Whether you travel Germany, plan on visiting friends there or even plan on living there, understanding basic words and phrases for directions is important. It helps you finding your way around cities and towns. So, avoid getting lost!
It will make your life easier to learn this simple question:
How do I get to …? = Wie komme ich zum/zur …?
You want to familiarize yourself with some basic vocabulary to understand the answers. Here are some key elements:
1. Learn the cardinal points
North = der Norden
South = der Süden
East = der Osten
West = der Westen
When you come across the intermediate cardinal directions, you want to make of that the German language shortens the first part of the cardinal point like this:
north-east = der Nordosten
south-west = der Südwesten
You’ve probably noticed that the ending -en in ‘Nord’ and ‘Süd’ was eliminated.
2. Learn the basic horizontal directions
By that, we mean basic directions such as:
left = links
right = rechts
straight = gerade aus
ahead / in front = vorn
behind / at the back / rear = hinten
3. Learn the Basic Vertical Directions
These are pretty simple since there are only 2 basic words:
up = oben / rauf / nach oben
down = unten / runter / nach unten
The German translation has multiple words depending on whether you express a direction or location.