Looking for the all time best travel books on Spain? If so then you’re in luck because this post contains an expertly curated selection of the 35 best books on Spain.
Trust me on this. I love reading and I love Spain. Therefore, I know all about some of the best novels about Spain and have added them to this absurdly comprehensive list.
This way, if you want to get a taste for what this beyond magical country has to offer – but don’t have enough Benjamins for a plane ticket – then you can always just use this epic list to pick out some of your fave fave books on Spain.
Added bonus? It’s super easy to find what you’re looking for since I’ve created different categories that allow you to quickly and easily locate the perfect books about Spain for you!
So, grab that vintage Snuggie of yours and settle into the most comfy chair you can find because we’re about to deep dive into the best novels about Spain, the best books about living in Spain, the best Spain travel guides, and so much more!
Dear wonderful, beautiful, and oh-so-amazing reader (Yup, I lay it on thick for my dozens of fans). Since I am incapable of making it rain money, there’s a high probability (like 99.999%) that this post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.
Best Spanish Novels and Best Novels about Spain
1. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
Chances are even if you’re not much of a reader, you’ve at least heard of one of the best novels on Spain of all time – Don Quixote by Cervantes.
Yeah, it’s so iconic that it’s sold more than 500 million copies world wide. Plus, in a survey – done by the Nobel Prize Committee – of the world’s one hundred greatest writers, they actually referred to this as, “the greatest book of all time.”.
Therefore, it was kind of a no brainer that I needed to add this to my list of the best books about Spain. However, just in case you’ve never read one of the best Spanish novels of all time for yourself, its about a middle-aged noble (like knight noble) from La Mancha.
See, he reads about the heroic exploits of knights while in La Mancha and becomes inspired to set out on a similar adventure of his own, with his faithful squire Sancho.
Because yes, every hero in history really does need his very own sidekick. Anyway, the dynamic duo set out on a great adventure and encounter a ton of comedic mishaps along the way as they use their imaginations to get involved in situations that they really shouldn’t.
In the end though, much of the plot actually centers around Sancho, who is trying to both metaphorically and physically steer his leader in the right direction.
Yup, just a wonderfully beautiful book on Spain that is well worth a read, so be sure to get your copy now!
Price: $2.99 on Kindle.
2. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
Obviously I couldn’t in good conscious create this list of the best books on Spain without referring to the man, the myth, the legend, Ernest Hemingway and his awesome novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls.
See, one of the best novels about Spain was actually inspired by a 1937 trip to Spain when Ernest Hemingway traveled there to report on the Spanish Civil War for a North American newspaper.
Fast forward three years and the immortal novel For Whom the Ball Tolls was born. It tells the riveting story of Robert Jordan, a young American who is part of the International Brigades from an antifascist guerilla unit that fights in the mountains of Spain.
As the novel progresses, you’ll become enthralled with a tale of loyalty, love, courage, loss, and the eventual death of idealism. Highlights include Jordan’s relationship with Maria, El Sordo’s last stand, and the bloodshed of La Pasionaria (there’s an intense rejection of blind faith here), and more.
So, one of the best Spanish novels on this list that represents a powerful, provocative, emotional, and thought-provoking look at the horrors of war and how they can irreversibly change the course of our lives.
Price: $3.99 on Kindle.
3. Tales of the Alhambra by Washington Irving
This is one of those best books on Spain that was instrumental in reintroducing citizens of the West to the stunning beauty of Spain’s Alhambra.
Because in this vast collection of essays and short stories, Washington Irving discusses the time he spent living in the Alhambra Palace during a trip to Granada from Madrid in 1828.
See, almost as soon as the famed author set eyes upon this gorgeous structure, he reached out to local officials to see if he could stay inside the palace itself.
Eventually, he was given complete access to the complex (due to his celebrity status) and was later assisted by a local, 35-year old guide named Mateo Ximenes,
So, go on a voyage of almost other worldly beauty in the Tales of the Alhambra as Irving attempts to use words to capture the jaw-dropping beauty of this now immortal Spanish landmark.
