Many of us cannot imagine a vacation without carrying some books. Be it a beach holiday where you intend to lay back on a shack with a book on one hand and probably glass of pineapple juice in the other. Be it a trip to a hill station where you intend to chill in the balcony with a cup of hot coffee on the table while a book in your hand. Be it for spending quality time while sitting in your flight and not deviating your eyes from the pages of the books. These little collections of pages have always kept us occupied and made our travel memories even better.
In this blog we have listed some of the most beautiful book stores around the world. If you love books, then these book stores must be on your bucket list. If we can plan a trip and keep books in it, then why not plan a visit to book stores and keep trip in it.
Carturesti Carusel, Bucharest, Romania
The extravagant building of this library was built in 1903, by a Greek family into banking. But later on in 1950’s the building was confiscated by the communist regime and it served as a general store. After the communist regime fall down the building was abandoned. The grandsons of the Greek family fought a legal battle of 24 years to regain back their ownership of this building. It went through a extensive renovation work for 5 years, before it opened as a bookstore.
Carturesti Carusel means Carousal of Light, and this bright bookstore lives up to the expectation by being one of the most beautiful book store in Romania. The book store occupies an area of 10,000 square feet, and houses more than 10,000 books.
This Belle Époque building, has five floors while on the sixth floor there is a tea house where you can sit back, relax, and probably start off with the first few chapters of your new book.
Livraria Lello, Porto, Portugal
This Neo Gothic structured book store is regarded as the most beautiful book store in the world. It was established by José and Antonio Lello back in 1906. They started a publishing house before starting this beautiful book store which stands here today. It was designed by Francisco Xavier Esteves who added ornate wood carvings, spiral stair case and stained glasses to the interiors of this book store. Inside the book store you will also find busts of popular Portuguese writers.
This book store drenched deeply in history and the wood work makes it a majestic icon in the literary world of not only Portugal but entire world. For people bitten by photography bug this place is a great avenue to click some fine pictures.
The book store also has a small café, where you can unwind. From this café you can choose to sip some finely brewed coffee, or treat yourself with a glass of wine or get a cigar for yourself.
El Ateneo Grand Splendid, Buenos Aires, Argentina
El Ateneo Grand Splendid of Buenos Aires is regarded as the world’s most beautiful book store by many experts and publications. Originally it was a theater which was named Teatro Gran Splendid which opened first in 1919. The then building of this place was designed by Pero and Torres Armengol. Later on El Ateneo was converted into a cinema hall. During the end of 20th century the building was about to be demolished, when it was saved by converting into a book store.
The book store opened its door for public in 2000, and the structure that stands today was designed by Fernando Manzone, who kept many elements of the former design in the structure. While visiting here you can still see the theater boxes, stage red curtains, and auditorium lighting.
The store houses a collection of more than 120,000 books. The stage of the book store also has a bar and a café, along with a live music set up.
Shakespeare and Company, Paris, France
Shakespeare and Company bookshop was opened in 1951and earlier its name was Le Mistral. But later in 1964 the name of the shop was changed to Shakespeare and Company to commemorate the 400th birth anniversary of William Shakespeare and to honor another local book store which went by the same name, but was closed in 1941 during the war. Shakespeare and Company was founded by an American George Whitman. The site where the present time store stands was a former 17th century monastery.
The store has been a refuge for many struggling writers like Ernest Hemmingway. During its early days, it attracted many tumble weeds, the aspiring writers, to come to the book shop and sleep over the night, in exchange of mini auto biographies.
Even to this point of time, it is regarded as a community driven place for all the literary mavens out there. The store has surpassed its reputation of a book store and has become a popular tourist spot.
Libreria Acqua Alta, Venice, Italy
Libreria Acqua Alta is a scenic book store located in the canals of Castello region. This must have left you wondering on how a book store is thriving in the city of Venice which has an acute flooding problem. To tackle with this problem the book store makes use of Gondola which is brimmed to the top with books. It also has bath tubs to store the books which act as a shield to protect the books. The book store also makes use of water proof bins and canoes.
The name of the book store translates into English as High Water Book shop. To reach to the terrace of this book store to enjoy the views of the canals and the city, there is a stacked stair case built of old and out dated books. Also at the entrance of the book store you will find bookshelves.
The book store is not only home to collection of books, but also houses, vintage editions, maps, magazines and post cards. When in Venice you must visit this store.
Boekhandel Dominicanen, Maastricht, Netherlands
The history of the building where this book store is housed in dates back to 13th century. The building belonged to the Gothic Church which was one of the first made in the Low Countries. The building of this book store has also been a site of boxing arena, bicycle storage facility, and a car exhibition site. It was in 2006 that the building was restored by Dutch architects, Merkx and Girod who also have designed the Supreme Court of Netherlands.
