Livraria Lello is probably the most famous shop in Porto. The debate over the most beautiful bookstore continues, however this long listed bookstore was lately considered the third most beautiful in the world by Lonely Planet
I was totally seduce into seeing it for myself!
Once inside this neo-gothic building, I was greeted with a bucket of Art Deco whimsy with the twisting, opulent red “staircase to heaven” leading up to the mezzanine. The ceilings and stairs are made with plaster imitating wood (tromp d’oeil)- it’s an impressive work of art! The walls and ceilings are heavily decorated, and the magnificent stained-glass skylight with Lello’s motto decus in labore will no doubt impress you. The pillars are ornamented with bronze bas-reliefs of Portuguese literature figures and there is a small track on the floor along which employees move carts filled with books.
For years students have gathered to discuss politics and literature on its comfy seats and coffee tables, well before Starbucks made drinking coffee and hanging around a stylish pastime. Nowadays, one of the best-kept secrets in Porto is the four-table coffeeshop on the second floor of the Livraria Lello– there’s coffee and port. It’s the perfect place to stop and spend a long time browsing a few books.
A Well Kept Secret
For Harry Potter Fans
A Real Bookstore
Besides the wide array of Portuguese fiction and non-fiction titles, Lello sells many English, French and Spanish books, including translations of Portuguese literature and poetry works. If you’re looking for books on Porto, Lello has the widest choice.
If you go, at the time of this blog post, admission is €3 but if you make a purchase, you have a €3 credit. Purchase tickets from a red, cloud looking kiosk across from the bookshop then proceed to the store.
It is open Monday to Friday: 10h00 – 19h30; Saturdays and Sundays 11h00 – 19h00