Price: $0.99 on Kindle.
4. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Oh, hey look! Another Ernest Hemingway novel makes it on to this list of the best books on Spain – a fact that is shocking to exactly no one since this famed author has penned some of the best novels about Spain of all time.
Anyway, back to the 10,00 different reasons why you should read The Sun Also Rises. Because, believe it or not, this is one of the best books on Spain that was initially published in 1926 and that is actually Hemingway’s very first novel.
Yup, insert gasps of total shock and aww here. Anyway, this Spanish novel uses the story of Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley to critically examine the angst and tremendous sense of loss faced by a generation coming to age after World War I.
So, read all about ostentatious Brett and clueless Jake as these expats experience the incredible party scene of 1920s Paris and encounter the gruesome realities of bullfighting in Spain.
Because it is through their unconventional lives that you’ll fully understand the total lack of morality and disillusionment that plagued a generation of people throughout the 1920s.
Price: Starting at $7.99 on Kindle.
5. All This I Will Give to You by Dolores Redondo
So, what do you actually need to know about one of the best novels about Spain on this list? Well, not surprisingly it’s an award-winning, international best seller that tells the gripping story of novelist Manuel Ortigosa.
See, his husband Alvaro was killed in a car crash in Galicia. And while the case is immediately dismissed as an accident, Manuel goes there to investigate the incident and learn all about some of Alvaro’s most shocking secrets.
As one of the best books about Spain unfolds, lies and secrets come pouring out and Manuel eventually makes his way to the estate of one of the most well-known families in Spain.
Although unwelcome in the home, our protaognist eventually finds unlikely allies in a police lieutenant and an an old friend from seminary school. Together. the unlikely companions work together to unravel the mystery of Alvaro’s death and the incredible double life that he was leading.
Therefore, if you’re looking for one of the best books on Spain that is a fun, who-done-it, page-turner – a book that you physically won’t be able to put down -then All This I Will Give to You is 110% the book for you!
Price: $4.99 with Kindle.
6. Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner
Probably one of the less well-known novels on this list of the best books about Spain, Leaving the Atocha Station tells the intriguing story of Adam Gordon, a totally unreliable, young, American poet.
See, he is in Spain as part of a very reputable fellowship program and is having difficulty figuring out his identity as an artist.
That’s why, instead of following the program’s curriculum, Adam ends up contemplating the inherent honesty of his art and the relationships he has with people in Spain.
Eventually, he witnesses the Madrid train bombings of 2004 and starts to wonder if he should participate in history or just marvel at it while it passes him by.
Yup, just a great, introspective novel that makes you stop for a moment and really think about the life you’re living.
Price: $8.95 on Kindle.
7. The Shadow in the Wind by Carlos Ruiz
Set in Barcelona in 1945, this New York Times bestselling novel looks at the life of Daniel, a book seller’s son who is coming to terms with the loss of his mother in a city that is slowly rebuilding after that tragedies of the Spanish Civil War.
Eventually, he finds comfort in an intriguing work entitled, The Shadow of the Wind, by Julián Carax. However, when he begins to search for other books written by this author, he is shocked to find that someone is destroying all the books that this author has ever written.
In fact, Daniel may now own the only remaining copy of Carax’s works in existence.
So, if you love tragic, scary, and sometimes touching thrillers that keep you on the edge of your seat then you’ll adore The Shadow in the Wind and this pick for one of the best books about Spain.
After all, you’ll get to follow Daniel as he embarks on a whirlwind journey into a world filled with some of Barcelona’s darkest secrets. A place where murder, insanity, and ill-fated love all come together to create an all too tragic reality.
Pro Tip: This is the first book in a series of four books that are all a part of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series. So, if you like this pick for the best books on Spain then be sure to pick up the other three novels in the series too!
