Maastricht, the Netherlands
This bookstore is quite possibly located in the most unique and magical setting ever – a 700+-year-old church! Browse the shelves while standing in actual history and please don’t forget to take pictures, because this place is beyond stunning. They get bonus points for their pet-friendly policy too!
Shakespeare and Company
One of the most historical bookshops in the world, Shakespeare and Co. is a haven of English-language literature in the heart of Paris, France. The original Shakespeare and Co. dates back to 1919 and was a popular hangout for American writers in the 1920s, including Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein. The shop that exists today was started as an homage to the original in 1951.
Libreria Acqua Alta
Possibly the only bookstore to use gondolas and bathtubs as shelves, this boutique in Venice, Italy is absolutely dreamy. It is also home to many cats, who will hang out with you while you browse.
This majestic bookshop is the oldest in all of London and has been open since 1797! The booksellers specialise in signed editions and their building in Piccadilly Circus epitomises literary glamour.
San Francisco, USA
Founded in 1953 by Beat icon Lawrence Ferlinghetti, this independent bookstore in San Francisco’s focus is on world literature, the arts and progressive politics. It is also America’s first all-paperback bookshop, making the page-turners on offer as affordable as they are fascinating.
Self-proclaimed ‘most beautiful bookstore in the world’ on their website, Livraria Lello in Porto definitely gives its fellow bookshops a run for their money. It is absolutely breathtaking – no wonder it’s rumoured to have served as inspiration for JK Rowling’s depiction of Hogwarts in Harry Potter!
Book and Bed
A bookstore-themed hostel in Tokyo, Book and Bed is the literal dream. Where else can you spend the night entirely surrounded by bookshelves?
El Ateneo Grand Splendid
Buenos Aires, Argentina
A true feast for the eyes, this theatre in Argentina was transformed into a bookstore and is now basically the closest thing to the library in Beauty and the Beast that we will ever see in real life.
New York, New York
Eighteen miles of books in the middle of New York City, Strand Bookstore was established in 1927 and has been Manhattan’s most famous bookshop ever since.
Located along Paris’s river Seine, this is not one bookstore but rather multiple book stalls. Especially inviting on a summer’s day, this is probably the most picturesque place on the planet to buy a book and you’ll have more than your share to choose from too.
Los Angeles, California
Perhaps more exceptionally cool than beautiful, Secret Headquarters is an LA icon for comics and ‘zines. They also host art shows, which obviously adds to the wow factor.
The Peak District, UK
This quaint shop has gone from one room to twelve since its opening in 1974, but has retained the homey and cosy feel of its humble beginnings.
Mexico City, Mexico
A wonderland of books in Mexico City, El Pendulo bookshop and café sells mostly Spanish language books but also has an English section for tourists. It is absolutely charming and beautiful, and is definitely not short on books – just look at those shelves!