21 Most Beautiful Bookstores in the World

Friends! The Critiquing Chemist was started out of a desire to keep an organized list of the books I’ve read and my general thoughts if I wanted to reflect back in the future. Five and a half years ago, when my first post went live, The Martian by Andy Weir, I never imagined that my blog grow to over 5,000 followers. I’m so very thankful for the support and sense of community I’ve found all over the world from my blogging family. I would not still be blogging if not for these treasured interactions! With reaching other follower milestones (1000, 2000, 3000, and 4000) I have organized various lists of quotes, books, and bookstores. With 5,000 followers I was excited to compile a list of the world’s most beautiful bookstores. I scoured list after list after list of compatible collections. It should be no surprise that I tallied the stores and below you’ll find the bookshops that showed up most often during my searches. I’ve thankfully been to three of them and hope to eventually add more to my list, especially El Ateneo Grand Splendid. Again, thank you to all of you and I eagerly took forward all of the reading in our futures.

What bookstores are your favorite that did not make my list?

  1. El Ateneo Grand Splendid
    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    (Photo by BugWarp)
  2. Shakespeare and Company
    Paris, France

    (Photo by Mike Peel)
  3. Livraria Lello
    Porto, Portugal

    (Photo by Morray)
  4. Boekhandel Dominicanen
    Maastricht, Netherlands
    (Photo by Dronepicr)
  5. Libreria Acqua Alta
    Venice, Italy
    (Photo by GodeNehler)
  6. Cafebreria El Pendulo
    Mexico City, Mexico

    (Photo by StellarD)
  7. Atlantis Books
    Oia, Santorini, Greece
    (Photo by NorbertNagel)
  8. The Last Bookstore
    Los Angeles, California, United States

    (Photo by Sarah Y Lockwood)
  9. Bart’s Books
    Ojai, California, United States
    (Photo by Dreamyshade)
  10. Cook & Book
    Brussels, Belgium
    (Photo by Eliseo Oliveras)
  11. Barter Books
    Alnwick, United Kingdom
    (Photo by GeographBot)
  12. Daunt Books
    London, United Kingdom
    (Photo by JRennocks)
  13. Poplar Kid’s Republic
    Beijing China
    (Photo: Courtesy of http://www.poplar.com.cn/)
  14. Livraria Ler Devagar
    Lisbon, Portugal

    (Photo: Courtesy of António Campos Leal)
  15. John K. King Rare and Used Books
    Detroit, Michigan, United States

    (Photo by Sarah Y. Lockwood)
  16. Powell’s Books
    Portland, Oregon
    (Photo by Another Believer)
  17. Brattle Bookshop
    Boston, United States
    (Photo by Rebef)
  18. Housing Works Bookstore Café
    New York, New York, United States
    (Photo by Marginalmonkeys)
  19. Zhongshuge Bookstore
    Hangzhou, China
    (Photo from Shutterstock)
  20. Librairie Avant-Garde
    Nanjing, China
    (Photo by: 猫猫的日记本)
  21. Cărturești Carusel
    Bucharest, Romania

    (Photo by: Mihai Petre)

Honorable Mention

I scoured list after list after list to compile the above collection of beautiful bookstores. In true analytical fashion I organized a spreadsheet of all of the bookstores I came across and have them listed below. The bookstores with with an asterisk should have been in the list above, but alas I was not able to find usable images for any of these stunning bookstores.


  1. I love this post, Sarah. I’m drawn to the shops housed in older, magnificent buildings but the Popular Kids Republic in Beijing is stunning. It fires and inspires the imagination!

    Liked by 1 person

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