Price: Starting at $9.68.
8. Cathedral by the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones
Set in fourteenth-century Barcelona (aka the golden age), this is an exciting piece of historical fiction that tells the story of Arnau Estanyol, a man who arrives in the city to find everyone excited about the construction of the city’s pride and joy, the cathedral of Santa Maria del Mar – a structure that was created to cover up the travesties associated with the Inquisition.
Once in the city, Arnau becomes a stone worker and helps create the iconic church as his best friend Joanet goes to school to become a priest.
As the plot behind one of the best books about Spain unfolds, our main character enjoys great financial successful, eventually falling in love with a woman that is off-limits to him.
But once his treachery is revealed and he is taken in front of the Inquisitor, his friend Joanet must decide if he will die just as the Cathedral of the Sea is finally completed or if he will be saved by his adopted brother.
Honestly, it’s definitely one of the more fun and exciting reads on this of the best novels on Spain – a book that was eventually transformed into a television show of the same name in 2018.
So, if you want a great book that introduces you to the fascinating history behind one of my all time favorite cities ever (Barcelona), then give Cathedral by the Sea a try!
9. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
I’m not gonna lie to you, The Alchemist is one of the best books on Spain that is kind of hard to explain.
That being said though, it’s a short, inspiring, International best seller then will leave you with plenty of things to ponder as you reexamine the inner workings of the life you currently lead.
However, just in case that description was a little too ambiguous for you, it’s a tale of self-discovery that expertly intertwines the concepts of wisdom, mysticism, and magic as you read about Santiago, a young shepherd in Andalusia.
He longs to travel the world in search of wealth and money. Ultimately though, he finds something infinitely more precious and rewarding than he ever thought possible.
So, as you read this classic book on Spain, you’ll uncover themes related to uncovering opportunity, listening to your heart, following your dreams, and watching out for ill-fated omens.
Yeah, it’s one of those rare, modern books about Spain that can easily transform your life if you let it.
10. Winter in Madrid by C.J. Sansom
Set amidst the gut-wrenching aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, this amazing piece of historical fiction tells the story of Harry Brett, a veteran of Dunkirk who was traumatized by the experience and who has recently been recruited a spy for the British Secret Service.
As part of a new mission, Harry is sent to earn the trust of an old school friend named Sandy Forsyth who now lives in Madrid as a less than honest business man.
As the plot unfolds in Madrid in 1940 -a city that lies in ruins with people starving in the streets as German aggressors continue their incessant march across Europe – Harry becomes trapped in a vicious gate of cat and mouse.
At the same time, the protagonist’s girlfriend Barbara Clare – a former Red Cross nurse – takes on a secret mission to find her old lover Bernie Piper, a Communist in the International Brigades who seemed to disappear during the conflict of the Jarama.
Yes, Winter in Madrid is a vibrant and altogether compelling story that transports the reader back in time as modern history unfolds in one of the best books on Spain on this list.
Price: Starting at $1.99 on Kindle.
11. The Last Jew by Noah Gordon
Looking for one of the best novels about Spain? If so then check out The Last Jew! It takes place in 1492 when the Inquisition has taken over the country. As a result, prominent Jewish citizens are now forced to leave the country.
And anyone of Jewish decent who remains in the country is bullied into becoming Catholic by both the church and royal officials.So, this is where we meet the novel’s main character, Yonah Toledano.
He is the son of a prominent silversmith who is trapped in Spain after watching both his father and brother die during the insanity of the Inquisition.
Now, rather than renounce his faith, he is determined to stay a Jew as a memoriam to his murdered family. In so doing, he becomes an out law and must journey across Spain on a donkey named Moise as he tries to evade capture.
Along the way, he takes work as a shepherd and becomes an armor apprentice (learning how to fight like a knight) while struggling to hold onto the last little bits of his Jewish culture.
