The Top 15 Breathtaking Bookstores in the World You Have to Visit To Believe

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For avid readers and book enthusiasts, visiting a remarkable bookstore is akin to stepping into a sanctuary of imagination and knowledge. From historic gems to modern marvels, these bookstores are revered for their unique charm and vast collections. Here, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most extraordinary book havens worldwide that promise to ignite the passion for reading in every visitor.

Shakespeare and Company – Paris, France

shakespeare and company bookstore
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Nestled in the heart of Paris, this legendary bookstore has been a haven for writers and book lovers since 1919. Its cozy nooks, creaky wooden floors, and shelves brimming with literature make it a cherished spot for browsing and discovering both classic and contemporary works.

The Last Bookstore – Los Angeles, USA

the last book store
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Located in a historic bank building, this bookstore boasts a mesmerizing interior with towering book sculptures and labyrinthine aisles. It’s a treasure trove of new and used books and a hub for local artists and writers, creating a vibrant and dynamic literary community.

El Ateneo Grand Splendid – Buenos Aires, Argentina

El Ateneo Grand Splendid - Buenos Aires, Argentina
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Housed in a former theater, El Ateneo Grand Splendid is a breathtaking blend of literature and architecture. With its ornate balconies, velvet curtains, and a stage-turned-café, this bookstore provides an unparalleled ambiance for readers to lose themselves in books amidst a grandeur setting.

Libreria Acqua Alta – Venice, Italy

man reading by water
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Located along Venice’s enchanting canals, Libreria Acqua Alta exudes a whimsical charm. Books are stacked in gondolas, bathtubs, and even a makeshift staircase of old encyclopedias, creating an atmosphere of delightful eccentricity that captures the essence of Venice’s artistic spirit.

Powell’s City of Books – Portland, USA

heart shaped pages in a book
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Spanning an entire city block, Powell’s City of Books is an iconic independent bookstore with a staggering array of new and used books. Its color-coded rooms and labyrinthine layout invite exploration and discovery, ensuring every visitor leaves with a literary gem.

Livraria Lello – Porto, Portugal

Livraria Lello - Porto, Portugal
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Known for its stunning neo-Gothic architecture, Livraria Lello is often hailed as one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. The exquisite wooden staircase, stained glass windows, and ornate details create a fairytale-like setting for perusing a diverse selection of books.

Selexyz Dominicanen – Maastricht, Netherlands

pile of. books
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Set within a 13th-century Dominican church, this bookstore is a sublime marriage of history and literature. With its high vaulted ceilings and towering bookshelves, Selexyz Dominicanen offers an awe-inspiring backdrop for book lovers to explore an extensive collection in a truly unique environment.

Barter Books – Alnwick, England

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Barter Books exudes a cozy and nostalgic charm housed in a converted Victorian railway station. Visitors can peruse shelves of secondhand books while enjoying a roaring fire, making it a perfect haven for curling up with a good read on a chilly English afternoon.

Eslite Dunnan Store – Taipei, Taiwan

woman reading in hammock
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As one of the largest bookstores in Asia, Eslite Dunnan Store is a multi-story sanctuary for bibliophiles. The carefully curated selection of books and inviting reading spaces and cultural events create an enriching experience for visitors seeking literary and intellectual nourishment.

City Lights Booksellers & Publishers – San Francisco, USA

san francisco
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A beacon of counterculture literature, City Lights played a pivotal role in the Beat Generation literary movement. This historic bookstore, founded by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, continues to champion progressive and unconventional voices, making it a cultural touchstone for writers and readers alike.

El Péndulo – Mexico City, Mexico

stacks of books
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With its bohemian atmosphere and sprawling tree in the center, El Péndulo offers a tranquil respite from the bustling streets of Mexico City. This bookstore-café hybrid encourages visitors to linger, savoring a coffee or tea while immersed in the world of books, creating a harmonious space for reflection and discovery.

Hatchards – London, England

Hatchards - London, England
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Established in 1797, Hatchards is one of the oldest bookstores in the United Kingdom. Its regal façade and classic interior exude an air of literary tradition. It provides a refined setting for book lovers to browse an extensive collection of titles, including many rare and signed editions.

Books Actually – Singapore

singapore skyline
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A beloved independent bookstore in the heart of Singapore, Books Actually radiates a sense of community and literary passion. It celebrates local authors and independent publishers, curating diverse and thought-provoking titles that reflect the rich cultural tapestry of Singapore.

Livraria da Vila – São Paulo, Brazil

São Paulo, Brazil
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Known for its innovative architectural design, Livraria da Vila integrates books seamlessly into its physical space. The interconnected bookshelves and cozy reading corners create an inviting atmosphere, encouraging visitors to explore the diverse array of books.

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