People who love food visit food festivals like Smorgasbord, people who love wine go to wineries to taste wines from different regions. For avid readers, booking trips to beautiful bookstores is a real thing.
If you happen to love literature and find places to find your next read, finding the perfect bookstore can really make a trip worthwhile.
There are many places around the world, so it can be difficult to determine where to start. But don’t be afraid indy100 has your back and put together a list of some fascinating bookstores on planet Earth to consider on your next trip.
Read on, dear bibliophiles.
1. Cook & Book, Brussels, Belgium.
This bookstore has a bit of a twist. Literature isn’t just shelved by genre. They are also built into the ceiling, so the books surround you from all directions.
2. Livraria Lello, Porto, Portugal.
This bookstore has the vibe that you just walked into an oasis of land. The library features a curved staircase in the center of the store that leads you to the mezzanine of the skylight above.
Fun fact: Rumor has it this bookstore inspired the world of Hogwarts from author JK Rowling.
3. Arc N Soul, Seoul, South Korea.
The store definitely has an Art Deco vibe, with the store entrance appearing to resemble a theater rather than a place to find a new read.
There are also several quirks. You will find a red phone booth and amp station and some of the books stacked in an arch shape around the wall similar to Cook & Book.
Also, if you don’t know Korean, they have English books.
4. Honest Bookshop, Hay-on-Wye, Wales.
Running on an honesty system in their store, instead of interacting with the staff which is non-existent, you collect the books you want and drop your money into the collection box.
The company’s proceeds will be used to restore Hay Castle. Hay-on-Wye, a small town of about 1,500 residents, has a soft spot for books, with over 40 bookstores.
The open-air book shelves on the lower terrace of the castle garden are also stunning.
5. The Last Bookstore, Los Angeles, California.
The original bookstore in downtown Los Angeles is a serious contender for the largest bookstore in Los Angeles. This small bookstore is housed in a former bank and spans 22,000 square feet, including the original safe.
The size and layout of The Last Bookstore quickly draws attention to it, but it also has a creative flair that has made it instantly distinctive since its inception in 2005.
These details range from an area of color-coded hard covers to a covered tunnel made of old books and a display with volumes that practically jump off the shelves.
6. Shakespeare and Company, Paris, France.
Sleeping in a bookstore may be a bohemian dream for many book enthusiasts, but it has happened quite frequently in Shakespeare and Company on the Left Bank of Paris over the years.
When this English-language bookstore opened in 1951, it was known as “Le Mistral”. However, in 1964 it was renamed Shakespeare and Company in honor of the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth and a local bookstore of the same name which was forced to close during the war in 1941.
An earlier version of the store was a haven for young writers like Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce, a tradition his successor continued by allowing aspiring writers, performers, and performers to sleep in the store.
7. Atlantis Books, Santorini, Greece.
Very watery in appearance, the typical Santorini fashions of whitewashed cubic houses cascading into the sweet waters make Atlantic Books a veritable mine of seemingly endless books.
You’ll enter the store from the street, where books fill every nook and cranny of this cave-like house, spilling out onto the rooftop terrace.
8. El Péndulo, Mexico City, Mexico.
El Péndulo, a chain of bookstores in Mexico City, has established several other beautiful bookstore locations throughout the city. While we say bookstore, El Péndulo locations are a welcoming mix of bookstore, cafe, and restaurant, giving you plenty of reasons to stay.
Each store also has a healthy mix of hardwood furniture and plants.
9. Boekhandel Dominicanen, Maastricht, The Netherlands.
The bookstore is housed in a 13th century Dominican church in Maastricht. After closing in the 18th century, the old church served a variety of uses, but book lovers will no doubt like its more recent use.
The church, which has been in operation since 2006, now has three-story libraries to complement the frescoes that cover the vaulted ceiling.
Besides its selection of books, the store also has a cafe if you want to sit back and enjoy your surroundings.
10. Cărturești Carusel, Bucharest, Romania.
Located in the capital and opened in 2015, Cărturești Carusel has captivated locals and visitors alike. This bookstore is housed in a massive structure and contains several well-constructed balconies which all overlook the wide open central hall.
Its curved balconies, metal balustrades, and abundance of windows combine to produce a Belle Époque masterpiece that contributes to Bucharest’s claim to be the ‘Paris of the East’.