-A.M. Aguilar

Bookstores that I Hope to Visit Once in my Lifetime

I want to travel the world so I can visit these stunning bookstores…

The New York Times, BBC, The Guardian, and many other news anchors, have all made articles on which are the prettiest and most beautiful bookstores in the world. As a book lover, I have obviously read tons of these articles, scrolled through them, and become fascinated by the beautiful bookstores that planet Earth has to offer. Today we will be discussing which are my favorites and at the top of my wishlist…

As I mentioned in my last post (read that here!) there is something that we, book lovers, love to do more than reading is: go book shopping. And, even though, nowadays, we can find online bookstores with a large catalog of novels, nothing compares to the thrill and excitement of visiting a physical bookstore and finding the book you want or all the copies of books you’ve read and loved. No matter how small, old, big, or new it is: a bookstore can be the best place to be.

This is what I want to talk to you about: bookstores! You know that feeling when you enter a bookstore for the first time and you’re in awe and taken aback by the tons of books you see around, and the excitement of all you can find and buy in the next few hours? Great! Now add to it the feeling of beholding a beautiful and gorgeous building, architecture, and design. That’s the feeling these bookstores evoke…

In this post, we are going to talk about my personal list of bookstores that I hope to visit one day; at some point in my lifetime. Plenty of cities around the world own the prettiest and biggest bookstores you will ever find; whether it is in North or South America, Europe, Africa or Asia, etc. You can find them everywhere! But I, personally, believe that the ones I will be sharing with you today are some of the best and should be added to your travel bucket list ;).

Let’s get started… 

Top 5 Bookstores that I Hope to Visit Once in my Lifetime…

1. El Ateneo Grand Splendid, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Of course, I had to put El Ateneo Grand Splendid in the first place. I have seen so many videos, blog articles and social media posts of people who visit this bookstore and everyone always says it is a gorgeous place and you can find tons of books in various languages. From the pictures alone, I believe it is THE prettiest bookstore I have ever seen. Seems like the place every bookworm should visit at least once so I’m keeping this one in the bucket list.  

El Ateneo stands out for being located where the Grand Splendid theater used to be and it has preserved the original architecture, just readapted to function as a bookstore. If you haven’t heard of this place before, please look it up. It is a beautiful bookstore full of elegant and charming vibes, decoration, architecture and environment. Plus, they have several comfortable armchairs distributed all over the place that allow you to sit, relax and read any book without having to buy it :D.

2. Cărturești Carusel, București, Rumanía.

The name of this bookstore can be translated as the “Carousel of Light”, and I honestly believe that describes the place pretty well. With sophisticated carvings all over the architecture, elegant chandeliers and white-spiral staircases all over the place: I will say this has the vibes of a carousel of light :). 

Located in the old town of București, the building that currently houses the bookstore was built at the beginning of the 20th century by the Chrissoveloni family and the impressive building once operated as the headquarters for their banking dynasty. I am obsessed with luxurious and elegant buildings that have Baroque, Gothic or Romanesque architecture like this; and, if they’re also bookstores where you can browse and buy books? TRULY MY DREAM PLACE.

3. Livraria Lello, Porto, Portugal

Also located in Europe, this place is in the center of the city of Porto, Portugal. Livraria Lello, in virtue of its historical and cultural value, has been recognized as one of the most beautiful in the world by various personalities and entities. The façade presents a large downed arch, with a central entrance, two side windows, and rectangular windows flanked by beautiful mosaics and paintings. I guess all these places would also be on the bucket lists of interior designers and architects.

If this is one of the world’s most beautiful bookstores, you better find me there at least once! I adore the neo-Gothic design and landscape of the bookstore and I imagine you could take some beautiful pictures in the middle of the elegant, red staircase of the place. Absolutely have to visit!

4. The Last Bookstore, Los Angeles, USA.

This may come as a shock to some of you, after seeing the striking and elegant bookstores previous to this one; but I genuinely want to visit The Last Bookstore one day. LA is one of the top cities I want to travel to and I found this bookstore in a list of places to see in Los Angeles and I have been obsessed ever since. This bookstore is one of the most creative and artistic ones I have seen! 😀

The store creates visual merchandising through creative displays of book sculptures, which attract anyone who’s a fan of books; in 2021, they installed a plant wall to the famous book tunnel. Unique and fascinating, The Last Bookstore is definitely a must!

5. Admont Abbey Library, Admont, Austria.

This isn’t a bookstore per se, it is a library, but it is still a bookish place that I hope to visit at least once in my lifetime. This place is simply breathtaking! Admont Abbey Library looks as if it has been taken out of a fairytale or used as inspiration for the animated movie of “The Beauty and The Beast.” It is GORGEOUS. The interior is beautifully decorated, and the white two-story closet-style bookcase is full of hardcover books with different sizes and designs.

Admont Abbey Library is the largest monastic library in the world and it is noted for its Baroque art, architecture and manuscripts. This library can be regarded as the one with the longest collection of books and I am definitely intrigued to see every single corner of the place. One day I will visit Austria and go to this place ;).

Hopefully you will agree with me in the opinion that these are definitely the prettiest and must-watch selection of bookstores in the world :). Have you ever visited one of these? Do you have a specific bookstore you would add to the list? Let me know in the comments below, and don’t hesitate to strike up a conversation with me! <3 I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post, I have had lots of fun researching and writing for this one. 

Plus, I am very excited to share it with you today because we are celebrating 3 YEARS OF THE BOOK SMUGGLER! 😀 It has been a wonderful experience joining this online community of book lovers and I am so grateful to be here and to have you all follow along my bookish journey. I will forever be grateful! Check out my most recent Instagram post (@thebooksmuggler) where I talk about being on booksta for 3 years, so far, and share a small piece of writing called “An Ode to Bookstagram”. 

I wish for everyone to spend their time well, stay safe and take care of yourselves. Take a few minutes off your day and treat yourself, you deserve it. Have a lovely week ahead! Spread love and happy reading, book lovers :). 

Which are some bookstores you hope to visit someday? Share in the comments below!

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