The Urban Legend that Makes This Bookstore One of the Most Visited in the World


It is true that Harry Potter author JK Rowling lived in Porto, Portugal in the early ’90s. Its’ also been said that some of the city’s architecture inspired aspects of her writing, particularly her descriptions of Hogwart’s School School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and Diagon Alley. And that urban legend (debunked by Rowling here) is why Livraria Lello is one of the most visited bookstores in the world.

Opened in 1906 by the Lello Brothers, the book store was named one of the finest in the world by the Guardian in 2008. Described as having a “Neo-Gothic façade and majestic Art Nouveau interior with a breathtaking crimson staircase”, the store has become one of the most visited attractions in Porto. The dubious connection to Harry Potter is enough to keep the crowds coming and Livaria Lello has taken full advantage. There is a special Harry Potter book section, as well as a Sorting Hat hanging out on one of the bookshelves. The store also instituted an admission fee to compensate for the many visitors who once only came to take pictures. General Admission Tickets, which will have you in a very long line, are €5 ($6) and can be used as a voucher for book purchases. To avoid the long lines, you can pay an extra €9/$10 to walk right in and can also be used as a voucher for book purchases.

Enjoy the pictures below from UMT Team Member, Shanna Houser:

Story Credit: UMT Editor/Forbes/Livaria Lello

Photo Credits: UMT Editor