Spain is well known for its cultural wealth, from its famous flamenco to its renowned tapas, as well as plenty to offer book lovers.
The destinations we will be looking at have all at some point been featured in classic novels or recent bestsellers. If you haven’t read these books yet, perhaps you would like to read them over the course of your trip?
With friendly tapas culture and boundless places to get a taste of flamenco in stunning natural surroundings, Granada is worth visiting whether or not you have a keen interest in books.
Granada is featured in several novels, notably Victoria Hislop’s recent ‘The Return’, which is a thoroughly researched historical romance. Hislop mentions Casa Enrique in her novel, and a trip to this tiny authentic bar is a novel way to get a feel for the setting of the modern portion of her book.
Hislop references several other places that you may want to consider visiting as she’s carefully selected locations that project the essence of the city.
‘The Hand of Fatima’ by Falcones is another inspiring historical romance novel set in the city of Granada.
The Alhambra, which many wrongly assume is the only reason to visit Granada, has captured the heart of many a writer including Federico García Lorca, who lived in Granada.
Lorca’s house in Granada has been turned into a museum, which provides fascinating insight into life at the time of the beginning of the Spanish civil war, as well as the life of the poet himself.
Washington Irving’s ‘Tales of the Alhambra’ may be considered a little dated, but is none the less a fascinating read and captures the essence of this magnificent palace. Additionally, if you’re in the area, Lorca’s house in Granada has been turned into a museum, which provides fascinating insight into life at the time of the beginning of the Spanish civil war, as well as the life of the poet himself.
For traditional wonderfully preserved windmills, as described by Cervantes in ‘Don Quixote’ , be sure to head to Consuegra, near Toledo. Perched on the hillside as though placed there to be photographed, the beautiful old windmills look particularly picturesque at sunset.
Barcelona has hosted more than its fair share of fictional antics. If you can only find the time to read one book set in this bustling city, may be try ‘The Shadow of the Wind’ by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. A gothic thriller set in the aftermath of Spain’s civil war, Zafón provides an exceptional opportunity to familiarise yourself with the city.
If you prefer non-fiction, you may be familiar with George Orwell’s ‘Homage to Catelonia.’ While Orwell gives us a fascinating historical lens through which to view Barcelona, his descriptions could be interpreted as perhaps too vivid, too real, and too recent to make for light-hearted holiday reading.
Madrid is particularly rich with literary attractions as an incredible number of writers have taken up residence within the city limits over the years. While the paving stones of Calle Huertas are adorned with quotes from famous Spanish authors, there are numerous bars, restaurants, and landmarks mentioned in literature which can be found in real-life Madrid.
If you’re a fan of Hemingway, you may choose to follow in his footsteps and eat and drink your way around this stunning city. Hemingway alludes to a number of his favourite watering holes in his work, many of which have stood the test of time and can still be visited today.
You may want to try Restaurante Sobrino de Botín as mentioned in ‘The Sun Also Rises’ or if you have a taste for sherry, head to La Venencia which does not seem to have changed since Hemingway last stopped by.
In Las Cuevas de Sésamo, the walls are adorned with a plaque signed by Hemingway as well as quotes by legendary Spanish artists and authors which you may find well worth a visit.
Of course, there are a great many other literary attractions and destinations that may be of interest when on your holidays to Spain. If you’re looking for books set in Spain, Goodreads has compiled a list of well over 300 books