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Most book lovers would agree that the perfect day doesn’t get any better than settling into a cozy reading nook with a glass of fine wine in hand (after all, it is always 5 o’clock somewhere). However, there are a few breathtaking destinations—some of the best libraries and bookstores in the world—that are sure to lure any book aficionado away from the soothing comfort of their favorite reading spot. These five global destinations will tempt you into booking a flight out today for a whimsical, book-inspired getaway.
1. El Ateneo Grand Splendid
Nestled in Buenos Aires, this bookstore is nothing short of grandiose. Walking in, you’ll be enchanted by the opulent frescoed ceilings, warm lights and plush, royal-red stage curtains.
El Ateneo Grand Splendid is housed in a converted theater, which is why you’ll see books lined up in what used to be ornate mezzanines and orchestra sections.
A piano and several cafe tables sit atop the stage, making it the perfect spot to sip on a lagrima (Argentine coffee with milk) while taking in the glorious array of books — all to the peaceful sounds of live piano music.
2. The Royal Portuguese Cabinet of Reading
Prepare for a truly stunning showcase that will sweep book lovers off their feet. Located in Rio de Janeiro, The Royal Portuguese Cabinet of Reading is a three-story building bursting at the seams with books. The building houses more than 350,000 books in floor-to-ceiling bookcases under a stained-glass skylight.
The Royal Portuguese Cabinet of Reading receives 6,000 additional titles to add to their collection each year.
3. Café Pushkin
A trip to Moscow isn’t complete without a visit to Cafe Pushkin, and we recommended making a reservation well in advance for this cultural experience. Cafe Pushkin has four different dining halls: The Pharmacy, The Fireplace, The Library and The Summer Terrace.
As you’ve probably guessed, The Library Hall is a fan favorite for book aficionados around the world. When you enter The Library Hall, your eyes will be graced by decadently designed Baroque-style architecture and grand bookcases that tower up to the ceiling. Political works, great literature and scientific reads line the shelves that surround you as you eat.
The hall is more than just a dreamy sight for book lovers—the service and menu are impeccable and highly acclaimed. Grab a bite while you dream yourself into Tolstoy’s world.
4. Trinity College
When you stand in the 200-foot-long hallway at Trinity College’s library, you are reminded of why e-books could never replace the magic of the traditional hardcover. Simply put, this hall is a breathtaking sight.
Located in Dublin, this library is over 400 years old, and houses 200,000 vintage books that would give any book aficionado the chills—in the very best way possible.
Beautiful books deserve a beautiful setting, which is exactly what this library delivers. The prominent barrel ceiling creates an expansive, never-ending feel. Interesting fact: The barrel ceiling was actually added in 1860 to allow additional space for more bookshelves.
The library is also home to the Book of Kells, an illuminated, Latin gospel dating back to the seventh century. Its complex designs outshine other manuscripts of its kind.
5. Strahov Monastery
The Strahov Monastery is the second-oldest monastery in Prague, and it houses the largest religious library in the country. This library is housed in two halls dating to the 17th and 18th centuries. Each is home to a collection of thousands of ancient books, which is reason enough to entice the avid reader.
Unfortunately, readers can only peek through the doors—visitors to the library were causing humidity fluctuations that were damaging the frescoes. Regardless, the awe-inspiring architecture marks this destination as a go-to spot on any book lover’s bucket list. A peek is enough to take your breath away.
With its stunning interior, complete with frescoed ceilings, floor-to-ceiling shelving and gilded decorations, it’s proof that beauty can certainly get better with age. ■