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20 Iconic Bookstores
To read is to travel... And this month My Own proposes to you a different trip, the world of books and their guardians, the bookstores. It is incredible that a country as small as ours, of which it is said that the population currently does not read, have so astounding bookstores.
From the oldest, to the smallest, passing through one of the most beautiful in the world, without forgetting the favourites of the Portuguese people, come and see our selection of 20 iconic bookstores, but it could be more.
In your travels, or in your daily life, visit one of these bookstores or another that is closer to you, many of them have even a coffee shop, exhibitions, workshops ... Multifaceted spaces that allow much more beyond simple purchase of books.
They deserve our care and, let us be clear,, some of our money, because it was in fact a shame to let them die.
Lello & Irmão
Aqui Há Gato
Bookstore of Santiago
Read Slowly With Love
Pó dos Livros
Palavra de Viajante
A das Artes
Fonte das Letras
There are specialized bookstores in a genre, and then there are those that elevate the level of specificity. The bookstore Traga Mundos is one of them. It has specialized in Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro.
The bookstore is a space completely turned for the region. The books and crafts mingle with wine, the honey and jams. The decor recalls the traditional without being "old", with red poufs and a sofa flanked by a smiling scarecrow.
Is a lively space where book readings are held, book launches, workshops and other events. A space that tells us about the traditions, of the people, the flora and fauna and the routes of a fascinating region. This is a good starting or finishing point of a tour through the area.
Useful information Opening Hours: Monday to Tuesday : 10:00-20:00| Wednesday: 14:00-23:00 | Thursday to Saturday: 10:00-20:00 Address: Rua Miguel Bombarda, 24 – 26 – 28, 5000-625 Vila Real Phone: +351 259 103 113 Email: email@example.com Website: www.traga-mundos.blogspot.pt
Pictures by: Lia Raquel
On the Centésima Pagina's webpage stands out a quote from Albert Camus: "If I had to write a book of morals, the first 99 pages would be blank and on the 100th PAGE I would write only one sentence: There is a single duty, the duty to love ".
And it's hard not to love this space located in the central artery of Braga, a Baroque building from the 18th century. The House Rolão was built between 1759 and 1765 becoming a building of public interest in 1977. At the entrance, a cardboard Saramago stares at the elegantly painted walls.
Inside the space is populated by books in harmony with the architecture. The bookcases are divided between several large spaces. The space is huge but, it's easy to find what you're looking for. Although it is at a hundred year building it did not make the mistake to recreate the environment of the past offering, therefore, a modern and welcoming environment that makes you forget the time.
This is a place for those who like to share their life with books. Go to the cafeteria, always filled with fresh products and sit down on a table, flipping through the book you just bought. Better yet: go to the charming back garden and read until you get tired.
The Centésima Página does not forget the kids also. The children's space 100topeia is filled with books with engaging characters and stimulates the creativity of the little ones.
If you are in Braga be sure to stop by.
Useful information: Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday : 09:00 – 19:30 Address: Casa Rolão, Av. Central n. 118-120, 4710-229 Braga Phone: +351 253 26 76 47 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.centesima.com
The many, and well deserved, international distinctions that the Bookstore Lello has been getting in recent years and the increasing popularity of Oporto tourist circuits, led to this point. The Bookstore is constantly full of camera-toting tourists to take a picture of this place that is said to have inspired J.. K. Rowling to create the Harry Potter books.
The building, on Rua das Carmelitas, opened in 1906 and restored in 1995, impresses with the big and red staircase, by the stained-glass window in the ceiling that lights up the room, the golden columns and carved wood.
The Bookstore Lello was considered the "coolest" bookstore by Time magazine. But what does that mean? The Bookstore Lello should be in our hearts because it is, in fact, one of the most beautiful libraries in existence. It should be a compulsory passage point for those who visit Portugal and Oporto, but not only because of the beauty, also for the reason of its existence: the sale of books. There are more than 100 000 titles, in multiple languages that fill the shelves around us, an extraordinary collection that fills the measures of the most demanding clients.
