Whether an e-reader is your must-have travel accessory or you stuff your suitcase with paperback stacks whenever you fly, beach reads are a massive part of the holiday experience for any bibliophile. Do you know what’s better than books you already own, though? New books, obviously. Luckily, our beachy destinations are home to some of the most beautiful bookshops in Europe. Bookworms, assemble! Quietly though; there are people here trying to read.
Livraria Lello & Irmão – Porto, Portugal
If you watched Beauty and the Beast and were more interested in the library than the love story, this bookshop is for you. The sweeping staircase and stunning stained glass windows at Livraria Lello & Irmão make the perfect backdrop to browse for your next favourite book. This building dates back to 1869, and is just as beautiful from the outside as it is on the inside. You’ll find this world-famous gem in the Cedofeita district of Porto. Uniquely, the bookshop has a ticketing system for entry to preserve the calm atmosphere within. Visit the Livaria Lello & Irmão website for more information and bookshelf inspiration.
Owl Bookshop – Antalya, Turkey
You just can’t beat a secondhand bookshop, can you? You’re always greeted with a treasure trove of titles, where you never know what you’ll find between the pages. Owl Books is no different. Located in Antalya’s Old Town, just under 15 minutes’ walk from the marina, these chaotic shelves are laden with an assortment of paperbacks and translated texts. Look out for heartfelt inscriptions and tucked-away bookmarks for little clues about the previous owners. We can’t help but wonder what adventures each book has been on.
Atlantis Books – Santorini, Greece
All the bookshops on this list are one of a kind, but Atlantis Books is the only bookshop in Santorini. Nestled in picturesque Oia, you descend the stairs into this basement wonderland to find everything from first editions to preloved paperbacks. Run by a community of creative types, you may also see author events organised around the bookshop. Appropriately named after the lost city of Atlantis, the booksellers here are great at unearthing literary treasures that you might never have found on your own.
Ler Devagar – Lisbon, Portugal
Some bookshops are dark and imposing. Ler Devagar is light and modern, with skyscraper-shelves and ladders to reach the top. Housed in an old printworks, this Lisbon lovely also offers two bars and plenty of spaces to relax. Ler Devagar translates as ‘read slowly’ in Portuguese, so it would be rude not to pick a book and take your time flipping through the pages in one of the coolest places in the city. Keep an eye on the event schedule too; art exhibitions and more are hosted here regularly.
Altaïr – Barcelona, Spain
Passionate about travel? Love a good map? Altaïr in Barcelona is the bookshop for you. This speciality store is crammed full of guidebooks, travel writing and cartography, so even when you’re on a city break to Barcelona you can start dreaming about your next adventure. Head to the outskirts of the Gothic Quarter to find this bookish beauty. Altaïr’s booksellers are really knowledgeable too, so be sure to ask them for recommendations or travel tips for the destinations that take your fancy.
We don’t have bookshelves here at On the Beach, but you can browse our amazing range of 2020 holidays…