If you’re anything like me, then there’s nothing better than curling up with a good book and getting lost in another time, world, or life. And when it comes to exploring a new city, some of the best-kept secrets are those of bookstores, especially those of the independent, unusual, and quirky variety! Here’s ultimate your guide to the best of Barcelona bookshops!
Hibernian, Secondhand English Bookshop, Carrer del Montseny, 17, 08012 Barcelona
For those who are in search of one of the best English language bookshops in Barcelona, Hibernian is an absolute must. Founded in May of 2004, Hibernian is only the second English language store to have opened in the Catalonian city.
Stroll into the store today and you can expect to find over 40,000 titles on offer, ranging from all genres; fiction, travel guides, history memoirs and more can be found inside this Bibliophile’s dream. Though there are a few new books available, most of what is stocked in store are second-hand books.
Laie Librería Café, Carrer de Pau Claris, 85, 08010 Barcelona
If you enjoy your books served with a side of coffee, then you simply must make your way to the Laie Librería Café, which can be found just a short walk away from Gaudi’s relatively unknown building (and many say his most ‘conformist’ piece) of Casa Calvet.
Set over two floors, while the lower floor space is dedicated entirely to books (think shelves stacked from floor to ceiling and the shop floor packed with tables piled high with books), the upper floor is all about the coffee shop! There’s indoor seating where you can hide away on a rainy day overlooking the shop entrance and even a secret terrace out back where you can escape the hustle and bustle of the busy Barcelona streets with a great cup of coffee and an even better book.
Librería Altaïr, Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 616, 08007 Barcelona
For those with an insatiable lust for Wanderlust, Altaïr Bookshop guarantees a ticket into another location- quite literally! After all, this Barcelona bookstore specialises in all things travel. Books, tomes, memoirs, and novels are all conveniently grouped by continent, and then alphabetically listed by country (and region if applicable).
Of course, when it comes to travel guides and reference books for Spain, the section is much more in-depth, while there is an even more impressive selection on Catalonia and indeed Barcelona. Even those who don’t speak Catalan or Castilian Spanish, then rest assured that there are also plenty of English and French editions available to purchase. For a further glimpse of this part of Barcelona, be sure to take my free and self-guided Barcelona walking tour.
Librería Rodés, Carrer dels Banys Nous, 8, 08002 Barcelona
Situated in the Gothic district of Barcelona, a maze of cobbled lanes which are largely pedestrianised and snake their way across what was once the Roman city of Barcino, Rodes Bookshop is incredibly quaint. Surrounded by plenty of independent stores selling everything from handmade jewellery to fashionable dresses, you could easily lose yourself for hours in this vintage bookshop.
Open from Monday through to Saturday (though opening hours vary throughout the week), step inside at any given moment and you can expect to find a wide selection of antiquarian, rare, and unique books, including plenty of out of print editions. And there’s also good news for those who love collecting… Rodes Barcelona Bookstore sells plenty of vintage postcards and old stamps!
Librería Calders, Passatge de Pere Calders, 9, 08015 Barcelona
On this tour of the best of Barcelona Librerías, it would be a crime not to add the beautiful Calders bookstore. Situated to the West of the city, a little way out of the way of the typical tourist hotspots, this is one independent bookshop you must add to your Barcelona bucket list.
After all, the aesthetically pleasing nature of the store makes it one of the top photo spots in this district of the city. Before visiting, it’s worth noting that there are little to no English language books available and instead everything is printed in Spanish.
Come In Llibreria Anglesa, Carrer de Balmes, 129 Bis, 08008 Barcelona
The other, and perhaps a little bit more famous, English language bookshop in town (asides from Hibernian) is that of ‘ Come In’. Located in the 19th-century built Eixample district of Barcelona, this bookstore was founded as early as 1984, making it the oldest English language bookseller in the city.