Unique Bookstores Around The World

If you love books and reading, there’s a place in every corner of the world to satisfy your curiosity.
Thursday 8 April 2021
The Livraria Lello located in Porto is one of the oldest bookstores in Portugal. Photo: Pinterest

We all enjoy unwinding with a good book. Did you know that each city in the world houses iconic bookstores? From its rich history, rare collections and ambience each bookstore has its own unique charm ready to be discovered. There’s a new trend of sleeping among books in Tokyo and Koh Samui, Thailand has a resort dedicated to book lovers.


Here Unreserved uncovers our favourite bookstores from around the world.


Livraria Lello- Porto, Portugal

The Livraria Lello located in Porto is one of the oldest bookstores in Portugal. The shop has had a handful of owners since its opening in 1869, the most unique feature of this bookstore is its architecture. The bookstore interior boasts murals, beautiful stained glass, natural skylight, a grand staircase and the exterior can be best described as neo-gothic or art nouveau. With tourist flocking to the store, Livraria Lello started implementing entrance fees for its visitors in July 2015.


Libreria Acqua Alta- Venice, Italy


Photo: Pinterest


Venice is sinking! The bookstore has redesigned itself to cater to the floods that occur in Venice. They keep books safe during floods by storing them in bathtubs and boats. This Instagram landmark is notably one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world, and its name translates to ‘Book Store of High Water.’ The store is whimsically cramped with books, leaving little space to walk around, the atmosphere is even reflected in their fire escape, which is simply a door leading directly into the canal.


The Dominicanen Bookshop- Maastricht, The Netherlands


Photo: Trips and books


The Dominicanen bookshop is located in the city centre of Maastricht and is the perfect destination for those who love history and reading. Built-in the 13th century in gothic style, visitors can browse their extensive collection of books or enjoy a coffee within this historical building at their in-house café. The building was previously used as a bicycle storage shed, warehouse and printing house.


The Library – Koh Samui, Thailand


Photo: The Library


The library in Koh Samui was made for booklovers, if you ever dreamt of going on holiday and just spending the time reading, here’s a gem of a place. The resort located at Koh Samui’s Chaweng beach houses a stunning library of 1,500 books for guests to browse and read while on holiday.


Chongqing Zhongshuge Bookstore- Chongqing, China


Photo: Chongqing Zhongshuge


The massive 36,000-square-foot store is located in Chongqing, a rapidly developing capital city of the Guizhou province in South Western China. Featuring mirrored ceilings turning things upside down, lampshade-shaped bookshelves and M.C Escher like stairs create a vertiginous surreal surprise for its visitors. The grand bookstore offers private nooks to relax, long tables for study and a coffee café for meetings.


El Ateneo Grand Splendid- Buenos Aires, Argentina

Photo: Pinterest


This unique bookstore is housed in a beautifully preserved antique theatre in the Recoleta neighbourhood of Buenos Aires. Original frescoed ceiling, ornate theatre boxes, elegant round balconies and grand red stage curtains are originally retained. During its glory days, the theatre hosted tango legends Carlos Gardel, Francisco Canaro, Roberto Firpo, and Ignacio Corsini.


Book and Bed- Tokyo, Japan


Photo: Bed and Book


The concept of book and bed was developed with the idea of sleeping among books. Best described as a capsule hotel with communal facilities, guests beds are sandwiched between bookshelves. You can stay the night or opt to pay a daily rate to browse, relax and read in their lounge areas. Book and Bed features a good selection of Japanese and English books to feed your reading cravings.