Ever felt the excitement that soars when you smell the pages of a book you just bought? Ever felt that happiness and utmost content when you see books all around you, meticulously kept in shelves? There have always been jaw-dropping places for book lovers to visit. I should know.
As a booklover, going to a library amidst thousands of books was an amazing part of my childhood. Maybe it is the fact that wherever my eyes fall at, a sense of being driven towards every single book there on the shelves, existed, or maybe it is just the fact that amidst hundreds of books, I felt home.
I used to be lost inside a bookstore or a library wanting to buy almost every single book, driving my dad crazy. I used to go awry because of the front-page designs and amazingly compiled short summary at the back of the book.
It always seemed to do the job of holding my surprise and my eyes for a long time. There were times I used to go to a bookstore and try to read fast before the attendee catches me, just so that I wouldn’t have to pay to read. (please don’t do that)
Whatever it is, I have personally felt these feelings a lot which is why today, I felt like compiling 10 top places for book lovers to visit during their lifetime.
1. El Ateneo Grand Splendid, Buenos Aires
Walking into a normal bookstore or a library itself causes great excitement to a bibliophile. Imagine walking into a bookstore that is preserved inside a former theatre.
El Ateneo Grand Splendid is often termed as ‘the most beautiful bookstore in the world.’ Located in the Recoleta neighborhood of Buenos Aires, Argentina, it invites and attracts almost every bibliophile who is in a constant search for warmth and content.
Even though it is known to be a bookstore, the atmosphere is that of a magnificent library. You would find many people coming here for just enjoying the vibe of the whole place. But conversations inside this bookstore is often discouraged. It preserves all the artworks and craftsmanship from the time it was established which drives in photographers as well as tourists to just enjoy this massive bookstore’s unique visual.
I won’t be mistaken if I say that the visual alone is worth the time. This beautiful bookstore is visited by almost 1 million tourists every year and it also stages an amazing kids’ section in the heart of the bookstore.
To top it all, it now has a café open behind the stage section where you can sit and grab a cup of coffee while you read through your book. If you ever feel to visit this grand bookstore, January and February are the most popular months. June is often noticed to be the least busy month.
2. Book and Bed, Tokyo
The comfort of grabbing a book to read while lying down is out of the planet. The excitement you feel at nights that you don’t sleep to finish that one book you are reading is often challenged by the content you get when you sleep off to a book.
But what if there was a hotel that allowed you to sleep inside a bookshelf? What if you could go to sleep looking at all the books around you just like a child’s gaze at the stars in the sky?
Book and Bed Hotel, Tokyo allows all the amazing book lovers to rent a space inside a massive bookshelf. If you are like me, this experience sounds awfully close to heaven.
The price ranges between 32-50 U.S dollars a night and you get a cubby, comfortably packed with a reading light, an electrical outlet, a safe, and a curtain. Free Wi-fi, super-clean bathrooms, basic toiletries, and rentable towels are all amazing provisions the hotel extends.
What if you were to walk into a whole town dedicated to booklovers. Having bookstores from one end to the other. This amazing town on the Welsh/English border manages to amaze every booklover walking into it.
Wherever you walk, inside this town, be it the streets or houses or the castle even, it is filled with books all over the place. What more could a book lover ask for?
It all started in 1961 when Richard Booth started a small bookshop in an old firehouse. He started stocking books concerning a specific niche but as soon as he became successful, people started opening bookshops dedicated to all kinds of niches.
This town has also one more reason for driving in book lovers from all over the world.
The Hay festival is held at this town annually. It usually happens between the end of May and the beginning of June attracting book lovers, writers, artists, and many more. Almost half a million people pay a visit to this small town during the festival. We can witness live performances in the evenings.
Even food lovers are driven towards this place because of the numerous food stalls that serve freshly made food. The festival is totally free to enter. It lasts for 10 days and without a doubt is one of the greatest festivals for bibliophiles, making it one of the top places for book lovers to visit.
The nearest train station to the welsh town is that of Hereford which is about 21 miles away. There are regular bus services to and fro from the town.
4. The Wizard Chambers in the Georgian House, London
Ever felt or at least dreamt to experience how it would be to walk into Hogwarts and roam through the halls?
Personally, I have been a great fan of the harry potter series. Both, the book and the movie (but let’s accept the fact guys, the book just overrules the movie). I have often thought of how amazing it would be to ever be as lucky as harry. To go to Hogwarts and study under the guidance of the greatest sorcerer of all time, dumbledore ofc.
