Giving Directions in Spanish: Phrases and Conversations

In the previous lesson, we learned how to say places in town in Spanish and give basic directions too. We also discussed a little about some popular ways to ask for directions. This lesson will focus on introducing some new phrases and contextualize the vocabulary in conversations in which people are asking and giving directions in Spanish. We have included a nice video, lots of examples, listening activities and quizzes. Let’s start…

Places and ways for asking and giving directions in Spanish
Los lugares y las direcciones en español – Foto de Jean-François Gornet

Introductory video: Asking and giving directions in Spanish

This video will introduce different ways to ask for directions in Spanish, the basics about prepositions of place to indicate the location of places in town, and how to use the verbs ESTAR, QUEDAR and HAY from HABER. It also includes some of the phrases we will be using later for giving directions in Spanish like “Siga” (Go on) or “A la izquierda” (to the left). Make sure to stick until the end of the video. The video is easy to follow and understand.

Words and phrases for asking and giving directions in Spanish

The basics about asking and giving directions in Spanish

Most of the time, people will often talk about places in Spanish using the verb ESTAR in two forms: ESTÁ for a single place (hotel) and ESTÁN for several places (hoteles). Likewise, QUEDAR will be used in the forms QUEDA and QUEDAN. With that said, you can ask for directions in Spanish using a question like “¿Dónde queda/está + place?”. In order to ask “How do I get to…?” in Spanish, use the question “¿Cómo llego a…?“.

Some words that will come really handy when giving directions in Spanish are: “aquí” (here), “ahí”(there), “doblar”(turn), “cruzar” (cross), “llegar” (arrive). These phrases can be used when reading a map to explain how to get to places in Spanish. Know that before giving directions in Spanish, people will frequently use the phrase “Para llegar a + place” meaning “To get to…” or “Para ir a + place” (to go to…). Here is the first conversation about directions in Spanish using the phrases and questions we have explained so far, plus some new ones.

Alika: Vicente ¿Dónde está el banco?
Vicente: El banco está frente al hospital San Judas
Alika: Gracias. Tengo que ir al banco ahorita
Vicente: Bueno si está cerrado, hay otro banco junto a la Farmacia Estrella.
Alika: Gracias. Entonces voy a ir al banco que está cerca del hospital San Judas.
Vicente: Está bien ¡Buena suerte!
Conversation translation: Where is this place? in Spanish
Alika: Vicente, where is the bank?Vicente: The bank is in front of the San Judas hospital Alika: Thank you! I have to go to the bank right now .
Vicente: Well if it is closed, there is another bank next to the Estrella pharmacy.
Alika: Thanks! Then I’ll go to the bank that is near the San Judas hospital
Vicente: Okay! Good luck!
Carlos: Roberto ¿Dónde queda este restaurante?
Roberto: uhmm… déjame ver… Queda sobre la calle central, enfrente del hotel Villa.
Carlos: ¿Hotel Villa? No tengo idea dónde queda.
Roberto: No sabes dónde queda. Está bien. Miremos el mapa.
Carlos: Comencemos por la calle central.
Roberto: Para llegar a la calle central toma el bus No. 1 y te bajas en la estación de policía. Luego caminas dos cuadras hacia el norte.
Carlos: ¿Este es el restaurante?
Roberto: No, no es este. Cuando llegues al restaurante italiano, dobla a la derecha y camina unos 50 metros para llegar al Hotel Villa.
Carlos: Entiendo. El restaurante está al cruzar la calle entonces.
Roberto: ¡Exacto!
Conversation translation: Finding places in Spanish
Carlos Roberto, where is this restaurant?
Roberto: mmm … let me see … It is on central street, opposite to Hotel Villa.
Carlos: Hotel Villa? I have no idea where that is.
Roberto: You do not know. It’s okay. Let’s look at the map.
Carlos: Let’s start with central street.
Roberto: To get to central street, take bus No. 1 and get off at the police station. Then walk two blocks north.
Carlos: Is this the restaurant?
Roberto: No, not this. When you reach the Italian restaurant, turn right and walk about 50 meters to get to Hotel Villa.
Carlos: I understand. The restaurant is across the street then.
Robert: Exactly!

Other words and phrases for giving directions in Spanish

When someones asks a direction in Spanish to you, but you have no idea where the place is located, then you can use the phrase “No sé dónde queda” or “No sé dónde está”. If you want to confirm a place location, just change the intonation of your sentence and make it sound like a question, e.g. ¿El cine queda aquí? and Entonces, ¿El restaurante está al cruzar la calle?

