When talking about pretty bookstores, you should include Europe in your discussion. From renovated abandoned churches to comfy spots right off the Seine, there are plenty of gorgeous bookstores across the continent. In addition to those in Europe, there are also loads of attractive bookstores in the USA as well. Whether you are planning a trip to Europe or other cities in the states after the coronavirus or just curious to learn about these stunning stores, we’ve created a list of must-see bookstores.
Opened in the early 1900s and located in Paris’ 6th arrondissement, Shakespeare & Co is commonly considered the world’s most famous bookshop. George Whitman, a contemporary writer, owns the bookstore. Some of the world’s most-loved writers from Hemingway to Lawrence Ferlinghetti have visited this quaint antique bookshop.
image is from Instagram @shakespeareandcoparis
Over the last few decades, Time Magazine, The Guardian, and the travel guide Lonely Planet have all recognized Livraria Lello as “one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world.” Its beautiful scarlet staircase and Gothic style with glass ceiling inspired JK Rowling for the library at Hogwarts.
Located in the basement of the bookshop, Livraria Lello now offers this space to its visitors, where authors, artists, and enthusiasts can dialogue and study the culture.
image is from Instagram @livraria.lello
Libreria Acqua Alta is not just a bookshop, it's like walking into a Venetian's private library. This seemingly hidden treasure is right off the banks of the river, meaning you can mull over a good read while seeing the gondolas go by. You can look for a book by rummaging through the stacks, sitting outside reading, watching the canal, and stroking the cats. It’s definitely a funky and interesting place to visit when you’re in Venice.
Image is from big7travel
As one of America’s oldest and largest used bookstores, Brattle Book Shope is located in the heart of Downtown Boston. The store carries an impressive stock of over 250,000 all types of books and you can easily get lost in the mix of it all.
The store itself is no-frills and a book lover's dream. While it might seem that searching for books inside the building is the main event, the real magic is in the parking lot next to the shop. You’ll find books on display on carts and in shelves with great reads. It's so picturesque!
Image is from big7travel
Housing Works Bookstore Cafe is a gorgeous bookstore in the heart of the Big Apple with a powerful mission. The decor and utility of the space itself are well designed and well organized as a community space. In addition to offering an unbelievable diversity of books, movies, and music – they also support NYC’s HIV/AIDS community. One of the greatest features of Housing Works Bookstore Café is that its staff are almost all-volunteer, and 100% of their funds go to people struggling with HIV/AIDS.
Image is from Rob Meronek
Leakey’s Bookstore is located in Scotland’s epic North Coast 500 driving route. The bookstore has a large stove at the center, inviting you to get warm and cozy while you stay awhile. The whole place smells gloriously of old books and it was very quiet and peaceful even when busy. Combine that with countless piles of books spread around, and you’re in for a real delight.
Image is from TRAVELINSIDE
Right in the heart of Bucharest’s Old Town, you’ll find one of Europe’s most beautiful book stores – Cărturești Carusel. It’s visually stunning when you first enter the bookstore, you are hit by the incredible luminosity of the place and its spiral staircases. Some sources claim that the place is aptly named Carousel, which means "Carousel of Light”. In addition to all types of books, you could find the manga, figurines, and cups, handmade products, etc. There is a small Bistro on the top floor, where you can have a great view of the lower levels of the building and it is quite interesting to see the people moving around and exploring the place.
Image is from Mark & Kylee