Are you a sucker for books and beautiful buildings? What about when the two are combined? Here are ten of the most tantalisingly aesthetic bookshops in the world. There are obviously way more than ten, but alas, if I were to go into them all we’d be here forever. And also, just so you’re aware, none of these pictures do any of these places even a shred of justice.
1. The Bookworm, Beijing
The Bookworm is, without a doubt, going on my bucket list of places to visit before I die. The Bookworm is not only an incredibly aesthetic bookshop but is also regarded amongst Beijingers as a cool hang out spot for its regular community events, open mic nights and author readings. The books are mainly in English and there’s also a lovely restaurant where you can rest your feet after finding the perfect text to sink your teeth into.
2. El Ateneo Grand Splendid, Buenos Aires
You know that feeling you get when you walk into a theatre hall and just think: wow. The open sweeping spaces, the grand arches and painted ceilings…. well that’s what you get when you walk into this once-theatre-now-turned-bookshop. Stacks and stacks of books on multiple floors. Now that’s what I call heaven.
3. Libreria Acqua Alta, Venice
What’s better than a really pretty bookshop? A really pretty bookshop on the water with gondolas and bathtubs for bookshelves and cats. No question. As far as I’m concerned, this peaceful and charmingly crooked bookshop has it all and is the perfect little cool and quiet nook to get away from the madness of Venice’s bustling crowds.
4. Shakespeare and Company Bookstore, Notre Dame
This bookshop has become somewhat of a pilgrimage for tourists and book lovers, meaning that it can get a bit crowded, especially during the summer months, but that does not take away from the fact that this is an incredibly aesthetic bookshop. Right next to Notre Dame Cathedral, this place has rich views as well as a rich history.
5. Livraria Lello, Porto
In downtown Porto lies one of the most aesthetic bookshops in the entire world. This gothic gem oozes old school and is lauded by Harry Potter fans as a must. With its astoundingly beautiful dark oak, grand staircases and stained glass windows, this place is unmissable. But for God’s sake don’t go on a Saturday.
6. The Little Prince, Tel Aviv
The bookshop itself isn’t the most well equipped nor the jazziest but boasts of a cool and charming rustic feel where people can sit and sip their coffees whilst they read or chat amongst friends. It’s the garden that truly makes this place unique and the haven that it is. This blissful little quiet patch of heaven transports you away from the madness of Tel Aviv’s busy and sweltering streets to a place where you can read in the sun with a cool lemonade surrounded by books.
7. El Péndulo, Mexico City
Yes it’s a chain but you really just can’t beat stepping out of the bustling heat of a crowded city and into the quiet cool quiet of a splendid bookstore. Books upon books upon books. If you love being surrounded by books then and just so happen to be in Mexico City make sure you pop in. You may even be privileged enough to hear some live music in their cute cafe.
8. Polare Maastricht, The Netherlands
This literary joint is all about the aesthetics, it’s actually in a converted Dominican church that’s over 700 years old. No details in this archaic aesthetic bookshop is spared, with it’s sweeping open spaces, high arched ceilings and classic stain glassed windows. This place is also ideal for the music and coffee lovers, with the Polare Maastricht boasting of a fine music and DVD collection, and a much loved coffee shop. The Polare Maastricht also seems to be hosting some sort of cool activity, from lectures and book presentations to exhibitions.
9. Word On The Water, London
Described by the New York Times as living proof that there really is something you can do in life with an English lit degree, this aesthetic bookshop is aesthetic rain or shine. Find this overflowing dreamboat at it’s now permanent home on the Regent’s Canal, just around the corner from the British Library, another wonderful place to visit if you’re in love with books and beautiful buildings.
10. Librería Bardón, Madrid
This aesthetic bookshop is very Beauty and The Beast inspired, so if you want to walk in and feel like a princess whilst being surrounded by old and rare books (swoon), this book lover’s paradise is the place for you.