At a time when we carry the world in our pocket, bookshops as an institution may seem irrelevant. Why walk around with a weight of paper when we have all the virtual knowledge – guides, maps, and encyclopedias, stories – at our fingertips?
And yet bookstores are still with us … Some resist the passing of the years; others emerge with new and innovative concepts. A good bookshop has the aura of a “cult” space, and Lisbon is full of them.
Here we are suggesting seven bookshops in Lisbon where the printed word still rules.
Rua Garret 73 | tel. +351 213476122
The Livraria Bertrand is in Chiado, Lisbon’s most chic and cosmopolitan district. It is the world’s oldest bookshop still in business, according to the Guinness Book of Records. It is also Portugal’s largest bookshop chain, with 47 shops spread throughout the country.
2. Ler Devagar
Rua Rodrigues de Faria, 103 Lx Factory | tel. +351213259992
Then there is the Ler Devagar (Read Slowly) bookshop at the Lx Factory, a very trendy part of town. Its inventory is spectacular, with more than 40,000 new book titles and about 10,000 second-hand books. But it is the space that it occupies that steals the show, with its four floors full of bookshelves crowned with a flying bicycle.
Find out more about LX Factory and Belem!
3. Déjà Lu
Cidadela de Cascais, Avenida D. Carlos I | tel. +351214814300
The Déjà Lu bookshop is a charity bookshop located in the beautiful Pestana Citadel in Cascais (30 km from Lisbon). An inspirational project, rather than just selling “second-hand books”, Déjà Lu distributes “books that have kept someone else company”. All proceeds go to the Portuguese “Trisomy 21” Down’s Syndrome Association.
Find out more about Cascais and Sintra!
Rua Duque de Palmela, 4 | tel. +351213563212
One of Lisbon’s most mythical bookshops is the Buchholz, nowadays part of the Leya publishing group. Located in the city center, it was chosen as the bookshop most loved by the Portuguese people in 2016. It was founded by the German Karl Buchholz in 1943, giving prominence to foreign editions in Portugal.
Rua de São Bento 32 | +351213950328
For travelers, the Palavra de Viajante (traveler’s word) is a paradise of books and travel accessories. The most unlikely destinations, the most accurate guides and the opinions of others with a nomadic inclination all come together in this bookshop.
6. Fabula Urbis
Rua Augusto Rosa, 27 | +351218885032
6. To get to know Lisbon better, just go to the Fabula Urbis bookshop. This is not the Lisbon for tourists, but rather the Lisbon of poetry, literary encounters, and testimonies from those who really soak up the city’s atmosphere.
Know more about Fabula Urbis on Vimeo.
Rua Tomás da Anunciação, 26 | +351211928317
7. A bookshop dedicated to children focused on illustrated books is the Baobá – the iconic African tree that features in the story of the “Little Prince”. Having promoted several award-winning books and authors, this bookshop features a weekly program replete with interesting activities for all the family.
Know more about Baobá on Vimeo.