Whoever has came or lived in Porto must be familiar with the sentence, “No photo PLEASEEEE!!!!” at the world’s third most beautiful bookstore, Livraria Lello e Irmão. Being notable as the bookstore that inspired JK Rowling for her infamous Harry Potter series, this bookstore is no longer considered as a common old bookstore. It is a tourist attraction! A must-visit in Porto, that’s what people said. You can imagine this: a lot of tourist are willing to take pictures inside the (small) bookstore. Quite unfortunate, it is forbidden to take pictures inside the bookstore. I understand why it is forbidden, having tourists or photographers taking pictures must be unpleasant for the bookworms who want to have their quiet me-time moment with books 😉
…until you know the locals’ secret: you can take pictures inside Livraria Lello e Irmão. Yes, you can.
TELL ME HOW!!!!
My previous post about “9 Reasons Why You Should Pack Your Stuffs and Go to Porto. Now!” has been featured on Visit Porto tourism portal as the blog (post) of the week. I feel so blessed for the responses I got mainly from the Portuguese through social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and any other you name it). Obrigada 🙂 One of them commented on my blog post and wrote, “Great list. Actually, you can take pictures at Lello if you go 1hr before they open on certain days. So even better!”
OMG! Let’s give it a try then.
Two days ago, my friend (Luna) who read my blog post was inspired by that comment. She asked me to really give it a try. We agreed to wake up early this morning and meet at 9AM in front of the bookstore. I came exactly at 9AM in the morning and guess what did I find? There was already a queue line in front the not-yet-opened bookstore! OMG!
I guess many people know this trick as well. There is a forum on TripAdvisor that Luna found talking about this trick (read it here).
YES, it is allowed to take (zillion) pictures inside Livraria Lello e Irmão if you come before its opening hours (it opens at 10AM). What you should do is trying to knock the window, there is a cleaning lady who will open the door for you. Ask her nicely and voila! You can enter the “empty” bookstore. But remember, many people know this trick as well. My advice are: you have to come earlier, coming at 8.30AM is preferable. I know it is hard to wake up THAT early, but who can resist having the full privilege of the bookstore on your own with your camera and tripod? –I was with my huge DSLR wandering around taking pictures. No officer yelled at me :p
The lady will make turns for group of people who can enter. She is very nice. Letting people enter the bookstore while she is cleaning the floor. So, please respect her and do not throw any trash randomly 😉 The earlier you come, the less people enter the bookstore with you. That means: you have plenty of pictures without any cameo!
This beautiful bookstore sells not only vintage and old books, but also new and updated books. I found many design books and of course, books about Porto and Portugal. The desk nearby the cashier has lots of unique souvenirs of Porto –from not-so-mediocre postcards until a Portuguese bacalhau recipe book (with bacalhau shape!). Walk to the second floor and you will find embedded racks on the wall. Full of yellowish-and-brownish vintage books. DON’T YOU THINK YOU ARE IN HOGWARTS????
For an interior or European-design lovers, Paperblanks stated that this bookstore features a façade decorated in the Art Nouveau style with Neo-Gothic elements. Look at those crafted wooden ceiling and zodiac glasses on its ceiling! I WAS IN AWE ❤
Now you know these tips and tricks. Enjoy your moment with the world’s third most beautiful bookstore. Don’t forget to keep everything in place, not throwing any trash, put the book on its place, and so on to keep this bookstore as beautiful as it is.