Livraria Lello: A Stunning Bookstore In Porto, Portugal

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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.

Lello bookstore Porto Portugal

 

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.

Livraria Lello Porto Portugal

 

The architecture

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. 

Livraria Lello stairs Portugal
The store’s centerpiece – A spiral staircase with carmine red steps leads to the upper 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.”

Livraria Lello Porto Portugal
It’s such a stunning library and well worth a visit while in Porto.

 

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).

Lello bookstore Porto Portugal

 

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. 

After a short wait, I finally got in. I’ve heard so much about Livraria Lello and it’s surely not disappointing. The architecture is stunning and the atmosphere is quite cozy.

There was a big crowd, especially at the staircase, but generally not so much pushing.

Livraria Lello voucher Portugal

It was impossible to take pictures without others though. Make sure to check out all the book collections, including the fiction, travel guides, and more. 

Harry Potter books
And yes, Harry Potter books!

 

Best time to visit

The bookstore opens from 10 am to 7 pm. It’s better to go a bit earlier than the opening time so you don’t have to wait in a long line.

I visited Lello bookstore in May and it was crowded, but I heard that winter and spring would be emptier.  

 

Other things to do in Porto

Near Lello Bookstore are plenty of Porto attractions worth checking out. Read my other articles about the city of Porto with useful information and secret tips for your trip.

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