Bilbao may be more closely associated with art and design than with literature, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t find a good array of independent bookstores dotted around the city. From old second-hand places to treasure troves of leather tomes and comics, here’s our round up of the top independent bookstores in Bilbao.
One of the oldest bookshops in Bilbao, Librería Cámara has been around for more than 80 years and is currently run by the third generation of a family of booksellers. Housing over 25,000 books, each title is carefully chosen for the store. The shop specialises in books dedicated to film, photography, music, architecture, fashion and design, however clients will also find a good range of literary fiction, too. Regular meet-ups, talks and workshops are held within the shop itself, such as poetry workshops, literary discussions or talks by local authors.
This beautiful bookshop is worth visiting just to look around, even if you don’t want to buy anything, as it is filled with large glass cases and ornate bookshelves that look like they belong in a Moorish palace. Librería Astarloa stocks a wide assortment of second-hand books and specialises in antiques, collectibles and rare finds. You’ll also find books for as little as €1, however, so there’s no need break the bank. Other items on sale here include postcards, manuscripts, prints, posters and brochures.
Librería Astarloa, Astarloa Kalea, 4, Bilbo, Bizkaia, Spain, +34 944 23 16 07
For fans of comics, video games and cult fiction won’t want to miss Librería Joker. Having opened back in 1994, this store has set itself up as the premier place for comics, graphic novels, manga, anime and books relating to video games. They sell both new and second-hand editions, and also house some collector’s items. There are whole sections dedicated to Marvel, Star Wars, Manga and War Games.
Librería Joker, Euskalduna Kalea, 7, 48008 Bilbo, Bizkaia, Spain, +34 944 15 91 27
La Casa de Atrás
A tattoo studio, vinyl store and bookshop in one, this place is a great find. With walls painted in bright green, sink-down leather sofas and shelves stacked full of second-hand treasures covering everything and anything, it’s a place to hang out, not just to shop.
This charming little bookstore is located in between the Guggenheim Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts, and is the place to go if you want to spend hours browsing the shelves to find hidden gems. With old leather-bound volumes stacked floor-to-ceiling, this places specialises in antiques, as well as books dedicated to the Basque Country, travel, science, art, law and medicine. They have a good selection of second-hand books too.
Librería de Deusto
This modern bookstore is located next to the city’s Escuela de Idiomas (Language School) and offers a wide array of titles. With its bright orange walls, the shop is split into zones, with a specialised children’s area complete with games and small tables. Staff are very knowledgable and will be happy to help out with requests or recommendations.
Librería de Deusto, Plaza San Pedro, 4, Bilbao, Bizkaia, Spain, +34 944 76 42 81