directions-in-spanish

Your Linguistic Roadmap to Directions in Spanish

Have you ever gotten lost while traveling around a city or country?

Oh yeah, losing yourself in the new sights and sounds can definitely be an exciting way to explore!

But when you’re ready to get back to your comfy hotel bed, it can be a legit challenge to find your way—especially when there’s a language barrier to contend with.

Luckily, this is an easy problem to remedy if you’re traveling to a Spanish-speaking country. Learning how to talk about directions in Spanish is relatively simple.

With a little time and effort, you can learn to ask for (and give) directions in Spanish like you live in the neighborhood.

If you’re planning on traveling to a Spanish-speaking country, you should absolutely take the time to review how to ask for and give directions in Spanish. You’ll thank yourself the first time you get lost—and even if you do have a map or smartphone to guide you, asking for directions is a great way to practice Spanish with locals!

And even if you don’t have any traveling on your horizon, asking and giving directions in Spanish is still a practical skill that’s worth learning. Read on for vocabulary, useful phrases and practice suggestions.
 


 
Learn a foreign language with videos

Why It’s Important to Learn Spanish Directions

Learning how to ask for and give directions in Spanish is way more useful than you may think.

Traveling in a Spanish-speaking country? Asking for directions is probably one of the most frequent conversations you’ll have to have in Spanish! (Especially if you happen to be bad with a map, like me.)

And it’s not just important to know how to ask for directions—if you can’t understand the response, you’ll be just as lost! Knowing the vocabulary and grammatical structures in this article could make the difference between finding your destination and being hopelessly lost on vacation.

Plus, learning about directions is great because it allows you to practice lots of new vocabulary, and it forces you to pay attention to tricky prepositions and verb conjugations in the command form. We’ve broken up the following vocabulary list into nouns, adjectives, verbs and prepositions.

How to Give and Receive Accurate Directions in Spanish

Below is our ultimate guide to giving (and receiving) directions in Spanish.

Want to see this vocab (and plenty more) actually in use? Then you’ll love FluentU.

FluentU takes real-world videos, like music videos, commercials, news and inspiring talks, and turns them into Spanish learning experiences.

Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the Spanish language and culture over time. You’ll learn Spanish as it’s actually spoken by real people.

FluentU has a wide variety of videos—topics like soccer, TV shows, business, movies and even magical realism, as you can see here:

FluentU App Browse Screen

FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts. You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used. If you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.

FluentU Videos with Interactive Captions

Review a complete interactive transcript under the Dialogue tab, and find words and phrases listed under Vocab.

Interactive Transcripts on FluentU

Learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s Learn Mode. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.

FluentU Has Quizzes for Every Video

The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and it recommends you examples and videos based on the words you’ve already learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re learning the same video. 

Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes store.

50 Key Vocabulary Words for Directions in Spanish

This vocabulary list contains dozens of the most useful words related to Spanish directions. Click on each word to hear its pronunciation!

Nouns

Adjectives

  • Recto/aderecho/a — Straight (when describing the physical appearance of something)

Prepositions

Verbs

  • Ir — To go
  • Seguir — To follow, to continue

Adverbs

  • Recto, derecho — Straight (when describing an action, like “walk straight”)

How to Use the Command Form to Give Directions in Spanish

What good are these verbs if you can’t conjugate them?

When you give Spanish directions, you’ll most likely be using the mandato (command) verb form. If you’re completely unfamiliar with Spanish commands, click here for a complete rundown on Spanish commands. Fear not—Spanish commands are simple to conjugate and have very few irregularities!

Here’s a quick refresher for those of you who have already learned commands:

There are four basic command forms:

  • the  (informal singular) form
  • the usted (formal singular) form
  • the vosotros (informal plural) form
  • the ustedes (formal plural) form

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

When giving directions, you’ll probably only give affirmative commands (i.e. telling people what to do), so that’s all we’re going to review here. If you want to learn about negative commands (i.e. telling people what not to do), refer to the article mentioned above.

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

Comer (to eat) — ¡Come! (Eat!)

Caminar (to walk) — ¡Camina! (Walk!)

Abrir (to open) — ¡Abre! (Open!)

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!)

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!)

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!)

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

14 Key Phrases for Giving and Receiving Directions in Spanish

Now that we’ve gone over useful vocabulary words and reviewed verb conjugations, let’s practice putting it all together to form some key direction-related phrases.

Asking for Directions

Estoy perdido/a. — I’m lost.

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

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, of course, replace calle for other similar words like avenida (avenue), carretera (highway), callejón (alleyway) or puente (bridge). Remember that in Spanish, unlike in English, words like these generally come before the street name, rather than 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 left/right.

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.

Of course, you can also substitute primera (first) for 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.

Practice Suggestions for Learning All Your Spanish Directions

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

Writing practice: This exercise will help you focus on learning and memorizing all of the vocabulary words related to Spanish directions. It’s simple: choose two locations in your neighborhood or city, and write how to get from one to the other.

Speaking/listening practice: Prefer to practice with a friend? This exercise is perfect for you! Find a practice buddy and a map. Choose a starting point on your map and mark it with a dot. Then, without telling your friend what it is, choose an endpoint. Describe to your friend, in as much detail as possible, how to get from the start to the end. Switch off to practice both speaking and listening.

Comprehension practice: These days, we’re increasingly dependent on our smartphones to get us from Point A to Point B. (I know I am.) Feeling confident in your Spanish abilities? Switch your phone into Spanish when using your maps app. You can practice your reading comprehension with walking directions and switch on navigation to practice listening comprehension during car trips.

 

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

As with anything else, the best way to become an expert on Spanish directions is to practice. So, sit down with a map or get out on the street, and start using what you’ve learned!
 


 

If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Spanish with real-world videos.

Experience Spanish immersion online!

Comments are closed.