A walk around Barcelona's bookshops 06/04/2022
If literature is your passion, bookshops are your go-to place, the pages of a book are your way of escaping and the locations in novels places to explore, Barcelona is waiting for you. A UNESCO City of Literature, Barcelona is the home and host city of countless writers and a venue for international literature and comic festivals. The city also has more than three hundred bookshops that will really impress you. Discover these temples of culture and visit your favourites.
Bookshops and cafés: welcoming places to escape the bustle of the city
Taking a break for a rest, having a drink and reading could become a habit you won't want to give up when you discover the variety of bookshops with cafés in the city. Here are some of the most representative ones.
La Central del Raval
Housed in the mid-18th century chapel of La Misericordia, La Central del Raval, stocks more than 80,000 titles. It specialises in the humanities. There is also a café and restaurant in the garden: a green oasis in the middle of the bustling city.
La Central del Eixample
More than 65,000 books on anthropology, design, art and film, as well as architecture, philosophy and classical studies. This temple of the humanities also has a café and bar on the second floor in one of the typical interior courtyards of the Eixample district.
Laie Pau Claris
Pau Claris 85
One of the pioneers in bringing food and literature together, the Laie Pau Claris gives you the opportunity to have a drink and a bite to eat at its restaurant housed in an actual flat in Barcelona's Eixample district. It has an indoor and outdoor terrace.
It opened in 2020 and has become a favourite meeting place in the Sant Antoni neighbourhood. The bookshop and café Le Byron is a multipurpose space with a great selection of books for children and young people. Its café serves organic produce with a zero-carbon footprint. You're bound to love it!
On the hunt for a rare gem at historic bookshops dating back more than 100 years and antiques markets
The delightful literary tradition is very much alive in Barcelona thanks to its bookshops dating back more than 100 years, which are the privileged witnesses to the passing of time in the city, and a love of antique, second-hand, out-of-print and unique books you'll find at its specialist bookshops and markets. Are you ready to hunt out your own special gem?
Bookshops dating back 100 years
Carrer Duran i Bas, 11
Situated on the ground floor of a complex of neo-medieval buildings, the Palau de la Balmesiana, this bookshop, which opened in 1920, originally specialised in books on religious themes. Over the years, it has adapted and expanded its offer, but always from a Catholic perspective and with the aim of highlighting the importance of values. It is one of the city's iconic bookshops.
Carrer Cardenal Casañas 5
Just off La Rambla, this tiny bookshop with its original sturdy wooden beams symbolises the way a time-honoured shop can survive in a busy tourist area. Its windows crammed with books and friendly service have made it a magnet for book lovers.
Carrer Petritxol, 2
The Llibreria Quera is the city's oldest bookshop and stands on the same site as it did when it opened in 1916. This small emporium in the heart of the old town, Ciutat Vella, specialises in books on climbing and travel. It still has the original wooden shelves and chequerboard pattern floor tiles. The fourth generation of the Quera family have opened a small restaurant and wine bar at the back of the shop, called Espai Quera.
Second-hand bookshops and markets
Mercat Dominical de Sant Antoni
Mercat de Sant Antoni, Comte d'Urgell, 1
The Sant Antoni Sunday market is a magnet for collectors of trading cards, videogames, comics, posters, records, films, magazines and books and has become the traditional place to head to on a Sunday morning and hunt out that rare gem you can't find anywhere else.
Llibreria L'Encant del Llibre
Mercat dels Encants, Castillejos 158
Inside the city's flea market, the Mercat dels Encants, this bookshop has been selling second-hand and out-of-print books at very competitive prices for more than twenty years.
Passeig de Gràcia Antique and Modern Book Fair
Passeig de Gràcia
Barcelona even has a second-hand book fair. It has been held on Passeig de Gràcia since 1952 and is the oldest fair of its kind in Europe. Organised by the Barcelona Booksellers' Guild, its stalls will allow you to dig for prints, antique and modern posters and books… lots of books.
New book shops: a breath of fresh air and contemporary culture
E-books coexist in harmony with books on paper. And this is borne out by the number of extraordinary bookshops that have recently opened in Barcelona and complement their interesting offer with artistic and literary activities that enrich the city's cultural fabric. They provide clear proof that literature remains a driving force in Barcelona.
Pau Claris 94
This vast bookshop opened in 2020 and takes great care over the artistic side of things, with art exhibitions and a wide range of special art editions. Its reading and events room, La Bookeria, is lined with second-hand books and hosts cultural activities from time to time. All its fiction and non-fiction books are only in Catalan.
This bookshop opened in April 2021 and offers multiple windows (‘finestres' in Catalan) on the world. It has been designed as a place where you can go and read and has an area with sofas and a fireplace. It also has a wide stock of books in different languages and a small café in the interior courtyard. It runs an extensive programme of activities and its own literary competitions. Finestres has opened a second bookshop specialising in artistic disciplines and the visual arts. It stands across the road from the flagship, at number 250, inside the modernista building, the Casa Garriga i Nogués.
For many years, this Barceloneta bookshop was home to the legendary Negra y Criminal, which reopened under the name Fahrenheit 451 in October 2021. This small but always busy bookshop also hosts presentations and activities as part of its ongoing commitment to bookshops as sources of knowledge, culture and social interaction.
Passatge Calders 9
Although it sells books and editions in different languages, the Llibreria Calders is also committed to books by local authors. You'll find narrative works, essays and poetry. The bookshop also organises talks on a wide variety of subjects.
As you can see, your passion for temples of books has so many places to choose from in Barcelona. Come and discover them!
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