Voted the second most beautiful bookstore in the world, El Ateneo Grand Splendid was once a theater complete with painted ceilings and sculpted figurines throughout. It is now one of the best known bookstores in Buenos Aires, mainly because it's still retained much of that classic theater feel. Well, except without the buttery popcorn and annoying teenagers making out in the first row.
This treasure in Alnwick, England is actually a second-hand bookstore. Second-hand? We prefer "vintage." It's called Barter Books because it uses the barter system where customers can trade or exchange their own books for credit in the store. And with it being in England and possessing all these cute nooks and crannies, we can't help but feel like we're in a real life "Harry Potter" movie.
Magic happened when an ancient Dominican church was transformed into a bookstore. You can still find priests and nuns...in the Religion section. Selexyz's high-arched structure dates all the way back to the 13th century-- and that could mean one really long, overdue book charge.
Belgium has more to offer the world than just chocolate, apparently. In fact, in Brussels, you can find this two-building, nine-room bookstore. Each room has its own theme and atmosphere and the location itself also has its own restaurant, hence the "cook" part of the title. Reading and snacks?! Hopefully they keep the "Weight Loss" section far, far away from the cafe.
This literature-filled gem in Los Angeles should be titled "The Last Great Bookstore," at least for most Angelenos, that is. Adorned with local art and offering a wide selection in both literary and musical pieces, this bookstore in Downtown LA is pretty much the last of its kind in the city. And knowing it's located in Los Angeles means you can buy a great book here, walk outside, and then dine from any number of food trucks lining the street. Hey, we clearly enjoy eating while we're reading.
The only thing missing from this children's bookstore is a magic dragon, a giving tree, and three blind mice. Okay, it might actually have all those hidden in its vibrant, kid-friendly design. With a spiraling rainbow pattern and over 3,000 illustrated storybooks from around the world, this Beijing bookstore seriously puts "Reading Rainbow" to shame.
Hidden in an underground car park is one of China's most beautiful bookshops, Librairie Avant-Garde. In Nanjing, China, book lovers follow the double yellow lines down to a car park that borders Nanjing University. The location used to be a bomb shelter! If you are ever stuck down here during the Apocalypse, at least you won't be short of material to read. (But what about the food?!)
Architect Isay Weinfeld designed this bookstore in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It has over three levels of books and a storefront made out of revolving book cases. That's right! Now you can be in your own murder-mystery, Sherlock Holmes-themed, book buying extravaganza. (Please do not murder anyone for this event.)
¡Hola! Cafebrería El Péndulo in Mexico city may look like Barnes & Noble had a baby with The Rainforest Cafe, but that just makes us love it even more. The bookstore offers live music, poetry readings, stand-up comedy, and a cafe that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We're in love! Now where is the "Language" section so we can learn Spanish and come visit?
Packed with gondolas and row boats stacked with books, Libreria Acqua Alta in Venice, Italy, is almost like a flea market. The back room even looks out on one of Venice's famous water channels. The name itself literally means "library of high water." The bookshop has been known to get flooded at times, but the books are safe because they are all in boats, right?
Visit Paris for the cuisine, the sightseeing, and, of course, this romantic find. In the city of love, tourists and locals absolutely love Shakespeare and Company. It's a bookshop, a second-hand bookstore, and a reading library all in one! And with its quaint feel and diverse literature section, we think this is a store even the famous playwright would approve of.
Aside from being in the gorgeous state of Colorado, this bookstore is complete with twisting hallways, a diverse collection of unique books like ones on metaphysics and Denver's history, along with lush chairs throughout. So all the members of its diverse, book-loving community can relax with a good book after a good mountain hike or snow trek.
Romans! Countrymen! Lend me your ears! And your eyes! Wait, keep your eyes. You'll need them to read all the works located in The Bookàbar Bookshop in Rome. The bookstore itself is located in one of the largest exhibition areas in Rome, complete with a cinema, an auditorium, and yes, you guessed it, a restaurant! Eat and read! Eat and read! But also, the culture and history are pretty neat, too. If you're into that kind of thing.
In the concrete jungle where dreams are made of sits perhaps one of the most elegant bookstores in New York City. The building itself stands as an icon in this district. Described as "a breath of Italy in New York," Rizzoli Bookstore was actually demolished in 2014, but fear not! It will reopen in Spring 2015, but this time ON BROADWAY!
Known as the "World's Greatest Outdoor Bookstore," Bart's Books in Ojai, California has been operating outdoors for nearly half a century. There are book shelves that face the street where passers-by can purchase books at night by simply tossing a coin into a slot on the door. They work on the honor system after hours so that everyone can always have a book to read before bed. Okay, now all of us collectively, "Awwwwww."
Welcome to the world's largest map and travel bookshop! Stanford's in London is meant to inspire travelers to embark on new destinations. It was first established in 1853 by Edward Stanford and has even been "used" by Florence Nightingale and Sherlock Holmes. After reviewing their site, it appears they are hiring! So dust off that resume! But once you learn of all the places you have yet to explore after studying for your new job, we have a feeling you won't be able to stay in one spot for long.
Considered one of the largest used bookstores in Scotland, Leakey's has a huge selection of books on almost every subject. It's actually located in an old Gaelic church very close to where the famous Loch Ness is suppose to be. Turning old churches into bookstores is apparently the new (or old?) thing to do. Just as long as Animal Planet doesn't turn anymore Loch Ness chases into reality shows.
An old bank in Paris was turned into a bookstore. The Virgin Megastore to be exact, on the Champs Elysées. Customers actually walk through the old bank vault to get to this section of the store. It was built back in the 1930s and unfortunately is being replaced. We were going to say...we haven't seen a Virgin Megastore in years. They are like a Blockbuster or Hollywood Video.
It literally translates to "Ball of the Burning Man" and, no Californians, not that type of Burning Man. This bookstore in France actually has an archway entrance made out of books. With a whimsical feel and somewhat cramped quarters, this store almost feels like something out of a storybook. It's said that the owner is a little old woman who lived in a shoe....
So what is the most beautiful bookstore in the world? If you ask the inhabitants of Porto, Portugal they will happily tell you about the gorgeous architecture, winding staircases, stained-glass windows, carved wood, and floor to ceiling bookshelves of Livraria Lello. It's a Neo-Gothic design-- Gothic like late Medieval period, not Hot Topic.