Madrileños to gaditanos: What to call the locals from different parts of Spain

In Spain, every region, province, city and island has its own word for its inhabitants.

Madrileños to gaditanos: What to call the locals from different parts of Spain
"Madrileña" Paquita, 60, dressed in traditional "chulapa" garb for San Isidro celebrations poses in Madrid. Photo: Benjamin CREMEL / AFP

Most of you may know that the correct word of referring to people from Madrid is madrileños, and those from Valencia are known as valencianos. These are known as gentilicios in Spanish, the demonym used to describe the people from a particular place. 

But what do you call people from Oviedo or Cuenca? And do you know the difference between palmeros, palmesanos and palmenses

Here is the definitive guide to what to call the citizens of different cities, provinces, regions and islands in Spain (*we’ve used the plural form so to form the singular remove the es or os ending and add an o for masculine or a for feminine instead). 

Referring to people from Spain’s seven largest cities

  • Madrid — madrileños 
  • Barcelona — barceloneses
  • Valencia — valencianos
  • Sevilla — sevillanos or hispalenses
  • Zaragoza — zaragozanos
  • Bilbao — bilbaínos
  • Málaga — malagueños

READ ALSO: Words and phrases you need to know to be a true Madrileño

The way to refer to people from Spain’s different regions:

Aragónaragoneses or maños
Canary Islandscanarios
Cantabriacántabros or montañeses
Balearic Islandsbaleares or baleáricos
Castilla-La Manchamanchegos or castellanomanchegos
Castilla y Leóncastellanoleoneses
La Riojariojanos
Basque Countryvascos

And not forgetting the inhabitants of Spain’s two autonomous cities in north Africa:

  • Ceuta — ceutíes or ceutís
  • Melilla — melillenses

How to refer to people from Spain’s regional capitals

  • Santiago — compostelanos or santiagueses
  • Oviedo — ovetenses
  • Santander — santanderinos
  • Vitoria — vitorianos
  • Pamplona — pamplonicas
  • Valladolid — vallisoletanos
  • Logroño — logroñeses
  • Palma de Mallorca — palmesanos
  • Toledo — toledanos
  • Mérida — merideños
  • Murcia — murcianos
  • Las Palmas de Gran Canaria — palmenses or canariones
  • Santa Cruz de Tenerife — santacruceros or chicharerros

The inhabitants of Girona, seen here in Catalan barretina hats, are known as gerundenses. Photo: Josep LAGO / AFP

The way to describe people from Spain’s other provincial capitals

  • La Coruña coruñeses
  • Lugo — lucenses
  • Oviedo — ovetanos
  • Santander — santanderinos
  • Bilbaobilbaínos
  • San Sebastián — donostiarras
  • Pamplona — pamplonicas
  • Huesca — oscenses
  • Lérida — leridanos
  • Gerona — gerundenses
  • Pontevedra — pontevedreses
  • Orense — orensanos
  • Leónleoneses
  • Palencia — palencianos
  • Burgos — burgaleses
  • Vitoria — vitorianos
  • Logroño — logroñeses
  • Zaragoza — zaragozanos
  • Barcelona — barceloneses
  • Zamora — zamoranos
  • Valladolid — vallisoletanos
  • Soria — sorianos
  • Tarragona — tarraconenses
  • Salamanca — salmantinos
  • Ávila — abulenses
  • Segovia — segovianos
  • Madrid — madrileños
  • Guadalajara — arriacenses or gudalajareños or most commonly alcarreños
  • Teruel — turolenses
  • Castellón — castellonenses
  • Valencia — valencianos
  • Palma de Mallorca — palmesanos
  • Cáceres — cacereños
  • Toledo — toledanos
  • Cuenca — conquenses
  • Badajoz — pacenses or badajocense
  • Ciudad Real — ciudadrealeños
  • Albacete — albaceteños
  • Alicante — alicantinos
  • Murcia — murcianos
  • Sevilla — sevillanos or hispalenses
  • Córdoba — cordobeses
  • Jaén — jienenses
  • Huelva — onubenses
  • Cádiz — gaditanos
  • Granada — granadinos
  • Almería — almerienses
  • Las Palmas de Gran Canariapalmenses or canariones
  • Santa Cruz de Tenerifesantacruceros or chicharrero

how to call people from different parts of spain

Tinerfeños, as people from the Canary island of Tenerife are known, celebrate in traditional attire during a local romería festival. Photo: Secrettenerife/Flickr

How to refer to people from each island in Spain’s two archipelagos:

Balearic Islands

  • Mallorca — mallorquís or mallorquíes
  • Ibiza — ibicencos
  • Menorca — menorquís or menorquíes
  • Formentera — formenteranos
  • Cabrera — cabreranos

Canary Islands

  • Tenerife — tinerfeños
  • Gran Canaria — canariones
  • Lanzarote — conejeros
  • Fuerteventura — majoreros
  • La Palma — palmeros
  • La Gomera — gomeros
  • El Hierro — herreños
  • La Graciosa — Gracioseros

And now for the tricky one:

Those who live on the Canary island of La Palma are known as palmeros, while those in Las Palmas, the capital of Gran Canaria are known as palmenses. Residents of Palma, in Mallorca (Balearic Islands), are known as palmesanos. 


List compiled by The Local Spain and Lucas Villar on Quora

READ MORE: Ten ‘English’ words adopted and adapted into Spanish 

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Spanish Expression of the Day: ‘No dar un palo al agua’

What do a stick and water have to do with working in Spain?

Spanish Expression of the Day: 'No dar un palo al agua'

One of the main clichés foreigners perpetuate about Spaniards is that they’re work-shy hedonists with a “mañana mañana” attitude towards any sort of responsibility.

Even among Spaniards themselves, there are regional stereotypes about southerners that claim they’re all vagos (lazy), especially those from Andalusia and the Canary Islands. 

Studies have actually shown that people in Spain work longer hours than Germans and other northern Europeans, so it’s understandably frustrating for many Spaniards to hear the same stereotypes regurgitated again and again.

Without a doubt, there are idle people in Spain, just like anywhere else in the world. So what’s one way to describe this laziness in Spanish?

No dar un palo al agua, which in its literal sense means to ‘not hit the water with a stick’. 

In fact, it’s the equivalent of saying in English ‘to not lift a finger’, ‘to never do an ounce of work’ or ‘to do sweet FA’ (FA standing for ‘fuck all’, or Fanny Adams, but that’s another story). 

Even though we initially thought that this Spanish metaphor drew a parallel between not being able to do something as simple as throwing a stick in a lake or a river, the origins of this saying are actually from the world of sailing.

Sailors who weren’t willing to put in the work and let everyone else do the rowing were called out for loafing around and told ¡No das un palo al agua!, in the sense that their oars (the palo or stick refers to the oar) weren’t even touching the water. 

So the next time you want to describe the fact that someone is not pulling their weight, remember this interesting Spanish expression. You can also use the shortened version – ‘no dar ni palo’.

It’s an expression which is widely used in all manner of settings (including formal ones), so you don’t have to worry about offending anyone, apart from perhaps the person who you are describing as working very little or not at all. 


Pedro no da un palo al agua. Se pasa el día en las redes sociales aunque haya un montón de trabajo que hacer.

Pedro doesn’t lift a finger, he spends his days on social media even if there’s loads of work to do.

¡No das un palo al agua! ¡Eres un holgazán! ¡A ver si te pones las pilas!

You do sweet FA! You’re a right lazybones! Get your arse in gear!