6 Books Set in Barcelona

Hombre leyendo en el metro de Barcelona.


They say a book is a window to another world. An oasis in the middle of so much distraction and hustle. A universe in which there’s no limit to our imagination and creativity. Reading isn’t just one of the best pastimes against boredom, it’s a key habit for sparking curiosity and critical thinking. While taking care of our bodies is essential for a healthy life, so is keeping our brains active. A selection of books can be just as enriching as a diverse menu of delicious meals — both nourish us and leave us feeling fulfilled in unique ways.


Literature has a superpower: it can teleport us to another time and space. When we read, we can walk the streets of a city we’ve never been to before, smell its aromas, hear the people talk in their language and accents, taste the local cuisine and see its beauty and quirks through the eyes of characters we come to love. Today, we want to take you on a journey through Barcelona with six books that feature this amazing city as one of their main characters. Let’s explore this magical place together!

Cathedral of the Sea — Ildefonso Falcones


The Middle Ages brought both great light and great shadow to the world. In this work by Ildefonso Falcones —which has won several awards including the Euskadi de Plata Award and the prestigious Italian Giovanni Boccaccio Prize— we’re transported to 14th century Barcelona. The main plot revolves around the construction of Santa Maria del Mar, a church located in the heart of the Born neighbourhood. The townspeople come together to build a temple to worship the Virgin Mary. The story, with Arnau as its main protagonist, takes us on a fictional journey in which loyalty, revenge, betrayal, love, war, illnesses and all the intricacies of this period in history intertwine.

Source: Editorial Planeta

The Shadow of the Wind — Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Another great classic of contemporary literature! According to critics, Ruiz Zafón’s work is one of the biggest bestsellers of recent times. The author, who sadly passed away in 2020, wrote this thrilling mystery novel set in early 20th century Barcelona. It immerses us in the city’s most mysterious and Gothic side, from the industrial revolution to post-war times. Surrounded by hints of suspense and fantasy, the two main characters must uncover an enigma surrounding the tormented past of a writer.


Nada (Nothing) — Carmen Laforet    


We’re in 1944 Barcelona, right in the middle of World War II. The main character, Andrea, arrives in the city with the goal of enrolling in college and studying literature. But the hopes of this young student don’t match with the tense and nervous atmosphere at her grandmother’s house, where she lives. The book tells a story of contrast between the feelings Andrea experiences within her family circle and the exciting college life she discovers , presented to us through her internal dialogue. Carmen Laforet’s work, winner of the prestigious Nadal Prize, projected the author into Spanish culture as one of the most important writers of the last century.

Nada - Carmen Laforet

Source: Editorial Astral

Last Evenings with Teresa — Juan Marsé 


Juan Marsé’s work, “Últimas Tardes con Teresa”, established him as one of the leading figures in modern European literature. The novel is set in a Barcelona of wealthy bourgeoisie and social outcasts and it tells the story of the friendship between a rebellious young bourgeois woman and a motorcycle thief posing as a revolutionary military man. What’s most interesting about this book, winner of the Biblioteca Breve prize in 1965, is how it reflects the language and slang of the neighbourhoods, with typical phrases and expressions from Catalonia.

Taxi – Carlos Zanón


In this novel, we find ourselves in a modern, cosmopolitan Barcelona in the year 2017. The main character, Sandino, has just broken up with his wife. For seven days and seven nights, Sandino wanders through the streets of the city like a broken doll, running away from himself and his situation, not knowing where to go or who to turn to. With remarkable literary prose and a fast-paced rhythm, Zanón has created one of the most unique characters in recent literature.

Como polvo en el viento - Leonardo Padura

Source: Editorial Planeta

Like Dust in the Wind — Leonardo Padura

Cuban writer, Leonardo Padura —winner of the 2015 Princess of Asturias Award for Literature—, tells the story of a group of Cuban friends who have been dispersed and exiled to different cities around the world, including Barcelona. In this fast-paced novel, the author addresses the questions surrounding the diaspora of his characters: who are they now, far from their country of origin? How has immigration transformed them? Can they still be connected by an invisible thread, despite time and distance? What’s life like for those who chose to stay in their home country? What’s life like for those who left?


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