[Updated 21 Jan 2020]
Libraries and bookstores can be found all over the world. If you are a bookworm or just simply love books, this article is for you! ? We are not scoping out the usual libraries and bookstores but rather those that are unique in their own way. Shall we say “Instagram-worthy”?
These libraries and bookstores around the world (in no specific order) are so beautiful and stunning, you would end up spending more time snapping photos of the place than reading the books there.
1. Baroque Library Hall in Prague, Czech Republic
We kick off this list with a library that seems like it’s trapped in time. The Baroque Library Hall can be found in the extensive Clementinum (still known as Klementinum) grounds in Prague.
Opened in 1722, the Baroque Library was part of Jesuit University and only opened to the public in 1777. Literature dating back from the time it opened can still be found in the library today. The architecture of the Baroque Library Hall was retained and maintained, making it one of the most beautiful libraries in the world ?
#HHWT Tip: Don't forget to snap a photo of the awesome view from the astronomy tower!
Address: Baroque Library Hall, Klementinum, Mariánské nám. 5, 110 00 Josefov, Czechia (Czech Republic)
Opening Hours: Daily, 10AM-6PM
Entry Fee: Starting from 300 CZK for adults and 200 CZK for students/seniors above the age of 65. Children below the age of 6 may enter free of charge.
2. Stuttgart City Library in Stuttgart, Germany
Here’s another exquisite library in Europe. Located in the heart of the Stuttgart, a town north-west of Munich, this public library (also known as Stadtbibliothek Stuttgart) opened its doors in 2011.
The simplicity in its modern architecture provides a relaxing environment for visitors. The library’s interior may appear minimal to some thanks to its all-white theme, but we loved how the colourful books add a very pleasant contrast ?
Address: Stuttgart City Library, Mailänder Platz 1, 70173 Stuttgart, Germany
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat, 9AM-9PM (closed on Sun)
Note: The library’s roof terrace is open from Mon-Sat, 9AM-6PM (closed on Sun)
3. New York Public Library: Stephen A. Schwarzman Building in New York, United States
Just a short 10-minute walk from the famous Times Square, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building looks out of the ordinary in a city of skyscrapers and modern architecture. The Beaux-Arts architecture of the building gives the library its “wow” factor, making it yet another deserving entry on this list ?
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Opened in 1911, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building is just one of the many New York Public Library (NYPL) branches located all over the city. This tourist magnet is home to a variety of rare literature and world-renowned collections and artefacts. If you're planning a trip to New York, check out our 6D5N Muslim-friendly itinerary guide to The Big Apple!
Address: New York Public Library, 476 Fifth Avenue (42nd Street and Fifth Avenue), New York, NY 10018, United States of America
Opening Hours: Mon, 10AM-6PM; Tue-Wed, 10AM-8PM; Thu-Sat, 10AM-6PM; Sun, 1PM-5PM
4. Royal Portuguese Reading Room in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Just like something out of a Harry Potter movie, the Royal Portuguese Reading Room, which is locally known as Real Gabinete Português de Leitura, opened its doors in 1887 in Rio de Janeiro. It is here where you can find the largest collection of Portuguese literature outside of Portugal.
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The central study area is the best place for photo opportunities as it provides you with the best view of the library’s towering shelves, which are three-storey high ?.
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Address: Royal Portuguese Reading Room, R. Luís de Camões, 30 - Centro, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 20051-020, Brazil
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri, 9AM-6PM (closed on weekends)
5. State Library of South Australia in Adelaide, Australia
We head to the land down under for a library that is filled with the history of Adelaide and the Kaurna people. The library opened its doors in 1834, as a tribute to them.
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The library retains its colonial architecture, with a couple of modern add-ons such as its glass façade. The sunroof in the library, along with the library’s old-school lamps, illuminate the library’s beautiful interior in the day. To make the most of your next trip to Adelaide, you can discover the best of this Australian destination with our 6D5N itinerary. It's a really fun read!
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Address: State Library of South Australia, North Terrace & Kintore Ave, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia
Opening Hours: Spence Wing (including Main Reference Collection): Mon-Wed, 10AM-8PM; Thu & Fri, 10AM-6PM; Sat & Sun, 10AM-5PM
6. Starfield Library in Seoul, South Korea
Ever visited a library in the middle of a shopping mall? If you haven’t, head on over to COEX Mall in Seoul, South Korea, the largest underground megamall in Asia. COEX Mall is a short drive from the world’s largest indoor theme park, Lotte World.
The Starfield Library is a public space for COEX shoppers to chill and relax while checking out the library’s huge literature collection. The highlight of the library is their picturesque “book tower” which displays books and magazines of different genres ranging from humanities to hobbies ? Hence, it's no surprise that Starfield Library was one of the top gorgeous spots in Seoul for your dream Instagram feed!
