If you’re at all like me, then there’s nothing better than curling track of a good book and becoming lost in another time, world, or life. And when it comes to exploring a new city, some of the best-kept secrets are the ones of bookstores, especially those from the independent, unusual, and quirky variety! Here’s ultimate your guide towards the best of Barcelona bookshops!
Hibernian, Secondhand English Bookshop, Carrer del Montseny, 17, 08012 Barcelona
For those who are looking for one of the best English language bookshops in Barcelona, Hibernian is definitely an absolute must. Founded in May of 2004, Hibernian is simply the second English language store to have opened within the Catalonian city.
Stroll into the store today and you may expect to find over 40,000 titles on offer, ranging from all genres; fiction, travel guides, history memoirs and more are available inside this Bibliophile’s dream. Though there are a few new books available, the majority 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 go towards the Laie Librería Café, which can be found only a short walk away from Gaudi’s relatively unknown building (and lots of say his most ‘conformist’ piece) of Casa Calvet.
Set over two floors, as the lower space on the floor is devoted entirely to books (think shelves stacked from floor to ceiling and the shop floor full of tables piled high with books), the upper floor is about the coffee shop! There’s indoor seating where one can hide away on the day you need it overlooking the store entrance and even a secret terrace out back where you can escape the hubbub of the busy Barcelona streets having a great mug of coffee as well as an even better book.
Librería Alta”ir, Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 616, 08007 Barcelona
For those with an insatiable lust for Wanderlust, Alta”ir 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, with regards to travel guides and reference books for Spain, the section is much more in-depth, while there is a much more impressive selection on Catalonia and indeed Barcelona. Even those who don’t speak Catalan or Castilian Spanish, then be assured that there's also plenty of English and French editions available to purchase. For a further peek at this a part of Barcelona, take my free and self-guided Barcelona walking tour.
Librería Rodés, Carrer dels Banys Nous, 8, 08002 Barcelona
Situated within the Gothic district of Barcelona, a maze of cobbled lanes that are largely pedestrianised and snake their way across what was once the Roman city of Barcino, Rodes Bookshop is incredibly quaint. Encompassed by plenty of independent stores selling 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 through the week), step inside at a moment and you may 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 individuals 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 greatest of Barcelona Librerías, it might be a crime not to add the beautiful Calders bookstore. Situated to the West from the city, some distance out of the way of the typical tourist hotspots, this is one independent bookshop you have to add to your Barcelona bucket list.
After all, the great looking nature of the store causes it to be one of the top photo spots within this district from the city. Before visiting, it’s worth noting there are little to no English language books available and instead things are printed in Spanish.
Come In Llibreria Anglesa, Carrer de Balmes, 129 Bis, 08008 Barcelona
The other, and maybe a little bit more famous, English language bookshop around (asides from Hibernian) is ‘ Come In’. Found in the 19th-century built Eixample district of Barcelona, this bookstore was founded as early as 1984, making it the oldest English language bookseller within the city.