Inside Livraria Bertrand, Lisbon: The Oldest Bookstore in the World

Located in Lisbon’s popular Chiado neighborhood, the charming bookshop of Livraria Bertrand boasts a memorable claim to fame: being the oldest bookstore in the world!

Originally opened in 1732, Livraria Bertrand, Lisbon has opened, closed, been renamed, and been moved several times over the years.

Today, though, you’ll find this delightful Lisbon bookstore in Chiado, still churning out books, coffee, and camraderie among bibliophiles.

While the brand of Livraria Bertrand operates many bookshops in Portugal, for travelers seeking a chance to visit the oldest bookstore in the world, the Chiado, Lisbon location is the only one you need.

Here’s how to visit Livraria Bertrand in Chiado, Lisbon!

front facade of livraria bertrand lisbon chiado, with tuk tuk parked out front
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Is Livraria Bertrand Really the Oldest Bookstore in the World?

Sure, you’ve seen the stories advertising it as such–but is Lisbon’s Livraria Bertrand really the oldest bookshop in the world?

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According to the Guinness Book of World Records, yes it is!

Livraria Bertrand in Lisbon was recognized by the Guinness Book of World in 2011 as the oldest bookshop in the world that is still in operation.

Be sure to note the plaque hanging to the right of the window as you enter the store!

person taking an iphone photo of the guinness book of world records sign for the worlds oldest bookstore lisbon

Tips for Visiting Livraria Bertrand in Lisbon, Portugal

Make sure you visit the right location!

There are a few bookshops named Livraria Bertrand (or something very similar) in Lisbon, but to visit the oldest bookstore in the world, you’re specifically looking for the Chiado location.

Located on trendy Rua Garrett, the original Livraria Bertrand is centrally located near many of the other best things to do in Lisbon.

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Pause to snap photos of the exterior.

Housed in an azulejo-covered, blue-and-white building, the exterior of Livraria Bertrand is absolutely worth photographing!

The corner of the building, with “Livraria Bertrand” written on both sides, is a popular angle.

You can snap a photo of the Guinness Book of World Records sign, too!

corner view of livraria bertrand lisbon sign

Make sure to stroll all the way to the cafe in the back.

Livraria Bertrand is arranged as a series of rooms, delving deeper and deeper into the many aisles of books.

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All the way in the back, you’ll find a small cafe, perfect for grabbing a coffee or pastry, and settling down with your newest book.

You’ll often find the cafe crowded with friends chatting together over laptops, continuing the long tradition of Livraria Bertrand acting as a tertulia (essentially a salon, but in the tradition of the Iberian peninsula).

leather couch and collection of books in livraria bertrand lisbon

If you’d like to purchase a book in English, look in the second room.

Despite its international fame, most books sold at Livraria Bertrand are understandably in Portuguese.

There are also books sold in Spanish, French, and of course, English, though–if you know where to look.

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The fairly small selection of English books is primarily concentrated in the second room of the shop, and heavily features the famous Portuguese authors of Fernando Pessoa and José Saramago.

You’ll also find some travel books, a selection of books on Portuguese culture (we once bought a Portuguese cookbook there), as well as a smattering of modern titles.

travel and english books livraria bertrand portugal

… or to your left, directly after you walk into the bookshop.

Alternatively, you’ll also find some English books for sale right as you walk into Livraria Bertrand in Chiado.

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As of the time of writing, as you pass through the front door, you’ll see a display of books focused on Lisbon tourism (as well as tourism in Portugal overall) in English.

These range from standard guidebooks to more unique, limited-printed offerings on things like hidden gems in Lisbon that you may not be able to find outside the country.

front door leading into livraria bertrand

Don’t miss Café A Brasileira, located just up the street!

Since 1905, Café A Brasileira has been one of Lisbon’s most famous and distinctive cafes, and is perfect for pairing with you visit to Livraria Bertrand!

Populated primarily by artists and intellectuals in the 20th century, and by travelers enamored with Lisbon’s beautiful architecture in the 21st, Café A Brasileira boasts high prices (for Lisbon) but a stunning Art Deco interior to match.

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Don’t miss the life-size statue of Fernando Pessoa, one of the most beloved Portuguese writers of the 20th century, just outside the cafe.

