Spain is one of my favorite countries in Europe. After visiting Barcelona for a week and not falling in love with it, I had lukewarm feelings about the country as a whole.
But when I returned a few years later and spent several weeks in Sevilla studying Spanish, I found myself with a whole different outlook on Spain.
Suddenly I understood what makes so many people fall in love with this sun-soaked European with its diverse regions and cultures.
If you have been wanting to visit Spain (or are currently planning a trip there!) these are the best books to read before you go.
I’ve included a mixture of books set in Spain, from historical to contemporary, fiction and nonfiction. There’s something for every reader on this list.
Here are the best books set in Spain that will transport you there!
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Novels and Fiction Set in Spain
Winter in Madrid by C. J. Sansom
Set in 1940 after the Spanish Civil War has ended, this historical fiction novel follows a spy from the British Secret Service and a Red Cross nurse who are each engaged in their own secret missions in Madrid.
With intrigue and danger, this is a story you won’t be able to put down.
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Translated by: Lucia Graves
Another historical fiction set in the 1940s after the Spanish Civil War, this novel is set in Barcelona. It follows a young man who is the son of an antique book dealer.
While mourning the loss of his mother, he takes solace in a mysterious book. But when he attempts to track down the author’s other works, he comes across a strange pattern and unknowingly finds himself entering into the heart of one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets of madness, murder, and doomed love.
The Winemaker by Noah Gordon
Set in northern Spain in the 19th century, this historical fiction book is about a young man who is the son of a vineyard owner trying to build a life for himself. But when a political plot in Madrid sucks a group of innocent young farm workers into its vortex, his life is changed forever.
The Vacationers by Emma Straub
For an American family on a two-week holiday to the Spanish island of Mallorca, the trip is supposed to be a celebration. But over the course of the vacation, secrets come to light, humiliations are experienced, childhood rivalries resurface, and ancient wounds are exacerbated.
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
Translated by: John Rutherford
Although it was originally published in 1605, Don Quixote is a classic work of Spanish literature that has withstood the test of item.
This beloved story follows a Spanish nobleman who decides to revive the tradition of the knight-errant and sets off in search of chivalrous adventures.
Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner
This pensive novel is about a brilliant yet eccentric American poet living in Madrid on a prestigious fellowship. When he bears witness to the 2004 Madrid train bombings, it causes him to ponder what it means to participate in historic events, or simply watch them pass by.
Hot Milk by Deborah Levy
Sofia, a young anthropologist, has spent much of her life trying to solve the mystery of her mother’s unexplainable illness. When the two of them travel to the arid coast of southern Spain to try one last chance at treatment with a famous doctor, Sofia’s role of detective deepens.
Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones
Set in Barcelona in the fourteenth century, this historical fiction novel follows a young stoneworker who comes to Barcelona for work and secretly falls in love with a forbidden woman. His life is put into peril when he is betrayed and hauled in front of the Spanish Inquisition.
The Orange Grove by Rosanna Ley
This is a fun, summery romance set in scorching Sevilla. It follows Holly and her mother Ella, who travel to Sevilla to source ingredients for Holly’s marmalade shop in England.
However, Ella has a secret from her past in Sevilla that she has to confront, while Holly meets someone who poses a threat to all her carefully-laid plains. Will love survive the secrets of Sevilla’s orange groves?
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
This classic novel by Ernest Hemingway is set in Europe during the 1920s and follows American veteran Jake and Englishwoman Lady Brett as they gallivant from the wild nightlife of Paris to the brutal bullfighting rings of Spain with a motley group of expatriates.
The Time In Between by Maria Dueñas
This historical fiction novel set in Madrid and Morocco follows a young Spanish woman who ends up becoming an undercover agent for the Allies during World War II.
Nonfiction Books About Spain
The Ornament of the World by Maria Rosa Menocal
If you are looking for some nonfiction reading about Spain, look no further than The Ornament of the World.
This engrossing book paints an illuminating portrait of medieval Spain, a time when Muslim, Jewish, and Christian influences blended together to create a unique culture.
As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee
This historical travel memoir follows the author’s journey walking from his home in England to Spain during the 1930s. He explored the country on foot and wrote about it in his book.
Iberia by James A. Michener
For an excellent nonfiction book spanning the history of Spain, look no further than Iberia which chronicles the country from its early ages to the present time.
Grape, Olive, Pig by Matt Goulding
This nonfiction book by an acclaimed food writer takes a deep dive into Spanish gastronomy. It’s a deeply personal exploration of a country where eating and living are inextricably linked.
Best Books Set in Spain
These are some of the best books set in Spain.
Have you read any of these books set in Spain? Do you have any favorite books set in Spain that I should add to this list? Let me know in the comments below!
Know someone else who wants to read books set in Spain? Then please do pin this post.
Start with this list of the very best travel adventure books. It includes great reads that will fuel your wanderlust and have you staying up late to finish them.
You should also check out the following series of book lists set in specific destinations: