Travelers that are also book lovers know that no trip is complete without discovering all of the best bookstores the destination has to offer. While the majority of book shops feature lined shelves of books and sometimes even a cafe, there are book stores that truly take things to a whole other magical level. Ranging from opulent architecture to mesmerizing natural landscapes, these aren’t your ordinary bookstores. For those who are truly dedicated book worms, then visiting all of these unbelievable book stores around the globe should make up a bucket list in its own right. If you’re a fellow book lover then get ready to get lost in these otherworldly shops, and start daydreaming about flipping through books with these enchanting backdrops.
Bart’s Books – Ojai, California
If you’ve ever wanted to experience a bookshop that’s totally outdoors, Bart’s Books is the place to go. Founded in 1964, it is the largest outdoor book store in the world. It was inspired by Parisian street book stores (more on that below) and now boasts over 130,000 titles showcased in outdoor bookcases. The juxtaposition of books and nature is always a delight, and here you’ll find tree branches gently nestled right alongside the book cases.
Bouquinistes – Paris, France
All along the Seine River from Quai Volatire to Île Saint-Louis, you’ll find the stalls of Bouquinistes. These open air bookshops sell second hand books and have been around since the 16th century! It’s no wonder that these are a staple for Parisians and why you’ll find so many locals with a book in hand. In addition to books, they sell posters, newspapers, and magazines, so there’s a little something for everyone. Try to look out for these if you’re walking along the river.
Atlantis Books – Oia, Santorini, Greece
Perhaps one of the book stores in the world with the best view, Atlantis Books was founded in 2004 in order to create a space that brings together literature, art, and conversation against the bright blue backdrop of the Santorini Caldera. There’s truly nothing like it. The book shop offers up books in several languages and a terrace with jaw dropping views. Seriously, these views are going to be hard to beat!
El Anteneo Grand Splendid – Buenos Aires, Argentina
This incredible book store is perhaps the most grandiose book store you’ll ever visit. Located in an old theater that dates back to 1919, it was turned into a cinema in 1929 and then in 2000, it was converted into the book shop that it is now. The interior has retained its magnificently opulent style with huge red stage curtains, frescoed ceiling, and incredible carvings. You can get yourself a coffee from the stage area that has been converted into a cafe.
Cărtureşti Carusel – Bucharest, Romania
You might be wondering why this book store looks so elegant, and that’s because it was once a bank headquarters that was built in the early 20th century. It was then converted into a general store while Romania was under Communist control. In the 1950’s, it fell into disrepair and after a descendent of the original owners won the rights back to the building, it was fully restored. The book store takes up six floors and includes a bistro, contemporary art gallery, and multimedia space.
Livraria Lello – Porto, Portugal
This gorgeous library in Porto is absolutely breathtaking. Founded in 1906, it features ornate ceilings, an iconic red staircase, and even more intertwining circular stairs that inspired J.K. Rowling to write about similar looking spiral staircases at Hogwarts in her Harry Potter series. While the book store charges an entry fee, if you purchase a book that fee is deducted from the cost of the book, so think of it as almost a museum and bookstore hybrid. Even if you don’t buy a book it is well worth a visit.
Rodger’s Book Barn – Hillsdale, New York
Rodger’s Book Barn is as quaint as it sounds. The shop was first opened in 1972 and is home to over 20,000 second hand books. Walk into the barn to experience cozy rooms with lovely carpets and books from floor to ceiling all along the walls. This book barn is a dream come true for anyone who wants to run away to the woods, be one with nature, and get lost in a great book.