For lovers of literature, all bookstores are interesting. But, some are more unique than others. From Paris to Venice and Barcelona to Madrid, these are our top picks of bookstores in Europe, featuring everything from the coolest decor to the most interesting narratives.


Shakespeare and Company

Pic by @shakespeareandcoparis

Originally owned by American bookseller Sylvia Beach, this bookstore was immortalised in Hemingway’s memoir, “A Moveable Feast”. Beach officially closed her store more than five decades ago but blessed another bookstore (formerly called Le Mistral) to use the Shakespeare and Company name.

La Belle Hortense

Pic by @les_lectures_de_sophie_bazar

Somewhere between a wine cellar and a bookstore, La Belle Hortense is an ideal escape from Paris crowds. A very popular address among students and philosophers, this bookstore invites guests to order a drink at the counter, grab a book and relax in a backroom.


La Central

Pic by @pausgame

Located in the centre of Madrid, this is not your typical bookstore. It’s a labyrinth of feature-fun opportunities to engage in the art, culture and music over coffee and tea (while browsing for fun, quirky book titles).

Libreria Bardon

Pic by @libreriabardon

Resembling something out of a movie, this 60-year old bookstore is a book lovers’ palace. Featuring wall-to-walls of books, it’s a must-visit for collectors of ancient and rare books.


Libreria Anticuaria Farre

Pic by @lagalatealibros

This little independent bookshop, found in a Venetian alley, could be one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world. With stacks of books on every surface – amidst a full-size gondola – book-lovers can find old and new books alike, in many different languages. For a real treat, visitors can also check out the staircase made out of …. You guessed it – books!

Interested in exploring Europe’s bookstore at your own pace? Check out our Globus and Cosmos tours through Europe.

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