Reading List

They say your journey starts once you decide to take one! To help you get excited and prepared for your Fresco Tour, we've developed a list of some of our favorite books and we've thrown in a few films too. Start your adventure!

General Spain

Ghosts of Spain by Giles Tremlett: “[A] provocative and vividly written book that is part history, part political and social commentary, and part love letter. This book should be in all public and academic library collections on Spanish history and culture.” - Library Journal

The Story of Spain by Mark R. Williams: “By far the best introduction for students in English to Spain's history and culture...” - Paul Smith, Professor Emeritus, Department of Spanish, U.C.L.A.

The New Spaniards by John Hooper: “Hooper . . . not only knows where Spain has been in recent decades and centuries, but he also has an impressively authoritative view of where exactly it is today and where it is headed.” - The Washington Post

Iberia by James A. Michener: “Massive, beautiful...Unquestionably some of the best writing on Spain...The best that Mr. Michener has ever done on any subject...Stunning...Memorable.” - THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Spain by Jan Morris: “Passionate, evocative and beautifully written, Spain is a companion to the country: its people, its history - and its character.” -

Camino de Santiago

Michelin: North West Spain, Galicia: An excellent map of the area where we will be walking on the Camino de Santiago.

Michelin Spain & Portugal Map: Another great map of the area where we will be walking the Camino de Santiago.

The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago: The Complete Cultural Handbook by David M. Gitlitz and Linda Kay Davidson: “A fascinating step-by-step guide to the cultural history of the Road for pilgrims, hikers, and armchair travelers alike.” -

A Survival Guide to the Camino de Santiago in Galicia by Jeffery Barrera: This is a guidebook that will help you understand and appreciate Spanish idiosyncrasy. It provides insider insight and information about the Camino: where you are walking, why you are looking at things, what you are eating and how to make the most of your experience.

A Survival Guide to the Portuguese Camino in Galicia by Jeffery Barrera: Following up on his successful Survival Guide for the Camino Francés, Jeffery now introduces us to the lesser known Camino Portugues. Galician section of the Portuguese Camino. General information is provided for each village and place of interest including historical, religious, artistic, or anything else related to Spanish and Galician culture and/or customs.

A Pilgrim's Guide to the Camino de Santiago by John Brierley (12th edition): “This comprehensive guidebook to the Camino de Santiago contains all the information needed by modern-day pilgrims wishing to walk the sacred Way of St. James.” -

Walk in a Relaxed Manner by Joyce Rupp: “This book describes the humor, heartbreak and adventure of Rupp's 47-day, 450-mile trek along the famous Spanish pilgrimage route Camino de Santiago. Photographs and a map of the route invites readers to travel along the dusty track as the pilgrims did 450 years before.” -

To the Field of Stars: A Pilgrim's Journey to Santiago De Compostela by Kevin A. Codd: “In this wonderful book Father Codd brilliantly captures for us the essence of pilgrimage. He is a candid and engaging guide to the physical realities involved. More than that, though, he reveals the interior journey, equally difficult and equally rewarding.” - Martin Sheen

The Road to Santiago by Walter Starkie: “Combines extraordinary breadth of scholarship with the romantic insights and picaresque experiments of a born story-teller.” - Michael Jacobs

A Million Steps by Kurt Koontz: “A Million Steps climbs over the high meadows of the Pyrenees, quests through the unceasing wind of the Meseta, and dances in the rains of Galicia. While following the yellow arrows that mark the route, Koontz also navigates through his personal history of addiction, recovery, and love.” -

Walking Home by Sonia Choquette: “Walking Home is an inspiring, empowering, and raw account of one woman's journey to freedom and forgiveness.” - Deepak Chopra, M.D.

The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho: “Part adventure story, part guide to self-mastery, this compelling tale delivers a powerful brew of magic and insight.” -

Travels with My Donkey: One Man and His Ass on a Pilgrimage to Santiago by Tim Moore: “If you enjoyed Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods, this feels like the natural sequel---a well-told comic misadventure with a history lesson woven in for good measure.” - Doug Lansky

I'm Off Then: Losing and Finding Myself on the Camino de Santiago by Hape Kerkeling: “Overweight, overworked, and disenchanted, Kerkeling was an unlikely candidate to make the arduous pilgrimage across the Pyrenees to the Spanish shrine of St. James, a 1,200-year-old journey undertaken by nearly 100,000 people every year. But he decided to get off the couch and do it anyway.” -

The Camino : A Journey of the Spirit by Shirley MacLaine: “Typical of MacLaine, this is a personal story with enormous adventure, a smattering of flashbacks, and a hefty serving of cosmic revelations.” - Gail Hudson

Selected Poems by Rosalia de Castro: A Fresco Tours pick for one of the great Galician writers! Rosalia de Castro was a remarkable woman, whose poetry immediately seized the hearts of the Gallegos and continues to influence writers today with its combination of sadness and saudade - anger and outrage.

