AAA Travel Tips / The World's Most Wonderful Bookstores

The World's Most Wonderful Bookstores

By Samantha Brown , Host of “Samantha Brown’s Places to Love”
March 31, 2022
Bookstores are a favorite stop on any trip.
I love the convenience of an e-reader, but there’s just something about a good, old-fashioned book. It’s sad thinking of how many bookstores have vanished in the past two or three years. For a book nerd like me, it’s tragic. On the positive side, it makes us appreciate those we have left, and if you’re like me, you always have a unique bookstore on your list when you hit a new town or city.
Here are few you have to visit if you find yourself traveling in these cities:

Livraria da Vila, São Paulo, Brazil

Located in a charming neighborhood selling trendy clothes and gelato, you can walk through Livraria da Vila and enjoy wall after wall of books. There is a charming café inside, and you could easily spend hours just getting lost in the different sections of books. Stop at one of the cozy reading areas if you find something you like.

Cook & Book, Brussels, Belgium

If you like to hang out and read with your friends, then this is place for you. Not only can you read, but you’ll be able to eat (and drink wine), too! Cook & Book is wonderfully quirky and you almost feel like you’re wandering around inside of a movie set. It’s a good idea and shows a bit where the bookstore of the future is headed.
Wikimedia Commons / CC BY SA/Editor1906

Livraria Lello, Porto, Portugal

Imagine the biggest, oldest and most magnificent bookshop on the planet. That’s what you get when you visit Livraria Lello. It’s a very Harry Potter feeling place, and sometimes you’ll find hordes of tourists snapping selfies, but you must go and experience the magic of this one-of-a-kind bookstore.

Shakespeare and Company, Paris, France

Next time you’re in Paris, put this on your list. It is the most amusing way to kill an hour that I can think of. It was a hangout for Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Joyce, and you’ll love sitting back, relaxing and reading in the charming atmosphere. You’re almost certain to leave with an unexpected gem of a book to remember your visit.
Wikimedia Commons / CC BY/vagueonthehow

The Last Bookstore, Los Angeles, California

Think you’ve seen it all in Los Angeles? Put this unforgettable bookstore on your list and enjoy all it has to offer. Downstairs it looks like a normal shop, however UPSTAIRS is the place to explore. The books shelves are arranged in a labyrinth with interesting nooks, and you’ll marvel at the tunnel made of books that you can walk through. If you’re a book lover, you’ll fall in love the moment you walk through the doors.

Boekhandel Selexyz Dominicanen, Maastricht, Netherlands

Here is another bookstore that screams “Wow!” Located in an old church in the town of Masstricht, this shop is loved by locals and a huge attraction for tourists looking for a lazy way to spend the day. Visit the lovely coffee shop, soak in the classical background music and enjoy the peaceful and wonderful experience of this stunning bookstore.
Wikimedia Commons / CC BY SA/Jose Cubillos

Librería El Ateneo Grand Splendid, Buenos Aires, Argentina

It’s not often you get to experience something really magical for free, but El Ateneo offers you exactly that. This amazing experience was created when the old Grand Splendid Theater was renovated to provide a one-of-a-kind bookstore, coffee shop and exhibition floor. El Ateneo has to be one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world with its grand balconies, stage and lighting. You’ll definitely want to stop in to browse the shelves, have a coffee and snap a selfie!