Eventually, he is forced to confront his past, finds love, and maintains a double life as a seemingly resected Christian who still has the heart of a Jew.
So, step back into the past with this wickedly wonderful adventure and poignant love story about a gruesome chapter in Spain’s history. Yup, just a total must-red as you uncover all of the best books about Spain on the market today.
Price: $12.99 on Kindle.
12. The Times in Between by Maria Duenas
In this gripping novel about World War II we follow the adventures of Sira Quiroga, a poor girl who sweeps floors while her single mother works tirelessly as a seamstress.
Eventually at fourteen, Sira becomes an apprentice and later obtains a small role as a government clerk in her twenties.
However, her whole world changes when a handsome salesman and the father she has never met come crashing into her life.
She goes on to leave the comforts of Spain as the Spanish Civil War takes over the country, abandoning her mother and fiancee to follow a lover to Morocco.
Once abroad, she is abandoned and left all alone, completely heartbroken in a foreign country. Sira eventually becomes part of the growing expat community and uses her skill for making stunning clothes to create a new life for herself.
As time passes and World War II begins, she is persuaded by Allied officials to return to Madrid to begin work as a spy. She is quickly given a new identity and becomes s a couturier to the wives of prominent Nazi leaders.
So, enjoy one of the best novels about Spain as you swan dive into a world rife with espionage, love, and intrigue. Find out how an incredibly ordinary person can reinvent herself to become an important spy during World War II in The Times in Between.
Trust me, this is one of the best books on Spain that is not to be missed since it was New York Times bestseller that eventually become a hit television series that is often referred to as the “Spanish Downton Abbey”.
Price: $13.99 on Kindle.
13. The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
In The Prisoner of Heaven, Carlos Ruiz Zafon creates an incredible, rich thriller that is part of the The Shadow of the Wind and the Angel’s Game series.
It takes places in Barcelona in 1957 where Daniel Sempere and his wife Bea enjoy the festive Christmas season. After all, the couple has a lot to celebrate with a brand new son named Julian and a friend, Fermin Romero de Torres, who is about to get married.
However, all that joy is shattered when someone comes to the Sempere bookstore and threatens to reveal a secret that could destroy everything.
As a result, Daniel and Fermin are forced to confront the past of the 1940s Franco dictatorship on a dangerous adventure that will uncover the truth and put their lives into jeopardy.
A great page-turner of a mystery that is a fun read for anyone who loves thrillers and is looking for one of the best novels about Spain.
Price: $6.99 on Kindle
14. The Queen’s Vow by C.W. Gortner
In this gripping novel about the life of Isabella of Castile, C.W, Gortner explores the early life of this iconic Spanish monarch in The Queen’s Vow.
Known for an unwavering faith that gave rise to the Inquisition, for sending Columbus to the New World, and for being a warrior who helped unify a divided country, Isabelle starts off in this novel as a teenager who is ripped away – along with her brother – from the safety of her mother’s home.
She is then brought to live with her half-brother, King Enrique, who keeps a close eye on her as she accidentally becomes part of a plot to remove the king.
Eventually imprisoned on suspicion of treason, Isabelle is thrust into power at seventeen when she becomes the heir to the largest kingdom in Spain, Castile.
Determined to hold onto her power, she goes on to marry Fernando, prince of Aragon, and the couple begin to try and unite an impoverished country that is brimming over with enemies.
Along the way, Isabella resists the zealous demands of inquisitor Torquemada, meets an enigmatic explorer named Columbus, and goes to war with Moors of Granada.
So, use one of the best books about Spain to unravel the mysteries of the distant past as you become acquainted with the tumultuous life of Isabella of Castile, a ruler who defied the odds to become one of Spain’s most iconic monarchs.
Price: From $13.99 with Kindle.
15. The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys
Another one of the many great novels about Spain, The Fountains of Silence is set in Madrid in 1957 and is brought to you by best-selling author, Ruta Sepetys.