The management recently start charging a symbolic value on each entry (3 Euros) that can be deducted on purchases at the bookshop. In our view, It was a good decision. Who wants to visit can contribute to the space maintenance and who is a client has a benefit at the end.
We hope the Bookstore Lello continues to be a centre for culture of the city of Oporto and of the country.
Useful information: Opening Hours: Monday to Friday: 10:00 – 19:30 | Saturday: 10:00-19:00 Address: Rua das Carmelitas, 144, 4050-161 Oporto Phone: +351 222 002 037 Email: email@example.com Website: www.livrarialello.pt
Picture by: Pixabay
Located in the historical area of Coimbra, next to the Arch of Almedina, from which the name is from, Almedina was the first Bookstore of the Almedina Group to open, in 1955.
Although it also sells books of fiction, this bookstore is better known for its offer in Human Science, Legal and Economy books and it is visited, for decades, by law students of the city.
The white and clean look is a plus because it focuses our attention on the bumps of the books lining the walls.
Outside, massive groups of tourists walk through the steep and narrow hill that will take them to Coimbra's Cathedral. Many take photos next to the sculpture before the window of bookstore.
Although the space is small, has everything it needs to please the target-audience. The quality is assured.
Useful information: Opening Hours: Monday to Friday: 9:30h – 18:30h. Closure: Saturday and Sunday Address: Arco de Almedina, 15, 3004-509 Coimbra Phone: +351 239 851 900 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.almedina.net
The Arquivo Bookstore, in Leiria, was voted the 2nd favourite bookstore of the Portuguese and the winner in the category of Best Environment, in 2015, in a contest organised by APEL (Portuguese acronym for Portuguese Association of Publishers and Booksellers).
The atmosphere captivates us even before we step in. The two tables in front of the big window that shows huge volumes about photography and art invite us to sit back and enjoy the sunny afternoon.
Inside, the amazement continues. An ample space is coated with shelves full of books, writing accessories and gifts. The clients, especially the locals, know Arquivo by the careful selection of books about art, photography and Comic Books.
This bookstore has, also, a very dynamic cultural agenda throughout the year. Is a space given to meetings, lectures, book launches and workshops. Arquivo is nowadays a compulsory stop for many Portuguese authors, that want to come to this Bookstore, and present their work, because they know, right from the beginning, that they will be welcome by both the staff and the public.
Go up the stairs and discover the art gallery on the first floor. But the cultural agenda it is not only for adults. Arquivo is proud of its children's space where children can gain the taste for books or listen to a tale that awakens their imagination.
At the back, one can feel the aroma of coffee. We sailed among the islands of books and took our place in one of the tables. Here you can simply read the newspaper or enjoy a light meal with fresh ingredients. We recommend the sandwiches.
The award for Best Environment was well deserved because it's not easy to get back out.
Useful information: Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday: 10h-20h | Sundays and holidays: 14.30 am – 19.30 am Address: Avenida Combatentes Grande Guerra, 53, Leiria Phone: +351 244 822 225 Email: email@example.com Website: www.arquivolivraria.pt
Pictures by: Ricardo Graça
Aqui há Gato
It is at an early age that we acquire the taste for books. Most bookstores devote a space for children, but the bookstore Aqui há Gato rises the bar by becoming a bookstore for children.
The bookstore was born in 2007, in Santarém, due of the taste for art and education. The space is designed for children to release their creativity. They can do everything: painting, sculpture, writing, dancing, to do plays. It's a magical world from the front window to the backyard.
As expected the literary offer focuses on children's books that cover a wide range of ages, even for adults who want to learn more about children and how to deal with them in the best way.
Aqui há Gato is a child's dream come true. It is worth knowing this space full of magic, joy and kindness. And is there really a cat ("Aqui há Gato" means "There is a Cat" in Portuguese)? Yes, it is! Come meet it.
