13 incredible bookstores
you must visit

Hey fellow book lovers, how many of these 13 famous bookstores have you been to?

I adore bookstores and research them like crazy as part of my vacation planning. I've been lucky enough to have visited some of the most incredible bookstores around the world — some famous, some not, all of them a balm to my soul.

From cozy indie shops to sprawling multi-story book emporiums, there's something truly special about exploring these literary havens. These are 13 of the most famous ones in the world:

Libreria Acqua Alta (Venice, Italy): Known for its quirky book displays (including books stacked in bathtubs and gondolas), Libreria Acqua Alta is a delightfully unique bookstore in the heart of Venice. This bookstore also has a resident cat.

El Ateneo Grand Splendid (Buenos Aires, Argentina): Housed in a beautifully restored theatre, El Ateneo Grand Splendid is a stunning bookstore that feels like a temple to literature. You can even grab a coffee and relax in the theatre's former balcony.

Powell's City of Books (Portland, Ore.): A massive bookstore spanning an entire city block, Powell's is a paradise for book lovers. With over a million new and used books, you can easily spend an entire day browsing its shelves.

Atlantis Books (Santorini, Greece): This charming indie bookstore on the Greek island of Santorini is a book lover's dream. With shelves nestled in cozy nooks, stunning sea views and a resident cat, it's the perfect place to get lost in a good book.

Bart's Books (Ojai, Calif.): This open-air bookstore in California's Ojai Valley is a hidden gem. With shelves lining the walls of a cozy cottage and spilling out into the gardens, it's the perfect spot to find a new read.

Photo by Deniz Demirci

Shakespeare and Company (Paris): A legendary shop in the heart of Paris, Shakespeare and Company has been a hub for writers and readers since the 1920s. It boasts an impressive selection of English-language books, cozy reading nooks and even a bed for visiting writers.

Boekhandel Dominicanen (Maastricht, Netherlands): Housed in a stunning 13th-century church, Boekhandel Dominicanen is a one-of-a-kind bookstore with a vast selection of books and a unique atmosphere that's both peaceful and inspiring.

Cafebrería El Péndulo (Mexico City): With multiple locations throughout Mexico City, Cafebrería El Péndulo is a combination bookstore, coffee shop and music store. The vibe is cozy and welcoming, and the selection of books is top-notch.

Livraria Lello (Porto, Portugal): This ornate bookstore in the heart of Porto is a true work of art. From its stunning stained-glass skylight to its intricately carved wooden staircase, every inch of Livraria Lello is a feast for the eyes. I'm guessing you've seen photos of this bookshop a time or two on Instagram!

The Last Bookstore (Los Angeles): A quirky indie bookstore in downtown L.A., The Last Bookstore features unique art installations made from books, a massive selection of new and used books and even a labyrinth made from bookcases. The book tunnel is pure perfection.

Cook & Book (Brussels, Belgium): A quirky bookstore with a playful design, Cook & Book is divided into nine different sections, each with its own unique theme. Whether you're in the mood for comics, travel books or cookbooks, you'll find it here.

Daunt Books (London): With multiple locations throughout London, Daunt Books is a must-visit for any book lover. The shops boast stunning architecture, cozy reading nooks and an impressive selection of books from around the world.

The Strand Book Store (New York): Housed in a historic building in the East Village, this store is a landmark in the city. With its labyrinthine layout and famous "18 miles of books," the Strand feels like a world unto itself. With over 2.5 million books to choose from, you're sure to find something to suit your tastes. 

I hope this list is both aspirational and inspirational as you plan your next book-themed trip.

>> Let me know in the comments which bookstores I've missed.


Find more travel inspiration on my Instagram, @JuanitaNg.