Travel the World - A few most beautiful bookshops

Book Vibes Only. If you like to travel and if you like reading, check out what comes now. Books are like friends. I find non-readers highly suspicious. Why would one want to miss out on all these stories?

Travel the World. A few most beautiful bookshops 


Book Vibes Only

There is not a day in my life when I wouldn’t read. From an early age, I would answer “reading” when asked for my hobby. Reading is not my hobby; it is as important to me as breathing and eating. I remember one afternoon in Australia. An English friend told me that her boss would visit bookshops on weekends for hours on end. I was waiting for the punchline of the story, but nothing. That was it, that was the story.

She was confused and shocked that her boss voluntary visits bookshops in his pastime. That was probably the first time I heard that there was a person who wouldn't hang out at bookshops in her spare time. I told her I search for and visit bookshops when I travel. The silence between us. She tried to control the serious look of doubt on her face. If you are like her, please leave the article now, otherwise, you will end up utterly bored.

Visit bookshops in: New York City in the USA, Berlin in Germany, Frankfurt Main in Germany, Bogota in Colombia, Cartagena in Colombia, Krakow in Poland, Paris in France, Lisbon in Portugal, Stellenbosch in South Africa, Venice in Italy, Helsinki in Finland, London in England, Brussels in Belgium.

USA - Strand in New York City

This bookshop, named after Strand Street in Central London in England, opened its doors in 1927. Once this shop was one of 48 bookshops on six blocks and today, Strand Bookstore is the only survivor. The shop is an (organized) maze of used, new or rare books. You can browse a total of 2.5 Million books, on 28.96 kilometres of books. This means you can spend days browsing the latest bestseller, stories or second-hand classics. Heaven.

Strand Bookstore, 828 Broadway at 12th Street, NY 10003. Hours: 9.30am to 10.30pm. 

More New York City. 15 inspiring books to read before you visit New York City.


Germany - Taschen in Berlin

Five rooms in 300 square meters just a few steps from famous Kurfürstendamm. The bookshop is designed by Italian duo Stampanoni Bassi and Salvatore Licitra. There are blue-and-white Ponti tiles from the sixties and Ponti exhibition tables. Armchairs and bookshelves are by French architect Michel Roux-Spitz from the 1930s.

Taschen Store, Schlüterstraße 39, 10629 Berlin. Hours Monday to Saturday 11am to 7pm.

Book shelves, blue tiles on floor and table with books

Tiled blue and white floor, two blue armchairs in front of a large photo of two skyscrapers.

Germany - Dussmann in Berlin

Five floors full of books, audiobooks, music, films, and stationery. There are an English Bookshop and an International Bookshop. They sell books in eleven languages. The restaurant has got a hanging garden (Monday to Saturday from 9am to 9pm). Have breakfast, lunch afternoon tea, or early dinner. All is cooked from locally sourced ingredients. At the bookshop lives a 3500 years old sphinx. The Egyptian museum was so lovely to lend the sculpture to the shop.

Friedrichstraße 90, 10117 Berlin. Information: Dussmann, Friedrichstraße 90, 10117 Berlin. Hours: Monday to Friday 9am to 12pm, Saturday 9am to 11.30pm. This is fantastic, considering that most shops in Germany usually close at 8pm. Sunday closed.

Inner courtyard and staircases of a book department store.
Giant sculpture of a 3,500 year old sphinx in the hallway of a bookshop..

Germany - Hugendubel in Frankfurt Main

Hugendubel opened its doors in 1893 in beautiful Munich. It is Germany's largest owner-run bookseller. The Frankfurt shop that looks like a lighthouse offers books on several levels. Readers are invited to stay as long as they want, and to read before they buy.

I couldn't believe my eyes when I read "Unpacking Berlin’s Mysterious, Ubiquitous Tote Bag" in the New York Times. It was entertaining since pretty much everyone in Munich owns at least one of these cotton bags. I ask what followed the hype for the bag. The cashier at a shop in Munich laughs. "As a result of the article in the New York Times we had lots of fun for a few days." Buy the cotton bag when you visit.

Hugendubel. Steinweg 12, 60313 Frankfurt/Main. Hours: Monday to Wednesday 09.30am to 8pm, Thursday to Saturday 9.30am to 9pm.

Inner staircase of a bookshop with shelves full of books

Colombia - Librería Ibañez in Bogota

You are in La Candelaria, Bogota's downtown district. There is this small bookshop on the ground floor, which is specialized in legal books. On the second floor, there is a cafe, called Cafe Ibañez. The atmosphere is enticingly captivating. The coffee is of awesome quality (and so are the sweet treats on offer).

Information: Librería Ibañez. Calle 12 b # 7-12, Bogota, Colombia.

Old fashioned wooden brown armchairs and tables in front of three rows of photos


Colombia - Abaco Libros y Café in Cartagena

Books, books, books. You are surrounded by books in this little bookshop plus cafe. Order the coldest drink you can get (it is hot) and an espresso and enjoy the view of all these pretty books.

Information: Abaco Libros y Café. Calle de La Iglesia con Calle de La Mantilla, Cartagena, Colombia. Hours Monday to Saturday 8am to 10pm, Sundays and Bank Holidays 8am to 8pm.

