Hemingway and Spain: Don Ernesto's Favorite Spanish Spots

When we hear the name "Ernest Hemingway", a picture of a coarse-looking man at a bar with a drink in hand comes to mind as often as one of the famous novelist sitting at a desk punching away at a typewriter. 

Thinking of the hardy writer, it's hard for us to not picture him in bars from a bygone era throughout the country of Spain in particular. Why so? Because "Don Ernesto" spent much of his life in the country, even having reported on the Spanish Civil War.

He was especially fond of two cities in particlular–Madrid and Pamplona. 

Hemingway came to leave his booze and ink-tainted mark on many alcohol–laden establishments in these cities. Yet, only a few could be spoken of as his favourites.

What are a few of these haunts that most famously became part of the booze-filled love affair between Hemingway and Spain? 

El Sobrino de Botín: The World's Oldest Restaurant

Official crowned the worlds "earliest restaurant" by the Guiness Book of Records, the Casa Botín was further immortalized by Hemingway himself in his famous novel The Sun Also Rises. The final scene of the book took place in this restaurant, "one of the best restaurants in the world", so Hemingway wrote. 

The restaurant has been in the González family since Hemingway's time. The current González running the Casa Botín, Carlos, spoke of a solid friendship between his grandfather, Emilio, and the novelist. He stated that his grandfather, Emilio would "let Hemingway fix his own martinis" and that the novelist "loved the roast suckling pig" the restaurant is still famous for. 

The Cervecería Alemana: Hemingway's Favourite Beer Hall 

As much as cocktails make up the rich history of Hemingway and Spain, the author still loved an old fashioned, German brew.  

Later in his life, in the 1950s, Hemingway returned to Spain after reporting on the Spanish Civil War and WWII. During this period, the novelist would frequent the Cervecería Alemana. Of this German beer hall which opened in 1904, Hemingway stated that it is "a good place to drink beer and coffee". 

He even had a favourite table he would most often frequent here. Today there remains this table as well as a picture hung above it of the author sitting there. You can still sit at this table while partaking of the Cervecería Alemana's beer in the same spot the late author so often did.

The Café Iruñia: Hemingway's Favourite Basque Haunt 

An avid admirer of the running of the bulls, Ernest Hemingway was greatly attracted to its home, Pamplona. 

Hemingway didn't just love Pamplona though; Pamplona loved Hemingway. So much so that after his death, the city erected a statue of him and named a street in his honor.

In this city is the Café Iruñia, which, upon entering, doesn't take long to understand why this establishment is part of Hemingway's Spain. With the life-sized likeness of the novelist and pictures of him enjoying both drink and company in a corner of the restaurant, the spirit of the late author still lives on within the Café Iruñia. 

A Love Affair Enjoyed By the Many 

The storied history of Spain, the beautiful architecture, and the rich culture strewn throughout Hemingway's Spanish haunts is part of the reason that the love affair between Hemingway and Spain lasted longer than many of his others.  

The very same things that one of history's legendary novelists loved about the country still are alive and well within it. It's why many choose, like Don Ernesto, to make Spain their second home.

If you'd like to leave your mark on Spain just like one of history's most famous novelists did, we can help.