Coolest Bookstores Around the World

McCabe David / March 01, 2021


If you’re anything like me, you love finding the coolest bookstores around the world when you travel. I can easily pass the time browsing a bookstore when I’m traveling, especially on a rainy day when I want to take a break from exploring the city. In addition to finding a new book, you can often find unique souvenirs at bookstores and most of the time you’re supporting a local business as well. While I have been to quite a few bookstores in New York where I live, I have a whole list of bookstores around the world that I want to visit one day too.
This relatively new bookstore, part of the Cărturești chain in Romania, has quickly become popular due to its gorgeous location and photographable interior. The building housing this bookstore is more than 100 years old and right in the middle of Bucharest’s Old Town.
Livraria Lello is a must-visit for all Harry Potter fans. This stunning bookstore in Porto inspired author J.K. Rowling so much that she based Hogwarts off of it! Albertine is a hidden gem in my neighborhood on the Upper East Side. Not many tourists seem to know about it, despite the fact that it’s right across from Central Park and close to the Metropolitan Museum of Art! This French language bookstore features an incredible ceiling mural upstairs.
Located in the Marylebone neighborhood of London, Daunt Books occupies a building that at one time housed an Edwardian bookshop. This outpost of the Daunt Books chain (which specializes in travel books) is popular due to its airy, pretty interior.
This Venice bookstore, located directly off a canal, features an eye-catching display of waterlogged books outside. (But don’t worry, the books inside are in pristine condition!) Ler Devagar is a cool bookstore in Lisbon featuring unique touches like a bright, airy wall of books and a whimsical cutout of a girl riding a flying bicycle.
El Ateneo Grand Splendid, built in 1919, was originally a performing arts theater, before being converted into an opulent cinema ten years later. However, the building fell into disrepair and was going to be demolished in 2000, until it found new life as a bookstore! This sprawling Gothic church dates back more than 700 years. In more recent years, it was used as a warehouse and storage space, before being converted into a beautiful bookstore open to the public. Walking into this lofty Mexico City bookstore feels a little bit like stepping into a forest, with plenty of plants and lush green accents all around. This bookstore in China is extremely unique due to the various optical illusions around the store. Most striking are the mirrored ceilings presenting the appearance of floor to ceiling books!