The wizard chambers in the Georgian house London offers all the visitors an amazing experience, yup just like our childhood dreams. Every room is designed magically and the two wizard chambers at the lower level conjure the visitor’s mind with mystery. It welcomes you with the question ‘ever slept like a wizard?’
A fake bookshelf as an entrance and an amazing basement restaurant, it is almost as if you were in the movie. The hotel resides at Pimlico, a five-minute walk from the Victoria Coach station. In total, you will receive a spellbinding experience.
5. Yangzhou Zhongshuge, China
This one of a kind bookstore has a huge tunnel of books with black mirrored floorings and arched shelves. The shelves rise till the ceiling and are reflected by the mirrored floor which enhances the experience of a visitor. The lobby in the book shop is one of the highlights of the place.
It includes a spectacular reading room and a vast kid’s area. The ceiling lights are placed in a way to give out a starry sky experience.
The interior of the whole shop is designed in such a way that the visitors who visit once, will not sense the passing time. The upward rising and inward bent walls make the idea of a creative bookstore, effective. The entire bookshop is designed as if it is a river.
Even the passages are made to look like tributaries of a great river. Every book lover across the world must experience this amazing hallucinogenic feeling.
6. The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair
Being lost amidst hundreds of books in a bookstore is the ultimate definition of happiness every bibliophile would give. But what if you could walk around a huge place, across bookstores, viewing through hundreds of thousands of books.
That too, all sold for much cheaper prices. Spending my childhood in UAE, the international book fair held annually was something I used to wait patiently for. All kinds of books, all kinds of exhibitors, publishers, authors, and readers are met here.
Approximately 50 000 visitors, 500 + exhibitors, and thousands of books, this fair is certainly something every bibliophile must attend. Various events, talks, and activities are held throughout this fair. Guests are invited from all over the world to address the numerous people visiting here.
It also offers various publishers, content service providers, exhibitors, visitors, and consumers and the opportunity to assess the changes and challenges in the book industry.
The next Abu Dhabi international book fair is scheduled to be conducted on 23 – 29 May 2021.
7. The Royal Portuguese Cabinet of Reading, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
“The fourth most beautiful library in the world “Time’s magazine
If this Brazilian library doesn’t catch your breath, I don’t know what will? Being one of the oldest libraries that exist today in the world, it ranks among the top libraries in the world due to its structure and atmosphere. It stages rare original manuscripts, singular works of literature, and unique works that are only seen in this library.
It has almost 4,00,000 volumes now, which increases with the gaining of almost 6000 new titles every year. The Portuguese culture is highlighted a lot inside this magnificent library. Pictures, books, history scripts, and a lot of unique collection praising the Portuguese culture and history will be found in this library.
It is a three-storeyed library built in the Neo-Manueline style with wooden bookshelves.
8. Library of Congress, Washington D.C USA
We cannot avoid the largest library in the world now, can we? But the reason we included this in our list was not just because it was the largest library but also because the amount of knowledge contained inside this library was remarkably high.
It contains more than 32 million books, more than 61 million manuscripts, a rough draft of the declaration of independence, one among the only four perfect vellum copies of the Gutenberg bible, over one million newspapers from the last three centuries, over five million maps, six million pieces of sheet music and more than 14 million photos and prints.
The vast collections and the deep history of the Library of Congress make it one of the best places for book lovers to visit.
If you are looking forward to read in a room great readers such as Mahatma Gandhi, Karl Marx, Bram Stoker, Joseph Conrad, et cetera read from, this is the place for you. A very authentic experience along with the touch of the past together makes it an amazing time for the bibliophiles.
This round room is often remarked as one among the greatest sights in London. The reading room is situated right in the centre of the great court inside the British Museum. It has a dome exterior and a unique interior ceiling made with a special kind of papier-mache.
It has also hosted various famous exhibitions such as the ‘Terracotta Army’ of China.
Being one of the oldest libraries in Great Britain it certainly is one of the best libraries in the world. It is very rich in oriental manuscripts and compilations of the English literature. It is the main library of the oxford university and continues to deliver its services with excellence.
The library has more than 13 million printed items, 80, 000 e-journals, rare books, manuscripts, papyri, maps, music, art, and printed ephemera. It also houses the four copies of the Magna Carta, a Gutenberg bible, and Shakespeare’s first folio.
The exterior and the interior of this grand library are some of the other reasons for it to be one of the top places for book lovers to visit.
So these are our suggestions for the top 10 places for book lovers to visit. We think you must really drop these in your bucket lists and head out to them as soon as you get a chance.