Five great books about Spain

One of the ideal ways to learn about a place you are visiting is to read books about the region you will go. Both fiction and non-fiction can provide valuable insights into a country, and reading about it can enrich your travel experiences.

While we’ve been living and travelling in Spain, we’ve read a number of books about various topics related to the country. This list is by no means exhaustive, there are so many great books out there about Spain, but we obviously haven’t read them all so here are a couple of our favourites that we have enjoyed.

Ghosts of Spain: Travels Through Spain and Its Silent Past

Written by Englishman, Giles Tremlett, who has lived in Spain for a long time, this book provides and intriguing look at the history of Spain and modern day life and how they are interconnected. After reading this book, we looked at Spain in a new light, sometimes for the better, and sometimes not. However it brought understanding to a lot of aspects of Spanish living that had previously confounded us. If you want to learn about the intricacies that make Spain what it is today, this is the book for you.

Travels with My Donkey: One Man and His Ass on a Pilgrimage to Santiago

A great read for the whole family. La Chica especially liked this one, and she was laughing out loud reading it on the train. The title says it all really, Tim Moore decides to walk the Camino de Santiago with a donkey and writes about his hilarious adventures, highlighting all the difficulties that come with travelling with a stubborn donkey.

Don Quixote

I need to admit here that I haven’t read this book for a few years. However the story of Don Quixote is so embedded in Spanish culture, that we are constantly reminded of it as we travel through Spain. Following the misguided Don Quixote and his squire Sancho Panza travelling through the countryside, this book is a classic Spanish story that cannot be ignored. It’s a book that I intend to read again very soon.

 Homage to Catalonia

Orwell famously joined the Spanish Civil War to fight the fascists. This book gives a vivid account of his time in the battles and the fear that was prevalent in Spain at the time. This is not an easy read, as Orwell refers to so many different interest groups, the majority of them just acronyms, so it is sometimes difficult to understand which group is on which side of the battle. However, it is worth a read, particularly given the current political climate in Spain.

The Tomb in Seville


If you like reading about the Spanish Civil War, this one is the most accessible one I’ve come across. Following the true story of the author, Norman Lewis, and his brother-in-law who set out on a pilgrimage to a tomb in Seville, the two men find themselves stranded amongst the Spanish Civil War. While making their way across Spain (via Portugal), they provide an intense look at what the Spanish Civil war was like for those outside the major cities.

Also…

I’m currently reading La ridicula idea de no volver a verte in Spanish by Rosa Montero and I absolutely love it. The owner of a bookshop in Oviedo recommended this book about Marie Curie and the death of her husband. I haven’t included it in the list above because it isn’t about Spain as such, but if you are looking for a great modern Spanish author, Rosa Montero is one to check out. Many of her books have been translated into English.


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