Useful information: Opening Hours: Monday to Friday: 10h-19h30| Saturday: 10h-13h, 15h-18h30 Address: Rua Dr. Mendes Pedroso, n. 21, 2000-053 Santarém Phone: +351 243094019 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: aquihagato.weebly.com
Picture by: Aqui há Gato
Bookstore of Santiago
To read inside a church is not unheard of, now, go to a bookstore occupying a church is not so common. Especially if that bookstore is not dedicated to theological themes.
In Óbidos, the bookstores network Ler Devagar, created the Bookstore of Santiago inside the ancient Church of St. James. This is one of the most emblematic buildings of the town and was built by King. Sancho I in the 12th century, right next to the entrance to the castle.
Inside, a wooden structure involves us and frames our view to the altar. The entire space was used to show books, even the lateral altars. It's weird to be in a religious space that got a new use. And we feel that even more because the previous decor has remained. The main altar is there, the Saints, the pulpit where sermons were shouted. It wasn't a decor which is intertwined harmoniously with the old one. It was as if the Church was "occupied" by a foreign body, but despite that it works, and became a pretty nice space.
We climbed the steps of the wooden structure for the upper level, to find such secular titles such as "Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man" by Marshall McLuhan, and climb down the other side to the tables where we can sit and enjoy a coffee.
We left by the main staircase, with the certainty, that the Bookstore of Santiago is one of the most original of this route.
Useful information: Opening Hours: Friday and Saturday: 10:00- 21:00 | Sunday-Thursday: 10:00 – 19:00 Address: Largo de São Tiago do Castelo, Óbidos Phone: +351 261 950 100 Email: email@example.com Website: www.lerdevagar.com
Also in Óbidos, on the main street that leads to the Church of Santiago, there is another unique space dedicated to books. The Biological Market was once a dining hall of the Town Hall of Óbidos and even a Fire Station.
There are thousands of wooden boxes for books. Before they were meant to carry fruit, but nowadays they have been reused to serve as shelves. To say the truth, the right term to describe for this shop is "Old and Used Books Store". The old and used books are the Kings of this castle. They have a good selection of recipe books, travel and books in foreign languages, namely in English, French or German.
It is a fantastic space to be, in this cosy environment, among books, chairs and organic products. Yes, because the name "market" was well given. In addition to books you can also come out of here with vegetables, fruits or regional products.
This is a bookstore that impresses and that don't strike down our expectations. It deserves that you come back over and over again.
Useful information: Opening Hours: Friday and Saturday : 10:00 – 21:00 | Sunday-Thursday: 10:00 – 19:00 Address: Rua Direita, Óbidos Phone: +351 262 103 180 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.lerdevagar.com
We're in Chiado, in front of the world's oldest Bookstore in activity. It is the Guinness Book of Records that says it.
The bookstore Bertrand is intertwined with the cultural history of the country itself. It is 283 years of bookselling, of debates, of political talks among the elite of Lisbon society.
Opened in 1732 by Pedro Faure, it has seen the passage of great names of Portuguese literature, such as, Eça de Queiroz, Alexandre Herculano, Antero de Quental, Fernando Namora, José Cardoso Pires, Vergílio Ferreira, among others. There was even a tragic situation with the politician José Fontana, which was one of the first employees, and later committed suicide at this place.
Aquilino Ribeiro himself was an assiduous customer, in such a way that the bookstore created the area "Aquilino's corner" to preserve his memory.
The library continues to be an inviting space, now with much more tourists who walk among the white-painted ceilings and classic cabinets.
Useful information: Opening Hours: Daily from 9:00 to 10:00 pm Address: Rua Garrett, 73-75, 1200-203 LISBOA Phone: +351 21 34 76 122 Email: email@example.com Website: www.bertrand.pt
Pedro Simão Carneiro wanted to open a bookstore, in 2008. He choose the only possible location, at the time, in Lisbon, at an old tobacco shop located on the stairs near Rua da Madalena, that turned out to be considered (for those who know it) as one of the smallest bookstores in the world. It wasn't on purpose. The 3,80 m2, that can't hold more than two people, are insufficient for the thousands of books that the owner has.
