6 Bookstores Every Reader Should Visit in Their Lifetime

1. El Ateneo (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

El Ateneo

A former theater, El Ateneo earns its place on this list as one of the most beautiful bookstores in existence. Perhaps one of the most photographed locations in Buenos Aires, El Ateneo is a must see for any potential visitor. Make sure to spend some time with a good book in one of the former theater boxes, which have now been converted into reading spaces.

2. Word on the Water (London, England)

Word on the Water - houseboat bookstore on the canal near Mile End

Word on the Water is a one-of-a-kind floating bookstore from the city of London. Filled to capacity with second hand books of all types, book lovers delight in it’s incredible atmosphere and eclectic selection. You can find their current location, as well as any current updates, on their facebook page.

3. The Last Bookstore (Los Angeles, California)


The Last Bookstore started as a small store in 2005 in downtown L.A. and has now grown to be the largest independent bookstore in Southern California. Recently expanded to include records, this store has become a hidden gem in the heart of downtown. You can sell or trade your old books, attend one of the many events hosted weekly, or explore the “labrynth” level, an area dedicated solely to 1$ books.

4. Boekhandel Dominicanen (Maastricht, Netherlands)

His Own Bookshop.

This 800 year old former church was transformed into a bookstore at the start of 2006. Visitors can climb three stories worth of books from every genre to get a birds eye view of the beautifully restored architecture and artwork that dots the entire building. For the people that feel reading is a religion, this may just be your place.

5. Livraria Lello & Irmao, Porto, Portuga

Interior de la librería Lello

Lovers of both architecture and literature will have something to appreciate when they step into this century old bookstore in the heart of Porto, Portugal. With its beautifully carved woodwork, stained glass ceilings, and a spiral staircase that’s straight out of a fantasy tale, it’s hard to imagine anyone not feeling enchanted.

6. Shakespeare and Company, Paris, France.

Shakespeare and Company

Arguably the most famous bookstore in the world, Shakespeare and Company has been a major tourist attraction in Paris for almost 50 years. Get past the inevitable crowds, however, and you’ll find a bookstore that lives up to it’s famed reputation. Spare a moment to take in the charming simplicity of the layout and design, then browse the selection of rare and hard to find classics. If it’s not too busy, pull up a chair, find a good book, and take in the atmosphere that made this bookstore a favorite Parisian haunt for the likes of Allen Ginsberg, Henry Miller, and William Styron.