Directions in Portuguese

Directions in Portuguese

In this post I am going to tell you how to ask for directions in Portuguese. If you are travelling to Portugal and you think you will have to ask your way many times, then read on!

I also made a YouTube video about this topic. Check it out here:

Vocabulary related to Directions in Portuguese

First, let’s look at the vocabulary related to directions in Portuguese:

Em frenteStraight ahead
Suba esta ruaGo up this street
Desça esta ruaGo down this street
VirarTo turn
Ir atéTo go until…
SeguirTo follow

Now that you have some knowledge of the words you should use, you can start making sentences. Check the following paragraphs.

How to ask for directions in Portuguese

Desculpe, pode dizer-me onde fica a farmácia? – Excuse me, can you tell me where the pharmacy is?

Desculpe, sabe dizer-me onde é a farmácia? – Excuse me, do you know where the pharmacy is (lit. “do you know to tell me where the pharmacy is”…does not make sense in English).

Desculpe, sabe onde fica a farmácia? – Excuse me, do you know where the pharmacy is?

Desculpe, sabe se a farmácia é longe ou dá para ir a pé? – Excuse me, do you know if the pharmacy is far, or can you walk?

Qual é o autocarro/ metro que tenho que apanhar? Qual é o número? – Which bus/ underground do I have to catch? Which number?

Em que paragem tenho que sair? – In which stop do I have to leave?

Quantas paragens são até lá? – How many stops are there until there?

How to give directions in Portuguese

First of all, you have to understand that when giving/ receiving directions, you will have to use the imperative form of the verbs. Therefore, verbs like “ir”, for example, will come in the form “vá” (third person singular affirmative of the imperative form).

Take a look at the most common verbs used in giving/ receiving directions and their forms in the Imperative form (in the third person singular affirmative – formal “você”; in the third person plural affirmative – more than one person, “vocês”; and in the second person singular affirmative – informal “tu”.

Ir (to go) –> Vá/ Vão/ Vai

Seguir (to follow) –> Siga/ Sigam/ Segue

Continuar –> Continue/ Continuem/ Continua

Virar (to turn) –> Vire/ Virem/ Vira

Subir (to go up) –> Suba/ Subam/ Sobe

Descer (to go down) –> Desça/ Desçam/ Desce

Atravessar (to cross) –> Atravesse/ Atravessem/ Atravessa


Vá até aos semáforos e vire á direitaTurn right at the traffic lights (lit. Go to the traffic lights and turn right)

Vão até à farmácia e virem à esquerdaTurn left at the pharmacy. (lit. Go to the pharmacy and turn left)

Siga em frente – Go straight…

Siga até ao cruzamento… – Follow until the crossroads…

Continue durante 500 metros e depois vire à esquerda – Continue for 500 metres and then turn left.


Vire à esquerda – Turn left

Vire na primeira à direita – Turn the first right

Vire na segunda à esquerda – Turn the second left

Vire à direita – Turn right

Go up/ Go down

Subam esta rua até lá acima – Go up this street till you reach the top

Desçam esta rua até ao cruzamento – Go down this street till the crossroads


Atravesse a rua para o lado de lá – Cross the road to the other side

Atravessem a avenida ao pé dos semáforos – Cross the avenue near the traffic lights

Atravessa a praça – Cross the square

Atravesse a passadeira – Cross the zebra crossing

Examples of direction giving

  1. Olá, pode dizer-me onde fica a Avenida dos Aliados? (Hello, can you tell me where Avenida dos Aliados is?)

Sim, tem que descer esta rua até ali ao fundo e depois continue a subir um bocadinho e depois vire à esquerda. A avenida dos Aliados estará aí. (Yes, you have to go down this street till the bottom and then continue going up a bit and then turn left. The Avenida dos Aliados will be there).

2. Boa tarde, sabe onde fica a livraria Lello? (Good afternoon, do you know where Livraria Lello is?)

Olá, claro que sim! Tem que subir esta rua e seguir sempre em frente. A livraria estará à sua direita. (Hi, yes of course! You have to go up this street and go straight. The livraria will be on your right side).

So what do you think? Do you think you will now be better equipped to give and receive informations about the way to go in Portugal? I surely hope so!

If you want to practice, ask people on the street where to go, just for fun (even if you know where you are going!). Try to use these sentences and words as much as you can and you will be a pro in directions in no time! Trust me 😉

Let me know on the comments section below if you already had the opportunity to ask for directions in Portuguese and how it went!

Also, make sure to enrol in my online course, where I further explain and explore this and many other themes!

Have fun learning Portuguese and keep in touch!



Categories: Vocabulary

4 thoughts on “Directions in Portuguese

  1. Mia, may I know how to say sub directions in Portuguese

    1. Olá, Yohann 🙂
      What do you mean? Sub-directions?
      Please let me know.

  2. Muito obrigado. I liked this lesson.
    Instead of using the verb “virar” to turn when giving directions, we use “ir” (literally to go)?

    1. Olá 🙂 Virar is to turn, ir is to go. Sometimes we use one instead of the other, depending on the context. Did you see IR being used as VIRAR?

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