But what should be called? Giving names to things is not something he likes. It was called "Trieste" once, but it turned out to be just "Simon's Bookstore".
Pedro Simão Carneiro is just someone who likes books, which respects them and dedicates time to them under the Arch of São Cristóvão.
If you pass through here don't just visit the bookstore and take a few pictures. Ask Simão what book he recommends and read it passionately.
Useful information: Opening Hours: Monday to Friday: 10h30-13h00 / 15h00-19h00 | Saturdays (2 per month): 10h30-13h00 Address: Escadinhas de São Cristóvão, 18 1100-511 Lisboa Phone: N/A Email: N/A Website: N/A
Credits Picture n. 2: cm-lisboa.pt
Lisbon has created a space that was needed for a while. The LX Factory was once an industrial complex, dirty and degraded, but who, from a few years back, was renewed. Now it offers creative and high quality shops.
One of those places is the bookstore Ler Devagar. To enter in this space is to get into someone's imagination, is to let your dreams go, is to wander through fantasies. We are immediately drawn to a figure that hangs from the ceiling driving a winged bicycle and we want to be in its shoes.
The ground floor has book islands, through which we have to navigate, and a set of tables served by a cafeteria. Books cover the entire wall in front us. We climbed the steel stairs to the first floor and found the machine that remained there from an old typography. It still works, it wasn't that long ago that it stopped printing several regional and national newspapers. There's also a cafeteria there, this one dedicated to light meals.
On the other side of the machine, are several albums of music that can be heard on old CD players. There are, as well, sofas where you can just sit and enjoy a good book or study for upcoming exam.
The bookstore Ler Devagar is an example that bookstores can be reinvented. They don't have to be limited. One can see why this bookstore is considered one of the best in Portugal.
Useful information: Opening Hours: Monday: 12:00-21:00 |Tuesday to Thursday: 12:00-0:00| Friday to Saturday: 12:00-2:00| Sunday: 11:00-21:00 Address: Rua Rodrigues Faria, n. 103 – Ed. G – 0.3, 1300-501 LISBOA (Former Mirandela Printing Office in Alcântara) Phone: +351 213 259 992 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.lerdevagar.com
Livraria Ler Devagar com Amor
It's good to know that we have reached a time in which this is possible, when mentalities are more open. And what is this? Well, it's a bookstore dedicated exclusively to erotic literature.
Located in Cais do Sodré, in Lisbon, the Pensão Amor was part of a set of four pensions that, on the old days, rented rooms by the hour to prostitutes and sailors from all over the world. Pensão Amor continues to rent rooms, but now to companies.
In here reins the burlesque, the cabaret environment, with velvet, poles, “naughty” artwork, and the bars where we are always waiting to see the Madam dressed like in the 1930's.
Ler Devagar is at the room n. 106, a room full of books where you can get just read. Because many of the books are hard to come by the store decided to rent the books so that the stock don't go down too deeply. So it became not only the first Bookstore devoted to erotic literature, but also the first library dedicated to erotic reading. You can be sure that, at least in here, you won't hear anyone say "silence!".
Useful information: Opening Hours: Monday to Wednesday:12:00-3:00 | Thursday to Saturday: 12:00-4:00 | Sunday: 12:00-3:00 Address: Rua do Alecrim n. 19, 1200-292 Lisboa Phone: +351 21 314 3399 Email: email@example.com Website: www.pensaoamor.pt
Barata Bookstore is one of the most emblematic bookstores in Lisbon, especially during the time of Salazarism and was the target of many raids by the Political Police. There are many who still remember to go to the bookstore to buy "banned" books before they were withdrawn from the market.
It was founded in 1957 and still is at the same place on Avenida de Roma, although now belongs to the Leya Group.
