Directions in Spanish: Questions, Answers, and Places for Finding Your Way

Two women who need to ask directions in Spanish

One of the fundamental interactions we all have in a new place is to ask for directions. Sure, you might have a smartphone or even a paper map, but nothing beats the advice of locals for really getting you where you need to go. In other words, you want to know how to ask for directions in Spanish, as well as understand the responses you’re likely to receive.

In this post we’ll start off with the very basics of how to ask for directions in Spanish, from the simple “where is…?”, to a few variations on this theme. We’ll cover the range of Spanish direction words like how to say left and right in Spanish, as well as the main Spanish prepositions of place. Then comes our big Spanish vocabulary list for locations and landmarks you’ll come across in the city. Finally, we’ll end our post with a few sample scenarios where people are giving realistic directions in Spanish.

Let’s get started!

Asking for directions in Spanish

The first thing we need to know is how to ask the right questions. We’ll start with the most basic phrases based on the Spanish word for where: dónde. Then we’ll introduce a handful of other straightforward ways to ask for directions in Spanish.

Where is …? – ¿Dónde está …?

Even if you don’t remember anything else from this post, you can probably get by with this one simple question: where is …?. We just use the question word dónde with the right conjugation of the verb estar, and we have the fundamental question ¿Dónde está …?, to which you just add whatever destination you’re looking for.

  • Where is the hospital? – ¿Dónde está el hospital?
  • Where is the best ice cream shop? – ¿Dónde está la mejor heladería?
  • Where are the taxis? – ¿Dónde están los taxis?

Where is …? – ¿Dónde queda …?, ¿Dónde se encuentra …?

Though our first “where is …?” question from above is your easiest go-to phrase, these next two are also very common in everyday speech. Both function the same way, so you just need to conjugate the verbs quedar or encontrarse to match the number of what you’re looking for.

  • Where is the police station? – ¿Dónde queda la estación de policía?
  • Where are the fruit merchants in this market? – ¿Dónde quedan los comerciantes de frutas en este mercado?
  • Where are the new buildings? – ¿Dónde se encuentran los edificios nuevos?

Note that encontrarse is always conjugated with its reflexive pronoun. Check our dedicated post on reflexive verbs for a full explanation of this Spanish verb type.

Where is … located? – ¿Dónde está ubicado …?

For a slight variation of the first question, you can ask where your destination is located by adding ubicado like this: ¿Dónde está ubicado…?. Since ubicado acts as an adjective here, you’ll also need to make sure it matches the number and gender of the noun it refers to:

  • Where is the theater located? – ¿Dónde está ubicado el teatro?
  • Where is the university located? – ¿Dónde está ubicada la universidad?
  • Pardon me, where is the mall located? – Disculpa, ¿dónde está ubicado el centro comercial?

Where is there a …? – ¿Dónde hay un …?

This question is for when you know what you need, but it doesn’t need to be a specific one. Again we start with the Spanish question word dónde, followed by the ubiquitous Spanish word hay which means there is, giving us the question where is …?: ¿dónde hay …?. We just add the noun for whatever we’re looking for, usually including an indefinite article:

  • Where is there a pharmacy? – ¿Dónde hay una farmacia?
  • Where is a cheap bar? – ¿Dónde hay un bar barato?
  • Where are there some public toilets? – ¿Dónde hay baños públicos?

You can check out our specific post for an in-depth discussion on using hay for there is in Spanish.

More ways to ask directions in Spanish

Now that you’ve seen the very basic questions using dónde, we’ll cover a few other ways to ask how to get somewhere. Just complete any of these phrases with whatever location you’re looking for. Check the big vocab list of destinations further for some destinations around town.

English Spanish
Excuse me, Disculpa,
How do I get to the …? ¿Cómo llego a …?
How can I get to the …? ¿Cómo puedo llegar a …?
How can I get there by bus? ¿Cómo puedo llegar allá en autobús?
Which bus should I take to go to …? ¿Qué autobús debo tomar para ir a …?
What is the best way to get to …? ¿Cuál es la mejor forma de ir a …?
What’s the way to get to …? ¿Cuál es el camino para llegar a …?
Where can I find …? ¿Dónde puedo encontrar / conseguir …?
Would you know where I can find …? ¿Sabrás dónde puedo conseguir …?
Could you tell me how I get to …? ¿Me podrías decir cómo llego a …?

Giving Directions in Spanish

Now that you know how to ask for directions in Spanish, you need to understand when people respond to you. You’ll need to know some of the local landmarks that we’ll list in our big vocab list in the following section, along with some useful direction words in Spanish that we’ll cover here.

