. – [Go/walk/drive] until the _____.

Camina hasta el gimnasio y gira a la izquierda.
Walk until the gym and turn left.

Toma la primera [derecha/izquierda]. – Take the first [right/left].

You can also substitute primera (first) with segunda (second) or tercera  (third) based on your needs.

Sigue recto, y toma la segunda izquierda.
Continue straight, and take the second left.

Está a la [derecha/izquierda]. – It’s on the [right/left].

El banco está en la calle principal. Está a la derecha.
The bank is on Main Street. It’s on the right.

Está al lado de _____. – It’s next to _____.

[Está + a preposition + a place] is a formula that you can use to describe the location of something relative to another location.

Mi casa está en frente de la escuela.
My house is across from the school.

Está a _____ minutos. – It’s _____ minutes away.

No está lejos. Está a diez minutos caminando.
It’s not far. It’s ten minutes away on foot.

Está a _____ [cuadras/manzanas/millas/kilómetros]. – It’s _____ [blocks/miles/kilometers] away.

Tendrás que conducir al restaurante. Está a cinco kilómetros de aquí.
You’ll have to drive to the restaurant. It’s five kilometers from here.

Key Direction Words in Spanish

A forked pathway surrounded by fir trees with a signpost in the foreground

These next few vocabulary lists contain dozens of the most useful words related to Spanish directions. Click on each one to hear its pronunciation!

Main Directions

Norte North
Sur South
Este East
Oeste West
Izquierda Left
Derecha Right
Cerca Near
Lejos Far
Al lado (de) Beside, next to
Enfrente (de) In front (of), across (from)
Detrás (de) Behind
A través (de) Through
Esquina Corner
Recto | Derecho Straight (like “walk straight”)

Important Place Nouns

La avenida Avenue
La calle Street
La carretera Highway
El callejón Alleyway
La calle peatonal Pedestrian street
El puente Bridge
La acera | La vereda Sidewalk
La rotonda Roundabout
El mapa Map
El semáforo Stoplight
El paso de peatones Crosswalk
La dirección Address
Las indicaciones Directions
La cuadra | La manzana Block
La milla Mile
El kilómetro Kilometer

Spanish Verbs for Directions

Ir To go
Girar | Doblar To turn
Seguir To follow, to continue
Pasar To pass
Parar To stop
Cruzar To cross
Caminar To walk
Conducir | Manejar To drive

Other Direction-Related Vocabulary

Hasta Until
Izquierdo / Izquierda Left
Derecho / Derecha Right or straight (to describe the physical appearance of something)
Recto / Recta Straight (to describe the physical appearance of something)
Próximo / Próxima Next
Primero / Primera First
Segundo / Segunda Second
Tercero / Tercera Third
Perdido / Perdida Lost

Helpful Phrases for Talking in Spanish 

If you’re still getting the hang of Spanish, you can keep these phrases in mind when talking to native speakers: 

¿Puede repetirlo, por favor? – Can you repeat that, please?

¿Puede hablar más despacio? – Can you speak more slowly?

Disculpe, ¿habla inglés? – Excuse me, do you speak English?

Lo siento, mi español no es muy bueno. – I’m sorry, my Spanish isn’t very good.

¿Puede mostrarme en el mapa? Can you show me on the map?

If you’re holding a phone, an alternative phrase would be “¿Puede mostrarme en el celular?”  – Can you show me on the phone?

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How to Use the Command Form for Giving Directions

Happy lady with a map, pointing in the right direction

Of course, to put all of these phrases together, you need to conjugate verbs correctly too. 

When you give directions in Spanish, you’ll most likely be using the mandato (command) verb form. If you’re completely unfamiliar, click here for a rundown on Spanish commands.

As a quick refresher, there are four basic command forms:

Command FormFormalityNumber

Remember that vosotros is only used in Spain; in Latin America, ustedes is used to speak to any group of people, regardless of the formality of the situation. 

To give directions, you’ll probably only need affirmative commands (i.e. telling people what to do).

Quick tip: All of the verbs on this article’s verb list are regular in the command form, except for ir  (to go). Its form is ve , its usted form is vaya , its vosotros form is id  and its ustedes form is vayan.

The form

Commands in the form are the same as the él/ella/usted form of the simple present.

Comer (to eat) ¡Come! (Eat!)
Caminar (to walk) ¡Camina! (Walk!)
Abrir (to open) ¡Abre! (Open!)

The usted form

Commands in the usted form are the same as the él/ella/usted form of the present subjunctive.

Comer (to eat) ¡Coma! (Eat!)
Caminar (to walk) ¡Camine! (Walk!)
Abrir (to open) ¡Abra! (Open!)

The vosotros form

To form commands in the vosotros form, simply remove the r at the end of the infinitive and add a d.

Comer (to eat) ¡Comed!  (Eat!)
Caminar (to walk) ¡Caminad!  (Walk!)
Abrir (to open) ¡Abrid!  (Open!)

The ustedes form

And to form commands in the ustedes form, use the ellos/ellas/ustedes form of the present subjunctive.

Comer (to eat) ¡Coman! (Eat!)
Caminar (to walk) ¡Caminen! (Walk!)
Abrir (to open) ¡Abran! (Open!)

How to Practice Directions in Spanish

A happy woman (and her marbled-tabby cat) taking notes from a laptop

Here are easy, do-it-yourself exercises to learn Spanish directions or simply refresh your memory.

  • Writing practice: Choose two locations in your neighborhood or city, and write how to get from one to the other in Spanish.
  • Speaking/listening practice: Find a practice buddy and a map. Choose a starting point on the map together. Choose an endpoint, but don’t share it with your friend. Now, tell your friend (in as much detail as possible) how to get from the start to the end. Switch places to practice both speaking and listening!
  • Comprehension practice: Switch your phone to Spanish when using your map app. With walking directions, you’ll practice your reading comprehension and during car trips you’ll work on your listening comprehension.
  • Practice the affirmative imperative. Since giving directions requires using the affirmative imperative, I suggest using this conjugation drill on SpanishDict to practice imperative conjugations so you can be ready to understand and use them in the real world.
  • Take practice quizzes online. Just search “Spanish directions quiz” online, and you’ll find tons of practice exercises on Google that you can take for free. For example, there’s this quiz and worksheet from Study.com, the conjugation drill from SpanishDict I mentioned earlier, this commands quiz from StudySpanish.com and more. 


Hopefully these simple phrases and vocabulary words will help you feel less lost when asking for directions in Spanish.

So, where are you headed? Sit down with a map or get out on the street and start practicing!

And One More Thing…

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FluentU has a wide variety of videos, as you can see here:


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