The space is well decorated, simple but attractive, with Portuguese pavement on the floor. In addition to the islands of books there is also a coffee shop, next to an exhibition area, where we can sit down to read as if we were on a terrace. It is a good place to be.
In the basement you will find a whole floor dedicated to children's literature and school supplies.
Useful information: Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday: 9:00 – 23:00 h | Sundays and holidays: 10:00 – 19:00 Address: Avenida de Roma, 11-A – 1049-047 Lisboa Phone: +351 21 8428350 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.livrariabarata.pt
Near Marquês de Pombal, at Duke of Palmela street, in Lisbon, we found the prestigious Buchholz Bookstore.
Buchholz Bookstore opened, in 1943, by the German bookseller Karl Buchholz after leaving Berlin (first in the Avenida da Liberdade and just in 1965 in this address). For a long time it was a meeting point for Lisbon's intellectuals that gathered at the basement of the Buchholz bookstore for meetings, among them is included Noronha da Costa or Eduardo Nery.
Nowadays, continues to have three floors of wood and heavy furniture environments, but it's not boring, they are filled with recent books. The stairs takes us from a space to other punctuated by couches strategically placed so we can sit down and enjoy our readings. The sofas give a touch of refinement and character to a bookstore that still retains the splendour of older days.
It is worth spending some time enjoying this space so well achieved.
Useful information: Opening Hours: Monday to Friday:9:30-19:30 | Saturdays:10:00-14:00 Address: Marquês de Pombal – Rua Duque de Palmela, n. 4, 1200-098 Lisboa Phone: +351 21 356 3212 Email: email@example.com Website: www.leya.com
Pó dos Livros
On Avenida Duque de Ávila, in Lisbon, it's easy to find a project worthy to meet. The Pó dos Livros bookstore is a real neighbourhood bookstore, independent and alternative.
Despite its retro look and its name ("Dust from Books" in Portuguese) , we guarantee you won't find dust on the books that fill the shelves and islands, of a space delimited by walls painted light blue.
Here the Best Sellers are not the focus. Who has the highlight are small quality publishers, the author publishes, the rare and used books. It was even created an online page just to sale these special articles.
The Pó dos Livros convinces the more picky readers. The ones that are looking for those works of election they can't get elsewhere. It is, in fact, a place to find out.
Useful information: Opening Hours: Monday to Friday: 9h00 – 20h00 | Saturdays and Sundays: 10h00 – 19h00 Address: Avenida Duque de Ávila, 58ª, 1050-083 Lisboa Phone: +351 21 795 93 39 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: livrariapodoslivros.blogspot.pt
Palavra de Viajante
The poet André Suarés said that "The traveller is still the one that matters most on a trip.". And for those who like to travel it is not enough just to go discover other places, it is also needed to read the reports of those who already gone there, scroll through the pages of a novel that takes place in another city, run the fingers through the mountains and plains printed in an Atlas. For them, was born the Palavra de Viajante.
About four years ago a small and cosy space in the São Bento Street, in Lisbon, is home of a specialized bookstore dedicated to travellers; not only those who go in a trip but also those who like to read about who has already been in a place. There you can find the latest versions of maps, routes and guides of many cities and countries, travelogues and novels. Yes, novels, because to know a place you don't necessarily have to read a guide, there are magnificent fictional works that describe other stops as if you were really there.
This bookstore is a compulsory stop for those who like to read, travel and being welcomed. We guarantee that will always be a smile waiting for you. Word of Traveller!
Useful information: Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday: 10h00 – 19h00 Address: Rua de São Bento n. 30, 1200-819 Lisboa Phone: +351 211 956 340 Email: email@example.com Website: www.palavra-de-viajante.pt
Let's talk about a bookstore specialized in a specific genre: comic books. Unfortunately, there aren't many houses dedicated to comics or graphic novels in Portugal, but BD Mania doesn't stand out only for being one of the few who embraced this genre. It stands out for its comprehensive offering and quality, for having the most recent releases from Marvel Comics and DC Comics and well receiving both enthusiasts as newcomers.
