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Only Joe King

A light-hearted look at life in Andalucía and Spain in general. Its good points and its bad. This blog doesn't pull any punches.

What’s in a Town Name? Should these Spanish place names be changed?
26 August 2021 @ 03:58

The origins of place names are wide and varied, but some just never cease to astonish.

Spain has its fair share of odd sounding place names. Would you be tempted to visit Poo beach or eat in a restaurant in Malcocinado?

With the news that the townsfolk of Fucking, Austria, have finally got their desire to change their infamous moniker to the rather less amusing Fugging, and the villagers who live in Wank, southern Germany are wondering why so many British tourists are photographing the village signs, Joe King takes a look at some of the more bizarre names of towns found across Spain. Here are a few that might want to consider changing their names …..



If its name is anything to judge by, a warm welcome for strangers is not guaranteed at this 183-inhabitant village in Navarra, northern Spain.


Cabezas Rubias

Fewer than 900 people live in this village in Huelva, Andalucía, the name of which translates as ‘Blonde Heads’. The census makes no mention of their hair colour, unfortunately.


Castrillo Matajudíos

This town in Burgos province has the controversial name Castrillo Matajudíos, or ‘Jew Killer Town' which after many years of discussion did finally rid itself of its dark past by changing its name to the less offensive Castrillo Mota de Judíos,  'Hill of Jews'. Slightly better, I guess …..

The town changed its name in 2015 after seeking approval of the 56 villagers who call it home.


El Purgatorio

The name suggests that a visit to this town in Murcia and you’ll find yourself in ‘Purgatory’. Yet travel some 30 km north and you’ll reach Los Infiernos (‘Hell fire!’)which is surely a worse place to end up!



You could be forgiven for thinking that people who lived in this town of 2,724 population in Jaén, Andalucía, do not care much for personal hygiene, since Guarro translates as ‘Dirty’.

But in fact the origin of the name comes from the castellanización of the Arabic Wadi-r-rumman, named after a river that runs through the town.



You might want to think twice before stopping here for a meal, as the name translates as ‘Badly cooked’. This village of 500-odd residents is in Badajoz, Extremadura.



This village in Almería seems, in name alone at least, to be somewhat “fat-ist” and “sexist” in its attitude to obese females. It translates into English as ‘Kill Fatso Girl’.



Well no translation needed for this one, the name of this small coastal town in Asturias is really only amusing to English-speakers.  Anyone up for spending the day on Poo Beach? It really is much lovelier than the name sounds.


Venta de Pantalones

This tiny village near Jaén in north-Eastern Andalucía is presumably the perfect destination for travellers who are a little short in the trousers department. That’s because the name translates as ‘Trousers on Sale’.



This village in Galicia, whose name translates as ‘Penisville’ has 200 inhabitants and became famous when its road sign was stolen and photographed at a wedding. Its full official name is Santa Maria de Vilapene, which is only marginally better. Or, perhaps not.


Concluding note: If you know of any more strange Spanish place names, please add a comment below, with all the details.


About Joe King

Joe, not his real name, is a bit of an enigma. He has lived in the Serranía de Ronda for many years, but prefers to fly under the radar. He doesn’t take life too seriously, except in the case of Covid-19, but even there he can see the funny side. Hence his pseudonym and lack of photo.

Like 0


mac75 said:
27 August 2021 @ 09:55

Here are a few more!

Cenicero - Logroño - "ashtray"
Alcantarilla - Murcia - "sewer"
Villaviciosa - Asturias - "Viscious/addicts town"
Meadero de la Reina - Cadiz - "The Queen's urinal"

PablodeRonda said:
29 August 2021 @ 05:49

These are great! Thanks very much, mac75. I especially like Meadero de la Reina.

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