Lisbon for bookworms: 5 bookshops worth a visit


We like to call Portugal the land of poets. We strongly believe that there is a poet in the heart of every Portuguese. We love literature, we create touching novels, we start making poetry on the day we start talking. And maybe, just maybe we Portuguese are also famous by our tendency to exaggerate our qualities a bit. Nevertheless, arriving in Portugal you'll be in the land of Nobel laureate writer Jose Saramago and internationally acclaimed poet Fernando Pessoa. So it is not at all strange that in Lisbon you can find some of the most beautiful bookshops in the world. Even if you're not a compulsive book reader, pay a visit at least to these five bookshops while in Lisbon. You'll not regret:

Bertrand Chiado
In one of the most elegant Lisbon's neighbourhoods Bertrand is not hard to find. It holds a Guinness record for being the oldest bookshop in the world. Working since 1732, Bertrand's witnessed Portuguese History happening at its front door. The shop still preserves its authenticity with a sequence of beautiful rooms, each dedicated to a specific theme.

Palavra de Viajante
The first bookshop exclusively dedicated to travel books is situated in Rua de S. Bento, a genuine neighbourhood where everyone still says "good morning" while passing by. Coincidence or not Palavra do Viajante's shop is in a 19th century building right in front of the house where the poet Fernando Pessoa lived. If you need a map, a travel inspiration, a good guide for anywhere in the world, you'll find it here. If you only feel like visiting, chat about your travel adventures with the locals and taste a glass of good wine, the bar at the end of the shop is the perfect spot too.

Buchholz
Karl Buchholz was a german bookseller that in 1943 arrived to Portugal, trying to escape from the war in his hometown Berlin. In Lisbon he decided to keep doing what he already knew he could do best and opened Buchholz in Marquês de Pombal, the heart of Lisbon. Built in three floors with a mythical spiral staircase, the first bookshop in Lisbon to sell foreign books is full of comfortable sofas in cozy corners so you can take your time selecting your next book.

Ler Devagar
Situated in Lx Factory, an abandoned paper factory complex recently transformed into a creative neighbourhood for emerging artists, Ler Devagar is one of the most trendy bookshops in town. It has a large space, carefully decorated with a good selection of art books not only in Portuguese but also in other languages. The area includes a cafe and a gallery with a busy agenda.

Feira dos Alfarrabistas
This is not exactly a shop, but the second-hand bookseller's market is worth a visit. It happens every Saturday morning at Rua Anchieta, in Chiado. Here you can find all kinds of old books at all kind of prices. And if you dig well, you might be able to find a valuable rareness.

Silvia is a writer and a traveller born and and raised in Lisbon. Although her journeys have been taking her a bit everywhere in the world, Lisbon is the city where she always return to unveil and write about its never ending wonders.

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