The Livraria Lello is one of the most beautiful book shops in the world and tops the list of attractions in Porto. Livraria Lello 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.

Livraria Lello Porto

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. It first opened its doors in 1906 and has been a showcase for Portoguese literature. It was designed by Xavier Esteves an engineer who had a taste for literature. The most impressive part of the bookstore is it’s circular crimson wooden staircase. The staircase forms the centrepiece of the store with its bright red stairs that take you up to the upper level.

The stairs @ Livraria Lello

Livraria Lello Porto

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.

External view

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 English and French as well.  

Stain glass ceiling.

Thanks to Instagram and social media the book store has become one of the most photographed places in Porto. You will certainly experience this if you were to enter the store with hordes of tourists getting their perfect pose.

thetraveller strikes a pose @ Livraria Lello

There is another interesting aspect of this bookstore. Is that 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 and the Flourish and Blotts bookshop. There is a section dedicated to the Harry Potter on the first floor and a glass cabinet enclosing some memorabilia’s and an autographed book by the author.

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.  You 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.

Tourists filled Livraria Lello

You could buy the tickets online which I would suggest as you still have to queue up after you have the tickets to enter the store. Alternatively you could turn up and first queue up to buy the tickets and then return to queue up to enter the store. 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 the Livararia Lello is without a doubt one of the most beautiful book stores in the world and a visit to it whilst you are in Porto is a must.

For more information, visit the Livraria Lello website.

Livraria Lello
Rua das Carmelitas 144
Porto

Phone: +351 222 002 037

Hours:
Monday through Friday – 10:00 to 19:30
Saturday and Sunday – 10:00 to 19:00

Ticket Entrance:  €5.00 which can be used towards your purchase in the store.

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43 COMMENTS

  1. What a great bookstore! I hadn’t heard of it before, but I’d love to visit. I haven’t been to a bookstore before that charges admission, but it’s neat that you can apply that amount to a purchase. We are hoping to travel to Porto within the next year or two, so I will definitely keep this beautiful bookstore in mind.

    • You must when you visit Porto. It’s strange to pay the entrance but then you can redeem it so ok.

  2. Wow! This is a bookstore?! This was my reaction when I read your title and saw the pictures. I have never come across a bookstore like this. And 4000-5000 visitors sounds crazy for a bookstore! I mean, nowadays, with the prevalence of digital media, only few people come to bookstores anymore. I for one, usually frequent bookstores and libraries as I love reading books, but when e-books came, my trips to bookstore become less and less. Livraria Lello looks really awesome! The place stirs up my imagination. It is indeed a wonderland. Book lovers would definitely fall in love with this place. Thank you for sharing this!

    • Indeed one of the most beautiful bookstore you can imagine with a great footfall Hope you can visit it one day being a book lover. Thanks.

  3. This is a paradise for bookworms. I couldn’t believe if it is a book store or a Harry Potter series room. Your kids must have loved it.

  4. OMG! This is paradise. For a bookworm like me, I can imagine staying here the whole day and coming back again the next day. I would really love to visit in the future. Thank you for all the tips!

  5. I’m actaully very interested at Livraria Lello because I’m a book lover. Whenever I go to a new place, I always search for a bookstore to buy some more books to read. But I can also see that Livraria Lello is a very popular tourist destination based on the pictures, almost jam packed. Still, this won’t stop me from visiting when I finally got the chance to visit Porto. I also like the idea that there is a coffee shop just nearby, reading a book while having a coffee is a perfect combination for me!

    • Hope you can visit it being the book lover you are. It’s the perfect place for you.

  6. The Livraria Lello is definitely a very beautiful bookstore. The intricate skyline and ornate woodwork are just two of the charming elements of this shop. I am shocked at how crowded it is! I suppose that it definitely is Instagram worthy, hence the great tourist appeal. Beautiful photos!

  7. Wow … what a great book store. I am surprised to know that people pay to enter the store. In the instagram age, anything is possible. But I m stunned by the interior. It looks like a wonderland for sure. So beautiful. I m definitely going to visit it next.

    • Yes the things that insta makes people do these dats is stunning. At least it keeps the bookstore alive in this age of digital media.

  8. Wow! This is one of the most beautiful bookstores I have seen. How opulent does this look?! I can definitely see where JK Rowling got all of her inspiration from. I feel like I am transported to Hogwarts myself when looking at these gorgeous photos. Thank you for sharing such a nice gem!

  9. Wow! This is my kind of bookshop! I love bookstores where you can just get lost and find books that you didn’t even know existed! Doesn’t surprise me that it gets so many visitors a day, amazing!

  10. Holy cow, I love beautiful bookstores! This is a classic example of the power of social media – crazy how the store has to sell tickets to control the amount of visitors that it sees. I’d imagine it’s a good business move, especially if people only visit to get a few pictures. I had a friend visit, but she was one of the first people in the bookstore so she was able to get some pictures without gobs of others in the shot, and was able to make her purchase quickly. Guess that’s the way to go!

  11. Wow this book store is really neat – the detail on the staircase and shelves are so ornate and beautiful! How cool that JK Rowling possibly wrote the first HP book in there – my daughter would love to visit for that very reason. I always love spending time in book stores but this one is at a whole new level – adding to my bucket list for when I visit the area!

  12. I’ve been to a couple of really beautiful bookstores in the world, including the Carturesti Carusel in Bucharest, but I’ve never been to or heard of a bookstore that you need to purchase a ticket to get into! Not sure how I feel about that, as I love going to bookstores for the peaceful and quiet ambiance where you can just curl up in a ball and zone into a book. Really smart move economically for them though!

    • It’s a great place and a clever move when your customers are there for the photo more than the books.

  13. I confess that I read my books electronically now but I would absolutely go into this bookstore. If this is ranked as the 3rd most beautiful, I can’t imagine what the top 2 look like. I imagine people would hold weddings and parties here as well. A colleague held her wedding reception in a similar book store in the US. This is a book lover’s paradise!

    • Well that’s what made me happy when I visited this store, that in a works where digital media rules this still promotes the good old way of books.

  14. Wow! It truly is beautiful! How many people do you think were there just to check it out, and how many actual customers? 🙂 When you mentioned Harry Potter, I remembered that I have in fact read about this place before. My husband is a huge Harry Potter fan, we will have to visit here someday.

    • A large % visit just for the photos the reason why they started Charing a small fee. Hope you can visit with your husband one day

  15. I can see why it is considered as one of the most beautiful book stores in the world. It looks like a museum. The stairs are so beautiful and well-crafted to. I will definitely keep this in my Porto itinerary when I get a chance to visit the city.

  16. I have see so many posts about Porto but no one discussed about the Livraria Lello. This bookshop really looks worth and is truly a world’s most beautiful bookshop. The architecture of this building is great as it is neo-Gothic style. Also I would love to check out special Harry Potter’s section. It is really a photogenic place.

    • It’s a must visit plane when you are in Porto for sure. The Harry Potter connection is an added star to the store.

  17. I just love interesting bookstores, especially those with incredible architecture like Livaria Lello! Plus it has the added benefit of a pop culture reference through J.K. Rowling’s writings. It’s easy to see why Rowling would chose such a place for inspiration! In an age when independent books stores are diminishing, kudos to their (likely profitable) ticketing system!

    • It’s a great place and a very clever marketing strategy so thumbs up. Hope you can visit one day.

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