On my solo trip to Porto, I got a chance to visit one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world, Livraria Lello. This bookstore is over 100 years old, and many people say it was an inspiration for J.K. Rowling and her Harry Potter books.
Here’s my brief guide to Livraria Lello, including the history, architecture, ticket prices as well as how to visit, and other tips.
The history of Livraria Lello
Livraria Lello is certainly one of the oldest and most beautiful bookshops in the whole world.
The origin of the book store date back to 1881 when the brothers José and António Lello opened a business dedicated to publishing and selling books. In 1894 they purchased the Chardron Bookstore, founded in 1869 by the French publisher Ernest Chardron.
The expansion of business encouraged the Lello brothers to build a new house for their shop. In January 1906, they opened the Livraria Lello. The building was designed by the engineer Xavier Esteves.
In 2016 & 2017, the shop was renovated.
The architecture of the bookstore is really stunning. I’m in love with the beautiful red spiral staircase that winds up from the ground floor to the first floor.
The center of the ceiling is dominated by a stained-glass skylight inscribed with the store’s motto “Decus in Labore,” or “Honor in Labor.”
Entrance Fee Livraria Lello
The entrance to Livraria Lello currently costs 5€, You can get the money off your ticket if you purchase a book inside (not required though).
If you don’t buy anything you can exchange your entrance ticket for a small brochure about the history of the bookstore at the exit.
How to get the tickets?
You can pay for the ticket next door in a separate ticket shop. You can also purchase the voucher online to skip the line. Simply present the voucher printed on digital (smartphone or tablet).
My visit to Lello Bookstore
Although I knew that the book store is really famous, I didn’t expect such a big crowd. I already arrived at the place quite early in the morning, a bit before 10 am, but still had to wait for my turn.