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Majorca or Mallorca: Don’t Look Like a Tourist

 Caleb and I want to make sure that you respect the culture and don’t feel foolish, so we’re here to answer all the things about the differences between Mallorca and Majorca!

We spent a week on the beautiful Island of Majorca and I could say that we left our hearts there! We had time to really chat with the locals all about the culture and learned a lot of really important things about how they view tourists, which we will cover in this post!

Let’s dive in and learn if is Mallorca the same as Majorca, starting with a quick pronunciation video that I made you!

YouTube video

Too Long Didn’t Read: The Important Points

I know you are busy and don’t have time to read 1000 words on Majorca or Mallorca when you just want to know which is correct, so here is the cliff notes version of the post:

  • Majorca and Mallorca are two different spellings of the same place in the Balearic Islands off the coast of Spain.
  • Majorca is the UK spelling while Mallorca is the correct, Spanish spelling.
  • It’s important to spell the name as “Mallorca” so you won’t be an ugly tourist (more on that below.)
  • The name originated from when Rome conquered the Island in 123 BC.

If you want to learn more about the differences in spelling as well as how to make sure you are respectful of the Mallorcan culture, let’s keep going!

Are Mallorca and Majorca The Same Place?

Yes, Mallorca and Majorca are the same place. The difference here is not the location but simply the spelling of the name of the island. British tourists typically call the island “Majorca” and spell it with a J while American tourists call it “Mallorca” and spell it with double ll’s.

It’s important to note that Spanish people also call and spell the island with the double ll’s, “Mallorca.”

So, which name is correct?

So, Is it Majorca or Mallorca? Because we are talking about a Spanish island, it makes sense that the Spanish name would be the correct name. The correct spelling for the island is “Mallorca” regardless of where you are traveling from. 

Spanish people use “Mallorca”:

Many tourists think that the difference in the two spellings is simply that “Mallorca” is the Catalan spelling while “Majorca” is the Spanish spelling. This is not true. 

Mallorca is spelled with two l’s no matter if you are speaking Catalan, Spanish, or the local dialect on the island, Mallorquin. Therefore, the Spanish people call the island “Mallorca.

A group of tourists standing on a road with a rock wall beside them

Why Is This Important – Don’t Be an Ugly Tourist

You may think “Well, if it sounds the same then why does it really matter if I call it Majorca or Mallorca.” Truthfully, if you don’t care about respecting the culture you visit, which I don’t think is the case, then it doesn’t matter. No matter how you spell it, people will understand what you mean.

However, the locals already think that the island is overrun with tourists and they want them to leave. When walking around Palma, we saw signs hanging from balconies that essentially said “Tourists go home” (pictured below.)  

We spent a whole day with a local from Mallorca when we went to Banyalbufar for a paella-making class. She was telling us all about how Mallorcans view tourists and it was really sad to hear their thoughts. 

Locals think that tourists just think of Mallorca as a place to go for sun, sand and drinking in Spain. Locals want to eat their own culture’s food and take everything from the Island that they can, without thinking about respecting the people, culture, or land there. Continuing to spell “Mallorca” with a J continues to reinforce the idea to the locals that tourists are disrespectful and selfish. No bueno.

So, please don’t be an ugly tourist. Simply learn to pronounce a double l and spell it correctly. It’s the easiest thing you can do to not be part of the rude tourist problem in Mallorca 

How to Pronounce Mallorca and Majorca

Pronouncing Mallorca is the same no matter which way you spell it. 

You want to pronounce it MAH-YOUR-KAH. At the top of this post is a quick video that I made with the pronunciation and a view of the beautiful Mediterranean Sea near Llucmajor on Mallorca!

The history of the name Mallorca:

Now that you know that it’s not simply a matter of two different spellings in different languages, we need to know where the name actually came from. Let’s jump in a time machine and go all the way back to 123 BC.

During this time, the Romans came over to the island, did what the Romans did by conquering it, and then named it “Insula Maior” which is simply Latin for “larger Island.” This name came about because Mallorca was the largest island of all the Balearic islands.

Eventually, the name became “Maiorca” which meant “larger one” as the island was being compared to the smaller island of Menorca. Eventually, in the sequel, Catalan scribes corrected the spelling to “Mallorca” and it has been this way ever since.

However, early British tourists decided to change the name to “Majorca” because they couldn’t figure out how to pronounce the double-l in “Mallorca” even though it is simply a “y” sound. Ever since, it has been most common to find the spelling “Majorca” in the UK, although things are changing and Mallorca has become more popular.

You will find some using the J in the USA as well, but this is less often than you will find in the UK.

a woman sitting on a stone barrier looking over the ocean

Some questions you might have:

Is Mallorca in Europe?

Yes, Mallorca is an island in Spain, which is on the European Continent, in the western Mediterranean Sea.

Is Mallorca in Spain?

Yes, Mallorca is a Spanish island that is just off the coast of Mainland Spain.

Is Mallorca a Country?

No, Mallorca is not a country. Mallorca is an island in Spain with the most popular city being Palma de Mallorca.

Do locals speak English in Mallorca?

Most locals in the tourism industry, such as hotels and restaurants speak English in Mallorca. However, older Mallorcans typically only speak Catalan, Castilian Spanish, or the local dialect Mallorquin. 

What is the difference between Mallorca and Menorca?

The most obvious difference between Mallorca and Menorca is the size. Menorca is significantly smaller than Mallorca as the capital of Mallorca, Palma, has 4x as many residents as the whole island of Menorca! It is the larger island of the two.

Is Palma de Mallorca the same as Mallorca?

No, Palma de Mallorca is not the same as Mallorca. Mallorca is the island itself while Palma de Mallorca is the largest city on the island of Mallorca. If you want to fly to Mallorca you will fly into the Palma Airport – PMI.

Majorca or Mallorca Pinterest Pin

And that’s a wrap! Now you know how to pronounce Mallorca so you respect the locals! If you have any questions, just let us know in the comments and we’ll help you out!

Ready to keep planning your trip? The best way to get around Mallorca is by car, so check out our ultimate guide to driving and car rental in Mallorca!

More Goodness on Mallorca

Free Email Course: Mallorca Made Easy

Discover everything you need to know to plan an EPIC Mallorcan Getaway in our free email course!
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