An intimate room full of book shelves and books with a wooden table and two chairs

A vaulted entrance of a yellow painted house with two chatting gentleman sitting on the porch.

Poland - Jewish Bookshop in Krakow

A bookshop in a former synagogue. It offers a wide range of books related to Judaism, politics, and the holocaust. You can choose a CD with Klezmer music, to take home with you as a souvenir. On the second floor, there is an exhibition if you want to dig deeper. Books on offer are in Polish as well as in English.

Information: Bookshop Księgarnia Austeria. Józefa 38, 31-056 Kraków, Poland.

Bookshelves and tables all filed with books in a high vaulted room with large windows on all sides

France - Shakespeare and Company in Paris

Ernest Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, they have all been here. Have you ever queued to enter a bookshop? You can do it here; it is that popular.

The book shop welcomes writers to stay for a few nights. The only thing they must do in return is to read a book a day and write a one-page autobiography for the archives. “Be not inhospitable to strangers, lest they be angels in disguise.” The, by now late owner of the shop, George Whitman, wrote that over one of the doorways in his book shop. There is also a resident cat, please leave her in peace, she needs to rest, a lot, since she reads so much at night.

Information: Shakespeare and Company, 37 Rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris, France, Hours: Monday to Saturday 10am to 10pm, Sunday 12:30 to 8pm.

A green iron structure in the front of a green and yellow facade of a bookshop in Paris.

The first page of the book A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway with a postmark/seal from the bookshop Shakespeare and Company in Paris in France.

Portugal - Bertrand in Lisbon

The oldest bookshop in Lisbon and in the whole wide world opened its doors in 1732. What makes it so real and charming is the fact that the owners didn’t turn this shop into Disneyworld. The shop is just doing what a bookshop does, selling books.

Information: Livraria Bertrand, R. Garrett 73-75, 1200-203 Lisboa, Portugal. Hours Monday to Sunday 9am–10pm.

Tiled light blue facade of the oldest bookshop in the world.

South Africa - The Book Lounge in Cape Town

The Book Lounge comes closest to a bookshop how one imagines it to be. Literally. It is intimate but gives you enough space to browse the great selection of books, be it fiction and non-fiction. There are also author events, like for example talks and readings.

Information: The Book Lounge. 71 Roeland Street, Cnr Buitenkant & Roeland Street, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa. Hours: Monday to Saturday 9am to 6pm. Sunday 10am to 4pm.

Four tables stashed with colourful books in a bookshop with exposed red brick walls, green lights, a white fan, a chandelier on its ceiling, and an armchair in front of a large window.

More books? A few of these were bought at The Book Lounge. 69 books that transport you to South Africa.

Italy - Libreria Acqua Alta in Venice

We all know that Venice has got its problems with flooding from mid-September to mid-April. Acqua Alta means high water as in ‘floods’ in Italian. Books at this quirky bookshop are stacked high on stilts and in gondolas and bathtubs. Books come in Italian and in English. There are not only books to discover but also many adorable stray cats to meet.

Information: Libreria Acqua Alta. Calle Lunga Santa Maria Formosa, 5176b, 30122 Venezia VE, Italy. Hours Monday to Sunday 9.15am to 7.45pm.

Courtyard with books stacked along the brick walls and open entrance door to a bookshop.

Finland - Academic Bookshop in Helsinki

The Academic Bookstore was founded in 1893. The building and its interior, designed by Finnish architect and furniture designer Alvar Aalto in 1962 was completed in 1969. On the second floor, there is Cafe Aalto. It celebrates the maestro who received his Diploma of Architecture, that started his stellar career, in Helsinki.

Information: Academic Bookshop, Keskuskatu 1, Pohjoisesplanadi 39, 00100 Helsinki, Finland. Hours Monday to Friday 9am to 9pm, Saturday 9am to 7pm, Sunday 11am to 6pm.

Two levels of books on shelves with an artistic skylight in the ceiling


Belgium - Tropismes Libraires in Brussels

In the heart of Brussels, only metres from the Grand-Place, you find the Galerie Royales Saint-Hubert. Locals and tourists love to stroll through these three shopping arcades. Crowds gather to window shop, buy chocolate, eat cake and meet lovers and friends, and buy books. The bookshop Tropismes Libraires gloriously hidden in one of the three glass-ceilinged arcades, the Galerie des Princes, offers French and English-language titles on three levels.

The high-ceilinged mirrored walled space, built in 1847, started as a ballroom before it turned jazz club in the 1960s and the Tropismes bookshop in 1984.


Nine people dressed in dark winter coats in gold-coloured ornamented high-ceilinged mirrored walled space with one wall carrying neon letters with the word Tropismes, with high and low shelves that are stashed with books.

Information: Tropismes Libraires, 11 Galerie des Princes, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium. Hours: Monday to Friday 10am to 6.30pm. Saturday 10.30am to 7pm. Sunday 1.30pm to 6.30pm.


Make sure you are not responsible for the death of your local bookshop

Please buy all books from local bookshops. No one wants to live in a town centre without independent shops. It is in our hands; we can vote with our purse. There is no need to support online giants when every one of us can support their own community. You will not find any links in this article to online shops. This article is purely written out of love for reading and travelling and understanding different cultures. Make sure you are not responsible for the death of your local bookshop. It sounds drastic, but let us face it, it is true.

From Berlin with love