Because of dictator General Francisco Franco, Spain holds many dark secrets that are kept quiet as unknowing tourists flood back into the country to enjoy a little fun in the sun.
Hidden away among these innocents is Daniel Matheson, the 18-year-old son of a wealthy oil tycoon. He hopes to photograph the beauty of Madrid as a way to get reacquainted with his mother’s family of origin.
Eventually, fate brings Ana into his life and he starts to understand the full repercussions of the Spanish Civil War. He questions everything and is surrounded by a vail of danger that will not dissipate.
As the novel unfolds, Daniel sees the dark side of this intriguing city and must make increasingly difficult decisions to protect the people he loves
So, purchase the Fountains of Silence now to read an extraordinary novel about love, the violence of secrets, the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and identity.
Price: $10.99 on Kindle.
16. A Heart So White by Javier Marias
Originally written in Spanish and then translated into English, A Heart So White is one of the best books about Spain that tells the story of Juan.
See, he doesn’t know much about his father, Ranz, and begins to reexamine the man’s life after his own marriage. As he explores the past, he uncovers the true meaning of secrecy and the high price that it demands.
Yeah, think of this as one of the best novels about Spain that is basically the opposite of a detective story since it’s all about human nature and how the sins of the father can lead to chronic patterns of ever-repeating violence.
Full of intrigue, this award-winning novel is regarded by many to be a masterpiece of literature that exquisitely demonstrates the power that the past and family secrets have over the life you lead today.
.Definitely a more cerebral novel so if you’re looking for a light read, you may want to try another one of the best books on Spain on this list.
Price: From $2.51 in hardcover.
17. The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Another amazing Carlos Ruiz Zafon novel, The Angel’s Game is the second book in the four book, The Cemetery of the Forgotten series.
It’s one of the best books about Spain where you’ll find David Martin in a long-forgotten, abandoned mansion in Barcelona. The survivor of a turbulent childhood, he quietly writes sensationalist novels under an assumed pseudonym.
It is within these stories that he hides from the pain of his past and, in so doing, uncovers a dark world behind Barcelona that many people don’t know exists.
However, perhaps his macabre prose aren’t quite as outlandish as they seem since he later finds a slew of ominous letters and photographs that hint at the mysterious death of the home’s former owner.
Eventually, the darkness of the past takes him over and he is only brought out of his misery once he receives a letter from a French editor named Andreas Corelli.
It is within this correspondence that David gets a once in a lifetime offer to write a truly unique book that will alter pieces minds and capture their hearts.
In return, he’ll receive wealth beyond his wildest dreams – an agreement that seems perfect until he understands the true connection between his haunting tale and the darkness that surrounds the mansion he lives in.
Yeah, if you like any of the author’s previous works then you love another one of the best novels about Spain on this list.
Price: $10.99 in paperback.
Books about Living in Spain: Non-Fiction Books about Spain
18. Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell
Initially intending to report on the Spanish Civil War as a war correspondent, George Orwell was compelled to act and eventually fought as a member of the POUM militia in the Republic army.
And Homage to Catalonia is one of the best books on Spain the details all of his personal experiences about life in the trenches and how this experience ultimately changed him and his political opinions, eventually leading him to write this book in 1946.
Gripping and heart-breaking, this is one of the best books about Spain that lashes out against totalitarianism and comes out in support of Democratic Socialism.
And that makes sense since the author fought against the Fascists of Spain and recounts his painful, but powerful, personal experiences throughout this sometimes funny literary gem.
So, find out what a truly democratic army with no hierarchy is really like, learn the truth behind Orwell’s almost fatal injury, and uncover the all too challenging conflict between one’s personal beliefs and the realities of political power.
Price: Just $0.45 on Kindle!
19. As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee
The second of a three book memoir about life in Spain, As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning follows author Laurie Lee as he leaves his village home in June of 1934 and walks over one-hundred miles from Slad to London.
