The modern traveler has quite a few information sources to choose from. First of all, of course, there’s the internet. Newspapers, specialized travel media, influencers…The amount of information on the world wide web is almost endless and can therefore be overwhelming at times too. How to know which sources to trust and which not to? How to know the best keywords to search with? And, of course, where to start? In a very online world, we sometimes find ourselves lost. And that – of course – is when you come across Travel Tomorrow, the holy grail of travel info. Just kidding of course (or are we?).
However, the internet is not the only source when it comes to travel information. You could for example ask your friends, family and colleagues for advice if they’ve been to the same destination before. Maybe you even know a local, which is often the best way to get to know a place. And then, of course, there’s the good old travel book, which comes in a wide array of formats and styles.
We tend to forget it from time to time but there’s still a printed world out there. Given, it’s not always very practical to drag around a pile of books, but sometimes, an e-reader or iPad or what else just won’t do it. Sometimes, you want to feel the actual cover, you want to flick through the paper pages, you want to be able to earmark something like in the good old days. And when you do, you’ll want a great travel bookstore to advise you in your travel book shopping. We looked around and found Europe’s most charming travel bookstores, which in themselves are a reason to visit the cities they’re located in.
1. Stanley & Livingstone, The Hague
In a city as international as The Hague, the subject of travelling is never far off. Whether we’re talking expats, students or truckers, Stanley & Livingstone caters to everyone’s needs. You’ll find a wide range of maps (perfect if you’re tired of always looking on your phone), a great selection of guides to each and every country known to men and of course a pile of travel literature, to give you a more romantic feeling of your next destination. The interior of the store is quite what you’d imagine when you’re thinking of your classical bookstore, so think a lot of wood, ceiling-high piles of books and a stunning shop window.
2. Daunt Books, London
Honestly, if we had to choose just ONE “most beautiful travel bookstore”, it would probably be Daunt Books in London. Stepping inside, it’s like you’ve just entered a totally different world, a totally different era. The store’s been around since 1912 and is renowned for its great travel selection. However, here, you’ll find more than travel books alone so don’t forget to verify which of the store you’re in. You’ll want to go to the back of the store where you’ll find no less than three stories worth of travel-related books. Don’t forget to take some pictures as a visit to Daunt Books will do great on your Instagram feed.
3. Anticyclone des Açores, Brussels
Just like The Hague, Brussels has got a very international public and that means there’s room for a travel bookstore. Anticyclone des Açores is located in the very heart of the city, only a few steps from the Rue Neuve and just across the road from La Monnaie. When I was living in the city, I used to come here when I was looking for some destination inspiration. It’s also a great place to go to if you want an impressive map or globe to add to your interior, just saying.
4. Llibreria Altaïr, Barcelona
Everyone knows Barcelona but do you really know the city? Are you aware of where the locals go, of where you can eat the very best tapas and where you can dance all night long? If not, a visit to Llibreria Altaïr might shed some light in the darkness. You’ll find two stories worth of travel books, with everything from general guides to specialized books and travel novels. Perfect if you want to get to know the city from another perspective.
5. Librairie Ulysse, Paris
His adventures took Odysseus or Ulysses all around the world and are an inspiration to travelers until today, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise at least someone decided to name their travel bookshop after the Greek hero. At Librairie Ulysse, books are arranged in humongous piles, making finding the title you’re looking for an adventure in itself. But who knows, maybe you’ll find something else, taking you to strange places you didn’t even know existed.