The Most Beautiful Bookshops Around the World
Everyone knows that you don’t need to buy a plane ticket to travel somewhere far away. Sometimes, all you need is a good book – the kind that makes you continue the story in your head – and a comfortable setting to enjoy it.
But what about the place you shop for books? Surely it’s hard to serendipitously find a title that will transport you somewhere far away inside a bland, whitewashed shop with fluorescent lights and disarranged titles. Worry not, because the team at Modern Getaways Mag knows how important a beautiful setting is. That’s why we’ve chosen five of the world’s most beautiful bookshops for you to visit.
Livraria Lello — Porto, Portugal
R. das Carmelitas 144, Porto, Portugal
One of the oldest bookshops in Portugal, Livraria Lello is also known as one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. It's not hard to see why.
While the neo-gothic building is beautiful as a whole, the details are the most exciting part. The sweeping staircase with an eye-popping crimson carpet, the effigies of the great Portuguese authors along the hallway, carved wooden panels and stained-glass work adorning the ceiling all add to the church like atmosphere. If you’re in Porto, don’t miss the chance to visit the place that inspired J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter universe.
El Ateneo Grand Splendid — Buenos Aires, Argentina
Av. Santa Fe 1860, 1123 CABA, Argentina
Today, many of the world's most beautiful bookshops are housed in converted buildings, El Ateneo, in Buenos Aires, is one of them. Initially a theatre it was converted to a cinema in the roaring 1920's and reborn as a bookshop in the early 2000s.
Imposing and majestic, the former theatre with its frescoed ceilings, ornate carvings, and luxurious red stage curtains, appeals to the dramatic reader. And since the stage and theatre boxes were converted into reading spaces, you can take a seat and enjoy the atmosphere.
We wouldn’t be surprised if you ended up thinking, even if for a second, that you were in another place. Perhaps the library in Beauty and Beast?
Boekhandel Dominicanen — Maastricht, The Netherlands
Dominicanerkerkstraat 1, 6211 CZ Maastricht, Netherlands
Is there anything better than having a beautiful 13th Century church converted into something else other than a bookstore? With an award-winning redesign, which breathed new life into an 1100 sq meter Gothic church, Boekhandel Dominicanen, quickly became a destination for avid readers all over the world.
Walking along the corridors filled with bookcases, beneath the vaulted ceilings, is a bizarre yet fascinating experience. With plenty of titles in several languages, a rich cultural agenda of events, one of the best cups of coffee in the city, we’ll say that this temple of books something that travelers in the Netherlands must check out.
Daunt Books — London, UK
84 Marylebone High St, Marylebone, W1U 4QW London
London shows its love for the printed page with plenty of bookstores, from large chains to small independent ones. But Daunt Books, opened in 1912 on Marylebone High Street, is a real local-haven for book lovers.
With a cozy, old university library type of atmosphere, the library is outlined in wood panels, heaps of natural light shining in through a large glass roof and neatly arranged books along the walls of an Edwardian building. With an emphasis on travel titles, Daunt Books organizes its wares by country regardless of genre; French works of fiction, Madame Bovary for example, are side by side with French travel guides and cooking books.
Rizzoli — New York, USA
Rizzoli, 1133 Broadway, NoMad, New York
This independent New York bookstore avoided a tragic ending in 2014 when the building it resided was up for demolition, but reborn in the hip NoMad neighborhood.
With a spacious 5-thousand square foot store, the vast glass facade and high ceilings make the new space feel more like a library than a bookstore. Complete with brass chandeliers, cherry-wood shelves and beautiful custom wallpaper for each room, Rizzoli still focuses on stocking the best selection of art and photography books in the city. The clientele is as cosmopolitan and refined as the titles, and the atmosphere begs the visitor to linger.