A couple of weeks have passed and I’m still scratching my head in wonder. Did I step into a Harry Potter novel when I walked into Livraria Lello & Irmão located in Porto, Portugal?
Walking into the 1906 neo-gothic building, I was greeted with a bucket of Art Deco whimsy with the twisting, crimson staircase leading up to the mezzanine. I immediately wanted to look up at tower of books lining the walls and the vibrant stained-glass skylight. The ceiling, although it looks like wood, is carved plaster with beautiful, lace-like patterns.
If I believe what the Viking River Cruises guide told me, then yes, I did step into a Harry Potter novel. According to the guide, J.K. Rowling spent time in Porto, Portugal while writing about Harry Potter and specifically spent time in Livraria Lello & Irmão, also called Livraria Lello.
The guide also told me this has been called one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world and I’m not going to argue with that. If you go, at the time of this blog post, admission is €3 but if you make a purchase, you have a €3 credit. Purchase tickets from a red, cloud looking kiosk across from the bookshop then proceed to the store.
I almost didn’t visit the bookshop and glad I did. I also lucked out in that there wasn’t a line to enter. When you find yourself in Porto, please, jump into the whimsy of Livraria Lello.
Rua das Carmelitas, 144
Tel.: (+ 351) 22 200 20 37
Be sure to check out my video about Livraria Lello. If the video below doesn’t play, view it on YouTube.