The second example will show other words and phrases for giving directions in Spanish. This conversation is more polite and includes the verbs “Saber” (to know), “Perderse”(to get lost), “caminar” (walk), “pedir” (ask for) and “haber”. You can tell people to walk straight ahead by using the phrases “camina derecho” or “camina en esta calle”. It is also useful to say “a la derecha”(to the right), “a la izquierda” (to the left) and also to tell if the place is close (cerca) or far away (lejos). Listen to the sample conversation and check how they use some of these expressions for asking and giving directions in Spanish.

Miguel: Disculpa ¿Sabes dónde está la estación de buses?
Claudia: Si, es cerca de aquí. Solo tienes que caminar 2 cuadras recto, luego gira a la derecha y camina 1 cuadra más. La estación está justo en frente de una escuela primaria.
Miguel: Gracias. ¿Qué otros lugares hay cerca de la estación?
Claudia: Hay un supermercado y varias tiendas. No te preocupes, es fácil llegar. Si te pierdes, puedes pedir ayuda en la estación de policía que también queda cerca.
Miguel: Gracias por tu ayuda, espero no perderme.
Claudia: De nada. Buena suerte.
Conversation translation: Asking for directions in Spanish
Miguel: Excuse me, do you know where the bus station is?
Claudia: Yes, it is near here. Just walk straight for 2 blocks, then turn right and then walk for 1 more block. The station is right in front of an elementary school.
Michael: Thank you. What other places are there near the station?
Claudia: There is a supermarket and several shops. Do not worry, it’s easy. If you get lost, you can ask for help at the police station that is also nearby.
Michael: Thank you for your help, I hope not to get lost.
Claudia: You’re welcome. Good luck.

Listening Activity: Getting around town in Spanish – ¿Sabes dónde queda?

Listen to a short conversation about places and directions in Spanish. Take notes of what you hear in the recording and pay attention to the way the vocabulary and expressions presented in the lesson are used. Press PLAY when you are ready.

Key expressions in the conversation:
1. Pasar tiempo haciendo algo… means “to spend time doing something”
2. Después de todo… means “After all”

Spanish Listening quiz: "¿Sabes dónde queda?"

Here is a set of questions related to the conversation on places and directions in Spanish you just listened to. The quiz is easy to solve and you will get a very interesting tip each time you find the right answer. Press START to begin.
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Conversation script: Places and directions in Spanish
Brenda: Mercedes… Estoy buscando la dirección del restaurante “Delicias” ¿Sabes dónde queda?
Mercedes: Si, yo fui a cenar con mi novio a ese restaurante la semana pasada. Está ubicado frente al hospital. Es un edificio grande, de color azul y blanco.
Brenda: y ¿Cómo es el lugar?
Mercedes: ¡Es muy bueno! Nosotros pasamos bastante tiempo ahí y comimos un pescado delicioso…
Brenda: ¿De veras? ¿Hay otros lugares interesantes cerca del restaurante?
Mercedes: Si, hay un parque a dos cuadras al sur del restaurante y un teatro a media cuadra al norte.
Brenda: Parece que es un buen lugar después de todo.
Mercedes: A mí me gustó mucho Brenda.

Practice and Apply: Talking about directions of places in Spanish

Lesson quiz: Directions in Spanish in Conversations

The following sentences are part of a conversation between two friends who are talking about a place in Spanish. Complete each sentence with the right expression. Try writing down the whole conversation if you want to practice even more. Press START when you are ready.
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Extra practice:

Think about the following questions and then write their answers and read them out loud to practice your pronunciation.

  • ¿Cuál es el lugar más interesante de tu ciudad?
  • ¿Dónde está ubicado?
  • ¿Qué recuerdas de la última vez que fuiste ahí?

3 Comments

  1. In the third conversation (with Miguel and Claudia), why does Miguel use está in the first line and Claudia use es to answer him?

    1. That’s a great question. Actually, the correct way if we follow grammar rules would be “Si, está cerca de aquí” or “Si, queda cerca de aquí”. However, in real conversations people will sometimes use ES for places, especially with the words “AQUÍ” and “AHÍ”, e.g. “Es aquí” (It’s here), “Es ahí” (It’s there). ESTAR would be the most common to talk about location and directions though. 🙂 Hope it helps!

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