One of my favorite parts of the Harry Potter series is the scene when Harry ventures into Flourish and Blotts in Chamber of Secrets. I loved imagining what a bookshop would look like within a magical world. Books are already a “uniquely portable magic,” as Stephen King so wisely noted. Of course, when the store is in the wizarding world, it just gets even more magical.
You can visit the Bodleian Library, which is the Hogwarts library in the films, but you sadly can’t visit Flourish and Blotts, because those scenes were filmed at the studio. And you can’t visit the real Flourish and Blotts, because you’re a Muggle and you’re stuck in the Muggle world. (I know. I'm sorry. I'm a Muggle, too.)
Luckily, we No-Majs have a few bookstores that are just as enchanting as Flourish and Blotts, even if Gilderoy Lockhart isn’t holding any upcoming signings at any of them. Harry Potter fans should visit the following bookstores at least once, so they can get as close to the magic of an enchanted bookshop as possible. The novels sold inside may not be the Standard Book of Spells, but they’re enchanting in their own right nonetheless.
1Livraria Lello in Porto, Portugal
A different view than the usual of the iconic staircase at Livraria Lello bookshop in Portugal. pic.twitter.com/qwPHS5jE8z— Brainerd Library (@brainerdlibrary) March 29, 2017
J.K. Rowling taught English in Portugal during the time she was working on Harry Potter, and Livraria Lello in Porto is rumored to have inspired some of her writing. When you see the enchanting exterior, it's easy to see how this magical shop gave her so many great ideas.
2Big Green Bookshop in London, England
After Piers Morgan claimed on Twitter that he had "never read a single word of Harry Potter" and his son being a Potter addict was a "serious failure in my parenting skills," this London bookshop started tweeting the entirety of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone at him, 140 characters at a time. The Big Green Bookshop, started by Tim West and Simon Key (Simon runs the hilarious Twitter), is certainly worth the visit.
3Vibes & Scribes in Cork, Ireland
Vibes & Scribes in Cork (which has been compared to Flourish & Blott's) is filled with used and new books. The quaint atmosphere, combined with leaning stacks of books, will make every Potter fan feel as if they're shopping for another year at Hogwarts.
4Urueña in Spain
Urueña, a small Spanish town, became a Villa del Libro, or a town of books. There's 1 bookstore for every 16 people. https://t.co/Ij9bhHy5vh— Curated by D Moore (@mobile_literacy) February 13, 2017
Channel Harry Potter's medieval influences in this fairy tale town, which is actually home to more books than people. There are 12 bookstores in Urueña, and the combination of books and medieval architecture (yes, there's a castle here) will mentally transport you to Hogwarts.