Spanish verbs of movement

We’ll see each of these in use in the next section, so let’s first just translate each of these Spanish verbs which describe how we move through space. Note that we’re introducing the infinitives here, whereas you’ll probably hear these verbs conjugated in their imperative form when they’re used for giving directions.

English verbs of movement Spanish verbs of movement
To go Ir
To walk Caminar
To drive Conducir
To take (a train, a bus) Tomar (un tren, un autobús)
To follow, To keep going Seguir
To move forward, To keep going Avanzar
To pass, To go, To move Pasar
To go back Regresar
To go up Subir
To go down Bajar
To cross, To go across / through Cruzar, Atravezar
To turn Cruzar, Girar, Doblar
To arrive Llegar

Describing direction in Spanish

Using some of the verbs of movement we just learned, we can apply them in the imperative form to tell someone which direction to take.

English Spanish
Turn right / left Cruza / Dobla / Gira a la derecha / a la izquierda
Keep to your right / left Manteniéndote en la derecha / en la izquierda
Go straight Sigue derecho
Keep going Avanza
Continue along Sigue
Walk Camina
Go to the corner Ve a la esquina
Go to the next block Ve a la siguiente cuadra
Go past, Go through Pasa por, Atraviesa
Pass through Pasa, Atraviesa
Cross Cruza
Turn back, Turn around Da media vuelta
Go back Regresa
Go north / south / east / west Ve al norte / al sur / al este / al oeste
Go up / Go down Sube / Baja

Spanish prepositions of place

Now that we’re familiar with explaining directions of movement, we need some Spanish prepositions to describe relative locations. Here are some of the most common prepositions of place.

Prepositions of place Preposiciones de lugar
Right side of A la derecha de
Left side of A la izquierda de
Next to Al lado de, Junto a
Far from Lejos de
Close to, Near Cerca de
Around Alrededor de
Across Cruzando, Al otro lado
Outside A las afueras de
Inside Dentro de
In En
Between Entre
In front of Enfrente de
Opposite to Enfrente de, Cruzando
Behind Atrás de
Across Al pasar por

Vocabulary list: Spanish landmarks

We’re finally reaching our big vocabulary list of places you might want to ask directions to. We also include several other landmarks which you’ll likely hear in the responses. Basically, here’s a bunch of useful vocab for places around a city.

Landmark Punto de referencia
Building El edificio
Apartment El apartamento
Hotel El hotel
Stadium El estadio
Theater El teatro
Cinema El cine
Church La iglesia
Museum El museo
Mall El centro comercial
Book shop La librería
Library La biblioteca
Pharmacy La farmacia
Bakery La panadería
Hair salon La peluquería, El salón de belleza
Barber shop La barbería
Bar, Pub El bar
Restaurant El restaurante
Gas station La estación de gasolina, La gasolinera, La estación de servicio, La bomba
Gym El gimnasio
University La universidad
School La escuela
Fire station La estación de bomberos
Police station La estación de policía
Hospital El hospital
The subway, The metro, The underground El metro
Bus stop La parada de autobús
Bus station El terminal de autobús
Train station La estación de trenes
Airport El aeropuerto
Terminal La terminal (Spain), El terminal (Latin America)
Parking lot El estacionamiento, El aparcamiento
Zoo El zoológico
Park El parque
Sidewalk La acera
Roundabout, Traffic circle La rotonda, La glorieta, La redoma
Street La calle
Avenue La avenida
Highway La autopista
Corner La esquina
Intersection, Crossroads La interseción
Traffic light El semáforo
Sign El letrero

Giving directions in Spanish: Practice scenarios

Asking questions is easy enough when you want directions, but what about the answers? We’ve covered a lot of vocabulary about giving directions in Spanish, so here we’ll give a few scenarios so you can get some practice. Try to translate each one yourself before reading through the Spanish versions!

Getting to the airport

Directions in English

Tourist: Excuse me, my flight departs at noon tomorrow. How can I get to the airport?

Receptionist: Hello! Well, the airport is’t so far from here. You can go by public transport in less than 45 minutes.

You just need to take the metro to the San Lázaro station, and then take a bus from there.

Tourist: Oh good. And how can I get there from here?

Receptionist: Well, from the hotel exit you turn right and walk east to the corner, then turn left. The Balderas metro station is across the next street.

Take line 1, it’s the pink line, in the direction of Pantitlán. It’s only about ten minutes to San Lázaro station.

At San Lázaro, follow signs for the Tapo bus terminal.

You need to take bus 4 to the Aeropuerto. It’s a direct trip, about ten minutes.

Tourist: Great! Thank you very much for your help.

Receptionist: No problem! Have a good trip!