Set up next to the outdoor terrace, Fernando looks almost like he too could be enjoying a typical bica (strong espresso) from Café A Brasileira along with the modern-day visitors!

interior of Café A Brasileira in chiado lisbon

Keep an eye out for the outdoor selection.

Sometimes, Livraria Bertrand sets up tables of books reaching down the side street along the edge of the shop, just waiting to be perused.

If you see them set up during your visit, be sure to stroll through!

people shopping for books outside of livraria bertrand in lisbon, looking for souvenirs from portugal to buy

Other Fun Things to Do Near Livraria Bertrand

Located in Lisbon’s trendy Chiado neighborhood, Livraria Bertrand is within a short walk of many of the other best things to do in Lisbon.

To keep things simple, here are just a few interesting things to do within a 5-minute walk of the world’s oldest bookshop!

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Browse the many other shops along Rua Garrett.

Rua Garrett, where Livraria Bertrand is located, is one of Lisbon’s most popular shopping streets.

You’ll find everything from large international brands (like Nike, Calzedonia, and Nespresso) here, as well as a variety of local boutiques and cafes (including but definitely not limited to the famous Café A Brasileira).

jellyfish christmas lights hanging in chiado lisbon at night

Pay a visit to the Carmo Convent.

Construction broke on the magnificent, Gothic-style Carmo Convent in 1393.

Fast forward a few centuries, and the church collapsed in the infamous earthquake of 1755.

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And fast forward a couple more centuries, and you have the fascinating Carmo Convent of today: a roofless church stretching out over the Lisbon skyline.

The Carmo Convent was partially restored after the earthquake, but its roof was never put back on–and the resulting atmosphere is worth a visit.

In addition to the church itself, the small Carmo Archaeological Museum features artifacts from both Portugal and around the world, including 2 Peruvian mummies.

roofless church of lisbon portugal, carmo convent on a sunny day

Step inside the Church of São Roque.

Dating to the 16th century, the Church of São Roque is one of the most spectacular churches in Lisbon.

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The earliest Jesuit church in Portugal, the Church of São Roque has a collection of incredible gilded (primarily Baroque) chapels, as well as a magnificent painted ceiling.

The church itself is free to visit, and visiting the small attached museum costs 2.5 Euro as of the time of writing.

gilded chapel in sao roque, one of the best churches in lisbon portugal

Hang out in Largo di Carmo or Luís de Camões Square.

Both of these famous, scenic squares are within a 5-minute walk of the bookshop and are excellent places to relax, grab a drink, and people-watch in Lisbon.

Largo di Carmo is shadier, while Luís de Camões Square is in the center of the action and has excellent views of the passing trams.

statue in the center of a square in chiado lisbon

Snap photos of Lisbon’s iconic trams.

As you walk from Livraria Bertrand up to Luís de Camões Square, you’ll notice several of Lisbon’s yellow trams rumbling by.

If you’re looking for places to snap photos of Lisbon’s iconic trams, this is a fantastic option.

yellow tram approaching in chiado lisbon with blue building behind it

Check out the Basilica of Nossa Senhora dos Mártires.

This beautiful basilica is free to visit and is located right next door to Livraria Bertrand in Chiado.

Free to visit and quick to see, the Basilica of Nossa Senhora dos Mártires isn’t one of the most famous churches in Lisbon, but it’s definitely worth the few minutes it takes to step inside.

interior of a richly decorated church in lisbon portugal

Location of the Oldest Bookstore in the World

Livraria Bertrand is located in Chiado, within walking distance of many other fun things to do in Lisbon.

You can easily combine visiting Livraria Bertrand with visiting attractions like the Carmo Convent, the Church of São Roque, Café A Brasileira, and the Santa Justa Lift.

Address of Livraria Bertrand (Original Location)

R. Garrett 73 75, 1200-203 Lisboa, Portugal

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Hours of Operation for Livraria Bertrand

As of the time of writing, Livraria Bertrand (Chiado) is open daily from 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM.

Livraria Bertrand Phone Number

+351 21 030 5590

Map of Livraria Bertrand Chiado Location

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About Kate Storm
Image of the author, Kate Storm

In May 2016, I left my suburban life in the USA and became a full-time traveler. Since then, I have visited 50+ countries on 5 continents and lived in Portugal, developing a special love of traveling in Europe (especially Italy) along the way. Today, along with my husband Jeremy and dog Ranger, I’m working toward my eventual goal of splitting my life between Europe and the USA.

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