At nineteen, he sets out on an incredible journey, bringing only what he can carry with him as he makes a long detour to stop and marvel at the ocean for the very first time.
Additionally, this is one of the best books about Spain that is often heralded as the greatest travel narratives of the past century since it is filled with poignant commentary about the realities of life on the road – first in England and then in Spain, where the unfamiliarity of it all eventually gave the author great comfort.
So, read about an all too fleeting era of peace in Europe, during which travelers could go wherever they wanted.
Find out what it’s like to tramp from the Galician port city of Vigo, over the Sierra de Guadarrama, through Madrid, and into the Costa del Sol as optimistic young men rediscover joy in a county that will soon need them in the political battles they lie ahead.
Price: From $11.99 on Kindle.
20. Driving Over Lemons: An Optimist in Spain by Chris Stewart
The first in a trilogy of books, Driving Over Lemons tells the story of the author and his wife Ana, who decide to purchase El Valero, a remote sheep farm in the Alpujarra Mountains in Southern Spain.
Brimming over with olive trees, lemon groves, and almonds aplenty, the farm is rustic and provides the authors with an all too real look at what life is really like without electricity, running water, road access, etc.
Additionally, the new owners have to contend with Pedro Romero, a former who who just refuses to leave.
However, in spite of all the overwhelming difficulties that the couple faces, they maintain their optimism and use their sheep shearing prowess to help them gain entry and acceptance into the local community.
So, take a chance one of the best books about Spain that is easy to read and that will inspire you. Because this couple never gives up and remains enchanted by the people they meet and the rugged landscape that they now call home.
Plus, in spite of the tremendous odds, they are able to create a new home for themselves and a life that they truly want to live.
Price: Starts at $12.99 on Kindle.
21. Iberia by James A Michener
Brought to you by Pulitzer Prize winning author James A Michener, Iberia is a book all about how James came to love and think of Iberia as his second home.
Think of this as one of the best books about Spain that is a stunning love letter to the awe-inspiring beauty of Iberia. So, pick up a copy today and learn all about the:
- History of Bullfighters
- Legacy of Warrior Kings
- Famous Painters
- Historic Processions
- Stunning Cathedrals
- Quaint Olive Orchards
- And more.
Because this book allows you to become intimately acquainted with the hidden world of Iberia through passionate, vivid prose that capture the true beauty of this sometimes contradictory, wild place.
Price: $14.99 on Kindle.
22. Roads to Santiago by Cees Nooteboom
Throughout this amazing travelogue, Cees Nooteboom shares his personal experiences with the sights, sounds, and smells of some of Spain’s most hidden places.
So, pick up a copy of Roads to Santiago today to become better acquainted with the architecture, history, art, natural landscape, people, and charming villages of lesser known Spain.
Because although this book is a masterful retelling of the author’s thirty-five-year long travels through his second home, it’s also a unique window into a part of Spain that many tourists don’t even know exist.
Therefore, use this beautiful memoir to uncover long forgotten Spanish history (El Cid, Cervantes, Alfonso the Chaste, Alfonso the Wise, the Hapsburgs, and Velázquez) and to truly understand the soul of this magnificent country.
Price: $19.99 in paperback.
23. The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho
Another one of the best books about Spain from Brazilian author Paulo Coelho. Only instead of fiction, this time Paulo discusses his personal pilgrimage along the road to Santiago.
In many ways, The Pilgrimage is the perfect companion to The Alchemist since it is an incredibly introspective piece of literature that examines the need of people to uncover their own path.
It demonstrates how the most extraordinary of things are hidden away in the ordinary, mundane takes that everyday people do.
So, equal parts adventure story and a journey of self-discovery, this riveting book will provide great insight into the life you lead and help you reexamine how you live it.
Price: $10.99 on Kindle.
24. South from Grenada by Gerald Brenan
In this incredible true story, learn about the time that author, Gerald Brenan, spent in the remote Spanish village of Yegen and the south of Granada between 1920 and 1934.