One of the major attractions of the book store is the entry gate made of steel which is in the shape of a book and on the walls of the doors, the word book is engraved in 27 languages, which denotes and signifies the purpose of this book store.
Then high ceilings and arches walls of this book store are mesmerizing, while a structure of black steel frame was erected to serve as the second storey of the book store and hold the book shelves.
Atlantis Books, Santorini, Greece
Atlantis Books is located in the coastal town of Oia, Santorini. It is housed inside a white washed dwelling of Santorini, which offers magnificent views of Aegean Sea. The cave dwelling of Santorini has now become a cultural hub for people visiting the coastal town. The story behind the origin of this book store goes back to two Oxford Graduates who fell in love with Santorini during a short trip over here. Later on they packed their bags of books and drove from London to open this store.
The best thing about this book store is that it houses books from various languages which perfects its audience of tourists from all across the world. Then terrace of this book store hosts many events like book readings or even literary community gatherings.
Interestingly every book of this store is handpicked by the founder. The tag line of Atlantis Books is, ‘A Decade of Amateur Bookselling’.
Cafebreria El Pendulo, Mexico City, Mexico
El Pendulo is a chain of book stores that is thriving across several locations in Mexico City. However the Polanco Location of El Pendulo is regarded as the most beautiful store. The best thing about the book store is that it is a blend of eating, drinking and reading. The store has a café where you can sip on to coffee or munch on to some Mexican delights. This particular feature of the book store makes people stick around for much longer time than usually at a book store.
The book store is also popular because it includes plant life to adorn the beauty of its store. You will find branches of leaves over books, or vine curls ringed around the hand rail, and plants hanging over a shelf. It gives a feel of reading in mid of a forest, and also aesthetically improves the backdrop of store.
The store is very Instagram worthy, and you will end up clicking many pictures after visiting here. Also be prepared to be pampered with some great food and beverage options.
Book and Bed, Tokyo, Japan
If you always had the fantasy of sleeping in mid of books, then it can come true in this unique book store. The founders of this book store thought beyond the convention of blending in the fiction and dreaming at the same place. We all must agree that there is more pure joy than going of to sleep while reading a book. Book and Bed is a kind of a hostel that provides bed that you can rent and stay in this place while reading your favorite book from their book shelves.
This book store cum hostel has a collection of more than 5000 books. Even if you don’t plan on staying over the night, they also have couches where you can day dream while reading. The tariffs of the night beds in this book store start from around 40 dollars.
The best thing about this book store is that it is located in the heart of Tokyo, so that you do not get to miss the action. They also have a café in the premises where you eat and drink.
Strand Books, New York, United States
Strand Books of New York, is located in the Manhattan suburbs and is the last of the of 50 book stores in the book row region that used to occupy a special place in the hearts of New Yorkers. Strand Books might not be visually that attractive, but is regarded as the best book store of the city. It was established in the year of 1927 and has a slogan, 18 Miles of Books, though in present times the relatable version is 23 miles of book.
Strand Books is one of the oldest family run book stores in United States. It is estimated that this book store is home to a collection of more than 2.5 million new, old and rare books. The highlight of this store is the section of Rare Book Room where leather bounded books adorn the shelves.
The book store also hosts many events including the community get together, and author reading events. The book store is actually so big that it takes couple of hours to check every section.
Word on the Water Bookstore, London, Britain
Word on the water Bookstore of London lives by its name, as it is a floating barge with books on a river. Recently it was on the verge of being shut down, but it managed to drift and save its identity. You can find this bookstore parked in the King’s Cross in London. The best thing about this store is that books come with a tinge of jazz music performed on the barge. It is interesting to note that it is based on a 100 year old Dutch barge, and is a piece of history.
Do not go by its size, as it is studded with wide range of books spanning from contemporary fiction to classics, to cults, to children’s books. Every nook and corner of this barge has books or is cleverly used for the purpose of being a book store.
You will also find community get together and discussion on politics, arts, and technology, hosted on this barge. It also hosts fun events like open mic and poetry slam sessions.
Cook & Book, Brussels, Belgium
This book store is an amalgamation of food and books. If you fantasy reading your books while being served some delicious cuisines, while being at a book store, then you got to visit this place in Brussels. The book store is divided into nine sections that have different themes and has books as per the theme. One of the section has English theme and is styled as a traditional British library. Then there is a travel section which is styled as a caravan.
There is a children’s section which is styled as a model railway tracks. There is an Italian section which has a fiat sitting in the middle of the room. The book store also boasts of colorful décor and furniture. The best thing about it is that every section serves a different menu.
The book store also has a terrace where you can sit back and enjoy your read. The store also has a play area specially dedicated for children.
The world belongs to those who read!