The debate over the most beautiful bookstore continues, as a new contender has been long-listed. The latest entry, Livraria Lello & Irmão located in Porto, Portugal, features a façade decorated in the Art Nouveau style with Neo-Gothic elements.

The façade of the building, painted by José Bielman, features two figures representing Science and Art. The interior of the bookstore was designed by Xavier Esteves and is centred around a luxurious, winding staircase framed by rich wooden walls. For Harry Potter fans, the staircase may seem familiar. Rumour has it that former Porto resident and frequent Lello & Irmão visitor J.K. Rowling was inspired by this bookstore when creating the Hogwarts School.

What do you think? Does this storied building have what it takes to be named Most Beautiful Bookstore in the world, or do the Polare Maastricht and El Ateneo still have it beat?


  1. I may be old fashioned, but I like warm small bookstores and not superstores. In my opinion Lello & Irmão is probably the most beautiful bookstore I have ever seen.

    • I guess this makes me old fashioned as well, because I definitely agree. I especially love finding an out-of-the-way used bookstore, filled with lots of hidden gems!

  2. This is unreal. I really feel like I´ve visited Hogwarts for a moment. It seems like a perfect place to spend even a whole day. Spectacular staircase and interior itself. It´s possibly the most beautiful bookstore I have ever seen.

    • If you ever make it to Porto, you can definitely spend a whole day (or at least an afternoon) at Livraria Lello & Irmão. Make sure to check out one of their best-kept secrets – the four-table coffee-shop on the second floor offers not just coffee but also port and cigars!


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