Located in Rua das Flores, in Lisbon, BD Mania is a space that reminds the neighbourhood bookstores, with the brown shells and the islands which leave little room to walk. In addition to books, they offer merchandising paraphernalia and other items related to the world of comics.
BD Mania is a breath of fresh air made by who knows the business and is not afraid to bet on this literary genre. It's a shame they are so few, but it's nice to know that the ones that exist are great.
Useful information: Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday: 10:30 – 19:30 Address: Rua das Flores, 71 -Shop, 1200-194 Lisboa Phone: +351 21 3461208 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.bdmania.pt
Picture by: BD Mania
For more than 40 years that Galileu Bookstore is there, in Cascais, the first in town, designed to be a space of debate and a gravitational centre of culture. Today, the dream still isn't gone. Continues in each page that is taken home.
The library stands out because of the exterior decoration creativity. A chaotic wall is topped by the phrase "Keep order in my disorder". Even the electricity and water boxes are decorated.
Inside, the tone is diminished to make room to the right of existence of the bookstore. There you can be sure to find new, used or old books. Galileo even purchases used books you might have at home. It's a brilliant union between a bookstore and a book trader.
It's hard to believe that when Galileo opened there were no bookstores in Cascais, but it still remains a centre of culture.
This is, in fact, a bookstore design for those who prefer quality and rarity to momentary success of Best Sellers. Now we know why it is so dear to authors, journalists and literary critics.
Useful information: Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday: 10:00 – 19:00 | Sunday: 11:0 – 19:00 Address: Av. Valbom, n. 24 A, 2750 – 585 Cascais Phone: +351 21 486 60 14 Email: email@example.com Website: www.livrariagalileu.pt
A das Artes
Since July 2003, that Mr. Joaquim Gonçalves dedicates himself to the A das Artes Bookstore, in Sines. Since then he elevated this space to the condition of priority Bookstore in Portugal. In 2015, it was elected the Favourite Bookstore by the Portuguese in an online poll conducted by APEL (Portuguese acronym for Portuguese Association of Publishers and Booksellers) and with fairness.
As its name implies, this is a bookstore that is dedicated to arts. Not only can we find the best sellers and the most recent market entries as well as technical books, music, crafts and fine arts. Often, among these white walls, wooden floors and bookshelves, there are book launches of the most highly regarded writers as well as young revelations.
The A das Artes is an indispensable bookstore in the national panorama. In addition to the prize for Favourite Bookstore by the Portuguese it was equally distinguished, for the second year in a row, with the award for best customer attendance. Go pay a visit and you'll see why.
Useful information: Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday: 10:00-19:00 Address: Av. 25 of April, 8 – shop C, 7520-107 Sines Phone: +351 26 963 09 54 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: adasartes.blogspot.pt/
Picture by: A das Artes
Fonte de Letras Bookstore
Fonte das Letras opened its doors first in Montemor-o-Novo. In 2013, decided to move to the tourist district of Évora, but always with the same degree of quality and demand in the offer that fills its shelves.
Is a general bookstore where we find the latest releases as well as that book of poetry published by a small publisher or even publications focused on Alentejo.
The space is the image of its creators. Fonte das Letras magnifies the Alentejo's cultural landscape with a regular schedule of book launches, meetings and debates, exhibitions and crafts. You can also sit and savour a fine grilled cheese with tomato, olive oil and oregano sandwich.
For those who say that Alentejo region is a desert, here is a spring that contradicts this stereotype. In this place letters are the water that spurts unceasingly.
Useful information: Opening Hours: Monday to Friday: 10h00 – 19h00 | Saturday: 10h – 18h| Closed on Sunday Address: Rua 5 , 2015, 51, 7000-854 Évora Phone: +351 26 689 98 55 Email: email@example.com Website: fontedeletras.blogspot.pt/