Directions in Spanish

Turista: Disculpe, mi vuelo sale mañana al mediodía. ¿Cómo puedo llegar al aeropuerto?

Recepcionista: ¡Hola! Bueno, el aeropuerto no queda tan lejos de aquí. Puedes ir en transporte público y llegar en menos de 45 minutos.

Basta con tomar el metro hasta la estación de San Lázaro, y desde allí tomar un autobús.

Turista: Ah, bueno. ¿Y cómo puedo llegar desde aquí?

Recepcionista: Pues bien, cruza a la derecha saliendo del hotel y camina hacia el este hasta la esquina, después dobla a la izquierda. La estación de metro Balderas está al otro lado de la calle.

Toma la línea 1, es la línea rosa con dirección a Pantitlán. Son sólo unos diez minutos hasta la estación de San Lázaro.

Sigue los letreros en San Lázaro hacia el terminal de autobuses de Tapo.

Tienes que tomar el autobús 4 hasta el aeropuerto. Es un viaje directo de diez minutos aproximadamente.

Turista: ¡Genial! Muchísimas gracias por tu ayuda.

Recepcionista: Siempre a tu orden, ¡que tengas un buen viaje!

Getting to the National Museum

Directions in English

Tourist: Good morning! Can you please tell me how to get to the National Museum?

Receptionist: Hello! The National Museum? It’s about half an hour from here by foot. Is that ok?

Tourist: Yes, that’s perfect. I’ll walk. How do I get there?

Receptionist: From Plaza Grande, you go down the stairs on the south side, and then turn left onto Guayaquil Street. Go straight on that street for about ten minutes until you reach Alameda Park.

Go through Alameda Park, and exit the park on the right-hand corner. Continue along Gran Colombia Avenue, staying on the left sidewalk. In less than ten minutes, you’ll arrive at a big park on the left.

The National Museum is on the opposite side of this park. It’s a big round building with windows like mirrors.

Tourist: Ok that sounds like a nice walk. Thank you very much!

Receptionist: You’re welcome!

Directions in Spanish

Turista: ¡Buenos días! ¿Me podrías decir cómo llego al Museo Nacional?

Recepcionista: ¡Hola! ¿El Museo Nacional? Está a media hora a pie de aquí. ¿Te parece bien?

Turista: Sí, es perfecto. Iré caminando. ¿Cómo llego allí?

Recepcionista: Desde la Plaza Grande, baja las escaleras del lado sur y luego dobla a la izquierda por la calle Guayaquil. Sigue recto por esa calle durante unos diez minutos hasta llegar al Parque Alameda.

Atraviesa el Parque Alameda, y sal del parque por la esquina de la derecha. Continúa por la avenida Gran Colombia manteniéndote en la acera izquierda. En menos de diez minutos llegarás a un parque grande a la izquierda.

El Museo Nacional está enfrente de ese parque. Es un edificio grande y circular con ventanas parecidas a espejos.

Turista: Está bien. Suena como un paseo agradable. ¡Muchísimas gracias!

Recepcionista: ¡Para servirte!

Finding a pharmacy

Directions in English

Tourist: Pardon me, do you know where I can find a pharmacy?

Local: Yes, there’s one about five minutes from here. Do you know where the hospital is?

Tourist: The hospital? Yes, it’s two blocks from here.

Local: Exactly. For the pharmacy, first go back to the hospital. Turn left and pass through the parking lot. The pharmacy is behind the parking lot, across the big street.

Tourist: Ok, thank you!

Local: No problem.

Directions in Spanish

Turista: Disculpa, ¿sabrás dónde puedo conseguir una farmacia?

Residente local: Sí, hay una a cinco minutos de aquí. ¿Sabes dónde queda el hospital?

Turista: ¿El hospital? Sí, está a dos cuadras de aquí.

Residente local: Exactamente. Para ir a la farmacia primero regresa al hospital, gira a la izquierda y atraviese el estacionamiento, la farmacia está detrás de él al otro lado de la gran calle.

Turista: Está bien. ¡Gracias!

Residente local: Con gusto.


How did you do, applying your new skills in these scenarios? Did you recognize the new vocabulary we introduced in the previous sections?

We started off with the easy stuff, asking for directions a few ways using the word dónde, as well as a few other ways to form the questions. Then we covered the basics of describing how to move across space, with specific verbs and plenty of prepositions of place. Then came our big vocabulary list of landmarks you’ll need to describe different places around a city.

We finished up with a few scenarios where we saw some examples of people describing how to get places. If you followed along there, you’re off to a great start. Now you know the fundamentals to ask for and give directions in Spanish!

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