Livraria Lello

Porto, Portugal

The Lello Bookstore (Livraria Lello) is one of the oldest bookstores in Portugal and frequently rated among the top bookstores in the world. It originally dates from 1869, but Lello brothers built a new bookstore on the current location in 1906. It was designed by engineer Francisco Xavier Esteves.

The building's exterior has a mixed architectural suggesting Neo-Gothic, and Art Nouveau elements, and in the interior, implied Art Deco elements.

On the first floor, it includes bated arch, divided into three vains, with the central arch providing entrance into the building and decorative lateral windows, each surmounted by flag adapted to the archway. Above this arch are three elongated rectangular windows flanked by two painted figures representing 'Art' and 'Science' (work of Professor Jose Bielman).

Finishing the facade are squared plaits surmounted by three decorated pinnacles, with two pilasters on either side, topped by pinnacles of equal design. Decorative elements complete the facade with alternating geometric shapes that circuit and the firm's name LELLO & BROTHER over the bow, all painted in vivid colours that highlight the white paint on the facade.

The ample interior space is marked by a forked staircase connecting to a gallery on the first floor with detailed wood balusters. Over this staircase is a large 8 by 3.5 metres stained glass window, with the central motto Decus in Labore and monogram of the owners. The ceiling and interiors are treated exhaustively with painted plaster, designed to resemble sculpted wood surfaces and decorative elements. The building still retains the rails and wooden cart once used to move books around the store between the shelves.

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Details

Founded: 1906
Category: Miscellaneous historic sites in Portugal

Rating

4.1/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Verónica Díaz (11 months ago)
Very beautiful place inside, it's small place but it's a nice location to visit and take photos. You have to pay 5€ per person to enter, the books were pricey but is to expect since is a tourist attraction. We came on a Tuesday at around 14:00 and it was busy, hard to walk around, very limited space, my advice will be trying to book or come in a less crowded time so you can have a good experience and not feel overwhelmed.
Jonathan Lau (2 years ago)
This is a really nice little book shop. You need to purchase tickets online beforehand. We were in the queue in the pouring rain when an employee noticed our 6 year old daughter waiting with us and directed us to the front of the queue. It was very much appreciated. Inside the book shop there are many people. It can be hard to navigate at times. They have a small selection of English language books. They don’t have many books for children in English, but my daughter still had fun browsing the Portuguese language children’s books. In total, we paid €15 for the three of us to enter. We purchased a book and we applied the cost of one ticket towards the book.
Dessie Hristov (2 years ago)
A phenomenal place to visit! You get back in time in a place that has all the bells and whistles! Every detail is amazing - from the central staircase to the ceiling and side columns! Soak up the atmosphere of the grandeur of past times... They do have some organization in place but it is still quite crowded! €5 to get in which goes towards your purchase if you buy a book. I would highly recommend making that ticket purchase online and prior to getting there because the line is quite long. The online purchase puts you on the shorter- fast track line. The prints are elegant with gold finishes - they make a great gift! You can also pick a recipe book or a city guide with amazing photos! I would highly recommend this place!
Jeff White (2 years ago)
Beautifully designed. Total tourist trap. Small book store with a very limited selection of books. Definitely caters to tourists with the book selection. €5 entrance charge but they do credit you that much if you purchase a book. The stairway is beautiful but good luck getting a picture without someone posing on it. The staff was very friendly. Not really worth the wait in line if you are looking for an actual book and not just a social media post. But the staff was nice and it is beautiful inside.
Susan Hiltz (2 years ago)
We walked up from our Apartment on Douro river... 30 minute walk. Very interesting to walk though ... 5 Euros each but if you buy a book that 5 Euros goes towards it. Buy your tickets on line with the time you want to go in. So much easier than doing a line up to buy tickets... when wait until the time that is given to you to get in another line to enter.
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