Harry Potter Bookstore: Porto, Portugal
This is one of those Pinterest finds Jeff hates. I send him a random picture and say “We have to go here!” This one wasn’t hard to find. The Livraria Lello Bookshop is quite popular, so popular you need a ticket to enter. If you buy a book, the 4 Euro price is subtracted from your purchase. The ticket office is next door to the bookshop (facing the shop, go left). The staircase in the center of the bookstore has become famous as looking like a real life Hogwarts staircase, but more on that later.
When we arrived on a Friday afternoon the place was packed. It was raining and the line wrapped around the building. We had made arrangements through the bookstore’s PR department to come for a visit, but still had to go grab tickets from the office next door. While Jeff grabbed the tickets I stood with the boys by the front door. About half the line did not know you needed tickets to visit. Do not get in line until you’ve grabbed your tickets from the office next door!
You will also need to store any strollers or bags you have with you at the ticket shop. They have lockers in the back where this can be done.
Once we got in the store was packed. It did not really take away from the beauty, but it did make it difficult to get great pictures for you! (Luckily you can find stunning ones on the Livraria Lello Webpage.)
Many consider this the world’s most beautiful staircase. Others find it evocative of the moving staircases in the Harry Potter stories. The staircase is well worn as visitors follow it, twisting around their own path.
The top of the staircase seems to almost bend under the weight of the visitors as it echoes the movement down the stairs. Even as you walk it is hard to understand where you are going, and yet you are led there. Curious. Very curious.
On each floor you are surrounded by books in shelves that stretch from the bottom floor to the ceiling. It’s one of the most magical bookstores I’ve had the chance to visit. If it weren’t for the crowds we likely would have stayed longer to explore.
I did find the table of Harry Potter merchandise, so they are capitalizing on their fame. The shelves are full of all sorts of books though, so even if you’re not a Harry Potter fan you’re sure to enjoy a visit here.
There are so many incredible little details. Each light, bookshelf and statue are meticulously created.
Toward the end of our bookstore visit our Little Little had a blow out. We made our way quickly out of the bookstore and around next door to retrieve our things. The bathroom here is not equipped with a changing table and is quite small. Instead we parked our stroller near the art table and did a change in the stroller. Meanwhile the boys drew lovely little pictures, which we hung with the hundreds of others from paperclips dangling from the ceiling.
The store also has a lovely little “Platform 9 3/4” set up where you can take your photo. We all had a turn, but our Big Little was the most excited. We recently finished book one (a kids version) with him and he loves all these little details.
Don’t be put off by the crowds at Livraria Lello. I suspect if you arrive early it won’t be nearly as crowded as our mid-afternoon visit. It’s certainly worth a peek in our opinion!
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