You probably have Shakespeare & Co. in Paris, France, and The Strand in New York, New York on your “someday” list, but what about all of the other beautiful bookstores out there? While there are numerous bookstores to visit, we’ve selected 11 that you may not have heard of yet. From Europe to Asia, and back again, we think these bookstores are worthy of being added to your bucket list!
Rizzoli Bookstore, New York, NY
While this historic bookstore’s patrons were concerned when Rizzoli announced it was leaving its 57th Street location after 29 years, it’s settled comfortably in its new spot near Madison Square Park. The high-end bookstore specializes in books about the arts (architecture, interior design, photography, etc.) and is truly a must-see.
Libraria Lello e Irmao, Porto, Portugal
If this bookstore sounds familiar, it’s probably because it is rumored as being the inspiration for J.K. Rowling’s Flourish and Blotts bookstore in the Harry Potter series. The magnificent bookstore has been open since 1906 and is built in the Neo-Gothic style with the beautifully crafted staircase being one of its focal points.
Barter Books, Alnwick, UK
Built inside part of an old Victorian train station, Barter Books is a beautiful secondhand bookshop that features beautiful fireplaces and cases of antiquarian books. They have a café with tea and snacks—the perfect place for enjoying that book you just purchased.
Livraria da Vila, Sao Paulo, Brazil
This bookstore emits magic before you even step foot through the door, as the storefront is made of revolving bookcases. It’s actually a refurbished two-story house, which now features floor to ceiling bookshelves—it’s definitely a sight to see.
Le Bal Des Ardents, Lyon, France
The bookstore’s name has an interesting origin: Bal des Ardents, or “Ball of Burning Men,” took place in Paris in 1393 in which four dancers, who were performing with King Charles VI, were killed in a fire. The gorgeous bookstore makes it a point to highlight “unsung authors” and independent publishers, on top of stocking a vast variety of books.
1200 Bookshop, Guangzhou, China
This bookshop is open 24 hours a day and you can sleep there for free (for up to three nights). They have a café, even offering free coffee between 2am and 6am and a 32% discount on books at night. Apart from the amazing offerings, it also boasts a gorgeous, more modern design.
Alexandra Bookstore & Café, Budapest, Hungary
While of course we love the bookstore aspect of this shop in Budapest, what really brings people in is the Bookcafé. Upon entering the shop, the ground floor is covered in books. Ascend up an escalator and you’ll be blown away by the gold, Neo-Renaissance ballroom-turned-café. We can’t think of a better place to enjoy your new book.
Honesty Bookshop, Hay-on-Wye, United Kingdom
The Honesty Bookshop is exactly what it sounds like. The price of a book is £1 or less, with a simple collection box where you can choose to leave your donation. All proceeds go to the restoration of Hay Castle—which is where this lovely little shop is located.
Peter Harrington, London, England
The books at Peter Harrington are not for those casually browsing, although they are quite beautiful to look at. Specializing in rare books and first editions, the titles at this bookstore could cost you a pretty penny. However, if you are looking to drop £250,000 on a signed copy of Ulysses by James Joyce, then this is the place for you.
Bart’s Books, Ojai, California
California is the idea place to read outdoors, and Bart’s Books in Ojai helps you take full advantage of the temperate climate. The bookstore stemmed out of Richard “Bart” Bartinsdale’s book collection growing so large that he built bookcases on the sidewalk so passersby could look at the titles. Like the Honesty Bookshop, this place operates solely on donations for most of its books.
Librería Altaïr, Barcelona, Spain
This bookshop is ideal for those who love to travel—as they have much material to help you along the way. It’s covered in maps and is truly a dream if you’re looking for a worldly adventure. The impressive space also features a coffee shop and dining room downstairs.