Calling all book lovers! If you're a bibliophile like me, you know that there's something magical about stepping into a bookstore. The smell of old books, the sight of shelves stacked with literary treasures, and the anticipation of finding your next great read—it's a feeling like no other. Today, we're taking a literary journey around the world to explore some of the most famous bookstores that every bookworm should visit. So, grab your reading glasses and let's dive in!
1. Shakespeare and Company - Paris, France
Our first stop takes us to the city of love, Paris. Tucked away in the bohemian Latin Quarter, Shakespeare and Company has been a haven for writers and book lovers since 1951. This iconic bookstore not only offers an extensive collection of English literature but also acts as a literary hub, hosting readings, workshops, and events. Don't forget to leave your mark on the walls covered in messages from past visitors!
2. Powell's City of Books - Portland, Oregon
Next, we're heading across the pond to the cool and quirky city of Portland. Powell's City of Books is a book lover's paradise, spanning an entire city block. With over one million books, both new and used, you could easily lose yourself in its labyrinthine aisles for hours. Pro-tip: Grab a map at the entrance to navigate your way through this literary wonderland.
3. El Ateneo Grand Splendid - Buenos Aires, Argentina
Prepare to be enchanted as we make our way to South America and step into the El Ateneo Grand Splendid in Buenos Aires. Housed in a former theater, this bookstore is a true architectural gem. The grand stage has been transformed into a cozy reading nook, and the shelves are lined with books from floor to ceiling. Take a seat in one of the plush theater seats and immerse yourself in a good book while basking in the beauty of this stunning bookstore.
4. The Last Bookstore - Los Angeles, California
Heading back to the United States, we find ourselves in the vibrant city of Los Angeles. The Last Bookstore is a mecca for book lovers and a testament to the enduring power of physical books in a digital age. This massive bookstore is home to a vast collection of new, used, and rare books. But what sets it apart is the imaginative artwork and book installations that adorn its walls, creating a truly unique and immersive reading experience.
5. Livraria Lello - Porto, Portugal
Our next stop takes us to the charming city of Porto, where we stumble upon Livraria Lello, a bookstore that seems straight out of a fairytale. With its stunning neo-gothic architecture, intricate wooden staircases, and stained glass ceilings, Livraria Lello is often regarded as one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. It's no wonder that it served as an inspiration for J.K. Rowling while she was writing the Harry Potter series.
6. Atlantis Books - Santorini, Greece
Picture this: a bookstore overlooking the turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea, nestled in a whitewashed building on a cliffside. Welcome to Atlantis Books in Santorini, Greece. This hidden gem is a book lover's paradise, offering a curated selection of books in multiple languages. With breathtaking views and a tranquil atmosphere, it's the perfect spot to escape reality and lose yourself in the pages of a captivating story.
7. Libreria Acqua Alta - Venice, Italy
Venice, known for its picturesque canals and gondola rides, is also home to a quirky and unconventional bookstore called Libreria Acqua Alta. This eccentric bookstore is a labyrinth of books piled in gondolas, bathtubs, and even a full-sized boat! It's a delight to explore this unconventional space, where you can stumble upon hidden treasures while navigating through the stacks.
8. Bart's Books - Ojai, California
Back in California, we make our way to the charming town of Ojai, where Bart's Books awaits. This open-air bookstore is a paradise for both book lovers and nature enthusiasts. Set under a canopy of ancient oak trees, Bart's Books has been serving bibliophiles since 1964. Browse through its shelves, soak up the fresh air, and maybe even catch a glimpse of the resident bookstore cat.
9. Libreria Alta Acqua - Florence, Italy
No trip to Florence would be complete without a visit to Libreria Alta Acqua. Tucked away along the canals of the city, this cozy bookstore is a treasure trove for book lovers. Don't be surprised to find books stacked in bathtubs and gondolas, a testament to the store's commitment to preserving books even in the face of regular flooding. Grab a book, find a spot by the canal, and watch the world go by.
10. The Bookworm - Beijing, China
Our final stop takes us to Beijing, where The Bookworm awaits. This beloved bookstore, cafe, and library is a hub for literature, hosting regular author events and book clubs. The Bookworm offers a vast selection of English-language books, making it a haven for expats and locals alike. Grab a cup of tea, find a cozy corner, and let the world fade away as you dive into a captivating story.
And there you have it, fellow bookworms—a whirlwind tour of some of the most famous bookstores around the world. Whether you're a traveler seeking literary adventures or simply looking for your next great read, these bookstores are sure to inspire and delight. So, pack your bags, grab a book, and embark on a literary journey that will leave you with memories to cherish and stories to tell. Happy reading!
Love and Books,
The Bookscardsnbikes Team