Livraria Lello, Porto
Selling books in the most enchanting of settings since 1906 by Andrew Day
Often voted ‘the world’s most beautiful bookshop’, Porto’s famed Livraria Lello – housed inside a Gothic-style façade – has been delighting bookworms for over 110-years. A short five-minute walk from the city centre, the libraries exquisite interior features a blood-red twisting staircase, dazzling stained-glass skylight and creaking parquet floors with built-in rails for carts which once moved books. Intricately carved wooden shelves are stocked to the rafters with a wonderland of books: from exotic travel on the upper floor (where a tiny coffee shop can be found), to contemporary Portuguese talent and literary classics and on the ground floor. Curiously, part of the Livraria Lello’s popularity can also be thanked to J.K. Rowling. Back in the nineties the author taught English in the city — and the libraries faded grandeur is said to have inspired Hogwart’s architecture. Being small, it can get crammed with snapping Harry Potter pilgrims, so the store now charges €3 to get in, which is redeemable against a purchase.