Part travelogue and part memoir, South From Grenada is one the best books about Spain that pays homage to the stunning, wild beauty of southern Spain.
So, take a close at local festivals, folk-lore of the Sierra Nevadas, long standing rivalries, courting rituals, superstitions, and regional customs to better understand what life was really like in rural Spain prior to the start of the Civil War.
It’s a story of a Spain that no longer exists – a fascinating tale that is punctuated by visits to cheap brothels, the exploration of archaeological remains, and trips to the Bloomsbury group to see people like Lytton Strachey and Virginia Woolf.
Price: $14.25 in paperback.
Best Books about Spain and Its History
25. Ghosts of Spain: Travels Through Spain and Its Silent Past by Giles Tremlett
Written by acclaimed British journalist Giles Tremlett, this fascinating story unveils some of the well-kept, secret truths surroundings the gruesome atrocities of the Spanish Civil War.
See, as someone who had lived in Madrid for decades, Tremlett was in Spain when mass graves from the Spanish Civil War were getting uncovered all throughout the country.
As a result, he was spurred into action and started going around the county to try and uncover the truth about Spain’s “silent past” – a collective pact that the country made to avoid the pain of the Civil War by forgetting it altogether.
And so, Tremlett embarked on a journey to try and understand exactly why some of Europe’s most immortal figures remained silent for so long.
In so doing, he takes readers on a trip through time and to areas in modern Spain like Barcelona, Madrid, Bilbao, and Galicia. Therefore, Ghosts of Spain is one of the best books on Spain if you want to learn all about the different regions of Spain and their unique histories.
After all, Tremlett is quite skilled at explaining Spanish culture to outsiders and offers a distinct point of view that reflects his background as a journalist.
Price: $13.99 in hardcover.
26. The Basque History of the World by Mark Kurlansky
In this well-written book from bestselling author Mark Kurlansky, readers will uncover the fascinating history behind the Basque region – a small portion of the country that sits on the border between France and Spain.
It’s a remarkable area that is full of contradictions, including the fact that although it’s the oldest nation in Europe, it’s also a place that has technically never been a country.
And Kurlansky attempts to unravel some of the mysteries enshrouding this amazing place as he tries to help readers understand the region’s origins and the indigenous language, Euskera, which is unlike any other on the planet.
Honestly, The Basque History of the World is truly eye-opening and unlike anything I’ve ever read. I mean, there is a great attention to detail here and an enthusiastic love of the Basque people that is pretty damn infectious.
So, channel your inner culture vulture and enjoy various human stories that are expertly interwoven with info on economic, political, literary, and culinary history.
After reading this iconic book, you’ll also understand the Basques’ epic contributions to navigation, gastronomy, agriculture, business, political, and recreation.
Price: $18.00 on paperback.
27. The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain by Maria Rosa Menocal
When many people think of Spain and its religious history, they immediately conquer up images of the atrocities associated with the intolerance of the Inquisition.
However, in this fascinating book entitled The Ornament of the World, author Maria Rosa Menocal dispels those misconceptions and shows how the Golden Age of Spanish culture (aka medieval Spain) resulted in more than seven-hundred years of peace and tolerance between the Muslims, Jews, and Christians of Spain,
Through vivid and tasteful storytelling – that even spawned a PBS series – understand exactly how an atmosphere of religious tolerance fostered artistic, scientific, and literary development throughout all of Spain,
FYI, there’s a special focus here, with a wistful portrayal of Al-Andalus (i.e. Muslim Spain). So, this is one of the best books on Spain for you if you plan to visit Andalusia while you solo travel Spain.
Price: $9.99 on Kindle.
28. Death in the Afternoon by Ernest Hemingway
Another Ernest Hemingway classic, this often overlooked book from this literary giant was first published in 1932 and unravels the sometimes baffling history of bullfighting in Spain.
