Lello & Irmão Bookstore

Beautiful Bookstore World Porto Lello Irmão

The most beautiful bookstore in the world?

Lonely Planet considered Lello & Irmão Bookstore as the third most beautiful library in the world. The store has an excellent neo-gothic façade, where you can see two figures painted by José Bielman, representing the Science and the Art. This facade is only surpassed by its stunning interior, designed by Xavier Esteves.

The building was inaugurated on January 13th, 1906, in an important social event for both Portuguese and Brazilian societies, attended by famous people from different spheres – among them Guerra Junqueiro, a renowned Portuguese writer.

As you walk through the doors of this bookstore you’ll notice that there is a marvelous stairway and the wooden walls are also very exquisite. The stained glass ceiling adds an amazing detail with Lello’s motto “vecus in labore”.

Beautiful Bookstore World Porto Lello Irmão

Look carefully and appreciate all the details of this bookstore.


Rumor has it that J.K. Rowling’s inspiration to write Harry Potter has begun in Porto, particularly at this library. The well-known writer lived in Porto for 10 years working as an English teacher in the early 1990s and she used to drink a cup of coffee at the second floor of Lello’s bookstore. There are indeed great similarities between Lello’s bookstore staircase and the one described in Hogwarts.

It is also believed that the Hogwarts’ costume was inspired by the costumes of college students in Portugal, composed of a black suit and a black coat – these students are very likely to be found around this area, as the headquarters of the Porto University are located at Praça Gomes Teixeira (up ahead, where you can find a Lion’s fountain, hence the nickname “Praça dos Leões” – Lions’ Square, as the locals call it).

Beautiful Bookstore World Porto Lello Irmão

Pick a book and enjoy a cup of coffee on the first floor!


The policy is very strict concerning photography inside the library, and for a reason: this is a private space which is full of people all the time, but a minority end buying a book. However, you can still enter for free and enjoy the magnificence of the building and there are great postcards that you can buy and take home to complete your photo album. However, I strongly advise to buy a book here, as it becomes an unique experience, connecting all senses.

Around the same area, you’ll find Clérigos Tower and Carmo and Carmelitas’ churches. These are totally worth a visit.

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15 Responses to Lello & Irmão Bookstore

  1. Bob 06/05/2015 at 09:04 #

    one would think such a nice article would include an address for the destination.

    • André Parente 11/05/2015 at 16:09 #

      Hi Bob! If you read in deskto view you will have full adress and contacto with Google Maps view. Still working on the mobile version, sorry about that. Cheers!

    • peadar Mac Diarmada 31/01/2017 at 11:09 #

      its 5 Euro to enter and you can take pictures

  2. gethro 06/09/2015 at 18:14 #

    It is now 3 euro to enter. You buy a ticket across from the bookstore. However if you buy a book the entry price
    is deducted. Well worth a visit but it is seriously crowded so getting good pics is difficult.

  3. Ricardo 23/09/2015 at 15:36 #

    Definitely nothing to justify charging THREE euros. I will no longer go there, ever. Libraries are free all over the world, nothing can excuse this.

    • Gail at Large 20/01/2016 at 23:59 #

      It’s not a library, it’s a privately-owned bookstore.

  4. Chris 23/09/2015 at 21:01 #

    I can’t wait to visit,it’s mind blowing,just a suggestion,to raise money for a local charity why not charge a fee for photographers to take photos in the hour prior to or after opening maybe once a month

    • Chris 23/09/2015 at 21:05 #

      I should have put,before opening or after closing .

  5. Gail at Large 21/01/2016 at 00:17 #

    I don’t know why it’s stated here that JK Rowling lived in Porto for 10 years. She was in Porto a maximum of 14 months, according to her website. Her mother died on December 30, 1990, and nine months later she moved to Portugal (October 1991), then to Edinburgh by Christmas 1993.

  6. Gail at Large 21/01/2016 at 00:18 #

    Sorry, that was meant to say max 22 months in Porto, not 14.

  7. Wesley 20/03/2016 at 12:02 #

    This bookstore was so beautiful I decided to write it a love letter. http://thebucketyears.com/unlisted-places/dear-lello-bookstore/

  8. Penny 01/06/2016 at 16:51 #

    The store is beautiful, unfortunately they are currently renovating thr facade so couldn’t see that but the inside is definitely worth the 3 € entry fee, this is deducted from any purchase you make in the store which seems fair to me

  9. Phyllis Young 04/10/2016 at 03:23 #

    A definite highlight of my visit to Portugal – absolutely wonderful !!

  10. Ana Patuleia Ortins 17/10/2016 at 13:50 #

    It is by far the most beautiful bookstore I have ever seen and definitely worth 3 euros which is deducted from the price iof a purchase

  11. Rain 14/12/2016 at 03:59 #

    This is what Heavens would look like to me. An antique bookstore– gorgeous!

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