A Bookstore or shop is beautiful no matter what it looks like as it houses worlds beyond measure, heartbreak and happiness, deaths and births, heroes, heroines, myths and monsters but of course, it’s always nice when it’s pretty to look at too.

Livraria Lello.

Oh be still my beating heart! How beautiful is this, I’d never leave. This is Livraria Lello in Porto, Portugal; opened in the former Chardron Library in 1906 it is a beautiful example of Art Nouveau architecture, with stained glass windows, carved wood, intricate columns and wall panelling and the ultimate stairway to Heaven.

Librairie Avant-Garde.

Nanjing, China; this 4,000-square-meter underground space beneath Wutaishan Stadium was a government car park and, earlier, a bomb shelter before Qian Xiaohua purchased it in 1999 and turned it into this stunning book shop. The counter is built from thousands of books, a copy of Rodin’s The Thinker greets your entry and the beautiful presentation includes huge, comfy seating areas and sympathetic lighting.


Not a Book shop; a book village! Fjaerland is located near to Norway’s Jostedalsbreen Glacier. Here houses, sheds and even a hotel have all been converted into bookstores.
I may have to move here, at least I know I’d get on with my neighbours.

John K. King Used and Rare Books

A famously bizarre facade hides a beautiful interior in this Michigan bookstore. Housed in an old glove factory and sporting an enormous pointing hand painted onto the side of the building John K. King sells almost anything that could be printed and called a book. The tomes aren’t catalogued or computer tracked, they cannot search for a title and tell you if they have it in stock; instead they have enthusiastic staff, a manager on each floor and lots of customers who have forgotten what they went in for but really don’t care.


Cook & Book.

Brussels Belgium; a bookstore and a restaurant, no not a cafe a full blown restaurant. Divided between two buildings and separated into nine rooms, all a different theme, different book selections, different decor; this establishment melds the two completely different retail styles perfectly. Although I do wonder if the books still smell of books?

Boekhandel Selexyz Dominicanen

Breathtaking, that’s the only way to describe this bookstore housed in a 700 year old former church in Maastricht, Netherlands. Built in the late 13th century and then closed in the late 18th by Napoleon Bonaparte, although the building didn’t fall into disrepair, it was largely abandoned for the next 200 years. Now look at it, what a beautiful way to use such a gorgeous building.

Libreria Acqua Alta

Who needs shelves? Not this store. Who needs a filing system? Not this store! Owned by Venetian Luis Frizzio Libraria Acqua Alto can be found in Venice Italy and is filled with hundreds of thousands of books ensconced in boats, bathtubs and even a gondola or two; it also boasts several large resident cats.

Librería El Ateneo Grand Splendid

No list of beautiful bookstores would be complete without this gorgeous Buenos Aires example being included. Originally opened as a theatre Teatro Gran Splendid in May 1919 it was converted into a book and music store. Still intact theatre boxes provide seating areas for customers to relax in, a cafe has been added and much of the original theatre remains, giving this bookstore a grandiose and noble feel.

Poplar Kid’s Republic

Beijing China and something a little different, this is ultra modern perfection. Bright, bold and beautiful, it is filled with cosy little reading nooks just right for a child to curl up in, a colourful book trail and of course, children’s books in their hundreds.

Barter Books

Open fires in the Winter, The Station Buffet, a model railway acting as a link between the book columns of the central room, along with poetry lines; what’s not to love about this divine second hand bookstore located in Alnwick in the north of England.

It’s almost impossible to pick a top ten from the hundreds of stunning bookshops (stores) around the world. The above don’t even scratch the surface of what is out there but oh, aren’t they gorgeous.

If there’s a bookshop/store that you think is beautiful, maybe not architecturally but it just touches the bibliophile in you; or the staff are wonderful, or it’s just a teeny tiny independent shop and you want to show it off send us your reviews, we would love to hear from you. Or take a look at our Bookshops page, you’ll find many more beautiful places there reviewed by people like you who found somewhere in which to indulge their inner Booklover.