Using por (not para) to express approximate location

One of the uses of the preposition por (not para) in Spanish is to express an approximate location. Have a look at this example:

He viajado por el noroeste de España este verano.
I travelled across the northwest of Spain this summer.

The speaker is not specific about where exactly he has been in the Northwest. We understand that he has been "over there".

Here are some more examples expressing approximate location:

¿Dónde está el pub irlandés? -Creo que está por el centro.
¿Where is the Irish pub? -I think is (somewhere) in the town centre.

¿Has visto mis gafas? - Sí, las he visto por el salón.
Did you see my glasses? -Yes, I saw them (somewhere) in the lounge.

The way the preposition por is used in this context is very similar to the way we use the preposition en to say "in/on" a place, although when using por there is a stronger nuance of meaning "approximate place" or "around somewhere".

Have a look at these examples where por and en are pretty much interchangable:

Hay muchos monumentos por la ciudad.
There are lots of monuments around the city.

Hay muchos monumentos en la ciudad.
There are lots of monuments in the city.

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

He viajado por el noroeste de España este verano.
I travelled across the northwest of Spain this summer.


Hay muchos monumentos en la ciudad.
There are lots of monuments in the city.


Hay muchos monumentos por la ciudad.
There are lots of monuments around the city.


¿Dónde está el pub irlandés? -Creo que está por el centro.
¿Where is the Irish pub? -I think is (somewhere) in the town centre.


¿Has visto mis gafas? - Sí, las he visto por el salón.
Did you see my glasses? -Yes, I saw them (somewhere) in the lounge.


Q&A Forum 1 question, 1 answer

EmanuelB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Hi, can I use en instead? would it be correct?

Asked 9 months ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Emanuel

Using "en" would be very similar to using "por", but, as we say in our note inside the lesson:

"The way the preposition por is used in this context is very similar to the way we use preposition en to say "in/on"a place, although when using por there is a stronger nuance of meaning "approximate place" or "around somewhere".

So, it wouldn't mean exactly the same.

Hope it helps

Inma :))

Hi, can I use en instead? would it be correct?

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