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Pages of History: Exploring Portugal’s Oldest Bookshops


Portugal is a country rich in history and culture, and this is reflected in its many bookshops. These bookshops not only offer a wide range of books, but also serve as a window into the country’s past. In this article, we will take a journey through some of the oldest bookshops in Portugal, exploring their history and significance.

1. Livraria Lello – Porto

Located in the heart of Porto, Livraria Lello is one of the oldest and most iconic bookshops in Portugal. It was founded in 1906 by brothers José and António Lello, and has since become a must-visit destination for book lovers and tourists alike.

The exterior of the bookshop is a stunning example of neo-gothic architecture, with intricate details and a striking red façade. As you step inside, you are greeted by a grand staircase that leads to the second floor, where you can find a vast collection of books in various languages.

One of the most unique features of Livraria Lello is its beautiful stained glass ceiling, which adds to the overall charm and ambiance of the place. The bookshop has also been a source of inspiration for many writers, including J.K. Rowling who used to live in Porto and is said to have drawn inspiration from Livraria Lello for her famous Harry Potter series.

2. Bertrand Livreiros – Lisbon

Founded in 1732, Bertrand Livreiros is recognized by the Guinness World Records as the oldest operating bookstore in the world. It is located in Lisbon’s Chiado neighborhood and has been a hub for literary enthusiasts for centuries.

The bookshop has a rich history, having survived the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 and the Napoleonic invasions. It has also played a significant role in Portugal’s cultural scene, hosting book launches, readings, and other literary events.

Bertrand Livreiros has a vast collection of books, including rare and out-of-print editions. It also has a cozy café where you can relax and enjoy a cup of coffee while browsing through your favorite books.

3. Livraria Académica – Coimbra

Livraria Académica, located in the city of Coimbra, is another historic bookshop in Portugal. It was founded in 1869 and has been a popular destination for students and academics ever since.

The bookshop is known for its extensive collection of academic books, covering a wide range of subjects such as law, medicine, and philosophy. It also has a section dedicated to Portuguese literature, making it a great place to discover local authors.

Livraria Académica is housed in a beautiful building with a traditional façade, giving it a charming and old-world feel. It also has a small café where you can grab a bite to eat while browsing through the books.

4. Livraria Sá da Costa – Lisbon

Founded in 1913, Livraria Sá da Costa is one of the oldest and most prestigious bookshops in Lisbon. It was originally located in the Chiado neighborhood but moved to its current location in the 1950s.

The bookshop has a rich history, having been frequented by famous Portuguese writers such as Fernando Pessoa and José Saramago. It also played a significant role in the resistance against the dictatorship in the 20th century, with its owner being arrested several times for selling banned books.

Livraria Sá da Costa has a vast collection of books, including rare and first editions. It also has a section dedicated to Portuguese literature and a cozy café where you can sit and read while enjoying a cup of coffee.

5. Livraria Ferin – Lisbon

Located in the heart of Lisbon’s downtown area, Livraria Ferin is another historic bookshop that has been in operation since 1840. It was founded by the Ferin family, who were originally from France, and has been passed down through generations.

The bookshop has a charming interior with wooden shelves and a cozy atmosphere. It has a vast collection of books, including rare and out-of-print editions, making it a favorite among book collectors.

Livraria Ferin also has a section dedicated to Portuguese literature, with a focus on books by local authors. It also hosts book launches and other literary events, making it a hub for the city’s literary community.


Portugal’s oldest bookshops are not just places to buy books, but also windows into the country’s past. They have survived wars, natural disasters, and political upheavals, and have become an integral part of the country’s cultural heritage. These bookshops are not just a source of knowledge and entertainment, but also a testament to the enduring love for literature in Portugal.

If you ever find yourself in Portugal, make sure to visit these historic bookshops and immerse yourself in their rich history and charm. You can use this Google Maps link to locate these bookshops and plan your visit: [insert link].

So, whether you are a book lover, a history buff, or simply looking for a unique experience, these oldest bookshops in Portugal are definitely worth a visit.




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