Though not a city traditionally associated with quirky independent bookstores, Seville is in fact home to some great spots for bookworms. If you prefer shopping for a good read among people who really love reading and books, these are the best places to head for in the Andalusian capital.
Un Gato en Bicicleta
The owners of this wonderfully named concept bookstore and cafe – ‘A Cat on a Bicycle’ – once said that it was meant to be an ordinary bookshop, but that things ‘got out of hand’. And what a great thing that they did, because Un Gato en Bicicleta is now a leading establishment on Seville’s artistic and bohemian scene, hosting regular poetry readings, live music concerts, lectures and whatever theatre can be crammed into its modest space. It also sells a good range of books and comics, but if you like your bookshops to offer more than a good read, ‘Cat on a Bike’ is your place.
Said by local book lovers to be one of the best bookshops in Seville, Laextra Vagante (see what they did there?) is particularly recommended if you’re after something unlikely to be found on the blockbuster-crammed shelves of FNAC. Friendly and knowledgeable staff are on hand to help you in your search, during which you’re likely to stumble upon some literary curiosity – magazine, limited edition, out-of-print treasure – that you didn’t even realise you wanted. In addition to an impressive range of books, Vagante also offers great gift items and functions as a cultural space hosting bookclub meetings and literary events. It is aptly located on the Alameda de Hércules, one of Seville’s trendiest nightspots.
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La Jeronima can’t quite decide whether it’s a bookshop or a bar, but it doesn’t matter. This is a space in which you can enjoy a quality, locally brewed beer from an impressive selection, as well as browsing through an imaginatively arrayed range of books. The opening hours are closer to those of a bar than a bookshop – most days it opens at 4pm and closes about midnight – and many locals come solely to hang out, meaning there’s always a decent atmosphere, although if you want to browse in peace and quiet it’s better to arrive early. Readings and bookclub meetings are also held here, and newbie book lovers are warmly welcomed into the fold, making this one of the best spots in Seville for those who love to have a good read and chat about it afterwards over a drink.
Though it has bookstores all over Spain, Re-Read deserves to be on this list because of its excellent pricing structure and the strength of its secondhand offering. The deal here is that you can buy one book for €3, two for €5 and five for an amazing €10 – the price of a single item in FNAC, for example. And unlike many secondhand bookshops, which can be unbearably cluttered and disorganised, Re-Read is a sleek, imaginatively decorated space (a bike is wedged up against the ceiling, on one of the higher shelves) with clearly labelled shelves. Staff are helpful and knowledgeable and there is a good range of subjects and themes on offer, making this a great place to shop for books on a tight budget.
One of the few retailers in Seville not to shut for a three-hour lunch break between 2pm and 5pm, Botica’s lofty aim is to provide culture for ‘the wise readers of Seville’. A good range of non-obvious books and pocketbooks is on offer and service is professional and efficient: if you’re after something they don’t have, for example, you can place an order and your book usually arrives within a few days. Don’t be put off by the fact that Botica is located out of Seville’s historic town centre; the barrio of Los Remedios(home to Seville’s epic annual feria) is a lovely place to stroll in and the bookshop is just over the river from the Plaza de España and Maria Luisa Park. And anyway, only the wise shop here.
For literature-lovers visiting the Andalusian capital, where better to head than ‘The Little Bookworm’? Situated on the lively, bohemian Calle Feria – also home to Seville’s two best vintage clothing stores and its best weekly flea market – El Gusanito is said by Sevillano bookworms to be one of the few places left that really caters for those who love reading and books. A colourful, busy interior is presided over by an owner consistently singled out for her knowledge of and passion for books and for her attentiveness; indeed, she is also the president of the local association of booksellers. Forget Kindles, iPads, downloads and e-editions, then: this is a place that does books how they used to be done. A good range of newspapers, including international press, is also available every Sunday.