Are you a book lover? Do you enjoy getting lost between the thousands of titles in libraries and bookshops? Than you can consider this list your bucket-list! I’ve listed the prettiest libraries and bookstores around the world for you in this blog post! From Europe to Asia, in these spots you can get your inner nerd or interior design lover run free. Figuratively of course, no running in the libraries please!
Tianjin Binhai Library, Tianjin, China
The Tianjin Binhai Library in Tianjin in China is absolutely stunning. It has layers and layers of books ordnered in beautiful organic shaped white shelves. From floor to ceiling, the library is covered with books. The Tianjin Binhai library, nicknamed ‘the eye’ houses more than 1 million books.
Fun fact that makes this Dutchie quite proud, is that the architects are from Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
Carturesti Carusel, Bucharest, Romania
Probably the prettiest bookshop I’ve ever seen is Carturesti Carusel in Bucharest, Romania. The name translates to Carousel of Light and I can understand why. The monumental building is totally painted white and the 6 floors stacked with books on both sides make room for rays of light through the ceiling. Good news for book-lovers; this bookshop in the center of Old Town is open till late!
British Library, London, United Kingdom
The national library of the United Kingdom is located in London. The British Library receives a copy of every publication in the UK and Ireland. The library houses over 150 million items. Besides books, the British Library also has other items like stamps and maps. The also host exhibitions and events.
Handelingenkamer, The Hague, the Netherlands
Everything that is said in the Dutch parliament is written down in so called ‘handelingen’ and all those written reports are collected in the Handelingenkamer. As of 1990 the reports are all digital so you’ll find reports from 1814 up until 1990 in this room. The building in The Hague used to be the library of the Ministry of Justice. The room is 9 meters high. It’s designed by a Dutch architect in 1876 and has many Chinese influences. Unfortunately it’s only open to the public yearly on Open Monuments day in September.
El Ateneo Grand Splendid, Buenos Aires, Argentina
El Ateneo Grand Splendid is a bookshop in Buenos Aires that is housed in a former theater. Sophie from Food and Spots told me about this beautiful building with fresco’s on the ceiling and bookstands in the former seating areas. On the ‘stage’ is a small cafe where you can get a cup of coffee while you read your book.
State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia
Rieneke from Backpack Junkies loved the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. The building is open since 1856 and houses 1,5 million books. There are 5 floors and the eye-catcher is the reading room on the ground floor. You can take the elevator to the 5th floor for great views of the reading room. There are also 2 exhibitions in the library of Melbourne on the 3rd and 4th floor.
Livraría Lello, Porto, Portugal
Denise from Follow my Footprints recommended Livraría Lello in the Portuguese city Porto. This bookshop opened up in 1881 and is often associated with Harry Potter. This is because J.K. Rowling lived in Porto for 2 years, this was the time when she developed the idea of Harry Potter and started writing the first book. It’s even said that the stairs in the bookshop inspired her for the stairs in Hogwarts.
Waanders in de Broeren, Zwolle, the Netherlands
Eva from Reis je vrij recommended the bookshop Waanders in de Broeren to me. Waanders in de Broeren in Zwolle in the Netherlands is housed in a former church. It’s been completely renovated but you still see the old vaults and stained glass windows. Making it a very serene place to pick your newest book.
Dominicanen, Maastricht, The Netherlands
There’s another bookshop in a church in the Netherlands; bookshop Dominicanen in Maastricht in the South of the Netherlands is also housed in a former church. The Dominicaner Church is over 700 years old and the bookshop houses thousands of books in this unique building. The Dominicanen bookshops also hosts over 100 activities each year, so check their agenda to see if anything is happening anytime soon.