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The World’s Most Wonderful Bookstores

Bookstores are a favorite stop on any trip.

I love the convenience of an e-reader, but there’s just something about a good, old fashioned book. It’s sad thinking of how many bookstores have vanished in the past two or three years. For a book nerd like me, it’s tragic. On the positive side, it makes us appreciate those we have left and if you’re like me you always have a unique bookstore on your list when you hit a new town or city.

Here are few you have to visit if you find yourself traveling in these cities:

Livraria da Vila, São Paulo, Brazil

Located in a charming neighborhood selling trendy clothes and gelato, you can walk through Livraria da Vila and enjoy wall after wall of books.  There is a charming cafe inside and you could easily spend hours just getting lost in the different sections of books.  Stop at one of the cozy reading areas if you find something you like.

Flicker / jingdianjiaju2

Cook & Book, Brussels, Belgium

If you like to hang out and read with your friends, then this is place for you.  Not only can you read, but you’ll be able to eat (and drink wine) too!  Cook & Book is wonderfully quirky and you almost feel like you’re wandering around inside of a movie set.  It’s a good idea and shows a bit where the bookstore of the future is headed.


Livraria Lello, Porto, Portugal

Imagine the biggest, oldest and most magnificent bookshop on the planet.  That’s what you get when you visit Livraria Lello.  It’s a very Harry Potter feeling place and sometimes you’ll find hordes of tourists snapping selfies, but you must go and experience the magic of this one-of-a-kind bookstore.

Flickr / Del-Uk

Shakespeare & Company, Paris, France

Next time you’re in Paris, put this on your list.  It is the most amusing way to kill an hour that I can think of.  It was a hangout for Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Joyce and you’ll love sitting back, relaxing and reading in the charming atmosphere.  You’re almost certain to leave with an unexpected gem of a book to remember your visit.

Shakespeare_&_Co by-Christine-Zenino
Flickr / Christine Zenino

The Last Bookstore, Los Angeles, California

Think you’ve seen it all in Los Angeles?  Put this unforgettable bookstore on your list and enjoy all it has to offer.  Downstairs it looks like a normal shop, however UPSTAIRS is the place to explore. The books shelves are arranged in a labyrinth with interesting nooks and you’ll marvel at the tunnel made of books that you can walk through.  If you’re a book lover, you’ll fall in love the moment you walk through the doors.

Flickr / Aude Lising

Boekhandel Selexyz Dominicanen, Maastricht, Netherlands

Here is another bookstore that screams “wow!”  Located in an old church in the town of Masstricht, this shop is loved by locals and a huge attraction for tourists looking for lazy way to spend the day.  Visit the lovely coffee shop, soak-in the classical background music and enjoy the peaceful and wonderful experience of this stunning bookstore.

Flickr / Jorge Franganillo

Librería El Ateneo Grand Splendid, Buenos Aires, Argentina

It’s not often you get to experience something really magical for free, but El Ateneo offers you exactly that.  This amazing experience was created when the old Grand Splendid Theater was renovated to provide a one-of-a-kind-bookstore, coffee shop and exhibition floor. El Ateneo has to be one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world with its grand balconies, stage and lighting.  You’ll definitely want to stop in to browse the shelves, have a coffee and snap a selfie!


More from Samantha Brown:

7 of the World’s Most Stunning Libraries

8 Amazing Suites and Penthouses

11 Incredible Pools to Dive For

Travel’s Biggest Rip-Offs

6 Signs You’re an Experienced Traveler

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Hi samatha James have you been in Portland Oregon,power book store old one on burnside street. Big but I go there grow up crappy city. They remodel it I’m upset with new look. I go to Beaverton Oregon power book store. But the customer service awfule with me I alway complain,I here story. Oh go to sea side,west coast,book store,forgot the name they have a neat cat inside I pet him nice cat I love cat. Samatha are you making new show I love watching you tube old show. Reunion go back to londan,Germany,I’m watching now. I’m upset travel channel, changed. Oh have you ever been to Portland Oregon. It sad things are closed,I might moved out,bot the same in past. Oh you should write a book travel book ok. Oh remember apple strudel.

    1. I agree. I loved that bookstore in Portland. It is a whole city block. I bought two hard to find books ???? even though I’m an avid eReader. What an experience. The people were interesting too and I had the choice of a new copy or a used one. This is a great place in a great city.

  2. Powell’s in Portland, Oregon is a book lover’s paradise. Their website and ” Indiespensible” book club is fabulous. The store though – it actually has MAPS for visitors – it’s that huge. This east coast girl has got to get out there again soon! Stick it on your list!

  3. Love the Strand in NYC. New and used books will keep you occupied for hours. We go there just for a day trip. Great book related gifts as well.

  4. Whenever I’m in London I visit the Daunt Books’ Marylebone High Street branch. As noted in Wikipedia, it is ‘housed in a former Edwardian bookshop with long oak galleries, graceful skylights and William Morris prints. Specializing in travel, Daunt Books arranges its sections geographically, with guides, phrasebooks, travel writing, history and fiction grouped by their relevant country.’

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