In June, I was lucky enough to be travelling around Spain and Portugal. It was lovely and warm, I visited countless stunning cities, ate some incredible food, and just had a blast getting to explore these countries. But as well as visiting all the historic sights and admiring the gorgeous architecture, I also checked out a fair amount of bookshops as well!
So today, I invite you all to join me on a bookshop tour of Spain and Portugal! Let me show you some of the coolest bookstores I stumbled upon during my time abroad. From a magical bookshop that’s rumoured to have inspired J.K. Rowling’s creation of Hogwarts, to tiny shops hidden away down side streets with old books piled high on the carpet, these are all my must-see places for bookworms in this little corner of Europe.
Liberia Anticuaria Los Terceros, Seville
This gorgeous little bookshop is tucked away down a side street, away from the busy main roads of Seville. Reminiscent of Bernard Black’s bookshop in Black Books, stacks of books are piled high on the floor and the table. Overflowing shelves line the small room, filled with editions with cracked spines and bent pages—books that have lived and have been loved. It’s the perfect little cosy nook in this busy Spanish city.
Un Gato en Bicicleta, Seville
Coffee and books… it’s the perfect pairing. Positioned down a narrow, unassuming street in the Jewish quarter of Seville, this cafe and bookshop is a true hidden gem. Pass by the large window and you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of all the books inside. Step through the old wooden door and you’ll find yourself enveloped in the scent of coffee beans and new books. Stay a while. Take your morning slowly. There’s no better place for book lovers, artists, and coffee enthusiasts to take a well earned retreat into paradise.
Librería Rayuela, Seville
Seville is also home to a specialist children and young adult bookstore, with the books by local and international authors alike. This large, inviting store is situated on a street corner near one of the most popular places to hang out in town. The large windows allow for the bright afternoon sun to stream through the windows, making it every child’s (and the young at heart as well) dream reading retreat. Peruse the shelves, pick a book, and grab a seat in one of the comfy chairs inside this gorgeous oasis.
On a busy street of Lagos, right opposite the docks where you can still hear the gulls cawing from inside the store, this bookshop is the perfect pitstop on your way to the beach. Situated on the Algarve coast, Lagos is a quaint town where things move a little slower than in the rest of Portugal. Take your time picking out the perfect book to take with you on a warm afternoon (and yes, there’s an English section as well), and then head down the main road towards the paths that lead down the cliffs and onto the postcard-worthy beach. Lagos is the ideal place to lose yourself in another world while listening to the waves gently lap at the stunning golden sand.
Livraria Lello, Porto
Welcome to Porto! If you’re an avid Harry Potter fan, you might be aware that J.K. Rowling lived in Porto in the early 1990s. It’s rumoured that she was inspired by various places around this gorgeous Portuguese city, one of which is the Lello Bookshop. With a curved red staircase that leads from the bottom to the top level of the store, ceramic faces that protrude from the shelves, and a stunning stained glass ceiling, it’s easy to see where the inspiration for Hogwarts might have come from. If you’re in Porto, a visit to this magical bookstore is definitely worth a visit.
Popup stall, Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela looks like a town straight out of a historical film, complete with its cobbled streets, massive cathedral, and a backdrop of rolling hills. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to find an outdoor bookshop situated around a fountain in the main part of the Old Town. Upon these tables beneath the dazzling midday sun are old and new books in both English and Spanish—you’re sure to find one to add to your collection at home. Then wander down the street towards the front of the cathedral, sit down on a step, and spend an hour flicking through the pages as the pilgrims from the famous Camino de Santiago walk reach the end of their 800km journey.
Popup stall, Barcelona
Ahh, Barcelona. Home of Gaudí’s famous architecture, people dancing in the streets (thanks, Ed Sheeran), and good food. But there are also some underground popup bookshops in the subway stations! You’ll most likely stumble unexpectedly upon one of these, but they’re the perfect place to pick up a new read if you forgot a book or finished one of yours on the train. How many times have you realised with anguish that you’d forgotten your book on the way into work? If you live in Barcelona, that problem could be fixed by heading down the elevator, picking out a book in the morning rush, and making it onto your train with some good reading material. What a fantastic idea!
Have you ever been to Spain or Portugal? What’s the best bookshop you’ve ever been to? Which one are you dying to check out? I’d love to know!