Address: Starfield Library, 955-9 Daechi-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Opening Hours: Daily, 10:30AM-10PM
7. Atlantis Books in Santorini, Greece
This small bookstore can be found in the town of Oia, which is situated on the North-western coast of the beautiful Cyclades island of Santorini. Opened in 2004, the bookstore carries literature and art from all over the world including books of Greek interest.
What makes this bookstore deserving of a place on this list is its location. The bookstore overlooks the stunning volcanic Santorini caldera. The coast of Santorini can also be seen from the bookstore. Truly phenomenal! ?
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P.S. Planning an ultimate girl's trip? Here are 11 reasons why a girl's getaway in Greece is a perfect idea!
#HHWT Tip: Since the opening hours differ during winter and public holidays, remember to e-mail them at [email protected] and check if they are open on the day you are visiting
Address: Atlantis Books, Nomikos Street, Oia 84702, Santorini, Greece
Opening Hours: Daily, 4PM-6PM (the hours differ during winter and public holidays)
8. Libreria Acqua Alta in Venice, Italy
Books and water don’t really go well with each other. This is especially the case if you own a bookstore in Venice, where the city’s roads are canals of water. The owners of Libreria Acqua Alta take full advantage of this risk to give their bookstore a rather unique feature.
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The highlight of the bookstore is their “books steps climb” which has been a photo spot for many tourists and visitors to the bookstore.
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Due to flooding caused by rising waters from the city’s canals, the owners came up with an unorthodox way of keeping their collection dry. Most of the books sold in this bookstore are stacked in bathtubs, waterproof furniture and even a Venetian gondola ?.
Credit: @alessandra_crenna_maggiolinov on Instagram
Address: Libreria Acqua Alta, Calle Lunga Santa Maria Formosa, 5176b, 30122 Venezia, Venice, Italy
Opening Hours: Daily, 9AM-8PM
9. Cafebreria El Pendulo in Mexico City, Mexico
Love the scent of morning coffee? Then head to one of Mexico’s Cafebreria El Pendulo branches, all of which are in the vicinity of Mexico’s city centre. The one in Polanco is exceptionally stunning as it is, as quoted, “part bookstore, part café and part forest” ?.
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The owners in the Polanco branch of Cafebreria El Pendulo place potted plants in the bookstore to give the store a comforting, natural feel. Immerse yourself in the store’s atmosphere as you read your book while sipping your cup of coffee ☕️
Address: Cafebreria El Pendulo, Alejandro Dumas 81, Polanco, Polanco IV Secc, 11560 Ciudad de Mexico, Mexico
Opening Hours: Mon-Wed, 8AM-11PM; Thu-Fri, 8AM-12AM; Sat, 9AM-11PM; Sun, 9AM-10PM
10. Zhongshuge Bookstore in Hangzhou, China
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A trip to the Zhongshuge Bookstore in Hangzhou is one for the memories. The store looks like something you would imagine coming from a fairy tale. The architects of the bookstore play around with shapes and colours to showcase the many books in this huge bookstore.
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A section of the bookstore showcases the books in a tubular-shaped bookshelf and its ceiling and floor are mirrored, giving the store the towering illusion of the bookshelves ?.
Address: Zhongshuge Bookstore, 228 Jiangnan Avenue, Xingguang International Plaza, Bingjiang District, Hangzhou, China
Opening Hours: Daily, 10AM-10PM
11. The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles, United States
This is The Last Bookstore on the list (pun intended). Opened in 2005, the owners decided to name the bookstore as such to pay tribute to the decline in physical bookstores worldwide, due to the trending rise of e-books.
Credit: @frankcurtisbradley on Instagram
The Last Bookstore sells books of all genres, rare vinyl records and comics, new and old. You can also sell or trade old books, vinyl records, CDs or DVDs here. The bookstore has many photo op spots, try spotting them when you visit the store and snap a great photo for your Instagram feed ?.
P.S. Time to seize your Californian dream and visit Los Angeles on your next holiday! Don't know where to start? Check out our first timer's guide to Los Angeles (including Muslim-friendly tips!)
Address: The Last Bookstore, 453 S Spring Street, Los Angeles, California 90013, United States of America
Opening Hours: Fri-Sat, 10AM-11PM; Sun-Thu, 10AM-10PM
Stepping into these stunning libraries and bookstores is definitely a must-do for bookworms. So drop by these literary paradises when you're travelling around the world! Whether you're bringing back memories in the form of photographs or unique books, you're going to love finding adventure between the pages of your new favourite book.