Because if you can’t get lost in a book, you might as well get lost in a bookstore: From Venice to Santorini, and Berlin to St. Petersburg, these libraries have long provided ample room to err about, provided as they are with breathtaking architecture and intricate interiors. Be inspired by our list of Europe’s 10 most beautiful examples, and, you know, by a book or something.
Libreria Acqua Alta, Venice
The Venetian Libreria Acqua Alta is one of the most original libraries in the world, boasting an enormous selection of books and setting them out on any inch of available space that can be found in the labyrinth of interconnected rooms. Thousands of new and used titles occupy antique shelves and falling-apart furniture, as well as boats and full-sized gondolas. This eccentric bookshop quite literally overflows with books, with literature covering the floors, the walls and even comprising a functioning staircase in the quaint back courtyard. Whilst browsing through the colorful kaleidoscope of book covers, make sure to acknowledge the welcoming and knowledgeable owner, Luigi Frizzo, and his four resident cats.
Libreria Acqua Alta, Sestiere Castello, 5176/B, Venice, Italy +39 041 296 0841
Atlantis Books, Santorini
Located in an idyllic location in the heart of Oia’s whitewashed town on the island of Santorini, Atlantis Books is a charming independent bookshop founded by a group of friends in 2004. When in this part of the world, take the time to peruse through a generous selection of fiction and non-fiction in numerous languages, relaxing in the cool of the basement bookstore. Run by a welcoming collective of international artists and writers, the Greek villa also organizes numerous literary evening events, as well as theatre performances and open-air cinema viewings. Over the years, it has become an integral part of the Greek expat community – no wonder, as for many, the bookstore in the heart of the Mediterranean proves to be the ultimate sanctuary.
Atlantis Books, Oia, Santorini, Greece, +30 22860 72346
Livraria Lello & Irmão, Porto
Located in the heart of Porto, prepare to be blown away by Livraria Lello & Irmão, one of the oldest bookstores in Portugal. Trading literature since the 1880s in the premises of a neo-gothic building, featuring stunning Art Nouveau architecture near the Praça dos Leões, it is definitely a must when visiting the city. Designed by Xavier Esteves and officially inaugurated in 1906, the magnificent interior is comprised of beautifully carved wooden surfaces, a winding staircase, exquisite copper, glass bookshelves and delicate stained glass windows – with this in mind, it is no wonder this establishment is a recurrently a contender for the most beautiful bookstore in the world. Alongside hundreds of Portuguese titles, bookworms can pick up many French and English books at Livraria Lello.
Livraria Lello & Irmão, Rua das Carmelitas 144, Porto, Portugal, +351 22 200 2037
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