Through personal stories about the sounds, sights, and atmosphere of a traditional bullfight, Hemingway attempts to share his passion for the often misunderstood sport.
So, purchase Death in the Afternoon (aka one of the best books on Spain) if you want to learn more about the ceremony and traditions associated with Spanish bullfighting,
And, per usual with Hemingway, the writing is exceptional and contains thoughts about the evolution of fear and courage in humans – creating an informative but reflective piece of literature that fans of his will love.
Price: $14.87 in paperback.
29. Barcelona by Robert Hughes
Without a doubt, Barcelona is easily one of my all time favorite cities in Spain.
So, if you want to better understand this unique city and it’s amazing Catalan culture, then Barcelona by Robert Hughes is easily one of the best books on Spain for you!
After all, Barcelona is probably the most non-Spanish city in the country and this guide does a great job of explaining why with detailed info on the entire history of the city from pre-historic times.
Additionally, Hughes sheds light on the often violent history of the city and reveals the incredible true stories behind some of the kings, queens, poets, and revolutionaries that called this place home.
Readers will also be introduced to some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, making this an ideal guide for anyone visiting Barcelona for the first time and looking for one of the best books about Spain.
Price: $6.99 on Kindle.
30. The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939 by Antony Beevor
In honor of the 70th anniversary of the start of the Spanish Civil War, best-selling author Antony Beevor brings you a riveting story all about the Spanish Civil War.
Beginning in 1936 and ending in 1939, this was one of the most brutal and hotly debated military conflicts of the 20th century.
In fact, many people still view it as a prelude to the start of World War II – with some believing that if the extreme left had lost then the entire Second World War would have been avoided.
In contrast, Nationalists believe that this was was actually the beginning of the Cold War between the West and the USSR.
Regardless of what you believe though, this book does an excellent job of mapping out the progression of the war and shedding some light on the nasty infighting that took place on both sides.
The Battle for Spain also shows readers how the hopes and anguish of an entire, jaded generation were amplified by the collapse of the Spanish Republic and the emergence of General Franco’s Nazi endorsed dictatorship.
Price: $14.99 on Kindle.
31. The Spanish Holocaust by Paul Preston
In this heartbreaking book, all of the gruesome atrocities associated with the Franco dictatorship are finally brought to light in this informative piece of work from Paul Preston.
It’s an often overlooked period in European history and The Spanish Holocaust helps shed light on what Franco’s Spain was really like.
And although gruesome, it’s important to recognize the torture, abuse, and murder of women and children that was carried out as part of a campaign of systematic terror – a pattern of behavior that was endorsed by this Fascist regime as enemies of the government would often turn up missing because they were disposed of in unmarked graves.
So while The Spanish Holocaust is one of the best books about Spain that is more difficult to read, it’s an important period in history that we should try not to forget as you read some of the best books on Spain.
Price: $9.99 with Kindle.
Best Spain Travel Books and Travel Books on Spain
And last, but certainly not least are a selection of the absolute best travel books on Spain. After all, if you’re planning a trip to Spain then you’ll probably want to have at least one guidebook handy.
This way, you’ll know exactly what to do, where to eat. and where to stay while experiencing all of the very best holiday destinations in Spain.
Just be sure to purchase the most recent edition possible since information changes pretty rapidly when it comes to local businesses and travel.
And while all of these guidebooks are awesome, I’m a big fan of Lonely Planet since their books are written by people who live in Spain and contain a ton of hidden gems that you probably won’t find in any other guidebook.
However, the choice is yours and you can easily purchase any of these best books on Spain from Amazon right now!
32. Lonely Planet Spain
33. Rick Steves Spain
34. Frommer’s Spain (Complete Guide)
35. Fodor’s Essential Spain
There you have it, that just about concludes this guide to the best books about Spain.
Tell me, did your picks for the best novels about Spain make the list? If not then let me know in the comments below so that I can give your picks for the best books on Spain a read.
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