You may not expect the oldest bookstore in the world to be found in Portugal. But in the Chiado Livraria Bertrand in Lisbon has a Guinness World Records certificate to prove it.
The original shop opened in 1732 and has stayed open ever since, albeit moving around the city. The current shop opened in 1773, on the corner of in a typical Lisbon building, clad in blue and white tiles.
The Livraria Bertrand is part of a chain, but it doesn’t feel overwhelmingly corporate inside. In fact, it’s very simply decorated, with dark wood shelves and curved white ceilings letting the books be the star of the show. A central corridor leads you through various rooms until you reach the inevitable coffee shop at the end.
Posters detailing Portuguese literary figures, and the long history of the shop dot the walls and corridors.
It may not seem like much, but the quiet focus is part of its charm and it’s worth a visit if you happen to be in Lisbon.
Have you visited the Livraria Bertrand or any similarly old bookshops? Let me know in the comments!