It is indeed true that Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling obtained her inspiration from the Lello Bookstore (also called Livraria Lello) in Porto, Portugal whilst living in the country. And now that I’ve seen the inside of this really unique bookstore, I can definitely understand her muse. In fact, after visiting the Lello Bookstore I’d say it tops my list of favourite bookstores (another favourite of mine is the Boekhandel Dominicanen in Maastricht, the Netherlands).
From the outside the Lello Bookstore looks magical. Its cream exterior, golden signage together with a unique Art Nouveau facade make it stand out from the other buildings, left and right of it.
And the first thing one notices when one enters is the contrast of wood with the beautiful, detailed glass ceiling – a truly spectacular sight.
Even though I visited the Lello Bookstore in the month of October, there was a queue of tourists purchasing a ticket. Hence, it was a bit crowded as many women blocked the staircase to take selfies and group photos (I refrained but now regret!).
And an interesting fact for you: the Lello Bookstore is one of the oldest bookstores in Portugal and according to Lonely Planet guides, this is the third best bookstore in the world (feeling chuffed I visited it!).
Notice the detail on the floor whereby a trolley containing books is mounted a rail and can easily be shifted from one side of the Lello Bookshop to another.
Moreover, the intricate detail on the staircase, walls and ceiling is really what makes the place so special.
Sadly, there are mostly Portuguese books and only a small section with English books (it sure would’ve been my ultimate book heaven had the Lello Bookshop had more English titles).
Here’s me in the midst of books on the top level. No selfies but chair pics suffice. In my element!
Each purchase at the Lello Bookstore is wrapped in a lovely brown paper bag by these two gentlemen at the counter.
All-in-all, the Lello Bookstore in Porto is incredible and worth the 3 Euro entrance fee (if you purchase a book you get a reduction on the total price) and thus, well worth the visit for book lovers. We bought a travel guide on Porto for 12 Euro and paid only 6 at the counter since we were two people.