City Names in Spanish

La Habana, Cuba
Photo by Alexander Bonilla used under terms of Creative Commons license.

It's obvious why the American city of Philadelphia is spelled Filadelfia in Spanish: the spelling change helps make certain that the city's name is pronounced correctly. Less obvious is why the British capital of London is Londres to Spaniards or, for that matter, why Americans think of the German city of München as Munich.

In any case, numerous major and noteworthy cities worldwide are known by different names in Spanish than in English. With the Spanish names in boldface, here are some of the most common ones.

City Names in Spanish

  • Addis Ababa: Addis Abeba
  • Adelaide: Adelaida
  • Alexandria: Alejandría
  • Algiers: Arge
  • Athens: Atenas
  • Baghdad: Bagdad
  • Beijing: Pekín
  • Belgrade: Belgrado
  • Berlin: Berlín
  • Berne: Berna
  • Bethlehem: Belén
  • Bogota: Bogotá
  • Bucharest: Bucarest
  • Cairo: El Cairo
  • Calcutta: Calcuta
  • Cape Town: Ciudad del Cabo
  • Copenhagen: Copenhague
  • Damascus: Damasco
  • Dublin: Dublín
  • Geneva: Ginebra
  • Havana: La Habana
  • Istanbul: Estambul
  • Jakarta: Djakarta
  • Jerusalem: Jerusalén
  • Johannesburg: Johanesburgo
  • Lisbon: Lisboa
  • London: Londres
  • Los Angeles: Los Ángeles
  • Luxembourg: Luxemburgo
  • Mecca: La Meca
  • Moscow: Mosc
  • New Delhi: Nueva Delhi
  • New Orleans: Nueva Orleans
  • New York: Nueva York
  • Paris: París
  • Philadelphia: Filadelfia
  • Pittsburgh: Pittsburgo
  • Prague: Praga
  • Reykjavik: Reikiavik
  • Roma: Roma
  • Seoul: Seúl
  • Stockholm: Estocolmo
  • The Hague: La Haya
  • Tokyo: Tokio
  • Tunis: Túnez
  • Vienna: Viena
  • Warsaw: Varsovia

This list shouldn't be viewed as inclusive. Not included are cities that use "City" in their English names, such as Panama City and Mexico City, which are usually referred to as Panamá and México in their respective countries. Note also that practices vary among Spanish writers in placing accented vowels within foreign names. For example, the U.S. capital is sometimes written as Wáshington, but the unaccented version is more common.

Spellings in this list are those that appear to be the most commonly used. However, some publications may use alternate spellings of some names.

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Your Citation
Erichsen, Gerald. "City Names in Spanish." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Erichsen, Gerald. (2020, August 27). City Names in Spanish. Retrieved from Erichsen, Gerald. "City Names in Spanish." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 9, 2023).