Camino de Santiago - Practical Preparation and Background by Mr. Gerald Kelly: A comprehensive guide book that includes information on packing, walking, history, culture, communication, health - and probably a few things you didn't think of!

A Village to Village Guide to Hiking the Camino De Santiago: Camino Frances: St Jean - Santiago - Finisterre by Anna Dintaman and David Landis: Experienced outdoor enthusiasts, David and his wife Anna have hiked the 800km Camino Frances and 90km Camino Finisterre twice in order to write this detailed, pilgrim-friendly guide.

DVD: The Way by Emilio Estevez: “From the unexpected and, often times, amusing experiences along 'The Way,' Tom (Martin Sheen) begins to learn what it means to be a citizen of the world again. Through his unresolved relationship with his son, he discovers the difference between 'the life we live and the life we choose.'”

DVD: Six Ways to Santiago by Lydia Smith: A documentary profile of six pilgrims taking the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage through Spain.


Journey to Portugal: In Pursuit of Portugal's History and Culture by José Saramago: A well-known Nobel Prize author, Saramago gives us the mystery and brilliance of a country he loves so dearly. His descriptions and reflections serve less as a guidebook and more of friendly travel companion.

The Maias by José María Eca de Queiroz: “... Quierós has a magisterial sense of social stratification, family and the way eros can make an opera of private life. The novel crystallizes the larger unreality of an incestuous society, one that drifts, even the elite heatedly acknowledge, into decline. This novel stands with the great achievements of fiction.” - Pubisher's Weekly

The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa: “Pessoa's amazing personality is as beguiling and mysterious as his unique poetic output.” - William Boyd

The Portuguese: A Modern History by Barry Hatton: “Barry Hatton shines a light on this enigmatic corner of Europe by blending historical analysis with entertaining personal anecdotes. He describes the idiosyncrasies that make the Portuguese unique and surveys the eventful path that brought them to where they are today.” -

Basque Country

Michelin Map: The Basque Country: Map of the area where we will be touring in the Basque Country.

The Basque History of the World by Mark Kurlansky: “A lively, anecdotal, all-encompassing history of Basque ingenuity and achievement. ” - Atlantic Monthly

The Basque Country: A Cultural History by Paddy Woodworth: “A terrific modern introduction to the Basque Country...succeeds in showing us the complexities of the Basque struggle for identity.” - The Irish Times

Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway: “First appeared in 1926, and yet it's as fresh and clean and fine as it ever was, maybe finer.” -

Cadogan Guide, Northern Spain: Great guide book and resource for traveling in Northern Spain.

Pintxos: Small Plates in the Basque Tradition by Gerald Hirigoyen: An authentic small plates cookbook from the top Basque chef in America.

DVD: Butterfly Wings by Juanma Bajo Ulloa: An intense family drama by well-known Basque film director, Juanma Bajo Ulloa.


Michelin Map : Southern Spain's Andalucia: This is the map for Spain's South, Andalucia.

Tales of the Alhambra by Washington Irving: “Tales of the Alhambra, which is Washington Irving's dreamlike description of Spain's Granada and the beautiful Moorish castle, remains one of the most entertaining travelogues ever written.” -

The Selected Poems of Federico Garcia Lorca: “What a poet! I have never seen grace and genius...come together in anyone else as they did in him” - Pablo Neruda

Driving Over Lemons by Chris Stewart: “His memoir about southern Spain would set a standard for literary travel writing.” -

For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway: “This is the best book Ernest Hemingway has written, the fullest, the deepest, the truest. It will, I think, be one of the major novels in American literature.” - The New York Times Book Review


The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon: “Anyone who enjoys novels that are scary, erotic, touching, tragic and thrilling should rush right out to the nearest bookstore and pick up The Shadow of the Wind.” - The Washington Post

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett: “Follett has written a novel that entertains, instructs and satisfies on a grand scale.” - Publishers Weekly

Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell: “Homage to Catalonia is a triumph.” - AudioFile

Tapas: The Little Dishes of Spain by Penelope Casas: “Cooks at all skill levels will find dozens of these tasty little morsels to make and enjoy.” - Boehm

Postwar, A History of Europe Since 1945 by Tony Judt: This is the best history we have of Europe in the postwar period and not likely to be surpassed for many years. Judt, director of New York University's Remarque Institute, is an academic historian of repute and a keen observer of European affairs. - Publisher's Weekly

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed: “Echoing the ever-popular search for wilderness salvation, Strayed tells the story of her emotional devastation after the death of her mother and the weeks she spent hiking the 1,100-mile Pacific Crest Trail.” - Colleen Mondor, Booklist

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson: “Bill Bryson introduces us to the history and ecology of the trail and to some of the other hardy (or just foolhardy) folks he meets along the way-and a couple of bears. Already a classic, A Walk in the Woods will make you long for the great outdoors...”

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