Livraria Lello – Porto’s famous bookstore tops the list of attractions in Porto. It has ranked in the top 10 book stores of the world constantly but reached its pinnacle in 2010 when the Lonely Planet crowned it as the Third best bookstore in the World.
Location of Livraria Lello – Porto’s famous bookstore
The Livraria Lello is located in the heart of Porto and a 10 minutes’ walk from the famous Sao Bento Railway station known for its Azulejo panels.
The entire building itself is quite beautiful with the colourful facade a perfect example of neo-gothic design.
Livraria Lello – Porto’s famous bookstore opened its doors in 1906 and has been a showcase for Portuguese literature. It was designed by Xavier Esteves an engineer who had a taste for literature.
The most impressive part of the bookstore is the circular crimson wooden staircase.
The staircase forms the centerpiece of the store with its bright red stairs that take you up to the upper level.
The building has several intricately crafted stained glass windows that absolutely stand out when the sun rays pass through it. The interiors consists of ornate painted plaster with figures from Portuguese literature. It was the city’s first architectural structure to be built out of reinforced concrete.
There is a spectacular stained glass fitted to the ceiling which shines light down on the store and is absolutely stunning.
Inside the Livraria Lello
Once you enter the store it is like stepping into a wonderland of books. Rows of glass fronted cabinets filled with books from different languages but predominantly Portuguese.
There is a fair amount of books in the Livraria Lello in many languages including English and French.
Thanks to Instagram and social media the book store has become one of the most photographed places in Porto.
I must admit Livraria Lello – Porto’s beautiful book store is one of its kind.
You will certainly experience this if you were to enter the store with hordes of tourists getting their perfect pose.
Harry Potter Connection
There is another interesting aspect about this bookstore. It is believed that the famous author JK Rowling, wrote the first Harry Potter book inside this store. J.K Rowling was indeed a frequent customer to the bookstore when she lived in Porto from 1991 to 1993.
The bookstore’s neo-Gothic architecture does bear a striking resemblance to Hogwarts School of Wizardry. The description for Flourish and Blotts bookshop bears a striking resemblance to Livraria Lello.
There is a section dedicated to Harry Potter on the first floor and a glass cabinet enclosing some memorabilia’s and an autographed book by the author.
You can buy Harry Potter books in Livraria Lello.
There is a small coffee shop and store just around where you can enjoy a selection of cakes coffees and souvenirs. This is where you can also purchase your tickets to enter the book store.
Why do you need to buy tickets to enter Livraria Lello – Porto’s famous bookstore?
You will need to purchase a ticket to get into the store. As you can imagine becoming a top tourist attraction the shop attracted thousands of guests everyday but very little purchases. As a result there was a ticket system introduced.
Tickets to enter Livraria Lello
We purchased our tickets online, which I would suggest as you still have to queue up after you have the tickets to enter the store. Alternatively you can turn up and buy the tickets but be prepared to queue up.
You can exchange your ticket towards any purchases you make at the store. The bookstore sees 4,000 to 5,000 visitors a day and can get very busy but still worth a visit.
It certainly carries on to cultivate a relationship with books in this modern world of digital media. I must admit that without a doubt Livraria Lello – The World’s most beautiful book store is a must visit place whilst you are in Porto.
Can you buy books in Livraria Lello? Yes you can purchase books in Livraria Lello
A short train journey from Porto is the capital Lisbon. Find out how to spend 2 Days in Lisbon and all it has to offer.
For more information, visit the Livraria Lello website.
Rua das Carmelitas 144
Phone: +351 222 002 037
Monday through Friday – 10:00 to 19:30
Saturday and Sunday – 10:00 to 19:00
Ticket price to enter Livararia Lello: €5.00 which can be used towards your purchase in the store.
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